From Israeli citizens to CanaDanse Festival sponsors and participants - Please do not legitimize Israel's apartheid!

December 2018


The Government of Canada and the Cities of Vancouver and Montreal,
Shay Kuebler-Radical System Art, Vancouver

Ballet BC, Vancouver

Le Carré des Lombes/Danièle Desnoyers, Montreal

Image result for BAT SHEVA BDS

We are a group of Israeli citizens, opposed to our government’s policies of oppression, occupation, apartheid, and ethnic cleansing against the indigenous Palestinian people. We support the Palestinian call for Boycott, Divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israeli institutions until Israel complies with international law and universal principles of human rights [1].

We note that you are officially sponsoring the CanaDanse Festival, to be held in Jaffa in January 2019. This act would ignore an important call for solidarity issued by a broad coalition representing Palestinian civil society. [2]

The Israeli government and the Municipality of Tel Aviv-Jaffa work hard to market Israel as an enlightened democracy, whitewashing the nature of the Israeli regime. In particular, an ongoing special campaign seeks to "Brand Tel Aviv" as a cool city for people to visit, as explained by the municipality’s spokesperson: “We are the means of public relations for the whole state." [3].

However, the story of Tel Aviv-Jaffa itself is the story of the ethnic cleansing of Palestine in 1948, a catastrophe known as the Nakba: Jaffa was the largest city in historical Palestine during the years of the British mandate, with more than 80,000 Palestinian inhabitants. In 1948, when the State of Israel was established, Zionist military forces displaced 95 percent of Jaffa’s indigenous Palestinian population. At that time, Jaffa’s refugees accounted for 15 percent of Palestinian refugees, and today they are dispersed across the globe, still banned from returning by the state of Israel, which is responsible for their displacement [4].

Many of the Palestinian refugees of Yaffa (Jaffa) fled to the Gaza strip, which is now an open air prison under Israeli control, siege and occupation, and a man-made humanitarian disaster area. The descendants of these refugees, civilians marching for their freedom and right of return on the border of the Gaza strip, are being systematically shot, maimed and killed by the Israeli army. [5]

In view of these facts, we note the grave error of judgment in a statement by representatives of Ballet BC that "We are honoured to be a part of this festival (in Israel)". To this we say that there is no honour in whitewashing Israel’s racism, occupation, colonialism and apartheid.

We thank and support concerned Canadian citizens and human rights activists who are increasingly standing up to official Canadian support of Israel’s violations of human rights and international law.   

We join their call for the cancellation of Canadian participation in the planned festival in Jaffa next month.

Boycott! Supporting the Palestinian BDS Call from Within (aka Boycott from Within)