Please bring this message to the attention of Mr Zeccola and inform him that we in Byron Friends of Palestine will be protesting at the Byron Bay Palace cinema. It is truly appalling that Palace could run this film festival which helps perfume Israel’s fetid moral stink.
Mr Antonio Zeccola
Dear Mr Zeccola,
In 2004 the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel called on global civil society to boycott Israeli cultural institutions, products and events as part of a peaceful non-violent world wide movement to end the now 48 year military occupation of Palestine. This international movement, Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS), has had the endorsement of many leading political figures including two prominent figures in the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa, Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu.
The BDS movement is growing every day. The call to boycott has been respected by artists from all over the world. Just recently over 700 artists in Britain became co-signatories to a declaration that they would not play in Israel and they would not host Israeli artists and cultural events.
Israel has been blatantly trumpeting its use of cultural events to white wash its crimes for a long time. In 2006 the Israeli Minister for Foreign Affairs launched an initiative called Brand Israel to improve Israel’s deteriorating image abroad. Ayre Mekel of Israel’s Foreign Ministry has stated that
We will send well known novelists and writers overseas, theatre companies, exhibits…This way you show Israel’s prettier face, so we are not thought of purely in the context of war
Israeli Film Festivals are funded by the Israeli Embassy and are an important part of this re-branding exercise. The Israeli Government and its advocacy groups deliberately use culture as a means to improve its image in Australia where 69% of people view Israel negatively particularly since Israel’s monstrous assault on Gaza last year.
Palace cinemas have promoted these festivals in the past and so became an unwitting accomplice to Israel’s normalization of its crimes.
We note that the 2015 Israeli Film Festival has not yet been publicized on your web-site. We ask you to consider respecting the international call to boycott these events and to not schedule the Israeli Film Festival in any of your Australian cinemas this year nor in future years.
Once the Israeli government ends the brutal occupation of Palestine, implements reparations and respects international law in its dealings with the Palestinians we will welcome Israeli culture in Australia.
Artists for Palestine
Artists Against Apartheid (Australia)
Australian Friends of Palestine Association (Adelaide)
Australian Palestinian Professionals Association
Coalition for Justice and Peace in Palestine (Sydney)
Friends of Palestine WA (Perth)
Jews Against the Occupation
Justice for Palestine Matters (Sydney)
Justice for Palestine (Brisbane)
Palestine Community of WA Inc
Palestinian Support Network Australia