Response to Sydney Festival’s review

The Sydney Festival Board has announced it will be suspending funding from international governments and their cultural agencies.

This follows a cultural boycott by artists and audiences of the 2022 Sydney Festival, opposing its Star Partnership with the apartheid regime of Israel.  

The Festival Board commissioned an independent review spurred by mass artist withdrawals in solidarity with Palestine. The findings are tabled in a report that has not been made public. We know that many artists and community members are keen to read the report in full.

This result is not only a victory for Palestinian human rights, which Israel arbitrarily breaches, violates and denies –  it is also a victory for human rights globally. 

Artists and audiences have demonstrated that they will not support any cultural event or organisation that does business with apartheid. The Israeli regime attempts to artwash and launder its reputation to deflect from its brutal practices of systematic discrimination, land expropriation, collective punishment and military occupation of Palestinians. But targeted cultural boycotts work.

The collective power of artists, audiences, communities, and workers made it clear that there will be no participation in the whitewashing of human rights abuses and crimes of the Israeli apartheid regime.

The unprecedented solidarity with Palestine needs to be acknowledged. First Nations artists and arts organisations led the way. Many other artists and arts organisations heeded the boycott call and were in solidarity with the Palestinian people – in occupied Palestine from the river to the sea, in the refugee camps, and beyond. 

Boycott, divest, and sanction. #BoycottSydFest