Statement from The Indian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel
Don’t let apartheid onstage!
Protest against the ‘Israel in India’ initiative!
Boycott the Israeli embassy sponsored performance of the Maria Kong Dance Company at Kamani Auditorium, New Delhi, November 4, 2014
On 4th November, 2014, the Maria Kong Dance Company will perform at the Kamani Auditorium as part of the “Israel in India” initiative, with support from the Israeli embassy in India. This is part of the 8th Delhi International Arts Festival, organised by the Prasiddha Foundation with the support of organisations including the ICCR.
The festival aims to “serve as a significant platform for cultural diplomacy” and “provide a common ground for interaction between the artists and the mass audience”. Is a common ground possible between the Israel and Indians of conscience, whether artists or citizens? Is “cultural diplomacy” possible with Israel when it has attacked Gaza so brutally earlier this year, and held its people to ransom for years? Since Israel does not respect international law and recognize the Palestinian people’s right to freedom, equality and justice, the Indian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (InCACBI) demands that Israel be boycotted from the Indian cultural arena.
The ICCR, one of the supporting organisers of the Delhi Arts Festival, says that “Mahatma Gandhi, Kasturba Gandhi and Rabindranath Tagore — the values that they stood for inspire the ICCR. As do the people of India, the people who believe in and carry forward the best of this country’s traditions.” Has the ICCR forgotten that Gandhi and Nehru declared that Palestine is for the Palestinians? Would Gandhi or Nehru have approved of India being “close” to Israel, culturally or otherwise?
We appeal to you, as cultural organisers and practitioners of conscience, to boycott all collaboration with representatives of the Israeli state. This is NOT a boycott of Israeli artists and intellectuals, but of official Israeli institutions which, by virtue of being state institutions, help perpetrate the illegal and inhuman occupation of Palestine and the imposition of a state of apartheid there. The logic of the boycott is that we have to add international pressure to put an end to the occupation of Palestine.
Israel’s apartheid policies cannot be whitewashed with “culture”, “art” or “festivals”. This is why InCACBI salutes the decision of the Jaipur Literary Festival to not involve, in any way, the Israeli Embassy in India, or any other Israeli state affiliated body, in their festival. We appeal to all cultural festivals, including the Delhi Arts Festival, to take an equally principled stand. We appeal to members of the theatre and arts world in India, and civil society, to join us in protesting against attempts to push Brand Israel in India. In the spirit of international solidarity and resistance to injustice and oppression, we call upon fellow Indians to comprehensively and consistently boycott all Israeli cultural partnerships between Israel and India.
The Indian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (InCACBI)
N Pushpamala, Convenor (Artist)
Sukumar Muralisharan, Convenor (Journalist)
Githa Hariharan, Convenor (Writer)
Prabir Purkayastha, Convenor (Delhi Science Forum)
Saeed Mirza (Film-maker)
Gargi Sen, (Film-maker)
Amar Kanwar (Film-maker)
Anand Patwardhan (Film-maker)
Saba Dewan (Film-maker)
Ira Bhaskar (Film-maker)
Ein Lall (Film-maker)
K Satchidanandan (Writer)
Ritu Menon (Publisher)
Achin Vanaik (Academic)
Pamela Philipose (Journalist)
Seema Mustafa (Journalist)
M.K. Raina (Theatre)
Ram Rahman (Artist)
Sheba Chhachhi (Artist)
Vivan Sundaram (Artist)
Ayisha Abraham (Artist)
Brijesh Kumar (Theatre)
Geeta Kapoor (Art Critic)
Meena Menon (Writer)
Moloyshree Hashmi (Theatre)
Saba Hasan (Artist)
Ayesha Kidwai (Academic)
Kamal Mitra Chenoy (Academic)
Anuradha Chenoy (Academic)
and 200 other members of InCACBI