The power of the Palestinian-led movement to boycott, divest and sanction Israel (BDS) has resulted in yet another first – a discussion of the cultural boycott on 1 February by the Education and Culture Committee of the Knesset.
Musician Elvis Costello is one of many international artists who refuse to perform in Israel
Attended by representatives of the Ministries of Education and Culture, together with Israeli entertainment producers who have been financially harmed by the cultural boycott of Israel, the Education and Culture Committee discussed the topic of the boycott of Israel by international artists.
The chairperson of the committee, MK Alex Miller, of the ultra-right wing Zionist party Yisrael Beitenu, called on the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Culture and Finance to establish an inter-ministerial committee to examine how to protect producers who are harmed by artists who cancel their appearances in Israel for ideological reasons.
The discussion came in response to a wave of artist boycotts in recent months, among them Elvis Costello, Vanessa Paradis, Johnny Depp, Dustin Hoffman, and the Pixies.
The organization Boycott from Within has played a large role in encouraging artists to follow their conscience and not perform in Israel.
“BDS's non-violent and human rights based campaign urges artists not to put their stamp of approval on Israel's system of often murderous ethnic discrimination. As such, an international performance in Israel is understood amongst the Israeli public as condoning this reality and making a statement against the necessity to change it,” the group wrote in a letter to singer Macy Gray, explaining the importance of the BDS movement.
“Coming to perform in Israel has become a political act, a statement of support for the state of Israel's ongoing crimes and human rights violations. It is also an act against a rapidly growing non-violent human-rights based civil society Palestinian movement. The question remains: is this a political act you wish to take part in?” the letter said.
MK Miller announced at the meeting that he, together with MK Ronit Tirosh, of the right-wing Likud party, will be drafting legislation that provides compensation to producers. He also called on the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Culture to construct a joint strategy to deal with the phenomenon of the delegitimisation of Israel in the world of culture.
Eran Sheishon, head of the political-security team of the Reut Institute, said that campaigns must be conducted to encourage consumption of boycotted products by Jewish communities and supporters of Israel – Buycott and not Boycott, reported YNet News.
Wednesday, 02 February 2011 16:26 Alternative Information Center (AIC)
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