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Open letter

Over 700 artists announce a 'cultural boycott' of Israel

They say they will not accept invitations to Israel, or funding from institutions linked to its government.

MORE THAN 100 artists have written an open letter pledging a ‘cultural boycott’ of Israel.

They include director Mike Leigh, musicians Brian Eno, Richard Ashcroft and Roger Waters, poet Liz Lochhead and director Ken Loach.

Writing in The Guardian, they said that they were joining more than 600 other fellow artists, in “not engag[ing] in business-as-usual cultural relations with Israel”.

They explained:

We will accept neither professional invitations to Israel, nor funding, from any institutions linked to its government.

They said that the recent unrest in Gaza has contributed to their decision.

“2014,” says the Israeli human rights organisation B’Tselem, was “one of the cruellest and deadliest in the history of the occupation.” The Palestinian catastrophe goes on.

The group say that Israel’s wars “are fought on the cultural front too”.

They are inspired by musicians who boycotted South Africa during apartheid, explaining: “Now we are saying, in Tel Aviv, Netanya, Ashkelon or Ariel, we won’t play music, accept awards, attend exhibitions, festivals or conferences, run masterclasses or workshops, until Israel respects international law and ends its colonial oppression of the Palestinians.”

The full list of supporters is available at artistsforpalestine.org.uk.

In August, more than 170 Irish academics signed a petition calling for an academic boycott of Israel.

Read: Galway town leads the way on Israeli boycott>

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