A Jewish Response To The Sydney Festival Boycott

We are witnessing, and part of, a tremendous moment in Palestinian solidarity politics. In so-called Australia, a boycott of the Sydney Festival has been called by Palestinians, in response to the Festival seeking out a $20,000 donation from the Israeli Embassy. This donation is part of an Israeli program of propaganda, wherein they seek to ‘artwash’: to use art as a tool to distract from Israeli violence and oppressive treatment of Palestinians. 

But, following the lead of Palestinian organisers, we know that we cannot allow this artwashing to work as intended. Rather than staying silent we want to say loudly: Israeli apartheid, settler-colonialism, and occupation cannot be allowed to continue. And neither can Israel’s international program of propaganda that seeks to absolve it of any form of accountability. 

We Jews are eager, honoured, and humbled to stand alongside our Palestinian siblings and echo their calls. We refuse to be complicit in Israel’s actions. We stand in solidarity with Palestine and Palestinians.

Israel engages in daily violence. From the violence of the military courts, checkpoints, settlements, murders, land theft and daily harassment of Palestinian communities in the West Bank; to the siege on Gaza and airstrikes; to the attacks on Al Quds (East Jerusalem) in May 2021 (at the same time as the Sydney Festival was soliciting this funding), the destruction of Palestinian archives and cultural institutions, and the differential treatment of Palestinians and Jews throughout ‘48, the violence is ongoing and it is gut-wrenching. We must confront the ways in which by remaining silent or neutral on this matter we are complicit in the enabling of this injustice. 

Boycotts are a non-violent and effective tool for exposing these kinds of injustices and helping us take a stand against it. Solidarity works. Countering colonialism – wherever and whenever it occurs – works. We are dedicated to working alongside Indigenous people everywhere, to amplifying their voices and knowledge in the fight against colonialism.  

From the settler-colony of Australia to the settler-colony of Israel and everywhere in between, we call for justice and freedom. We call on the Sydney Festival to reject this funding. We call on people everywhere to take a stand in solidarity and refuse to be part of Israel’s program of hasbara: of propaganda, deliberate lies, mistruths and obfuscations. 

Instead, we can together be part of creating networks of solidarity and resistance, of radical love and care, outside of the systems that colonialism tries to maintain. But they will always fail, because we will always find each other.

“You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to desist from it.”

Pirkei Avot, 2:21

 

The undersigned,

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Individuals

Sara Dowse

Jordy Silverstein

Max Kaiser 

Vivienne Porzsolt

Elsa Tuet-Rosenberg

Nevo Zisin

Ben Silverstein

Eli Caon

Alana Lentin

Ali Nissenbaum

Greg Sher 

Max Bledstein

Yaelle Caspi

Kea cranko 

Rebecca Hynek

Laurie Izaks MacSween

Marc Mierowsky 

Chaya Kasif

Ron Witton

Peter Slezak

Naama Carlin

Haskell Musry

Sivan Barak

Hayim Dar

Roz Bellamy

Joan Nestle

Francis Markham

Asher Wolf

Lola Fearn

Marika Sosnowski

Jordan Molot

Jaslyn Robertson

Tamar Foreman

Daniel Cherny

Bobby Bryx

Sam Garamy

Alice Byron

Alex

Keren Rubinstein

Shiffi Blustein

Hannah Barcan

Barbara Bloch

Louis Schetzer

Ruth Hannah

Morgan Platt

Ian Lisser

AJ Lent

Rachel Santiago

Zev Aviv

Michal Kedem

Alex Gawronski

David Glanz

Sarah

Melanie Lazarow

Sam Altman

Deborah Rosenberg

Mary Jekki

Sorcha Conlan

Judith P

Bec Jonas

Steven Helfenbaum

Jamie Reynolds

Mhoram Kylare

Cathy Peters

Jenny Burton

Noah Wellington

Sue Leigh

Nellie Goldflam

John-Janusz Ebel

Stephen Langford

Esther Singer

Sylvie Leber

Jessica Friedmann

Savannah Daoud-opit

Nicole Davydova

Taylor Mark

Rachel D

Gabrielle

Benjamin Cebon

Nicole Erlich

Melas K

Alex Nissen

Persefoni Thliveris

David McHugh

Suzi Rosedale

Gabi Duigu

Grace Lyon

Marti Kaiser

Nadine von Cohen

David Fonteyn

Stu Carpenter

Michelle Anna Berkon

Jordanna Moroney

Dani

Simcha Cylich

Meredith Medway

Cassandra Polyak

Frances Yule

Goldie Greenwald

Danielle Roubin

Tamar Zloof

Rem Alqassem

Aaron Craine

Kay Bee

Ruby Rottenberg

Veronica Sherman

Trishima Mitra Kahn

Yvette Mystakas

Ella Haber

Rebecca Hynek

Sarah Schwartz

Anna Houston

Les Rosenblatt

Adam Haber

Simonne Goran

Ruben Rubens

Freda Guttman

Komal

Abbra Kotlarczyk

Camille Perry

Haskell Musry

Zayd Badwan

Jacob Hermant

Rina King

Mike Cushman

Asher Fairchild

Charles Kennedy

Simon Gilberg

Richard Kuper

Angie Mindel

Nick Georges

Mira Shlosberg

Elizabeth Morley

Jason Cohn

Marion Roberts

Leah Levane

Jad Al-Kurdi

Sandra Nadel

jason sank

Pete Glyde

Damiya Hayden

Gina

Maggie Korenblium

Felix King

Edward macdonald

Vivian Aguindis

Thomas Sigal

Bridget Brandolini

Maya Haddad

Niclas Witton

Tricia Kore

Renée Shalhoub

Joel Rapaport

Anna Tambour

Imogen Terry-Lancaster

Casey Chen

Ronen Skaletzky

Bailey Linton-Simpkins

Ethan

Lina

Menachem Golan

Helen Rosenberg

Sima sason

Naomi Benzer

Yusuf abd 

ראובן קליין

Yuval Halperin

Carla Silbert

Sonya Goldberg

Tamar Yaron

Tony Booth

colan campbell

A Preston

Kimerlie Sattler

Chris proffitt

Adam Roon

Colin McKean

Darcy Moran

Lyn Dasey

Ben Etherington

Sylvie Leber

Jeremy Kerbel

Leonard Clarke

Netta Egoz

Rosie isaac

Ayan Shirwa

Adriana Gogolin

Guy Gillor

Alex Breskin

Joel Stern

Rachel Liebhaber

Malcolm Segall

Raphael Morris

David Samuel

Eyshe Beirich

Ruth Hannah

Matthew Elyanow

Mark Leaman

Nat S

Zacharias Szumer

Yael Leah

Daniel Bickle-Lazarow

mezzajo

Rachel Bryx

Han A.

Peter Esdaile

Erika Levy

Irma Trnka

Rivqa Rafael

Aviva Liora

Remy Cohen

Matthew Woliansky

Max Bursztynski

marion l singer

Ada Castle

Dani F

Anna Shalit

Amos Roberts

Evelyn P

Chuong Pham

Beth Klein

Franco Mele

Tigist yohannes

Robert Rands

Peter Hollo

Adam Calder

Isabelle Kluger

Mariam Alsiad

Greg Peak

Jessica Gould

David Abkiewicz

Gene De Boer

Michelle Cohn

Mika Benesh

Macklin Powell

Paul Reiner

Elizabeth Strakosch

Nancy Wechsler

Gaye Cucken

Lynne F. Keys

Adena Jacobs

Organisations

Loud Jew Collective

Jews Against Fascism

Hue

Jews against the Occupation Sydney

Tzedek Collective

Independent Australian Jewish Voices

Jewish Voice for Labour

Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods

JewsOfConscience