Occupied Ramallah, 6 April 2011 — The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) mourns the tragic loss of our comrade, partner, and friend Juliano Mer-Khamis, and strongly condemns the cowardly murder that took his life. Along with all other Palestinians who fight against the grave injustice imposed on our people, Juliano embodied the hopeful and brave spirit of cultural resistance. He proclaimed and shared the spirit of freedom in all senses of the word. He believed in our collective cultural revolution that we fought for together. Through his special, organic blend of art and cultural activism, Juliano personified the spirit of resistance and the promise of liberation and justice. Juliano, born to a Palestinian father and a Jewish mother, followed in his mother’s legacy, to which he beautifully paid tribute in his famous documentary Arna’s Children: Arna Mer Khamis, as Juliano described her, “spent her life fighting against the Occupation, or, as she used to put it, struggling against the Zionist colonization of Palestine.”
A strong and thoughtful supporter of the cultural and academic boycott of Israel, Juliano also worked to construct hope for all Palestinians. From the devastated streets of the Jenin refugee camp, he saw Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS), coupled with other forms of peaceful resistance, as the best hope for exercising Palestinian self determination and realizing the refugees’ aspirations to return to their homes of origin.
In August, 2006, a great majority of Palestinian filmmakers and cultural workers issued a call for a cultural boycott of Israel inspired by that imposed on apartheid South Africa. Juliano Mer-Khamis was among the first to endorse the statement, help promote it, and defend it against attempts to misrepresent it. The statement said:
“We, the undersigned Palestinian filmmakers and artists, appeal to all artists and filmmakers of good conscience around the world to cancel all exhibitions and other cultural events that are scheduled to occur in Israel, to mobilize immediately and not allow the continuation of the Israeli offensive to breed complacency. Like the boycott of South African art institutions during apartheid, cultural workers must speak out against the current Israeli war crimes and atrocities. We call upon the International community to join us in the boycott of Israeli film festivals, Israeli public venues, and Israeli institutions supported by the government, and to end all cooperation with these cultural and artistic institutions that to date have refused to take a stand against the Occupation, the root cause for this colonial conflict.”
Juliano’s memory will forever be a part of us and his loss will be mourned by all who struggle for justice and freedom. We shall continue to resist until every town, city and refugee camp in Palestine becomes an open stage for our collective freedom theatre!