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Artists Against Apartheid | 31 October 2011

Boycott The Creative Community for Peace

Artists Against Apartheid calls on allies to boycott the Creative Community for Peace (CCFP), which is in fact a complicit propaganda institution seeking to normalize Israeli apartheid and strongarm entertainers into its service. Fearing encroaching pressure from the Palestinian led global BDS movement, CCFP has mobilized to counteract the cultural boycott of Israel, making itself a target of the human rights campaign in the process.

Capitalizing on ignorance, the CCFP proudly calls Israel “the only democracy in the region“ surrounded by states known for their human rights violations, while offering no solutions to any human rights violations anywhere in the Middle East. Of course CCFP does not acknowledge the human rights violations being carried out daily by the Israeli state throughout Palestine-Israel.

One of CCFP’s founders, Steve Schnur, wants artists to know “what Israel is really about – the freedom, the democracy and equal rights”, but CCFP does not acknowledge that more than 30 laws racially discriminate against Palestinians and anyone the state does not deem to be “Jewish”.

CCFP wishes to make the claim that “art transcends politics” but is engaged heavily in political propaganda on behalf of an apartheid state. The only artist known to be included in CCFP’s advisory board is Idan Raichel, a self-proclaimed cultural ambassador who stated: “We certainly see ourselves as ambassadors of Israel in the world, cultural ambassadors, hasbara ambassadors, also in regards to the political conflict.”

CCFP uses its hierarchical influence within the entertainment industry to prevent artists from arriving at the logical conclusion: that a state which privileges certain citizens based on racial and religious identity is an apartheid state. CCFP advisor David Renzer boasts about their steering of Macy Gray’s decision “One of our main messages to her was: 'Look, Macy, you’re not a politician; you’re an artist. One of the beautiful things about an artist is that when she performs, she spreads the message of love, peace and understanding and an open dialogue. That won’t happen if you cancel.” Mr. Renzer does not contextualize that Palestinian artists living under Israeli military rule cannot so easily spread a message of peace even a few miles without encountering and IDF tank, nor would they have been able to attend Macy Gray’s concert. Palestinians seeking equal rights and justice are calling for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions, not imported entertainment.

CCFP, which seeks to normalize Israel’s “cultural achievements” while ignoring its ongoing colonial practices and innate structural racism, is a prime candidate for cultural boycott. As indicated in guidelines from the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, “rebranding” efforts aimed at diluting, justifying, whitewashing or otherwise diverting attention from the Israeli occupation and other violations of Palestinian rights and international law deserve to be boycotted for their complicity in serving the purposes of Israel’s colonial and apartheid regime.

The cultural boycott of Israel, as a key component of the global BDS Movement, shall be maintained until Israel meets its moral and legal obligation to recognize the Palestinian people’s inalienable right to self-determination by:

1. Ending its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantling the Wall;

2. Recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and

3. Respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN resolution 194.

Posted on 31-10-2011

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