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700 artists announce a cultural boycott of Israel

LONDON: Over 700 British artists, from the worlds of literature, film, stage and music, have pledged to boycott Israel “as long as the state continues to deny basic Palestinian rights.”

The campaign was launched Saturday with a letter in The Guardian signed by Peter Kosminsky, Mike Leigh, Jimmy McGovern, Miriam Margolyes, Riz Ahmed, Jeremy Hardy, Brian Eno, Richard Ashcroft, Gillian Slovo, China Miéville, and Liz Lochhead, among others.

The pledge in full, organised by ‘Artists for Palestine UK’, states:

We support the Palestinian struggle for freedom, justice and equality. In response to the call from Palestinian artists and cultural workers for a cultural boycott of Israel, we pledge to accept neither professional invitations to Israel, nor funding, from any institutions linked to its government until it complies with international law and universal principles of human rights.

Former English PEN president, writer Gillian Slovo, said: “As a South African I witnessed the way the cultural boycott of South Africa helped apply pressure on the apartheid government and its supporters. This Artists’ Pledge for Palestine has drawn lessons from that boycott to produce an even more nuanced, non-violent way for us to call for change and for justice for all.”

An investigation carried out by AP has recently showed that 508 of 844 victims in air strikes on residential buildings during Israel’s Operation Protective Edge that unfolded in Gaza the previous summer were women, children and the elderly.

UN chief Ban Ki Moon too condemned the air strikes and a decade long siege of Gaza and accused Israel of violating the cease fire agreement along with several counts of human rights violation in the following words: “Yet another gross violation of international humanitarian law. This madness must stop.”

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