The Victorian College of the Arts Student Association (VCASA) voted on July 21st to become part of the Palestinian lead Boycott, Divestments and Sanctions Campaign (BDS). The VCASA, which represents over 1,200 students, voted unanimously for the motion, in the midst of Israel’s bombing of Gaza. Israel has so far murdered over 400 Palestinians in this latest campaign.
The BDS movement was initiated by 170 Palestinian civil society organisations as a non-violent tactic to marginalise the apartheid state of Israel. Of particular interest to VCA students is the Academic and Cultural Boycott, which borrows extensively from the boycott of South African Apartheid. The VCA Student Association calls on all VCA students and the VCA not to participate in conferences or artistic collaborations with institutions of the Israeli state or institutions that collaborate with Israel for the purposes of furthering the occupation. We will also not run any activities or provide grant money for any activity which could help normalise the occupation.
Artistic boycotts can have an impact. Earlier this year a campaign endorsed by the VCASA for artists to boycott Transfield, resulted in the company being removed as a corporate sponsor from the Sydney Biennale. Transfield runs Australian off shore detention centres. VCA Artist/Activist Van Rudd one of the people who initiated that campaign said, “It is vital that artists and arts workers unite to fight against oppression. Using a boycott has been one of the most effective tactics for artists because it allows them to see their role in society more clearly and to use their work to effect change.”
For James Crafti, the coordinator of VCASA, Palestine is very dear to his heart. Coming from a Jewish family, Crafti was convinced that what Israel is doing to Palestinians is a form of fascism that no person with a social conscience should support. “Israel is a racist state, it is one that actively discriminates against non-Jews, be they Palestinians living in the occupied territories, Israel or those who live as refugees around the world. There is no justification for Israel’s bombing of Gaza and anyone who cares about human rights should side with the Palestinians.” Crafti, visited Palestine in 2006.
For more information contact
James Crafti 0403 943 529
Van Rudd 0430397 074
Posted on 21-07-2014