Israeli Government sponsorship of the Sydney Festival 2022

Israeli Government sponsorship of the Sydney Festival 2022

Photo/Graceenee
"The Writing is on the Wall: Annexation Past and Present", an exhibit that examines the plight of the Palestinian people, focusing on the wall built in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.
Photo/Graceenee

BDS Australia has written to the Sydney Festival and to the Sydney Dance Company regarding their acceptance of sponsorship by the Israeli government. We are calling for this sponsorship to be rejected because of Israel’s ongoing crimes against Palestinians and its use of sponsorships like this to attempt to artwash these crimes.

TAKE ACTION AND WRITE TO THE SYDNEY FESTIVAL JOINING OUR CALL FOR THEM TO REJECT ISRAELI GOVERNMENT SPONSORSHIP
SEND AN EMAIL – [email protected]

Letter from BDS Australia Dec 2,2021

Letter to: Olivia Ansell
Director
Sydney Festival

cc: Lizzi Nicoll
Deputy Executive Director
Sydney Dance Company

We write to express our deep concern at the 2022 Festival of Sydney’s acceptance of sponsorship from the Israeli government via the Israeli Embassy, Canberra as a Star Partner and as a sponsor of the Sydney Dance Company’s festival event, Decadance.

The signatories to this letter are members of Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Australia which supports the 2005 call by 170 Palestinian civil society organisations for BDS as a peaceful and non-violent means to pressure the State of Israel to end the illegal military occupation and colonisation of Palestinian territories in the West Bank and East Jerusalem from 1967; to end the crippling blockade of Gaza which has been in operation since 2006; and to allow the internationally recognized Right of Return to Palestinian refugees to the land and homes from which Israel forcibly expelled them in 1948; and to ensure equal rights for all Palestinians living in Israel according to international law and human rights conventions.

Arts, culture, and politics cannot be separated. Israel funds cultural events and ambassadors to ‘art-wash’ the human rights violations it perpetrates against the Palestinians by presenting itself as a normal ‘democracy’ and one which can be accepted internationally, despite its ongoing grave violations of human rights and international law. This is a conscious policy of the Israeli government. Nissim Ben-Shitrit, former Deputy Director General at the Israeli Foreign Affairs Ministry has said: “We regard culture as a hasbara [propaganda] tool of the highest order, and I do not differentiate between hasbara and culture”.

Israel has progressively taken large tracts of land which are internationally recognized as Palestinian land – dispossessing successive generations from their rights and maintaining a brutal military occupation which imprisons thousands of civilians including children and condones the unlawful and frequent killing of civilians. It has maintained a blockade of Gaza which has destroyed the local economy and denied freedom of movement to millions of people. It has engaged in largescale attacks against civilians in Gaza, killing and maiming tens of thousands in the last 13 years. It practices apartheid against Palestinians in Israel and throughout the Occupied Territories and is subject to countless UN resolutions condemning these violations of international law which are documented by many international, Israeli and Palestinian human rights organisations.

The apartheid nature of the state of Israel has been recently documented by Israel’s most prominent human rights organisation, B’tselem and also Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International.

We ask that you seriously reconsider the Sydney Festival’s association with the State of Israel and stand with the Palestinian people and with international law by refusing to accept any sponsorships from or collaborations with Israel until such time as Palestine is free.

We ask that you share this letter with the Festival’s Board of Directors, and we look forward to your response.

We would appreciate the opportunity to meet with you and to discuss this matter further.

Yours sincerely,
BDS Australia on behalf of the following member organisations:

  • Australians for Palestine (AFP) VIC
  • Australian Friends of Palestine Association (AFOPA) SA
  • Australian Palestinian Professionals Association (APPA) NSW
  • Australian Students for BDS (ASBDS)
  • Coalition for Justice and Peace in Palestine (CJPP) NSW
  • Federation of Italian Migrant Workers and their Families (FILEF) NSW
  • Friends of Hebron (FOH) NSW
  • Friends of Palestine WA (FOPWA) WA
  • General Union of Palestinian Workers NSW
  • Justice for Palestine, Meanjin (Brisbane) (JFP) QLD
  • Palestine Israel Ecumenical Network (PIEN)
  • Women for Palestine
We’re making Puma’s CEO nervous. Join the Boycott Puma Day of Action, September 18

We’re making Puma’s CEO nervous. Join the Boycott Puma Day of Action, September 18

August 17, 2021 / By Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) 

As Palestinians continue to struggle against Israel’s illegal land grabs, and companies like Ben & Jerry’s pledge to end involvement in illegal Israeli settlements, it’s time for all of us to step up the pressure on Puma to end support for Israeli apartheid.

Puma is worried about the growing boycott campaign.

In a leaked internal memo, Puma said Israel’s escalation of violence against Palestinians in May led to an increase in inquiries from its “business partners and ambassadors” about its complicity in Israeli apartheid. Global advocacy organization SumOfUs asked to meet with Puma about its support for illegal Israeli settlements. Not only did Puma accept, but even the agitated CEO joined!

As Palestinians continue to struggle against Israel’s illegal land grabs, and companies like Ben & Jerry’s pledge to end involvement in illegal Israeli settlements, it’s time for all of us to step up the pressure on Puma.

Join the #BoycottPuma Global Day of Action, September 18

ACTIONS

  • SIGN THE PETITION to demand these sports clubs support Palestinian human rights and sever  their Puma sponsorships. 
  • CALL ON PUMA SPONSORED AUSTRALIAN TEAMS to #BootPuma by taking a photo while holding a #BoycottPuma sign, post it on social media with the caption: 

Until @Puma ends their complicity in Israeli Apartheid, I demand [INSERT @NAME OF CLUB] to #BoycottPuma and #PumaFam

  • REBRAND YOUR PUMA GEAR by writing “boycott” over the logo or tape over it, post a photo on social media with the caption:

I bought @Puma gear before I knew Puma supports illegal Israeli settlements on stolen Palestinian land. Until Puma ends their complicity in Israeli Apartheid, I’m supporting Palestinian teams calling to #BoycottPuma and I will #RebrandPuma. Goodbye #PumaFam!

  • BOYCOTT AS A TEAM by organising a Zoom meeting with your sports team, and take a screen capture of each team member holding a sign that reads #BoycottPuma, post it on social media with the caption: 

@Puma supports illegal Israeli settlement on stolen Palestinian land. Our team supports Palestine so we #BoycottPuma and #PumaFam


In Brisbane join the Boycott Puma Walk with BDS Australia member group
Justice for Palestine Meanjin – Brisbane

BDS Australia Boycott Puma information here

More information on the international #Boycott Puma Global Day of Action here including materials and toolkit

Australian government defense contracts with Israel exposed

Australian government defense contracts with Israel exposed

Australia’s defense contracts with Israel have been exposed in this article ‘Defence hides Australia’s weapon sales to Israel amid war crimes investigation into Palestine’ published by Michael West Media and written by Michelle Fahey.

The Defence Department approved 187 permits for military exports to Israel in the six years to March 31, according to figures released under Freedom of Information (FOI).

The figures prompted questions about the ethics of Australia approving the export of weapons, military technology and other military goods to Israel, given its large number of documented violations of international human rights law in Palestine over decades.

“It is horrifying to learn that Australia is approving so many export permits to Israel – one of the most heavily militarised states in the world, which has been subjecting the Palestinian people to a brutal military occupation for over five decades,” said Rawan Arraf, Executive Director, Australian Centre for International Justice. “It’s highly likely then, that Australian goods are being used in aiding and abetting war crimes and crimes against humanity. We have a right to know what is being exported and to demand that it ends.”

However, when asked for details of what Australia has approved for export to Israel, Defence made clear its priority is protecting the commercial interests of the defence industry over transparency and being accountable to the Australian public for its decisions. A Defence spokesperson said, “Defence does not comment on individual export applications, assessments, goods or customers in order to protect commercially sensitive information and opportunities for Australian companies.”

READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE

BDS Australia joins the call for Australia to end all military ties with Israel and condemns the proposal by the government to a Free Trade Agreement with Israel.

JOIN THE CAMPAIGN TO END ALL MILITARY TIES WITH ISRAEL

BDS Australia calls on Victorian Premier to end support for Elbit

BDS Australia calls on Victorian Premier to end support for Elbit

In July 2021 BDS Australia wrote to the Premier of the Victorian government, Daniel Andrews calling on him to reconsider its support for the Israeli arms manufacturer, Elbit Systems. We will post any response we receive regarding this letter.

The Hon. Daniel Andrews
Premier of Victoria
Level 1/1 Treasury Place,
East Melbourne, VIC 3002                           July 22, 2021                                                                 

Dear Premier Andrews,

                                                               Re:  Victorian government funding to Elbit AI Centre

We write on behalf of BDS Australia, a coalition of ten organisations nationally which is dedicated to informing and raising awareness in the Australian community in support of a just peace for the Palestinian people.

We do this primarily by organising and implementing Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) initiatives as part of the Palestinian led, international and peaceful effort to pressure the State of Israel to adhere to international law and human rights conventions in relation to its illegal actions and denial of Palestinian rights.

BDS Australia is deeply concerned about the Victorian Government’s support of Elbit Systems of Australia and the Melbourne based AI Centre of Excellence which this company is establishing.  As you may be aware, Elbit Systems is Israel’s largest arms manufacturer and the primary supplier of the Israeli military and a key global manufacturer and exporter of drone and military surveillance technologies. Elbit Systems and its Australian subsidiary, Elbit Systems of Australia are deeply complicit in the actions of the Israeli government against civilian Palestinian populations, particularly in Gaza.

We have attached a Briefing Note prepared by one of our member organisations (CJPP), which includes information on why Australian states and the Australian federal government should not partner with this company.

We would also like to draw your attention to this comprehensive online resource on Elbit Systems by the American Friends Service Committee which is a Quaker organization that recommends Elbit for divestment and gives detailed evidence on why this conclusion has been reached.

The July 2021 edition of New Scientist reported on the use of ‘swarm drones’ in Israel’s most recent attack on Palestinians in Gaza in May this year. Local media reports indicated that these drones were supplied by Elbit and that this was the first operational use of this form of weaponry. The drone swarm gathered intelligence, carried out attacks as well as providing targeting information for guided mortar weapons according to the Israeli Defence Forces. Elbit Systems are notorious for advertising and selling their weapons as being ‘field tested’ or ‘battle proven’ and it is well documented that they are always ‘field tested’ on Palestinian civilians.

We note that the Victorian Government supports ‘high standards of ethical conduct and compliance with all applicable laws’ in its ethical procurement policy and ask whether the government applies a similar standard in relation to its support for businesses or companies especially weapons manufacturers such as Elbit Systems of Australia. 

We draw your attention to the fact that Australia is a signatory to the UN Arms Trade Treaty of 2013, which was negotiated primarily due to concerns over violations of international humanitarian law and human rights that were occurring in various conflicts around the globe. The Israeli government’s violations of international law have been thoroughly documented over many decades as has its use of weapons manufactured by Elbit Systems. Given this evidence, we believe that the Victorian governmenthas an obligation to cease supplying funds or support to Elbit Systems of Australia.

We join with the international Stop Elbit campaign calling on governments to end all ties with Elbit, and we ask that you take urgent action to cancel the Victorian Government’s association with Elbit Systems of Australia.

We look forward to your response.
BDS Convenor and Deputy Convenor

Sanction Israel petition

Sanction Israel petition

Update: This petition was signed by 21,991 Australians and will be presented to the Australian Federal parliament in August 2021. The Foreign Minister, Senator Marise Payne is required to respond to this petition within 3 months.

May 27, 2021


>>>>>SIGN THIS PETITION TO THE AUSTRALIAN FEDERAL PARLIAMENT

BDS Australia believes that it’s time the people who want to see justice for Palestinians, tell our politicians that it’s time to sanction Israel. We have one month until this petition is closed and it will be presented to the parliament. Australia is obliged to take action to support international law. BDS Australia is committed to championing the rights of Palestinians in law.

Background

Successive Israeli governments have severely discriminated against and brutally dominated Palestinians since the Nakba of 1948. The latest attacks in Gaza and throughout East Jerusalem, the West Bank and inside Israel show that the Nakba has never ended.
The systematic oppression of Palestinians amounts to grave breaches of international law and the crimes against humanity of apartheid and persecution. Palestinians have been subject to ongoing largescale military assaults and an illegal 14-year physical and economic blockade in Gaza; a brutal 54-year military occupation; decades-long restrictions on freedom of movement; widespread imposition of an illegal settlement enterprise; confiscation of land and mass denial of residency rights.
These actions intentionally and severely deprive millions of Palestinians of key fundamental rights and protections including the right to self-determination, the right of return, the right to equality and non-discrimination, and the rights to life, liberty, health, water, and security.
The Australian Government has a responsibility as a signatory to numerous international treaties to take action against Israel due to these grave violations of international law, which are also criminal offences under Australian law.

Petition Request

We therefore ask the House to
1) publicly condemn Israel’s assaults on Palestinians.
2) support targeted sanctions and an arms embargo on Israel.
3) support the suspension of defence cooperation with Israel and end defence industry partnerships.
4) introduce legislation to ban all settlement goods and services from entering Australia.
5) prevent Australian companies from operating, trading, or investing in settlements or contributing to their maintenance and/or expansion.

SIGN THIS PETITION TO THE AUSTRALIAN FEDERAL PARLIAMENT