[The following open letter is being ciruclated in protest of the Brooklyn Book Festival`s partnership with the Israeli Office of Cultural Affairs in New York to sponsor Assaf Gavrons participation in the festival.]
Tell the Brooklyn Book Festival to no longer accept partnerships with the Israeli government or complicit institutions.
To the Brooklyn Book Festival Inc. and the Brooklyn Book Festival Literary Council:
We, the undersigned, including participants and exhibitors at the Brooklyn Book Festival, recently noticed that the festival has chosen to accept support from Israel`s Office of Cultural Affairs in New York for one of its panels.
It is deeply regrettable that the Festival has chosen to accept funding from the Israeli government just weeks after Israel`s bloody 50-day assault on the Gaza Strip, which left over 2100 Palestinians – including 500 children – dead, displaced a fourth of the population, destroyed homes, schools, and hospitals, and involved numerous potential war crimes. Sustaining a partnership with the Israeli Consulate at this time amounts to a tacit endorsement of Israel`s many violations of international law and Palestinian human rights.
Israel has systematically attempted to suppress, expropriate and suffocate the art, culture, and literature of Palestinian writers, filmmakers, musicians, artists, and poets. We hope that you agree that partnering with a state that practices occupation, colonialism, and apartheid is paradoxical for a festival that celebrates a "lively literary marketplace."
Since 2005, Palestinian civil society has called on people of conscience around the world to engage in a peaceful campaign of boycotting, divesting from, and sanctioning Israel in order to force it to comply with international law. The BDS movement has grown exponentially since then, attracting support from a range of cultural and literary figures around the globe.
We appeal to the organizers of the Brooklyn Book Festival to refuse the sponsorship of the Israeli embassy or any complicit Israeli institution in the future. This is not, we emphasize, a call to isolate or boycott individual Israelis, but an effort to renounce business as usual with a state that routinely violates international law and basic human rights with impunity. We urge the Brooklyn Book Festival to decline future offers to partner with complicit Israeli institutions on conversations about literature, because to continue to do so is to participate in whitewashing Israel`s crimes.
As was the case in South Africa, where international solidarity played a crucial role in bringing down apartheid by boycotting the economic, sports and cultural institutions of the apartheid regime, we sincerely hope you will not partner in any capacity with the Israeli government and other complicit institutions, until the Israeli government fulfills it obligations under international law and fully recognizes the Palestinian people’s right to live in full equality and freedom in their homeland.
- Adalah-NY: The New York Campaign for the Boycott of Israel
- Librarians and Archivists with Palestine
- *Andrew Hsiao, editor, Verso Books
- *Anthony Arnove, editor, Haymarket Books
- *Astra Taylor, author, The People`s Platform
- Aurora Levins Morales, poet
- *Bhakti Sringarpure, editor, Warscapes
- *Craig O`Hara, publisher, PM Press
- Daniel Lang-Levitsky, co-editor, Dreaming In Public: Building the Occupy Movement
- *Eleanor Davis, cartoonist, How to Be Happy
- Ethan Heitner, cartoonist
- *Greg Grandin, author, Empire of Necessity
- Jonathan House, publisher, Unconscious in Translation
- *Ken Chen
- Kevin Caplicky, Justseeds Artists` Cooperative
- MJ Kaufman, playwright
- *Ramsey Kanaan, publisher, PM Press
- *Seth Tobocman, cartoonist/editor, World War 3 Illustrated
- *Peter Kuper, cartoonist/editor, World War 3 Illustrated
- *Sharifa Rhodes-Pitts, author, Harlem is Nowhere
- *Jacob Stevens, editor, Verso Books
- *Phan Nguyen, editor, Verso Books
- **Sarah Schulman, author, Israel/Palestine and the Queer International
Other Featured Signatures
- Palestine Festival of Literature
- Boycott! Supporting the Palestinian BDS Call from Within
- Remi Kanazi, poet
- **Chase Madar, author, The Passion of Bradley Manning
- *Revolution Books
- Anand Gopal, author, No Good Men Among the Living
- Sasha Frere-Jones, critic
- **Ricardo Cortés, author/Illustrator
- Ahdaf Soueif, author, Cairo: My City, Our Revolution
- Kamila Shamsie, author, A God in Every Stone
- Junot Díaz, author, This is How You Lose Her
- Eliot Weinberger, writer and essayist
- *Molly Crabapple, artist and writer
- Conner Habib, author, The Sex Book
- *Elif Batuman, author, The Possessed
- *Amit Chaudhuri, author, Calcutta: Two Years in the City
* Indicates panelist or exhibitor at Brooklyn Book Festival 2014
** Indicates past participant in the Brooklyn Book Festival
[To view the complete list of individual signatories, or add your name to the open letter, click here]