Israeli artists back boycott of Berlin festival over embassy co-sponsor

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Israeli artists back boycott of Berlin festival over embassy co-sponsor

Open letter from 'Artists for Palestine UK' urges acts not to take part in the Pop-Kultur event over support from the Israeli Embassy in Germany

The Brandenburg Gate, icon of Berlin and Germany
The Brandenburg Gate, icon of Berlin and Germany

Israeli artists have called for a boycott of a pop culture festival in Berlin because the country’s Israeli embassy is a co-sponsor.

An open letter urging others not to take part in the Pop-Kultur event was posted on the ‘Artists for Palestine UK’ blog last week and signed by professionals including performance artists, musicians, authors, film directors and architects.

The signatories, some of whom also called for a boycott of this year’s Eurovision Song Contest held in Tel Aviv, are based in countries such as the United States, France, Denmark, Germany and Israel.

Eyal Weizman, professor of spatial and visual cultures and founding director of the Centre for Research Architecture at Goldsmiths, University of London, appeared to be the only UK-based signatory.

“We support the Palestinian call to boycott Pop-Kultur Berlin Festival 2019 given its complicity with Israel’s racist regime,” they wrote.

“So long as Pop Kultur continues to have the Israeli embassy as a partner, all appearances at the festival will be exploited by the Israeli government as part of its efforts to whitewash its occupation and rebrand itself through culture.”

British musician Brian Eno has previously called for a boycott of the festival, and last year the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) derided organisers as “arrogantly” dismissing concerns.

Last year the British bands ‘Shopping’ and ‘Gwenno’ cancelled their performances at the event, as did British musician Richard Dawson, but organisers said: “We are not intimidated by boycotts.”

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