Tilda Swinton among 2000+ artists calling for Gaza ceasefire
They accuse governments of “aiding and abetting” Israel’s “war crimes” in Gaza
Palestinians face “collective punishment on an unimaginable scale”
Governments should “end their military and political support for Israel’s actions”
Renowned actors Tilda Swinton, Charles Dance, Steve Coogan, Miriam Margolyes, Peter Mullan, Maxine Peake and Khalid Abdalla are among more than two thousand people from across the arts who have signed a letter saying that: “Our governments are not only tolerating war crimes but aiding and abetting them.”
The artists, including Robert del Naja and playwrights Tanika Gupta and Abbie Spallen, condemn “every act of violence against civilians and every infringement of international law whoever perpetrates them”.
THE LETTER IN FULL
We are witnessing a crime and a catastrophe. Israel has reduced much of Gaza to rubble, and cut off the supply of water, power, food and medicine to 2.3 million Palestinians. In the words of the UN’s undersecretary for humanitarian affairs, ‘the spectre of death’ is hanging over the territory.
Gaza is already a society of refugees and the children of refugees. Now, in their hundreds of thousands, bombarded from air, sea and land, Palestinians whose grandparents were forced out of their homes at the barrel of a gun are again being told to flee – or face collective punishment on an unimaginable scale. Dispossessed of rights, described by Israel’s minister of defence as “human animals”, they have become people to whom almost anything can be done.
Our governments are not only tolerating war crimes but aiding and abetting them. There will come a time when they are held to account for their complicity. But for now, while condemning every act of violence against civilians and every infringement of international law whoever perpetrates them, our obligation is to do all we can to bring an end to the unprecedented cruelty being inflicted on Gaza.
We support the global movement against the destruction of Gaza and the mass displacement of the Palestinian people. We demand that our governments end their military and political support for Israel’s actions.
We call for an immediate ceasefire and the opening of Gaza’s crossings to allow humanitarian aid to enter unhindered.”
We mourn the loss of Palestinian and Israeli lives.
We call for peace with justice and an end to Israel’s occupation, apartheid and ongoing genocide;
We call on the Australian government to condemn Israeli war crimes, recognise Palestine and support the ICC investigation;
We call for immediate sanctions on Israel;
We call on Australian trade unions to impose boycotts against Israeli apartheid as they did to isolate apartheid in South Africa;
We call on all Australian organisations and entities that have investments or partnerships in Israeli companies which are complicit in Israel’s ongoing violations of international law and apartheid, to divest from such ties.
BDS Australia believes that this tragedy is wholly the result of the impunity given to Israel since 1948 by Western and other governments which have allowed Israel to constantly violate international law and impose its violent military occupation and colonisation throughout the occupied Palestinian Territories and the inhumane 16-year blockade of Gaza.
Palestinians have long called for justice in international law only to be progressively dispossessed and subject to an apartheid regime while Israel and its allies including Australia, maintained the lie of a 2-state solution.
The silence from the Australian government over Israel’s current indiscriminate bombing of Gaza, and the rapidly mounting civilian death toll and widespread destruction, continues this long and disgraceful record of double standards and gives Israel increased impunity and incentive to commit further war crimes.
This year has already seen more Palestinians killed, and more arrested and held without charge, than for three decades. The armed campaign of ethnic cleansing, led by settler militias that enjoy near-complete impunity, has intensified, with their leaders now sitting in the Israeli cabinet. The Hamas attack on Israel came in response to an incursion by these armed thugs supported by Israeli forces, into Jerusalem’s Al Aqsa Mosque, Islam’s third-holiest shrine, with the clear aim of forcing out Muslim worshippers. It also came after increased ethnic cleansing of Palestinian rural communities and major military incursions into the West Bank cities of Nablus and Jenin this year.
The building of Jewish-only illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank has reached a record level this year. The entire settlement-building programme is a war crime, in breach of the unambiguous prohibition in the Fourth Geneva Convention: “An occupying power must not move any part of its population into the territory it occupies”.
Key international, Palestinian and Israeli human rights reports have shown conclusively that Israel is committing the crimes of apartheid and persecution against Palestinians, both grave crimes against humanity in international law. Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, his government and the Opposition do not even acknowledge these findings, yet Australia as a signatory to international conventions, is obliged in law to take action to end these crimes.
Labor in 2022, went to the election with a national policy platform that committed it, once in office, to recognising Palestine as a state “as an important priority”. No progress has been made on even this modest demand.
This is significant in withholding Australia’s support for the investigation by the International Criminal Court into war crimes in the occupied Palestinian territories since June 2014, when indiscriminate Israeli bombardment killed over 2,000 civilians in Gaza.
As the preamble to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights says: “It is essential, if man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human rights should be protected by the rule of law”.
Through its collusion in closing off legal, diplomatic and political pathways to justice, Australia has blood on its hands. The Palestinians have been driven, by Australia among other countries, to the last resort of rebellion against tyranny and oppression.
Sydney University’s Students Representative Council backs BDS
After supporting justice for Palestinians for many years, the University of Sydney SRC has reaffirmed its solidarity with its latest vote on active solidarity to Palestine and support for BDS. This stand shows how strong the student movement for BDS is in Australia with one of Australia’s largest universities following on from Melbourne University’s BDS support last year, despite coordinated attacks by the Zionist lobby in Australia.
The USYD SRC position includes recognition that Palestinians are living under an apartheid state, opposes the universities’ institutional support for the IHRA definition of antisemitism because it conflates criticism of Israel with antisemitism, and rejects normalisation with the state of Israel.
We congratulate the University of Sydney SRC on their powerful stand.
Text of the USYD SRC motion
The University of Sydney Students’ Representative Council recognises the complicity of universities across the globe in violations against indigenous peoples.
The University of Sydney Students’ Representative Council stands in solidarity with the Palestinian people living under an Apartheid state.
The University of Sydney Students’ Representative Council supports the BDS movement in their calls for boycott, divestment and sanctions to achieve freedom, justice and equality for Palestinians.
The University of Sydney Students’ Representative Council rejects attempts to collapse Judaism and Zionism and reaffirms its position that anti-Zionism is anti-racism.
The University of Sydney Students’ Representative Council opposes the institutional adoption of the IHRA working definition of Antisemitism as it has been used to silence and discipline pro-Palestinian advocacy and activism.
The University of Sydney Students’ Representative Council rejects normalisation with the State of Israel.
The University of Sydney Students’ Representative Council will:
Encourage and support SRC councillors to engage in boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) actions that seek to end the occupation of Palestine and bring about justice, freedom and equality for Palestinians.
Boycott purchasing future Hewlett-Packard (HP) products, including printers and computers in the SRC and implementing a long term strategy to replace all current HP products.
Designate the University of Sydney Students Representative Council an official Apartheid-free zone.
Campaign against the University of Sydney developing or maintaining ties with organisations, companies and tertiary and/or government funded institutions that support/are supported by/are funded by the State of Israel.
Write a letter to the University of Sydney Vice-Chancellor to:
Condemn the reference to the IHRA definition as a ‘useful tool to understanding antisemitism’ in its new anti-racism statement and request them to remove it from the references.
Express the rejection of University ties with the state of Israel, including the new OLE unit titled ‘Experience Israel’.
University institutions are complicit in human rights violations against indigenous peoples across the globe, from here on Gadigal land, to Palestine. Violations can range from support and normalisation of the colonial state, discriminatory admittance policies, like systematically preventing racialised groups to attend university, but also through indoctrination and misinformation. Universities have a lot to answer for, and student unions have a duty to fight this fight and hold their universities accountable.
As a settler-colony, Israel has created various systems and structures to take over Palestinian land: a military occupation to suppress resistance, ethnic cleansing to achieve demographic targets and land theft, and an apartheid system of governance to give privileges to one people while denying the rights of others.
Palestinians have called for non-violent global solidarity action in the form of boycott, divestment, and sanctions upon the State of Israel, until it recognises the rights of Palestinian people to self-determination and fully complies with international law. As a student union, we must stand on the right side of history and demand justice and an immediate end to the oppression of Palestinians by the State of Israel. Palestinians have told us what they seek from us in global solidarity: boycott, divestment and sanctions; boycotts of institutions complicit in the settler-colonial project, divestment from corporations which profit from the injustice and calling for sanctions on the Apartheid state until it complies with international law.
The Australian government proudly proclaimed their support for the boycott movement against Apartheid South Africa – so why won’t Australia support a BDS movement against Apartheid Israel? It’s been made clear time and time again that there are double standards which apply to Palestinian right to freedom and self-determination. These double standards are deeply rooted in islamophobia, anti-Arab racism and Western imperialist interests.
In an attempt to silence criticism of Israel and intervene in grassroots mobilisation for Palestinian liberation, Zionist lobby groups have been pressuring universities to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism, in which 7 of its 11 examples of conduct said to constitute antisemitism directly refer to conduct regarding Israel. Particularly problematic is the example alleging that it is antisemitic to deny “the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming the existence of the State of Israel is a racist endeavour”. This working definition has been used to suppress advocacy for Palestinian rights (for example, at universities).
The state of Israel continues to deny the right of self-determination to Palestinians and continues to dispossess them of their land. We aim to rectify this injustice in ways that will allow both Palestinians and Israelis to live in peace, security and equality, exercising self-determination as described by the United Nations Charter.
Recognise that the state of Israel’s ongoing occupation of the Palestinian territories and the expropriation of Palestinian land, water, airspace, and resources is illegal and must be opposed.
Recognise that the September 2022 Report of the United Nations Special Rapporteur found that “the occupation is not merely belligerent ,but is settlercolonial in nature and that Israel has prevented the realisation of Palestinian people’s right to self-determination, violating each component of that right, wilfully pursuing the “de-Palestinianisation” of the occupied territory.”
Support freedom and statehood for the Palestinian people.
Recognise that our ability to resolve the climate crisis is made more difficult by the ongoing violent conflict in the region and peace and stability are required for regional and equitable solutions to the climate crisis.
Call on all parties to comply with international law, relevant United Nations (UN) resolutions, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Geneva Conventions, the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights, and the International Convention on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid.
Recognise that the state of Israel, as the sole State power exercising control over all Palestinians, has the primary obligation to comply with such laws.
Recognise that Israel’s ongoing colonisation of Palestinian land is rendering a two- state solution unachievable.
Reject and condemn all forms of violence, especially against civilians, whether perpetrated by a state, organisations or individuals, while recognising the right of the Palestinian people to resist Israeli occupation in accordance with international law.
Oppose all forms of racism, religious or cultural intolerance and discrimination, in Australia and internationally
Demand the protection of human rights in the Palestinian territories and Israel
Recognise that the state of Israel is practising the crime of apartheid against Palestinians as noted by prominent human rights organisations – including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, as well as Palestinian and Israeli groups including al-Haq, Yesh Din and B’Tselem.
Recognise the Right of Return of Palestinian refugees and their descendants to their place of origin through a just and acceptable solution based on UN Resolution 194, or compensation for those who choose not to return. Additionally, support the establishment of international mechanisms guided by international law to facilitate this outcome.
Recognise that the rise of right-wing extremism in Israel is contributing to the intensification of repression, violence and a further worsening of the humanitarian situation for Palestinians.
In accordance with the Australian Greens Resolution on Boycotts, Divestments & Targeted Sanctions, support the tactics of boycotts, divestments and targeted sanctions that are strategic and human rights aligned on: a) Government representatives, institutions and state-affiliated entities of the state of Israel and the Israeli military and/or; b) Corporations, entities and organisations that profit from or are complicit in the violation of Palestinian human rights
Affirm that criticism of Israeli government policies and actions is not antisemitic, and therefore oppose the adoption and enforcement of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of antisemitism which conflates criticism of the state of Israel with antisemitism. Recognise the rise of hateful and violent racism and bigotry including antisemitism and Islamophobia in Australia and commit to the development of thorough anti-racism policies.
Support and promote an open, human rights-aligned public debate about the state of Israel’s policies toward, and treatment of, Palestinian people.
Recognise the particular impact on children living under military occupation and exposed to conflict, in terms of their physical, psychosocial and social development needs.
Recognise that the state of Israel’s policy of conscription has involved young people in conflict and occupation which is counter to the goals of peace. Goals The Australian Greens will work for:
The end of the occupation of the Palestinian territories and the removal of the Separation Wall.
The removal of Israeli settlers and Israeli security and military forces from all the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967, including the land and sea blockade of Gaza.
The equitable allocation of all natural resources, including water.
Full equality before the law for every person, irrespective of ethnicity, religion, language, race, gender identity, class, disability, sexuality, or other social status.
The Australian government to join the international community in recognising the statehood of Palestinians and maintain the position of not recognising Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
The support of progressive political and civil society movements within the state of Israel and in the Palestinian Territories
The Australian Government to recognise and uphold the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court in relation to investigations into the actions of members of the government of the state of Israel, the Israeli Defence Force, Palestinian Authorities and armed groups to ensure individuals found to be responsible for crimes under international law are brought to justice. Additionally, the Australian Government to use all diplomatic and peaceful means to ensure all parties to any such investigation cooperate and comply fully with all requests, requirements and rulings of the Court.
The Australian Government to support initiatives in the United Nations, including the International Court of Justice, to hold the state of Israel, Palestinian Authorities and armed groups accountable for crimes under international law and other serious human rights violations; including but not limited to the expansion of illegal settlements, targeting of civilians, treatment of civilian populations within their jurisdictions and treatment of enemy combatants under their control.
Australia to promote human rights of Palestinians in its diplomatic relationships with those directly or indirectly involved in the conflict.
The involvement of progressive women’s organisations in establishing and building peace, in line with the principles set out in UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security.
The Australian Government to increase support for NGOs promoting peace with justice for all Palestinians and Israelis.
The Australian Government to work for UN-supervised removal of all weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons, from all states in the region.
In independent Australian foreign policy in relation to South West Asia and North Africa region, based on principles of peace, disarmament, ecology, self determination and human rights. As preliminary steps to the achievement of the goals, the Australian Greens call for:
The immediate and unconditional withdrawal of the Israeli military from all Palestinian cities, towns, refugee camps, surrounding areas and transport routes, allowing freedom of movement of Palestinians.
The immediate release of Palestinian political prisoners and all Palestinian child prisoners held in Israeli detention.
The end of dispossession and destruction of Palestinian homes by the authorities of the state of Israel and Israeli settlers.
Palestinian control of their borders with Jordan and Egypt.
The immediate freezing of all Israeli settlement activity in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, including expansion, and the simultaneous commencement of the repatriation of the Israeli settlers from the Palestinian territories.
The immediate dismantling of the separation wall.
The deployment of an international peacekeeping force endorsed by the United Nations to monitor the implementation of the above preliminaries by the parties; ensure that civilian populations are not exposed to the risk of hostile attack; and provide assistance to re-establish infrastructure.
An immediate end to refusal of, or hindrance to, medical aid to Palestinians and an end to the destruction of Palestinian infrastructure, agriculture and homes by authorities of the state of Israel and Israeli settlers
International support to establish a joint healing process, based upon the principles of a truth and reconciliation commission.
Australian, international and Israeli assistance programs in the Palestinian territories which together are sufficient to repair and rebuild Palestinian infrastructure, institutions, agriculture and the environment, and democratic civil society.
UN-endorsed measures, such as targeted sanctions, as needed and in conformity with Australian Greens policies.
An end to Australian taxation deductions for donations to states, institutions and organisations engaged in violations of international humanitarian law and human rights in Israel and Palestine, including settlement activity.
Given the continuing disregard by the state of Israel of calls to halt settlement expansion in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, the Australian Greens:
Call upon the Australian and State governments to halt military and security trade and cooperation with the state of Israel.
Reiterate our call for the immediate freezing of all Israeli settlement activity in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
Call for the removal of existing Israeli settlers and Israeli security and military forces from the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
That the Australian Greens: • Acknowledge Australia’s history of cultural, consumer, sporting and labour movement boycotts as a legitimate, non- violent political expression in support of national liberation, health, human rights and environmental causes. • Support the application of targeted sanctions, boycotts and divestments by the Australian Government when they are strategic and human rights-aligned and one or more of the following criteria are met: • The grave repression of the human rights or democratic freedoms of a population by a government • The proliferation of weapons of mass destruction • Internal or international armed conflict • Genocide, ethnic cleansing, crimes against humanity or the perpetration of war crimes • State-sponsored mass violence • In the event of a military coup These criteria should serve to assist the deliberations of the Australian Greens and of the Australian Greens Party Room when considering calling for the application of targeted sanctions, boycotts or divestments against: • Government or state officials • State entities • State-affiliated or state-funded entities and/or; • Corporations, entities and organisations that profit from or are complicit in the violation of human rights. The Australian Greens reaffirm its support for the following calls made by the Australian Greens Party Room Foreign Affairs spokesperson for the following boycotts, divestments and targeted sanctions: • Targeted sanctions, boycotts and divestments on Myanmar’s military junta, government representatives, institutions and state-affiliated corporations for the 2021 February coup and treatment of the Rohingya population • Targeted sanctions, boycotts and divestments on Iranian government officials and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, government representatives, institutions and state-affiliated corporations including financial asset freezing and visa bans on key officials, the IRGC and morality police • Targeted sanctions, boycotts and divestments on Russian government representatives, institutions and state-affiliated corporations including boycott of the Russian oil and gas purchases.
BDS Australia Joins the international #BoycottPuma campaign now in the week before Puma’s AGM to increase our pressure on Puma to end its complicity with Israeli apartheid and end all sponsorship of Israeli football teams on occupied Palestinian lands.
This year, as PUMA shareholders prepare to meet to discuss profits, Israel has just carried out yet another military assault on besieged Palestinians in Gaza.
These are not just tragic coincidences and they occur with PUMA’s complicity. They are a testament to just how often Israel’s apartheid regime kills Palestinians, young and elderly, athletes and artists, scholars and students, professionals and artisans, mothers, fathers, sons and daughters. In just the past 15 years, Israel has killed more than 6,000 Palestinians and injured over 145,000.
The Israel Football Association operates in illegal Israeli settlements, on land stolen from Palestinians and Puma supports this association unlike other sports brands which have refused to support Israel’s illegal settlements and ongoing persecution of Palestinians.
Israel’s apartheid regime robs Palestinian land and resources; bombs Palestinian cities; demolishes Palestinian homes; incarcerates Palestinian political prisoners; restricts Palestinian access to water, farm land, and electricity; destroys Palestinian agriculture; and prevents Palestinian movement.
Palestinians are now facing the escalating violence and dispossession of Israel’s most far-right, racist and fundamentalist government ever.
PUMA claims it has a “devotion to universal equality.” That can’t be true as long as PUMA is complicit in Israel’s apartheid regime.
This website is maintained by BDS Australia, which is affiliated with the coalition of Palestinian organisations that leads and supports the BDS movement and by the Palestinian Campaign for Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI), a BNC member organisation.