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STOP CANCELLING PALESTINIAN ARTISTS
& THEIR ALLIES

Stand up to those cancelling and silencing Palestinian artists and their allies in physical and digital spaces.

11

A BRIEF CONTEXT 

"In order for me to write poetry that isn’t political I must listen to the birds,
and in order to hear the birds the warplanes must be silent" 

 MARWAN MAKHOUL

POET

      From cancelled exhibitions and performances to rescinding prizes and residencies, to blocking or removing funding, Palestinian artists and their allies are having their voices removed from international spaces. Western media, which rarely centres Palestinian perspectives, intensifies these attacks by slandering and misrepresenting actions and intent. 

      Meanwhile, Digital platforms, which have enabled a dramatic shift in Palestinians being able to share their narratives globally, now shadowban content or remove accounts completely. ​Human Rights Watch found that Meta’s policies and practices have been silencing voices in support of Palestine on Instagram and Facebook. They documented over 1,050 removals and other suppression of content between October and November 2023.

      Each day, there is a new example of this silencing taking place. A few include:

CANCELATION OF A THEATRE PLAY IN FRANCE

​      On the 11th of October, the Mayor of Choisy Le Roi in Paris, France, cancelled The Freedom Theatre’s performance of ‘And Here I Am’. The Mayor stated the decision was out of “respect for all victims”.  At the same time, Paris lit up the Eiffel Tower in white and blue, the European Commission projected the Israeli national flag on its headquarters, and a French minister suggested dissolving organisations that support Palestine. It was a clear example of silencing the Palestinian narrative whilst upholding the Israeli one.

      

TEACHING ROLE SUSPENDED IN THE UK

      Associate Lecturer at Sheffield Hallam University (SHU) Shahd Abusalama experienced first-hand the impact of an organised smear campaign by pro-Israeli organisations when her teaching role was suspended. Shahd, who also co-founded the dance troupe Hawiyya, was recently targeted in an article alongside The Freedom Theatre, criticising the British Council for funding both company's work. Attacked in both arts and academia, Abusalama's experiences perfectly sum up how the conversation on Palestine is being shut down in two of the most crucial spaces for learning and critical thinking.

PRIZE RESCINDED IN GERMANY

      Caryl Churchill, a long-time ally of Palestine, had a Lifetime Achievement Prize from the Stuttgart Theatre, Germany, rescinded. Worth 75,000 Euro, a statement released by the jury announced, “we have become aware of the author's BDS signatures”.

THREATS OF FUNDING REMOVED IN UK

      In the UK, the Arts Council England (ACE)  updated its policies in February 2024, warning that "political statements" made by individuals linked to an organisation can cause "reputational risk", breaching funding agreements. ACE says, "Reputational risk can be generated not just by the organisation" but also by "staff and other individuals associated with the organisation acting in a personal capacity." The guidance includes “activity that might be considered overtly political or activist and goes beyond your company’s core purpose" among actions that can increase reputational risk.

EXAMPLES OF ACTION TO INSPIRE YOUR OWN

REPORT CENSORSHIP & LEGAL SUPPORT

Lawyers, unions and independent groups are giving legal support and recording censorship, silencing and organisations' stance on Palestinian liberation. Report to one of these groups or create your own index.

JOIN A UNION

Unions have a responsibility to protect your rights at work. Join your Union and make sure you go to them directly if you loose your job or before you have a disciplinary hearing at work.

PROTEST THOSE WHO CANCEL

Over 100 students at Wexner Centre for the Arts protested outside the building after it cancelled its annual Directors Dialog with Palestinian artist Jumana Manna. 

ORGANSIE A GUERRILLA
PERFORMANCE

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Arts and Cultural Works occupied the Barbican in London creating a Guerilla Festival demanding an end to their censorship of Palestinian artists

SIGN UP TO
STRIKE GERMANY

Sign up to STRIKE GERMANY a call to refuse German cultural institutions' use of McCarthyist policies that suppress freedom of expression, specifically expressions of solidarity with Palestine.

PULL OUT
IN SOLIDAITY

DJs are boycotting Berlin-based DJ streaming platform HÖR and demanding they remove their sets, after they asked two artists to cancel their set or remove clothing that showed solidarity with Palestine.

URGE ELECTED OFFICIALS TO TAKE ACTION

PALESTINE LEGAL and over 600 legal organizations and professionals, including the Center for Constitutional Rights and the Arab American Anti-Discrimination Committee, released letter urging elected officials and institutional leaders to take urgent measures to address unlawful retaliation against advocates for Palestinian rights. 

INDEXS AND REPORTS ON SILENCING AND CENSORSHIP

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