Dr Mike Evans

120 artists speak out against boycotting of Sydney cultural festival over Israeli funding

More than 120 artists and entertainment industry leaders joined in a letter opposing the boycott of 30 acts at a cultural festival in Sydney, Australia, over a sponsorship deal with the Israeli Embassy.

The group’s letter was published by the Creative Community for Peace and called the boycott “an affront to both Palestinians and Israelis who are working to advance peace through compromise, exchange, and mutual recognition.”

The letter followed the cancelation of 30 bands and companies after it was revealed the Israeli Embassy funded $20,000 for a show connected to Israeli choreographer Ohad Naharin, called “Decadence.”

The boycott was made in support of Arab and pro-Palestinian BDS groups. Festival leaders chose to follow through on the sponsorship deal and continue with the performance despite the boycott.

The boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement is an antisemitic movement founded by a Palestinian who opposes the peaceful coexistence of two states for two peoples, let alone the very creation of the State of Israel by the United Nations in 1947. The movement demands the so-called “right of return” of Arab “refugees” unto the fifth generation, a concept which does not exist. BDS proponents also refer to Israel libelously as an “apartheid state” – with no basis in reality and no connection to the former South African system of racial separation.

In the US, more than half of the nation’s states have passed laws banning BDS practices due to antisemitism. Several nations, including Canada and in Europe, have also considered anti-BDS laws, though many have not yet been approved.

“BDS campaigns do, however, garner publicity and often have a negative impact on public perceptions of Israel. Increasingly, BDS campaigns are used by anti-Israel activists to attract attention to their message, particularly on college campuses where BDS initiatives draw students, faculty, campus organizations and administrations into a highly politicized and publicized debate,” the ADL writes.