British artists call for a boycott of the Zabludowicz Collection in solidarity with Palestine

British artists have issued a call for a boycott of the Zabludowicz Collection, one of London's largest contemporary art institutions, in solidarity with the Palestinian people. In a statement on Mute, they call on artists and cultural producers to act in "direct solidarity with the communities under assault in Gaza, victims of state terror on both sides, and with resistance movements in both Israel and Palestine." 

The statement cites Poju Zabludowicz's involvement with BICOM (Britain Israel Communications and Research Centre), a major pro-Israeli communications organisation, as justification for the boycott, which falls under PACBI (Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel) guidelines as a suitable reason for the action. The boycott already has many supporters, from Arundhati Roy, Naomi Klein and Angela Davis to performers such as Elvis Costello, Gil Scott-Heron, the Pixies and many other. 

Writing in The Case for Sanctions Against Israel, Omar Barghouti, founding committee member of PACBI, traces the growth of the academic and cultural boycott, and how Israel has responded to international condemnation by increasing it focus on culture as a way to improve "Brand Israel". Despite this he says,

...there are plenty of reasons to celebrate. The cultural boycott of Israel, despite its young age, is already witnessing a healthy growth in the Western mainstream, and having a considerable impact on Israel’s impunity and “brand.” Perhaps Maxi Jazz, the front man of Faithless, a famous British band that refused to perform in Israel, captured the moment well in his explanation of his band’s decision: 

While human beings are being willfully denied not just their rights but their NEEDS for their children and grandparents and themselves, I feel deeply that I should not be sending even tacit signals that this is either “normal” or “ok.” It’s neither and I cannot support it. It grieves me that it has come to this and I pray every day for human beings to begin caring for each other, firm in the wisdom that we are all we have. 

You can read the full statement from Boycott Zabludowicz on the Mute website.

Verso has made ebook The Case for Sanctions Against Israel available as a free download.

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