Open Letter to Bangalore International Centre: Don’t Host Apartheid
September 9, 2019
We recently learned of your hosting a performance event, "End of the Wall", presented by the Consulate General of Israel, Bengaluru on the 12th of September. We wish to bring to your attention to some urgent concerns raised by this.
Israel is a settler-colonial and apartheid state. Palestinian people in the West Bank live under its brutal occupation, and the 2 million Palestinians in Gaza have been living under an over a decade-long siege and blockade, witnessing repeated massacres in the period. Israel works diligently to cover up these massacres and war crimes because it’s bad for its "image", and through its agencies whitewashes its crimes to present itself as a liberal, cultural space. This "Brand Israel" project has seen numerous manifestations across the world and in India, especially under the regime of Netanyahu’s new-found ally Mr Modi.
This event, being hosted at your premises, is part of this "cover-up" project which has been opposed and called out by artists and institutions across the world. Just a couple of weeks prior to this event, the Consulate General of Israel in Mumbai organised a discussion on Hindutva and Zionism, laying bare the real motivation behind the growing ties between India and Israel. It should be concerning, that its parallel agency in Bengaluru is organizing a dance performance, after having hosted a discussion promoting racist ideologies.
Particularly outrageous is the advertised "message" of this event. Talking about "walls" and "physical boundaries" in an event organised by an agency of the state of Israel, while an actual, physical, 8 metres high and thousands of kilometres long concrete wall, constructed by Israel, segregates occupied West Bank, breaking up homes, schools, villages, cities, and families takes a rare kind of hypocrisy. The International Court of Justice, in its 2004 Advisory Opinion, declared this wall to be illegal, asking for its dismantling and for reparations to Palestinians. Israel continues to build this wall so that it can turn occupied West Bank into South African style bantustans. It is this perfection of the tools of repression that India has been borrowing from Israel, imposing a siege and communication black out in Kashmir for over a month.
We, members of the undersigned fora, support the call by Palestinian artists, academics and overwhelming majority of Palestinian civil society to boycott artistic tie-ups with the state of Israel and its agencies and lobby groups. In doing so, we are also respecting the work of art itself, which must not be allowed to be cynically used by Israel for whitewashing its decades long violations of international law and Palestinian human rights. We urge you to reconsider your decision to host this event.
Bangalore Palestine Solidarity Forum
Indian Campaign for Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel
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