A view of the August 9 panel, where Andrew Ross (left) read the statement to those in attendance at the Giardini Pavilion of the 2015 Venice Biennale's All the World's Futures exhibition. (image courtesy MTL Collective)

A view of the August 9 panel, where Andrew Ross (left) read the letter to those in attendance at the Giardini Pavilion of the 2015 Venice Biennale’s ‘All the World’s Futures’ exhibition. (photo courtesy MTL Collective)

On Sunday, artists participating in and attending the 2015 Venice Biennale launched a campaign titled “Artists’ Letter for Palestine.” More than 20 prominent artists, academics, and activists have signed the letter (included in full below), including Mel Chin, Miriam Ghani, Andrew Ross, Gregory Sholette, Noah Fischer, Naeem Mohaiemen, Ashok Sukumaran, Nitasha Dhillon, Philip Rizk, Jasmina Metwaly, and Amin Husain. The letter calls on artists to use their “leverage to bring global attention to injustice,” invites others to add their names to the list, and cites PACBI’s (Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel) call for a boycott of Israeli institutions. The group sees its call in the lineage of previous art world activist groups including the “Guerrilla Girls, the Art Workers Coalition, and so many others who have refused to cooperate in the face of institutional racism, sexism, and labor exploitation.”

Hyperallergic reached out to the group via email and asked how the letter came about. “A number of politically activated artists are in Venice now to view and/or participate in the Biennial and related events such as the Creative Time Summit, Gulf Labor panels, etc. They began having discussions about this topic and initiated the letter discussion,” the group explained.

When asked what the campaign entailed beyond the letter, they explained: “Initiating conversations about this campaign within the artworld. Cultural boycotts are a sensitive topic and there’s a lot of debate about it. It is also painful and difficult for artists to withhold participation when art is meant to build bridges. The difficult decision is made in the hopes of building peace. This letter intends to start a conversation.”

YouTube video

The letter was read by NYU Professor Andrew Ross on August 9 (see the video above) during the “Who Needs Museums and Biennales?” panel organized by Gulf Labor at the Venice Biennale. During an August 12 event at the Press Room — a parallel arts program that was held during the opening week of the Biennale and again as an auxiliary event during the current Creative Time Summit — Mariam Ghani talked about the “Artists’ Letter for Palestine.” Artist Pedro Lasch, another Summit participant who is one of the letter’s signatories, was also there to address the issues with Ghani and the Press Room audience.

During the Press Room discussion, Ghani cited the 1974 Venice Biennale, when the program was dedicated to the aftermath of Chile’s violent coup d’état. The 1974 event, which highlights the radical past of the Venice Biennale as one of the few institutional art platforms with a history of launching collective political action, was clearly on the mind of this year’s curator Okwui Enwezor as the press release for his exhibition, All the World’s Futures, explains:

Bringing practitioners across the fields of visual art, cinema, music, theater, dance, and performance, the events of the 1974 Art Biennale were spread across the entire city of Venice. Today, this remarkable and transformative episode in the history of the Biennale is largely forgotten. The dedication of the program of events to Chile and against fascism remains one of the most explicit attempts, in recent memory, by which an exhibition of the stature of the Art Biennale not only responds to, but courageously steps forward to share the historical stage with the political and social contexts of its time. It goes without saying that, in view of the current turmoil around the world, that the Biennale’s Eventi del 1974 has been a curatorial inspiration.

The group behind the “Artists’ Letter for Palestine” told Hyperallergic that it sees the letter as an “invitation to dialogue, rather than a ‘final word.’”

The letter in full is below:

56th Venice Biennale

Artists’ Letter for Palestine

Request for Signatories

Dear Fellow Artists and Cultural Workers,

We write to you as artists and cultural workers, regarding PACBI’s (Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel) call for a boycott of Israeli institutions. Many of you are already signatories. PACBI is the cultural and academic component of the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement, initiated by Palestinian civil society as an appeal for international solidarity.

We ask you, first of all, to sign on as artists participating or attending to pledge non participation in exhibitions and other cultural events that are sponsored or funded by the state of Israel. Please note that this is not a boycott of Israeli citizens. We also ask you to pass this on to other Biennale participants to add strength to its eventual circulation throughout the artworld. The goal here is to collectivize the voices of our community.

As artists, we have some leverage to bring global attention to injustice. Following the repudiation, by artists and curators, of Israeli state funding at last year’s Biennale de São Paulo, it is appropriate to bring the BDS spirit to Venice, where the stateless are obscured by the radiance cast by the national pavilions, and where the theme of “All the World’s Futures” has been widely interpreted by participants in the spirit of social justice. This is a critical moment to ask our community and artworld institutions to respond publicly to the call to take a stand against the Occupation and Israeli policies.

Our voices are part of a long legacy — note that boycotts are never the first step, they arise after repeated negotiations prove fruitless. In particular, we write out of respect for, and in continuity with, a boycott effort begun in 2001 (before PACBI was launched) by ART ACTION. We aim to build on their effort in a more public way, using the Venice Biennale as a platform to launch this statement.

In the interest of preempting a selfparalyzing conversation, let us acknowledge that native people were displaced from their homes to make way for those fleeing the persecution of Jews in Europe and elsewhere, including the horrors of the Shoah. While we acknowledge the genocide of Jewish communities, we believe that the settlers’ suffering in other lands does not vindicate the displacement, dispossession and killing of Palestinians. The struggle against the Israeli occupation has a proud lineage that connects to five centuries of resistance against religious persecution and settler colonialism around the globe.

We also continue the efforts of other artworld campaigns: those who successfully boycotted the 19th Biennale of Sydney in protest against its sponsors Transfield Holdings, manager of mandatory detention centers for asylum seekers; members of Liberate Tate, who have pledged to “free art from oil”; and Gulf Labor, a group that refuses to cooperate with the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi until fair working conditions and wages are secured for the foreign nationals building the museums on Saadiyat Island. Before these, we had the Guerrilla Girls, the Art Workers Coalition, and so many others who have refused to cooperate in the face of institutional racism, sexism, and labor exploitation.

To those who believe that engaging with Israeli institutions would be part of a useful dialogue, or that the boycott will further isolate propeace voices within Israel, we caution against the use of your work to convey an appearance of free speech at a time when war crimes are committed daily. Artists’ creative expression is being used to whitewash and normalize the brutality of the Occupation. The reality is that only certain viewpoints enjoy freedom of expression in Israel; being an advocate of PACBI/BDS is not one of them.

It is not anti-Jewish to be critical of Israel. It is time to fully differentiate Judaism from Zionism. For sure, criticism of Israeli policies has been used to serve those with racist agendas, and it is essential that BDS supporters be vigilant against this. We acknowledge the historical basis for Jewish fears but caution that these concerns should not be manipulated to cast doubt on the moral goals of the campaign itself. We condemn the use of any anti-Jewish or anti-Muslim rhetoric in connection with the BDS campaign.

Scholars have taken the lead in responding to the PACBI call to boycott Israeli institutions, and other sectors (governments, communities of faith, trade unions, banks, and branches of commerce) are signing on to the general BDS campaign. The boycott is now spreading to the general population in countries all over the world. Yet, with a few notable exceptions, the institutional artworld has held back.

We all know that your support carries some level of personal or professional risk. This risk is critical to the boycott tactic, and is currently being borne by Israeli BDS advocates, including artists, who are persecuted and criminalized for participating in Boycott from Within Israel. Please consult the guidelines set out by PACBI (at http://www.pacbi.org/) and note that they allow for signatories to choose their own level of engagement.

In Solidarity with the Palestinian People

To sign, please email: letterforpalestine@gmail.com

Initial signatories:

Haig Aivazian
Shaina Anand
Marco Baravalle (and S.a.L.E. Docks)
Doris Bittar
Paula Chakravartty
Mel Chin
Nitasha Dhillon
Tony Evanko
Noah Fischer
Mariam Ghani
Amin Husain
Pedro Lasch
Simone Leigh
Naeem Mohaiemen
Andrew Ross
Greg Sholette
Ashok Sukumaran
Kaarin Taipale
Dan S. Wang

Hrag Vartanian is editor-in-chief and co-founder of Hyperallergic.

52 replies on “Artists Launch “Letter for Palestine” Campaign at Venice Biennale”

    1. In other news israel signed contracts worth billions with India and China. Your efforts to destroy the Jewish state will fail. Coopting the language of human and civil rights does not grant Palestinians more legitimacy especially when they call for the destruction in deed and action of israel.

      1. Its not the first time the Chinese and the Indians have sold their souls to the devil….. and I suspect it wont be the last!

        1. You seem to thrive on calling white Jews illegitimate Jews. More than once in recent weeks you have claimed that only black Falashas are true Jews. I don’t debate racists like you who discriminate against people based on skin color.

          1. What I thrive on my friend is exposing the white man’s lies and propaganda.. I dont care if they are so-called white KKKristians or Jews. If you build your house on lies and disinformation then its built on quicksand. Dont blame the black man when he comes along and expose your lies.

            You treat the ORIGINAL black Jews like dirt in Israel and then you claim that you are standing up for Jews. If you care so much for Judaism you should be honouring the Black Jews ” “The Seed of Israel” as your Chief Rabbi call them. Instead you sterilize them Mengele style so they can not reproduce and dump their donated blood in the sewers of Israel, then you claim you care about Jews. What you care about is European -White Jews , not the True People of the Land of Israel. You are perpetrating a Fraud and black people every where has the right to challenge you on this Fraud. Its racist European and Sephardim Jewry who has de-legitimized the indigenous Black Jews of Israel..it is you have dishonored Judaism..and until white Jewry comes to terms with your crimes against the Black Jews/Falashas of Israel your collective Karma and credibility will never be righteous.

            You cant debate me on this matter because you know in your heart of heart I am telling the TRUTH. You can fool some of the people some of the time but you cant fool ALL of the people ALL of the time.

            When a man stands on the Rock of Truth … no weapon lifted against him shall prosper… You calling a black man who exposes your lies a racists is laughable.. The racists calling his victims racists because they object and expose his racism does nothing to move the conversation forward in a constructive manner. Its the same idiotic game you play with the Palestinians , you terrorize them and when they respond in kind you call them terrorist…thats your schtick I guess ..but sooner or later your schtick gets a little tired.

            If you are not willing to be honest with your self ..how can there ever be peace in the Promised Land?..its the same shit the black man is going thru in North America and Europe..The White man oppress and terrorize black people then when we stand up and say enough is enough we are branded as criminals and trouble makers..same $hit for oppressed people ALL over the world. the black man has his own scores to settle with Arabs- cause they are just as fucked up as Europeans when it comes to racism against Black people.However as black people when we see injustice any where we must speak up even when we dont have a dog in the fight…..its called “Principle”! and as Martin Luther King said the Moral arc of the universe tend to bend towards justice..well we must help it bend by speaking words of truth that reverberates thru space and time in the universe and thus for eternity!

          2. Loony tunes. Feel better now spouting your white Jews are nazis conspiracy theories? What you are is a racist for speaking about white people like you do. You don’t get a pass to spout hate bc you feel “oppressed by the white man”. Seek professional help. Hate consume and causes all kinds of diseases.

          3. Thank you SheikofChic for standing up to BM. He is absolutely what you say he is, a racist and a hater. His rhetoric is the banter of a village idiot.

          4. LOL!! ..ok I booked an appointment with my Jewish psychiatrist for tomorrow morning…he is going to make sure i have my head screwed on straight and I stop hating The white man and those who hate my people!… he says he will ” fix” me and cure me of my maladies. I am also going start drinking a brand of Jewish mouth wash called Manischewitz wine.. I hear that prevents gum- flapping disease also.

  1. Miguel A. López, chief curator of TEOR/éTica, San José, Costa Rica, has
    signed on to the Artists’ Letter for Palestine. Miguel was one of the
    participant artists who was part of the repudiation
    action and letter against Israeli funding in the last São Paulo

  2. It’s a shame all this effort expended on a cultural boycott of israel. Rather than delegitimize the jewish people’s right to a state of their own perhaps all this activism would be better spent educating the Palestinians on peaceful coexistence. Zionism is the majority of the Jewish people’s collective will. We see ourselves as the indigenous people returning to our land which we have an unbroken connection to for five thousand years. You cannot be colonists in your own historic land. Arm twisting of israel will not create peace nor earn the Palestinians a state. Only a commitment to peaceful coexistence with israel and renouncing of terrorism against her will pave the way for a state.

    1. Bravo to what you have said and ‘ditto’. Israel needs friends and support, not a cultural boycott.

      1. LOL.. Thats what your white apartheid racists allies in South Africa said… ..hell its like deja vu all over again!..same script. So Sad!!

      1. I wish you had enough intelligence to carry on a meaningful dialogue. You are filled with so much hate I feel very sorry for you.

        1. I see you are not addressing the issues I raised, instead you are questioning my intelligence. I guess it easier to question my intellignence than to address white Jew racism against the REAL Jews/ Black Jews. Speaking of hate ..I hate no one.. the REAL hate is sterilizing Black Falasha Jews as they entered Israel under the guise of immunizing them and dumping their sacred “People of The Book” blood in the stinking sewers of Israel.. the REAL hate is having your racist fascist cops attack them while they are wearing your Army uniform…that is the REAL hate you dare not speak off. The REAL hate is building the largest GULAG in the Negev desert to incarcerate Black Africans on African soil. Dont feel sorry for me ..YOU should feel sorry for your self and the hate thats coming from AshkeNazi and Sephardim Jewry towards the original and indigenous black Jews of the Land of Judah. If you guys loved Israel as much as you say you do the Black Jews would be sacred to you and your ilk as they created Israel and the religion your ancestors adopted in around the 7th century. The question is who were the Jews before your people even heard about Judaism?. That’s the question HATE and white arrogance wont let you answer.

          1. if you had a clue you would know that the term “Falasha” is deeply offensive and no longer in use. Ethiopian Jews are respectfully referred to as “Beta Israel.” They were not the first Jews. Those are the “Mizrahi,” the Jews of the Arab world. DNA places the origins of the Jewish people squarely in the Levant, which is the Middle East not Africa. Nearly all Jews, whether they’re Arab “Mizrahi,” or walked to Europe and became the “Ashkenazi”, or walked to the Maghreb to be “Maghrebi,” walked to Spain, Portugal and Bulgaria to become “Sephardim” or walked to Africa to become “Beta Israel,” share mitochondrial DNA that can be traced to the same, single source. Your comment is ridiculous.

          2. LOL.. you are the clueless one… or you are just up to your dirty tricks again. I am sure you AshkeNazis call them worse than “Falasha” behind close doors in Israel. You dont respect the Black Jews ..you hold them in such contempt that you sterilized them Mengele style when they landed in Israel and then subsequently dumped the blood they eagerly donated to your Israeli Blood banks. Some kind of respect eh EG?. As long as my Black Jew – Falasha brothers in Israel know I mean no disrespect thats good enough for me. The world Falasha means ” stranger” thats what they were called in Ethiopia by the Ethiopans because they were strangers in a strange land when they fled to Ethiopia during the Romans ” Ethnic cleansing and genocidal attacks the Jews who rose up against them.. they were no White or Arab Jews at Masada old chap. they were all Black / Nubian Lions of Judah Warriors on that mountain top resisting white aggression and terrorism….. we are still fighting the good fight to this day bud!

            the Black Jews ARE the first Jews.. the Mizrahi are Persian- Babylonian -Arabs Jews who adopted Judaism via the the Roman Empire -Persian and Turkish Empire. Laughably you AskeNazi – Hassidic Jews refused to recognize the Falasha “Beta Israel- Black Jews as real Jews…you came up with all kinds or garbage to deny the indigenous and original Jews their Jewish indentity.
            Its the same nonsense we saw up until recently where the white racist academic institutions in Europe and North America – Cambridge – Harvard, Yale, etc. categorizing ” “Egyptian Studies” under the “Oriental Studies” like Egypt was in Asia- or the fucking China or some thing and not Africa. All of this white nonsense and smokescreen to give the impression that civilization had NOTHING to do with Africa. The message was That black people did not build the pyramid. We see the same fraudulent intellectually and scientifically bankrupt conduct in Egypt today with the Arab- Persian- Greek , Italian European Egyptians claiming that ancient Egyptians looked like them and they were not black. I guess all those paintings on the wall of King Tut and all the tombs they raided showing black people is just our eyes playing tricks on us eh? I guess Ramses big thick Negroid Lips are just Lip augmentation done by his favourite Hollywood Jewish plastic surgeon back in the day eh? . By the way its the Greeks who called the place “Egyp”. the proper name is Kemet..literally meaning “Land of the Blacks” . A while back I heard Zahi Hawass – the white Arab who heads up the Egypian Antiquites say what Kemet really mean is ” Land of the Black Soil” .Not ” Land of the Blacks” . LOL.. you white bastards wont stop trying to steal every thing from the black man..you stole our gold, our blood and sweat, our religions, you even tried to steal our Homo-Sapien soul and now you are trying to steal our historical and racial ” Identity”. Even the great white genius Rupert Murdoch and creator of FAUX News got in on the act tweeting the other day that ” All the Egyptians he knows are white” This idiotic response came in response to Black Academics and black people in general questioning the fact his bullshit Movie ” Gods and Kings’ which takes place in ancient Kemet had no black people of note in it except in a subservient role.. Like your ten Commandment Hollywood fantasy with that right wing racist Charlton Heston posing as Moses- the Black Egyptian and the Son Ramses adopted in to his household. I guess Ramese did not notice Moses was white and his sister was black when she told him Moses was her son! … Rupert the Great FAUX Historian is the man most white AmeriKKKans go to for information and news… This just shows the level of white ignorance and fraud, delusions of grandeur black people have to deal with every day when we deal with white people. from every strata of society.. trust me its down right scary some time.

            The Jews of Europe escaped Auschwitz to cross the big pond and create Hollywood creating even more white fantasies and negative caricatures of black people. Caricatures that has done more damage to us than the KKKLan. From your Tarzan fantasies to Coonery step and fetch-it flicks ,..you SOB’s did a number on us and you are still doing a number on us…. your peeps have much to answer too black people. And NO Charlton Heston is NOT a Yiddish speaking descendant of Moses who walked to friggin DusselDorf 6,000 years ago ..OK??

            Now you want tell black people who we are.. “The Middle East” is just another white geographcal constrcuct like YOUR Egypt – Oriental Studies bullshit…. design to obfuscate and confuse white ignoramuses and some black ones too as to where Israel is REALLY located. Look at a bloody map of Israel and see that it is part of the Continental African plate…. its in North Africa..you can walk from Egypt across the Sinai desert into Israel, the People of Israel, Kemet, Nubia- Kush- Sudan, Eritrea -Ethiopia were ALL ONE people…ALL black people. STOP the white propaganda and lies..we are sick of it.

            Your statement that Jews walked Europe and Asia is absurd and laughable.European Ashkenazim and Sephardim-Arab Jews adopted Judaism when merchants from the Persian, Babylonian and Turkish Empires sold their goods as well as their beliefs to them. Also a Kazar Tribal leader decide to convert to Judaism around the 7 century after presentations made to him by scholars from the three great religions, that is the seed of European Ashkenazi Jewry.. not because indigenous white -Arab Jews of Israel decided to walk from North Africa or the mythical Middle East to Kazakstan.

            Persian and Turks and Babylonians Merchants got their Beliefs and Religions from their conquest and or interactions with the Black Jews of Israel. Judaism spread the same way Islam spread all over the world thru trade and interactions with other people and nations. There are Chinese ?mongolian Jews are they one of the “Lost Tribes of Israel” also??? Religions also spread thru violence and forced conversions as with Islam and Christianity at the point of a sword. Again homie… Your Jewish ancestor did not walk from North Africa to Georgia, Kazakstan , Poland, Germany , bringing their religion with them..that is a LIE and a myth perpetrated by the white man to put him self at the centre of human civilization and history. Europeans / Caucasians were living in the Stone Age when Judaism was created near 6,000 years ago. For chrissakes it was The Kemetians who civilized and educated the Greek hordes of Homosexual – Neanderthals who invaded their lands and caught them napping I guess.. You cant tell black people nothing about history after all we created History.. We are the First Humans..we created you…what can you tell the Master? ..its similar to how you guys stole Rock n Roll from the black man.. Same Shit…. Now in your FAUX world of history ..Elvis Parsley is the “King of Rock”N Roll” why?? because you said so and you have written so in bogus His-Story books.. You even brainwashed black people to believe your crap so you can F..ck us up even more. If You steal a man’s history and identity and he does not know who he is then its a lot easier to exploit and control him, that is your goal .. to take away the Black Jewish identity. You odnt wnat him to know that he is a Lion from the Lions of Judah as Bob Marley would say !! You do so – so you can exploit Beta Israel and ALL black people treat us like dirt, the same way you treat our Beta Israel- Falasha brothers in Israel to this very day in the Land of their Forefathers… Have you people No shame or sense of decency sir?

          3. My friend.. educate your self about Ancient Kemet- Egypt from actual written archaeological documents unearthed in Kush- Nubia- Sudan . http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2008/02/black-pharaohs/robert-draper-text.

            This story about Piye even touches on his son coming to the rescue of Jerusalem from the Assyrians. These ancient text mention the Asyrian invaders fleeing from the Land of Judah because he heard the Kemets/ Egyptians was coming. Even the Bible ( Kings) mentions the Assyrian invaders packing up overnight and fleeing.. Maybe because the they heard Piye son and successor was coming to party and they wanted no part of it.. when I tell you the Black Jews and Kemet- Egyptians were ONE black people Under ONE black Nubian Kemet empire trust me on that one. This National Geographic article was written from the actual tanslated text unearthed.. it did not come from Cambridge , or Yale or Harvard, Hollywood or some cave man in Europe 3,000 years ago… its da REAL thang homie!

            Do your self a favour homie and educate your self and stop peddling the white man’s bull$hit.

    1. Shame on you! How can you support a corrupt group who has refused every offer of peace and whose racist charter calls for the genocide of another group of people?

  3. They should start a “Learn about the Issues Rather than Parrot What ‘Everyone Knows'” campaign.

  4. All the signers of this anti-Semintic letter should receive the George Orwell award: Suppression = Freedom and the Cult of Death = Life

  5. I agree with SheikofChic. This boycott of Israeli institutions doesn’t accomplish anything. Israel believes in itself and also needs to survive. Unfortunately after experiencing predjudice and murder during and after the holocaust, they will fight to survive. The Palestinians while suffering greatly because of these horrible wars have also resorted to terrorism and murder. The artists should promote good activities not activities that prevent peace. why not come up with experiences that people on both sides of the issue can cooperate on. This isolating boycott will only contribute further violence. let’s be a little bit more creative as artists.

  6. When intelligent people write on complex issues, I am always struck by how often they confuse the issues they wish so passionately to address with the facts on the ground. In this case, the horrific plight of the Palestinian people, and to whom they are victims.

    In the “Artist’s Letter for Palestine”, the writers are quick to “differentiate Judaism from Zionism”. This is, for some, a debatable point. But that is not a point I wish to debate.

    What is of importance is that the writer[s] have made no distinction between the Palestinian regimes, which rule over the Palestinian people with an iron hand, and the Palestinian people themselves.

    Certainly, the issues are not between Israel (the state) and Palestinians (the people). It is not between Israelis (the people) and the Palestinians (the people).

    And it is not between the Jews (a people, reaching far beyond Israel) and
    the Democratic Front for Liberation of Palestine,
    the Popular Front for Liberation of Palestine,
    nor the Popular Front – GHQ
    (all of whom are current Regimes or would-be regimes).

    To pit the State of Israel against the Palestinian people is misleading and incorrect.

    How can the writers of the letter refer to a boycott of Israeli “institutions, and other sectors “(governments, communities of faith, trade unions, banks, and branches of commerce)” when, in their previous paragraph they have made the claim that “It is not anti-Jewish to be critical of Israel. It is time to fully differentiate Judaism from Zionism.”

    Do they not realize that to boycott “institutions” (not Israel, the state) or “communities of faith . . . and branches of commerce” is to boycott Jews, and smacks of being “anti-Jewish”? After all, perhaps unbeknownst to the writers, besides a rainbow of opinions held by the various “communities of faith”, commercial activities exist between “branches of commerce” in Israel and their counterparts amongst Palestinians and throughout the Arab world. For example, there was (is?) in the last few years a company making candy, in Israel, which, when sold to the Jewish community, were (are) wrapped in blue foil, and when sold in the Arab countries, were (are) wrapped in green foil.

    It is difficult enough to sort out the subtleties of the situation, but to write of a State (Israel) and a People (Palestinians) – neither State/State, nor People/People (which would involve an entirely different set of arguments) – is to confuse the issues beyond logic.

    Ask yourself what the situation would be if the various Palestinian regimes treated the Palestinian people – who are the victims (no matter which side of the argument you might support) – with the dignity and respect they, as all peoples, deserve. Under such circumstances, do you suppose that they, the Palestinian people, would continue to be forced to teach in their schools that Jews are “monkeys and pigs”?

    And do you suppose that the dead body of a Palestinian child would be left in the
    streets of Gaza to be sniffed at by dogs? Why wasn’t that child protected in a
    Palestinian bomb shelter (after all the fighters for Hamas hid themselves in
    their tunnels, leaving the families of innocent people to suffer the
    consequences of Israeli shelling). And remember, the Israeli Army leafleted Palestinian neighborhoods, sent text messages, made personal phone calls and ‘knocked on the roofs’ of Palestinian buildings, all to inform the residents that “we do not wish to hurt you”, and that their buildings were scheduled to be destroyed – sites from which rockets had been launched at Israeli citizens. Ask yourself why were those Palestinian citizens forced by Hamas to remain in those buildings and in those neighborhoods?

    Well, I could go on, with no trouble, but I think I have made at least one or two points, and suggested that the writer[s] and signers of “Artist’s Letter for Palestine” might take a more careful look – a more critical look.

  7. Syria, Mexico, Afghanistan, Iraq, Sudan, Pakistan, Nigeria, South Sudan, Somalia, Egypt, Central African Republic, DR Congo, India, Mali, Kenya, Libya, Syria, Egypt. Israel, really?

    1. Don’t forget China, Qatar, Russia, and Saudi Arabia just to name a few more countries with horrible human rights records.

      1. Do you know the joke about the drunk looking for his keys under a streetlight? A man comes to help him and asks where exactly did you drop them? Over there, the drunk says, pointing to the dark side of the street. Then why are you looking over here, asks the guy? Cause it’s light here, the drunk answers. Israel is in the light: it’s harder to boycott China, Russia, Qatar or Syria, way over on the dark side.

        1. Exactly. The Double Standard Rules. Also, with few to no Jews present, it is difficult for anti-Semites to foam at the mouth.

          1. Thank you very much, Mr. Vartanian, for enlightening me. The greatest part of the Palestinian problem, and you will find many Palestinians who agree with this statement, is that they have been deprived of agency, by their own leaders, by Israel, by the UN and by good-intentioned people who believe that the Palestinian problem has been caused by and will be solved by ending the Occupation. This is demeaning to the Palestinians because it reduces them to nothing more than pawns of Israel and a charity case for the rest of the world. The problem is Palestine itself, and no matter how long and severe the boycott against Israel is, it will not solve the Palestinian problem. Only the Palestinians themselves can solve it.

          2. Is that ALL you got from Hrag link below?
            : http://972mag.com/why-boycotts

            Thats like saying ONLY the Agency of the inmates at Auschwitz or the Warsaw Ghetto can help them… the Nazi’s cant help European Jewry, The League of Nations cant help them, Roosevelt , Churchill , Stalin cant help them .. ONLY the Jews can help them selves…… if the world said that to European Jewry when YOU were in the belly of the beast… where would your people be today? . At the end of the day your money and white skin saved you… what also saved you is your willingness to put your allegiance to Israel above your allegiance to the US… the country of your birth ( see Chuck Schumer). It was Chuck Schumer who voted with Dick Cheney and Bush to invade Iraq because he got the memo from Tel Aviv. We all know know how brilliant Chuckie boy’s judgement is when it comes to protecting Israel. My point is when you are incapable or refuse to absorb and analyze facts as contained in the above link- and simply responded with knee-jerk nonsense/talking points not rooted in reality, then how can peace be attained?. You know from your own recent history- for instance when your people rised up against the Nazi’s in the Warsaw Ghetto uprising.. I suspected Stalin said the same thing about your people as he stood by and watch the Nazi’s slaughter virtually defenseless men women and children…today you say what Stalin said a short 70 years ago… how soon you forget eh?

            Let me tell you a little secret..evil and injustice is… evil and injustice it does not matter who perpetrate it ..White or Jewish evil is not better than Black or Islamic evil. Evil is Evil.

            Its people like my self and other progressives who would of stood up and condemn Hitler;’s crimes against European Jewry because that’s our nature. We are nobody’s pawns because we condemn evil and human rights abuse where ever we see it. Evil is Evil my friend!

          3. What? .. ..

            You dont understand English?

            Lets face it …it was European Jewry/ Zionists money, political influence and white skin- race??.. that forced the British to give them a foothold in what was called Palestine. The British was so flumoxed and unconvinced about European Jewry/Zionist claims to Israel/Palestine that they offered them Uganda instead. The “Pearl of Africa” as it was once called. So please dont act like European Jewry capital/money did NOT play a MAJOR role in bludgeoning British Political Establishment into bending to Zionist/-Jewish will and wishes in terms of settlers in Palestine. You see it today how powerful U.S. Jewish interest and tail is wagging the American dog, so its nothing new. Jews today respect no one and feel they can take what they want do what they want. Not even the President of the United Sates, especially a Black President of United States can speak freely when speaking about Israel or AIPAC for fear of massive retaliation etc. Netanyahoo can come into his House and piss on him and he cant do any thing about it. And of course at the end of the day white Europe will support White Jewish Europeans. I think its fair to say that in this world..RACE trumps every thing..Even Wisnton Churchill said so when he backed the creation of the White Supremacists South African apartheid regime?

            I hope I have made my self clear my friend!

          4. I hear your pain, I really do, but that has no meaning unless you hear mine too. You can spread hate, and boycott and insult as much as you want, if it makes you feel morally superior, but the only thing that heals the world is when people make connections, hear each other, try and understand each other and when they make room for each other. It is a very hard and cruel world full of suffering. I do not want to add to the suffering, neither of anyone else nor of myself. What world leaders do is much less important than creating a real dialogue between you and me. That would really be something.

          5. I hear you also Jenifer.

            I am not Palestinian but some time I think of that Hamas Commander who refused to leave his house at the start of the last Gaza war with Israel. He refused to leave his house..despite warning from the Israelis to vacate with wife and if I am not mistaken 8 children. He and his entire family was blown to bits by a targeted Israeli airstrike.

            Just on a human level..lets put aside whether he is Hamas or Israel or what ever…..just think about it for second…what would make a man so devoid of hope, so humiliated, so desperate, so angry that he would rather him and his entire family be blown to kingdom come than stand another day of living in the Gaza Gulag… what kind of insult and taking away of basic human dignity would drive a man to welcome death for himself and his progenies than live another day been tormented in the Gaza hell hole!

            I am sure the Hamas Commander felt the same way ..Your people in the Warsaw Ghetto must of felt when they rised up against the Hitler’s SS . They had no hope and they would rather die standing on their feet than live on their knees. When you corner an animal or human being and give them no way out, of course they will come out swinging.

            Yes its a very hard and cruel world.. but there is no moral equivalency between Hitler’s heavily armed storm troopers and the Jewish guy in the Warsaw Ghetto saying enough is enough and picking up a sling shot/ WW1 rifle to go fight the SS Nazi down the road. To me its the SS Nazi who has to look in the mirror and say to himself .. I am not going to follow Hitler’s order to go back into the Warsaw Ghetto and slaughter these people. they can shoot me, then can imprison me , but I am not going participate in this..period.

            It all starts and ends with the individual.. YOU decide what you will accept or not accept. Just like Ali said I will not go to Vietnam to murder the yellow man on behalf of the white man.. when it my own country I cant even vote and take a crap in same toilet as the white guy sending me to kill the yellow man for his benefit . It rake courage to stand up to evil and injustice. Its always up to the individual. Some people go along to get along….. or you stand up for what is right and just. One comes into this world alone and you will leave alone in that coffin.. no matter how much your friends, allies and family love you ..no one will jump into that coffin with you. So YOU have to stand up and tell even your friends, family and fellow country men that what they are doing is evil and unrighteous if you believe it to be so.

            Now give your history I know its difficult for a Jewish person to go against the wishes of the government of Israel, but the government of Israel does not speak for ALL Jewish people in Israel or the diaspora. What it takes is moral courage and personal conviction to stand up and do and say what is right. You have senior leaders of in Shin Bet saying Israel policies in Gaza and against the Palestinians, and Iran are wrong, are they anti-Semitic or anti- Jewish?. I think they take that position because they LOVE Israel more than the politicians love Israel.

            Yes dialogue and empathy is KEY…but it has to be honest and straight forward conversation…Frank exchanges is a prerequisite for progress..power concedes nothing with out a fight..especially white power!

            White people/ Europeans have been terrorizing black people for the past 600 years … this generation is saying is enough is enough .. The German attempted genocide of European Jewry was not there first rodeo- genocide… They did it before in Namibia against the Herero People and their brothers in Europe turned a blind eye..My Grand mother always say when a dog start to suck eggs…if you dont put a stop to it then they will continue to suck eggs.

            My point is if Germany’s fellow Europeans had told the Germans that their genocidal murdering of the Herero people was unacceptable then maybe..just maybe they would have not tried it against your people 30-40 years later.

            The Moral of the story is STAND up and speak out against injustice every where because ..I believe its Elie Wiesel who said some thing to the effect . “They will come for me in the morning ..but they will come for you in the afternoon”. Well No truer words have been spoken !

            No one is harder on black people than I am..I am under no illusion..slavery has done a number on our individual and collective psyche as a people..thats why you see these idiots in Baltimore ramping up the slaughtering of each when they should be toning it down..but like Gaza .. after a decades and centuries of been grounded into the dirt..you start living in your own little world of the Baltimore Gulag and its almost impossible get thru to one …all you have left is your personal self respect and you willing to kill and or die to maintain that little shred of respect, cause that’s ALL you got left… a society or a system that puts a man in that position is inherently evil in my book.

            To have a REAL dialogue we must at least agree on that because if we cant agree on these basic things….. then we are just blowing smoke up each others butt …with no end in sight and that is not a pretty picture my friend.

          6. I appreciate the empathic tone of your answer however it seems to me that you have more imagination than experience of the world. I would suggest you try and travel perhaps to the Middle East, to Africa, to Europe. A man such as yourself who is vitally interested in human rights issues should have first-hand experience of them, see the places and talk to the people. You seem very well read and informed however your information is obviously mainly from the media, and you know as well as I that most of it is made up news-as-entertainment. You don’t know me or what I think or what my political stance is or what demonstrations I attend, no more than you know the Hamas commander and the reason he refused to evacuate his family There is an Arabic term called ‘tsumud’ which means you stick to your home and never desert it no matter what. Perhaps that was his thinking rather than mass suicide of himself and his family. Gaza is a desperate place but people still manage to raise families, celebrate holidays and have coffee with friends. You would find it very interesting, I am sure.

          7. Fair enough my friend! .. But I have followed Israeli -Palestinian and Black Falasha “Operation Moses” issues for over 40 years. From Begin and Sadat -to Raid on Entebbe to Sharon’s Sabra and Shatilla to Yitzhak Rabin murder I have been a witness to a wide swath of history so I think I have a pretty good grasp of the issues because like many of my generation I saw it played out on TV as it happened or saw it the next day. yes I dont have all the answers but I am a keen observer of man and his foibles.. all I know is that I live in a world where the guy with the biggest gun has the biggest say and Freedom is not FREE. A world where white racism and supremacy is rampant and me and my generation will NEVER bow down to it, my parents generation had to accept it..but my generation and the next will most definitely not accept it ..so I am not optimistic about the future when it comes to race relations… Like the Hamas Commander …. Black people in North AmeriKKKa, Caribbean, South America- Brazil will have to make some decisions..same racist $hit in Europe but we have no claim to Europe. North AmeriKKKa , Caribbean and South America – Brazil we have a right to be there because the blood and sweat of our ancestors built these places… where do we fit in ?n, how do we get our fair share of the pie after 600 years of white terrorism and oppression? these are the questions we must answer in due course!

            Only time will tell!


          8. There was no European Jewish money at the end of the war because there were hardly any European Jews left. Creating the state of Israel was a combination of the fall of the British Empire, which affected large swaths of the world, Western countries who wanted to both expiate their guilt over doing little to nothing for European Jewry both before and after the war, and gain a possible foothold in the Middle East, and the fortitude of some very angry Jews who wanted a safe place to live. Those angry Jews were also divided between the left, who wanted a secular, inclusive state in Palestine and the right, who wanted an exclusively Jewish state. FYI – There’s been a continuous Jewish presence in Israel/Palestine for thousands of years. Those local Jews were Mizrahi – people who never left the Middle East.

            Also, let me school you on Zionism – the idea has been around since the Spanish Inquisition when Jews from Spain fled to the city of Safed. They continued to come in fits and starts from all over Europe the next 400 years. It’s not like they just decided to show up after WWII.

          9. Look Jews of Europe was allowed to become the money lenders of Europe by earliest Popes because it was considered a sin by the Church to profit from lending money. It was called “usery” and one was destined to go to hell for eternity if you was caught lending money. So the earliest Popes decreed that Jews are going to Hell any way so its OK for them to lend money because the Church, The State, Noblemen.. basically and every one needed to borrow money from time to time. That is how The Jews gain controlled of money and capital to this very day.. Jews also finamced the Atlantic Salve Trade by lending to build slave ships as well as providing insurance….. so to say that Jews had no money to lend and finance the British government is pure bunk. Tell the Rothschild they had no money at the end of the War. Hell the reason Hitler hated European Jewry was because Jewish financiers financed the First World war against Germany, that was the genesis of his hatred towards your people..so lets not re-write history old chap..You are entitled to your own opinion…not YOUR own facts.

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