Photo credit: Aman Kapoor
The Sydney Festival boycott over funding from Israel is now Australia’s largest and most successful boycott campaign since the anti-apartheid movement against South African apartheid and the Green bans of the 1970s, according to BDS Australia.
More than 40% of the Festival performances have been disrupted with some 100 artists, companies and arts workers withdrawing in solidarity with this community and artist-led initiative opposing Israeli art-washing of war crimes against the Palestinian people.
BDS Australia is especially heartened by the strong solidarity and support given to this boycott by so many First Nations artists who so well understand the experience of colonisation and dispossession.
“The actions of so many artists, companies and arts workers in supporting the Palestinian call for boycott, divestment and sanctions in light of Israel’s apartheid policies and ongoing human rights abuses against Palestinians, clearly shows the solidarity and intersectional nature of this struggle,” says BDS Australia patron, Associate Professor Jake Lynch of Sydney University’s Department of Peace and Conflict Studies.
“More than 10,000 people have signed the BDS Australia petition and written to the Sydney Festival Board. 1,000 artists and arts workers have publicly expressed their support for those who have withdrawn in protest from the Festival, and many Australian Jewish organisations and individuals have publicly stated their support for the boycott – this is a landslide of support for justice for Palestinians,” says BDS Australia convenor and Palestinian refugee, Hilmi Dabbagh.
“The tide is turning and no amount of spin from the Israel lobby and Zionist supporters in Australia can stop it. Desperate calls for anti-BDS legislation and claims of antisemitism from those organisations which support Israel’s colonialist and apartheid policies are falling on deaf ears and rightly so,” according to Dr Peter Slezak, Deputy Convenor of BDS Australia who is the son of holocaust survivors.
“The latest United Nations reports show the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians is intensifying, with record numbers evicted and buildings being demolished every day in East Jerusalem, in the Naqab and elsewhere by the occupying Israeli authorities. The Israeli state is openly colluding with gangs of armed thugs from the settler movement to speed up the seizure and theft of Palestinian land”, says Hiba Farra, BDS Australia committee member and Palestinian lawyer.
Artists Against Apartheid – Drop Israeli Regime Partnership