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Boycott Calls Against Israel
TAU Rachel Giora Debates on Cultural Boycott: Methods, Aims and Effectiveness. BRICUP Newsletter 47

British Committee for the Universities of Palestine
BRICUP Newsletter 47 
December 2011 
www.bricup.org.uk bricup@bricup.org.uk

Contents 

P 1.  European Platform for the Academic 
boycott of Israel (EPACBI) meets in 
London. 
P2.  Israeli professor imprisoned for 
refusing duty in the IDF has been fined by 
his University. 
P2. The PACBI Column.    
Consistent UNESCO Accepts Palestine:  
Time for it to be Consistent on Israeli 
Occupation, Colonialism and Apartheid. 
P 4. A Debate on Cultural Boycott:  
Methods, Aims and Effectiveness. 
Rachel Giora (P4) 
Mike Cushman  (P6) 
Jonathan Rosenhead (P6) 
Editor (P7) 
Rachel Giora (P8)  
P8. Boycott Apartheid in the name of 
Love! 
P10. Cultural boycott - with a twist. 
P10. Financial support for BRICUP 
**** 
The European Platform for the Academic 
boycott of Israel (EPACBI) meets in 
London. 
Over the weekend of the 26/27th November, the 
second annual meeting of EPACBI was held in 
London. EPACBI was founded a year ago in Paris 
with the objective of bringing together groups and 
individuals from across Europe to learn from each 
other and to coordinate activities.  
This year, representatives from France, Holland, 
Italy, Norway and Sweden joined with a large 
turnout of BRICUP members for a successful 
weekend of discussion, during which we exchanged 
information about the current status of our 
campaigns. We  made plans for the expansion of 
EPACBI, both within the current member countries 
and beyond to those not currently involved , and 
agreed that Technion (The Israel Institute for 
Technology)  should be the common focus for a  
Europe wide campaign against research 
collaborations with Israeli institutions. Technion was 
chosen because of its particularly close involvement 
in Israeli military research and in the development of 
other instruments of oppression (surveillance and 
security technology etc) for use against the 
Palestinian people.  
See the January 2012 newsletter for a fuller report of 
the meeting and updates on these plans. 
**** 2 
Israeli professor imprisoned for refusing 
duty in the IDF has been fined by his 
University 
Prof. Idan Landau of Ben-Gurion University of the 
Negev has refused reserve IDF duty for the past 11 
years. He has been imprisoned three times but on 
this  occasion the University, for the first time, has 
fined him.  
Prof. Landau, who lectures in the linguistics 
department, has had half of his salary withheld for 
the week in May during which he was imprisoned 
After he was released he made up the instructional 
time that he had missed. He also claimed that he had 
continued conducting research while in prison. 
About 230 senior university lecturers from Israeli 
institutions of higher learning and about another 100 
from abroad are reported to have sent a letter to 
BGU President Rivka Carmi, calling on her to 
reconsider the decision to reduce the pay of Prof. 
Idan Landau. Another 90 faculty members from 
BGU made a similar demand. The University claims 
that "Landau was not punished by the university. No 
sanctions were imposed upon him for his political 
beliefs or due to any stance on the part of the 
university regarding his decision not to serve in the 
reserves. Employees are paid a salary for work [and] 
since Dr. Landau was in detention, he was not at the 
disposal of his employer and is therefore not entitled   
to …." 
More information
**** 
The PACBI Column. 
Consistent UNESCO Accepts Palestine:  
Time for it to be Consistent on Israeli 
Occupation, Colonialism and Apartheid. 
Palestinians the world over have been encouraged 
by the overwhelming support from the UNESCO 
General Conference of Member States for the 
admission of Palestine as a full member in this key 
United Nations body.  Palestinians are hopeful that 
this historic decision will pave the way for 
UNESCO to be a more responsible player in the 
international community, particularly in upholding 
international law and UN resolutions concerning 
Palestinian rights. This is important at a time when 
Israel and the United States, a staunch supporter of 
Israeli violations of international law, have taken 
punitive action against UNESCO for its daring 
resolution. 
We in the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic 
and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) take this 
opportunity to thank UNESCO for its courageous 
stance on the membership issue.  We also want to 
reiterate to the UNESCO leadership important 
concerns raised by Palestinian civil society, 
particularly regarding the lack of clear and decisive 
UNESCO positions on the devastating effects of 
Israel’s regime of occupation, colonialism, and 
apartheid, which encroaches on all aspects of 
Palestinian rights, including education and culture.  
On several occasions, UNESCO’s cooperation with 
Israel has ignored Israel’s violations of international 
law and Palestinian rights, thereby serving to cover 
up those violations, regardless of UNESCO’s 
intentions.  
In 2008, PACBI addressed the Secretary-General of 
UNESCO in an open letter on the occasion of his 
visit to Israel [1], urging him to implement the 
UNESCO mission without double standards, and to 
work towards protecting Palestinian lives and 
heritage from Israel’s colonial and racist policies.  
We warned that while preserving world heritage 
sites such as the “White City” of Tel Aviv, 
UNESCO was expected to explain what role it had 
played to date, if any, in holding Israel accountable 
for destroying ancient Palestinian buildings, 
irreversibly damaging Palestinian landscapes, 
littering them with illegal colonies and apartheid 
roads; systematically covering up and/or 
expropriating historical Islamic and Christian sites 
that attest to the deep-rooted Arab civilization in 
Palestine, especially in Jerusalem; and the unethical 
and illegal use of architecture and archaeology to 
reinvent the place’s history. [2]  
Furthermore, UNESCO’s lack of a clear and firm 
position concerning occupied Jerusalem has been a 
constant concern.  We refer, for instance, to an event 
that took place at UNESCO headquarters one year 
ago, where the new Director-General convened 
Israeli, Jordanian and Palestinian experts to discuss 
the UNESCO Action Plan for the safeguarding of 
the cultural heritage of the Old City of Jerusalem 
and its Wall, inscribed on UNESCO's World 
Heritage List since 1981 and on the List of the 
World Heritage in Danger since 1982. [3]  
It is unacceptable to Palestinian civil society that at 
this event there was absolutely no recognition by the 3 
Director-General of the Old City’s occupied status, 
being at the heart of the Palestinian territory 
occupied by Israel in 1967.  In fact, the word 
“occupied” does not occur even once in the news 
item circulated by UNESCO.  By calling on “the 
participants to assure the international community 
that the parties concerned with the safeguarding of 
the Old City of Jerusalem are willing to cooperate,” 
the Secretary-General refused to recognize that the 
Israeli state has displayed flagrant disregard for 
international law, as attested to by Israel’s ongoing 
colonization and ethnic cleansing policies in 
Jerusalem and the rest of the occupied Palestinian 
territory. 
More recently, the Israeli Ministry of Education 
announced in November 2011 that UNESCO was 
co-sponsoring with it an international youth 
conference in occupied East Jerusalem, in clear 
violation of international law. [4]  Decisive action 
on the part of the Palestinian BDS National 
Committee (BNC) and the intervention of 
Palestinian civil society and political figures led to 
the issuance of a public statement by UNESCO 
distancing itself from the Israeli conference, and 
reiterating UNESCO’s long-standing position which 
regards East Jerusalem as an inseparable part of the 
occupied Palestinian territory. [5] The statement did 
not, however, address the contested status of West 
Jerusalem, leaving much to be desired for a firm and 
unambiguous position by UNESCO on Jerusalem. 
Nevertheless, such immediate attention was 
welcomed by Palestinian civil society, and it is our 
hope that this marks a new phase in the adoption, by 
UNESCO, of the provisions of international law 
concerning Jerusalem.  
Additionally, UNESCO, in the past, has been 
implicated in sponsoring Palestinian-Israeli 
academic and cultural cooperation projects that 
equate the oppressor with the oppressed, thus 
normalizing oppression--something the Organization 
had notably avoided in the South African struggle 
for freedom and equal rights. The Israeli-Palestinian 
Science Organization (IPSO) and joint educational 
projects, such as graduate programs involving Israeli 
universities, are among such harmful projects.  They 
cover up Israel’s occupation and apartheid, and 
absolve Israel’s academic and cultural institutions 
from their grave, persistent, and well-documented 
complicity in planning, justifying or otherwise 
abetting Israel’s violations of human rights and 
international law. In two letters to UNESCO in 2005 
and 2010, PACBI expressed concern about 
UNESCO’s disregard for the call from Palestinian 
civil society for the academic and cultural boycott of 
Israel until Israel upholds international law. 
  
In its 2005 letter, PACBI noted, “normal relations 
between peoples can only flourish after oppression 
has ended, not before and not as a prelude to it. 
From our perspective, the only joint projects that 
ought to be encouraged in the process of addressing 
injustice are those that contribute to resisting this 
injustice. At the very least, any sincere joint project 
must be fundamentally based on the principle of 
equality and the rejection of military occupation and 
racial discrimination. Unfortunately, both essential 
elements are glaringly missing from the IPSO 
project description and your endorsement of it. 
UNESCO‘s support for IPSO therefore legitimizes 
the attempt to convey a false perception of the 
possibility of peaceful coexistence and scientific 
cooperation despite oppression, rather than 
promoting all efforts to end this oppression.” [6]  
In its 2010 letter, PACBI further noted, “joint 
Palestinian-Israeli projects that claim to be apolitical 
are the most blatantly politicized since they 
deliberately disregard the context of colonial 
oppression and misleadingly imply the possibility of 
achieving peace without addressing the root causes 
of conflict… Israeli academic institutions, with 
which UNESCO is partnering, are implicated in the 
structures of domination in many ways, both 
historically and in the present.  They bear substantial 
responsibility for planning, justifying and 
perpetuating the state’s colonial and apartheid 
policies and the consequent dispossession of the 
Palestinian people.”[7]  
It is crucial to mention in this regard that UNESCO 
played a distinguished and widely commendable 
role in the struggle against apartheid South Africa, 
including supporting sanctions and boycotts.  
UNESCO hosted no less than seven international 
conferences and seminars addressing a wide range 
of topics, including "solidarity," "resistance against 
occupation, oppression and apartheid," "sports 
boycott," "sanctions against racist South Africa" and 
the "educational needs of the victims of apartheid." 
[8]   
We take seriously UNESCO’s positions because of 
the strong role that culture, academia and heritage 
play in any colonial situation.  We look forward to a 4 
time when UNESCO adopts a consistent approach 
toward Israel, and spearheads the movement to 
impose sanctions on it and impose academic and 
cultural boycotts -- similar to those applied against 
apartheid South Africa -- until Israel complies with 
international law.  The blackmailing tactics of the 
United States and Israel should not intimidate 
UNESCO.  We expect more from the premier 
international cultural organization. 
PACBI 
pacbi@pacbi.org
www.PACBI.org
Notes: 
[1] 
http://www.jpost.com/Israel/Article.aspx?id=91400
[2] http://www.pacbi.org/etemplate.php?id=669  
[3] http://whc.unesco.org/en/news/671
[4]http://cms.education.gov.il/EducationCMS/Units/
Mtna/TakeTheLeadership/Conference_Details/overv
iew.htm
[5] http://www.bdsmovement.net/2011/unescostatement-8372#.Tsap5MO8jVZ
[6] http://www.pacbi.org/etemplate.php?id=977
[7] http://www.pacbi.org/etemplate.php?id=1307
[8] http://www.anc.org.za/show.php?id=6849
**** 
A Debate on Cultural Boycott: Methods, 
Aims and Effectiveness. 
In July 2011, PACBI noted that the Israel 
Philharmonic Orchestra (IPO) had been invited to 
perform at the BBC Proms in London. PACBI sent a 
letter to the organizers stressing "the IPO's 
complicity in whitewashing Israel's persistent 
violations of international law and human rights". 
They mentioned specifically the IPO's services to 
the Israeli army: "the IPO proudly announces its 
partnership with the army under a scheme whereby 
special concerts for Israeli soldiers are organized at 
their army outposts".  PACBI called on the BBC to 
withdraw its invitation to the IPO 
(1) and BRICUP also called for the BBC to cancel the invitation (2).  
But the concert went ahead on September 1st. 
However, the protesters went further than requesting 
cancellation. They bought over 40 tickets to the 
concert, gained entry perfectly legitimately and then 
protested  loudly and repeatedly as described in the 
September edition of this Newsletter(3)  and as 
discussed by Rachel Giora below. The BBC 
suspended its live transmission on Radio 3. The 
protesters all left peacefully when requested to do so 
by security officers and there were no arrests.   
This was certainly the most extensively reported UK 
boycott action against the Israeli treatment of the 
Palestinian people to date. It was also the most 
audacious, giving rise to both positive and negative 
reactions, sometimes of considerable intensity. In 
this article we present an analysis of some of those 
reactions by three supporters of the BDS movement 
against Israel.  
**** 
Rachel Giora of Tel Aviv University, a leading 
member of Boycottt from Within, started this 
debate by asking BRICUP whether an action that 
requires relaxation of principles can be effective. 
She argued that the demonstration inside the Hall 
did indeed involve the relaxation of an important 
principle – the freedom of expression. This is 
certainly an interesting question: here is Rachel’s 
argument-
                   
Protesting the performance of the Israeli 
Philharmonic Orchestra (IPO) was a major event, 
and, in various respects, historical and 
unprecedented. As a member of the global BDS 
movement I am taking the liberty here to share my 
thoughts (for future sake) on a very touchy topic: Is 
it possible that some of the actions, so carefully 
crafted, reaching high levels of ingenuity, might 
have curbed, if not violated freedom of expression? 
Jonathan Rosenhead has implicitly answered that 
question in the negative (3) arguing that “there were 
no interruptions to any of the four concert items”. 
However there were three “interventions”. The first 
was during the Webern when protesters “stood up in 
their choir seats, holding individual letters spelling 
out FREE PALESTINE and blended their retextualised
version of Ode to Joy with the Webern 
composition”. Later on, “as the conductor Zubin 
Mehta raised his baton preparatory to launching the 
Bruch concerto, a group of four broke into chants of 
‘Free Free Palestine’” while displaying the 
Palestinian flag… Then, “as the orchestra started up 
the Bruch, the strains of ‘Free Free Palestine’ from 
the last protestor could still be heard. Finally, as the 
conductor’s baton was raised, six groups “popped up 
one after the other round the auditorium” chanting 
slogans that were critical of Israeli policy.  Indeed, 5 
at no point was the concert interrupted. Still, 
freedom of expression was curtailed. The concert 
was repeatedly disturbed. And although the 
orchestra kept on playing, it did so “louder” than 
before it was disturbed, in an attempt to be heard 
despite the disruptions. We should admit it: we, 
boycott supporters, violated freedom of expression. 
How did we deal with it? One protestor used a line 
of argument that is used by many Israeli boycott 
supporters: he was “very hesitant about disrupting a 
concert in such a hallowed venue” but thought that 
“voicing a peaceful protest during their concert 
would be nothing compared to the bombing of 
innocent civilians and the slow but steady genocide 
inflicted on the Palestinians by the state of Israel”. I 
agree. But do we want our actions to be weighed 
against those of Israel? More importantly, since 
almost anything pales compared with Israel’s 
injustices, should we use Israel’s policies to 
legitimize questionable acts? The fact that Israel 
conducts criminal practices should not legitimize 
bending our rules or compromising our principles.  
Another protestor said that “this precious talk about 
the purity of music ignores the toxic nature of 
Israel's suppression of the Palestinian people”. I 
agree, but not because music is pure; even foul 
music (or disputable ideas or repugnant opinions for 
that matter) should enjoy freedom of expression.  
Another, and maybe the most popular argument, 
deals with the impact of the protests inside the 
concert hall. Indeed, it is only thanks to these 
actions, disturbing the concert, that the BBC stopped 
its live transmission, allowing, as a result, the protest 
to enjoy a huge amount of exposure. The news about 
the protest and its message travelled to hundreds, 
perhaps thousands, of media channels on every 
continent: they made public the idea that that “there 
are things more important than music”. The 
disruption of the concert was therefore conceived of 
as very effective, at least in the short run.  
But is that right? Can one, trying to bring on justice, 
be effective without being right? Won’t such actions 
eventually be counterproductive? We should be very 
careful not to cross this thin line between being just 
and unjust, or our acts may end up being dismissed 
and thus be ineffective. Note that the Palestinians 
asked us to support their call to the BBC to 
withdraw its invitation to the IPO, but did not ask us 
to disrupt the concert. It is commendable that some 
campaigners, including the Palestine Solidarity 
Campaign, protested the decision of the BBC 
outside the hall rather than inside it.  
But even inside a concert hall protests can be held 
without disrupting a concert. Banners can be 
displayed during the break, chanting and booing can 
be practiced during applause; a choir could perform 
in the foyer and so on. Without being familiar with 
interior of the Albert Hall I am pretty sure other 
alternatives could have been considered, which is a 
crucial point here: It’s not like we didn’t have a 
choice.1
 According to Jonathan Rosenhead(3) , the protests 
were not intended to affect Israeli government 
policies. Why not? I can understand why one may 
assume that a single occasional act might look 
ineffective. But the pressure on Israel is mounting 
precisely because of the quantity of such single 
“symbolic” protests: they can be carried out 
peacefully by citizens everywhere, exerting pressure 
on Israel to change its policies. Voices about Israel’s 
international isolation are heard everywhere here in 
Israel and the “threat of delegitimisation” is now so 
palpable that even “Defence” Minister Ehud Barak 
can ignore it no longer. 2
We, members of the global BDS movement, should 
not (if possible) relax our principles; nor do we need 
to. It is not because of protests like this one that the 
boycott movement is so successful: it is because the 
Palestinians are SO right. The nonviolent BDS 
actions against Israel, called for by the Palestinian 
people, have won the Palestinians a sweeping 
success. Because of their just call they have won 
widespread support, leaving Israel so isolated. Let us 
try to make our support of their call effective in 
ways that will not challenge their cause. 
**** 
Mike Cushman has written a response to Rachel 
that emphasizes the widely and strongly held view 
that “this was not simply a concert: it was part of a 
massive and well-funded ‘Brand Israel’ campaign.  
Mike writes:-
Rachel asks, “Can one, trying to bring on justice, be 
effective without being right? Won’t such actions 
eventually be counterproductive? We should be very 
                                                
1 See, for instance, protesting Israeli spokesperson at 
Wayne State University 
mondoweiss.net/2011/11/students-protest-israelispokesperson-at-wayne-state-university.html?u
2http://www.haaretz.com:80/news/diplomacydefense/barak-current-government-makeup-hinderslikelihood-of-peace-talks-
1.326835?localLinksEnabled=false  6 
careful not to cross this thin line between being just 
and unjust.” These are important questions and, as 
Jonathan Rosenhead described (3), they gave rise to 
much discussion amongst the protestors. The issue 
that confronted us, which I feel that Rachel does not 
adequately address, was that this was not simply a 
concert: it was part of a massive and well-funded 
‘Brand Israel’ campaign; an exercise in 
normalisation; a concert fitted into the Israel 
Philharmonic’s schedule of morale boosting 
performances for Israeli army units in the occupied 
territories. 
This was a political event disguised as a concert: a 
political event that deserved, and got, a vibrant 
political response. To pose it as crushed crochets 
versus cracked heads is not the best measure nor is it 
a question of the direct effect on Netanyahu’s 
proclivity for demolishing Palestinian homes – if 
only it were that easy. The Albert Hall disruption 
was part of a long strategy to raise the salience of 
Israel’s aggression against Palestinians amongst 
people in Britain in order to create a political climate 
here that makes knee-jerk support for Israel less 
possible for British politicians of all the major 
parties. 
Political, economic and trade support for Israel from 
Europe and America is an absolute necessity for the 
continuance of the Zionist project. The London 
action was part of a pattern of actions across Europe 
promoted by groups supporting Palestinian rights 
coordinated through EPACBI and elsewhere. The 
growing success of these groups in highlighting the 
realities on the ground in European popular opinion 
alarms the Israeli government and their think-tanks. 
They regard it as a major area of struggle and one 
they think they are steadily losing: in the Albert 
Hall; outside Ahava; on the quays of Sete. 
To cite an analogy: attitudes to Wagner’s music 
depend upon artistic taste and judgment; attitudes to 
the use of his music to promote racial exclusivity 
depend upon moral and political judgment. Action is 
not determined by the music per se, but by the 
circumstances of its performance and the project that 
is being supported. 
Reflecting upon the IPO protest: the usual suspects 
among our friends applauded; the usual suspects 
among our opponents deplored; between these two 
camps a surprising number of uncommitted people 
came to a judgment that our intervention, even if 
unwelcome, was proportionate and appropriate. 
It is not enough to provide comfort and 
encouragement to Palestinians, although clearly we 
achieved that; it is not enough to provoke discomfort 
among Israel and its apologists, although we 
achieved that as well. It is necessary to produce a 
discernable, if small, change in the attitude of those 
Europeans and Americans who are passive and 
unreflective supporters of Israel; there is evidence 
we have done that as well.   
BDS is a political project of non-violent civil society 
resistance. It will not always be pretty, even if in this 
case our choir was extremely musical, but it is 
necessary. 
**** 
Jonathan Rosenhead responds by addressing the 
problem of conflicts between freedoms.  
Rachel Giora’s comments on the IPO 
demonstrations are clearly comradely, and her 
criticisms of the actions on September 1st in the 
Albert Hall need to be digested carefully, and 
responded to in the same positive tone. 
First, I would express complete agreement with her 
refutation of the argument that anything we do in the 
Albert Hall (or elsewhere) is OK because the Israelis 
do far worse. That licence to behave, if we choose 
to, almost as badly as the Israelis, is intellectually 
and morally degenerate. It is also liable to provide 
the Israeli state with an obvious advantage in how it 
represents the legitimacy of BDS actions in the UK 
and elsewhere. 
However Rachel’s view on the IPO protests seems 
to be based strongly on the idea of the primacy of 
the right to freedom of expression. But to many 
people this right is not absolute. Radical forces 
within the student movement in the UK long ago 
established a policy of “no platform for racists and 
fascists”, and that has broadly persisted across the 
nation’s campuses for the past 20 years. Secondly, 
UK law does not allow complete freedom of 
expression, having criminalised incitement to racial 
hatred since the 1970s. 
This does not mean that students, or the law, do not 
value free expression. What it represents is the 
recognition that there can be conflicts of principles. 
This manifests itself at the personal level (eg. to be 
honest may also be unkind), and at the political 
level. It seems to me that those who are thinking 
about more contestational acts in support of BDS do 
not need simply to ask “would this violate free 
expression?” and abandon the idea if the answer is 
“yes”. Rather, if the answer is “yes” then the next 
question to ask is something like – “is the arguable 
support for this action based on some other 
principle(s) sufficient to justify the significance of 7 
the violation we are proposing to the right to free 
expression?” 
The countervailing principle, if there is one, must be 
to do with the effects of the action being considered 
on the balance of forces which, for the past 44 or 63 
years, has enabled Israel to occupy lands by force of 
arms and to exclude its expelled or fled population 
from return. The principle of eroding that ability is a 
very strong one, which I am sure unites all BDS 
supporters. Why else are we doing it? It may make 
us feel better to do something, and BDS is 
something which we can do. But if we did not feel 
that by our actions and those of others round the 
world we are weakening Israel’s ability to go on 
saying ‘No’, then few of us would be as active as we 
are. 
Rachel’s alternatives to the Albert Hall action 
(banners during the break; chanting during the 
applause) would have been largely ineffective. The 
target of the action was never formulated as the 
5000 people in the hall – it was the radio audience of 
millions. To that audience such protest would have 
been both invisible and inaudible. I doubt that the 
residual local impact would have justified the effort 
needed to bring it off. 
So it comes down to a calculation, simple but 
complex. Do our methods of pursuing BDS violate 
undoubted rights (to free expression, to conduct 
business…) to extents which seem excessive relative 
to their likely impact (inevitably over the longer 
term) on the maintenance of Israel’s settler and 
apartheid form of state. That impact will not be 
direct – that is, the Israeli government will not say, 
“Oh dear, cultural BDS is too strong for us, so we 
will evacuate the West Bank”. The impact will 
operate through the purchasing decisions of 
individuals, the investment decisions of companies, 
and eventually the calculations of political realities 
by our local and national representatives. 
Rachel says “the boycott movement is so successful 
[..] because the Palestinians are SO right”. I would 
put it another way. It is because the Palestinians are 
SO right that BDS supporters are willing to go the 
extra mile. The success or otherwise of the 
movement depends however not on the rightness of 
the Palestinian cause, but on our ability to 
appropriately divine the opportunities for and 
limitations on our actions if we wish to serve that 
cause effectively. 
This is very much not to say that the Albert Hall 
demonstrators got the balance of conflicting 
principles right. When we get it wrong, it shows up 
in the negative public reactions to our efforts. This 
particular action provoked extraordinary enthusiasm 
among supporters of the cause, and outrage among 
some (apolitical, or pro-Israeli) music lovers. We 
don’t yet know how it has played with other sections 
of the listening and media reading public round the 
world. We do know it reached them in 
unprecedented numbers for a BDS action. We don’t 
yet know how far it will encourage other BDS 
groups to execute comparably bold manifestations. 
We need to go on observing and thinking about this, 
and to be ready as a result to adapt our tactics and 
strategies if it seems appropriate. 
**** 
It is clear that the detail of the protest inside the 
Royal Albert Hall on September 1st was not arrived 
at casually: there was a great deal of detailed and 
careful discussion. In their contributions to this 
Newsletter  Mike and Jonathan have presented 
distinct arguments that tend to support the action 
that was taken: that the concert was an Israeli  
rebranding exercise that called for and got a vibrant 
political response; that freedom of expression is not 
absolute but may be overridden when it conflicts 
with other and more important freedoms. I would go 
further and argue that the concept of freedom of 
expression simply does not apply to musical 
performances, the purpose of which is 
entertainment, not the communication of ideas and 
political actions. Certainly there is also a right to 
enjoy music undisturbed but that right is far less 
insistent than freedom of speech or the freedom of 
the Palestinian people to enjoy basic human rights.  
To override the right to quiet enjoyment of music is 
not automatically wrong: sometimes it is a 
necessary consequence of the relative importance of 
the two rights.  
Another  crucial questions that has been considered 
here is, “Who are the protesters trying to reach?” I 
take it that nobody was expecting this action to 
convince the audience of 5000 ticket-purchasing 
music-lovers! Jonathan focussed on the huge radio 
audience; Mike focused on the unreflective 
European and American supporters of Israel. Those 
are all fine but for me the ultimate target was the 
BBC and, as Rachel has said, the Israeli 
Government and the people who elect it. 
                
               Newsletter editor (David  Pegg), 
 Sources and Notes. 
1] http://www.pacbi.org/and
2] www.bricup.org.uk See Newsletter 43  
3] www.bricup.org.uk See Newsletter 44 8 
Rachel’ response 
Needless to say I agree with Mike that “BDS is a 
political project of non-violent civil society 
resistance …” which “is necessary”. This is where I 
come from. Like Mike, I also view the concert as a 
“political event” and thus boycottable. And even if 
viewed as purely entertaining, which it is not, clearly 
it is boycottable. These, however, are not the issues 
here. The question is not whether the concert should 
have been protested but how we should protest such 
events. 
I also agree with Jonathan that freedom of 
expression has boundaries; incitement is one of 
them. But as much as the concert has been part of 
rebranding Israel etc., incitement it was not. So, it all 
boils down to the question: what are our
boundaries? Is obstruction of freedom of expression 
one of them? How can we practice non-violent civil 
society resistance without compromising our 
principles and without compromising our aim at 
being effective? I suspect that Jonathan’s suggestion 
that we should weigh violation of one freedom 
against a more justifiable principle is problematic; 
this is how “Security” and “anti-Semitism” are often 
used in Israel and elsewhere to wipe out any kind of 
freedom. Recall how Dror Feiler and Gunilla Sköld
Feiler’s Snow White and The Madness of Truth - an 
installation art - was tempered with by the Israeli 
ambassador to Sweden because, according to him, it 
was “anti-Semitic”.
3
Despite the poverty of my alternative suggestions 
for the actions taken inside Albert hall, I do hope, 
both for moral and practical reasons, that we can 
practice BDS in ways that travel fast but do not 
infringe on other freedoms. Otherwise we legitimize 
silencing us.   
    **** 
Boycott Apartheid in the Name of Love! 
The following Open Letter is from the Palestinian 
Students’ Campaign for the Academic Boycott of 
Israel to Mireille Mathieu.  
Dear Mireille Mathieu,  
We are a group of artists, musicians and singers 
from Gaza.  It has come to our knowledge that you 
have plans to perform in Apartheid Israel! This has 
come to us as a surprise, given your anti-war 
positions, and music dedicated to confronting the 
                                                
3 See the case of Dror Feiler and Gunilla Sköld
Feiler’s Snow White and The Madness of Truth
kind of aggression that we Palestinians live day in 
day out under the military occupation of the 4th most 
powerful military in the world. You once sang about 
your lament of soldiers going to war, ‘In line, 
soldiers of love’ calling on them to, ‘leave in the 
name of love’. Yet you plan to entertain the Israeli 
armed forces that control, limit and demean our very 
existence, many of whom will be in the crowd for 
whom you intend to perform. Right now Israeli 
soldiers are committing with impunity all manner of 
well documented war crimes against us, the 
indigenous population of Palestine. 
We are calling on you now to heed our call to 
boycott the only apartheid regime in the world that 
maintains our imprisonment. [1] In what mainstream
Human Rights Organizations have called the 
largest open air prison in modern history we tell you 
that Israel’s five-year blockade, 63 years of 
dispossession and ethnic cleansing must come to an 
end. Until then we rely on people of conscience, 
including artists and musicians, to take a stand 
and refuse to perform there. 
You are known as a compassionate person who 
came through poverty and hardship; your own 
mother was a refugee. Imagine then life for us 
in Gaza! Over two thirds of us are UN registered 
refugees, ethnically cleansed from our homes by the 
nascent Israeli army in 1948 to live the rest 
of our life in the Gaza concentration camp. Millions 
more refugees, living in exile, remain denied their 
right to return home to see their loved ones thanks to 
Israel’s policy of restriction of our movement and its 
refusal to abide by international law. 
The four-year long ongoing blockade of the Gaza 
Strip, where we live, has made our existence even 
more intolerable, cutting off the main life-line of 
goods and people coming into Gaza, resulting in 
severe shortages of food supplies, basic goods and 
importantly items like cement which is vital to 
rebuild the 17000+ homes that have been destroyed 
by Israeli attacks. Injured and ill people are not 
allowed to travel abroad to receive all manner of 
medical treatment unavailable in Gaza: consequently 
over 600 sick patients have died because they had no 
solution but to stay in the besieged Gaza Strip where 
they spent their dying days, to the despair of their 
families. For us musicians, with our heritage of 
music and dance that we love to play, the Israeli 
siege denies us instruments, the possibility of 
receiving international performances and taking our 
music abroad.  Israel’s air, land and sea blockade of 
all our borders has meant that for years musical 
instruments were banned from entry to Gaza [2]9 
In addition to this barbaric siege, in the winter of 
2008-9, Israel attacked Gaza, committing war crimes 
and human rights violations against a population of 
which over half, an estimated 800.000, are children. 
During this merciless 23-day assault, 1,417 people 
were killed including hundreds of children, with 
over 5500 injured. These heinous crimes have been 
recounted in detail in the United Nations Goldstone 
report. [3] 
In the face of an international conspiracy of silence, 
Palestinian Civil Society, almost unanimously, 
called for international artists to refuse to perform in 
Israel as part of the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and 
Sanctions) campaign which is a non-violent method 
of holding Israel accountable to standards of 
equality and human rights that modern nations are 
accustomed to. Your performance in Israel would be 
a rejection of that appeal endorsed by the Global 
BDS movement. This includes hundreds of your 
fans who are fighting for justice for the Palestinian 
people through the BDS campaign. The BDS call 
is also endorsed by many South African anti
apartheid heroes such as Archbishop Desmond Tutu, 
who described as ‘unconscionable’ [4] the prospect 
of the South African ‘Cape Town Opera’ performing 
in Israel earlier this year. 
A host of internationally renowned musicians have 
already joined this call by refusing to perform in 
Israel including Carlos Santana, Annie Lennox, 
Faithless, Elvis Costello, the Pixies, Gil Scott Heron, 
Massive Attack, Leftfield, Gorillaz Sound System, 
Bono, Snoop Dogg, Jean Luc Godard, Devendra 
Banhart, Faithless, the Pixies and Devendra 
Bernhart. Roger Waters of Pink Foyd, another 60s 
icon dedicated to opposing war and oppression 
wrote a letter announcing his support of a cultural 
boycott of Israel. He said that in his view, 
“..the abhorrent and draconian control that Israel 
wields over the besieged Palestinians in Gaza, and 
the Palestinians in the occupied West Bank, coupled 
with its denial of the rights of refugees to return to 
their homes in Israel, demands that fair minded 
people around the world support the Palestinians in 
their civil, nonviolent resistance.” [5] 
We ask you to join their fight, our fight for basic 
human rights, equality and justice. It is time for the 
world to take real action to stop Israel's war crimes 
against children, women and men; it is time 
for conscientious individuals to stand on the right 
side of history by refusing to condone the war 
crimes of the Israeli state. 
We Palestinian musicians, singers and artists here in 
the Gaza ghetto dearly hope that one day we will 
have all the rights denied to us that any musician 
would expect, that is all we ask for. We will not be 
amongst the audience that will attend your concert in 
Tel Aviv! 
We urge you to heed the Palestinian call for a 
boycott of apartheid Israel until it abides by 
International law; we call on you to stand on the 
right side of history and refrain from entertaining a 
regime that has committed and continues to commit 
war crimes and crimes against humanity. Will you 
reconsider?! 
Signed by 70 musicians 
Notes:  
[1] http://www.pacbi.org/etemplate.php?id=869   
[2] http://www.gazagateway.org/tag/musicalinstruments/
[3]  http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/hrcouncil/
specialsession/9/docs/MediaSummaryReport_Englis
h.doc
[4] http://www.guardian.co.uk/global/2010/oct/27/de
smond-tutu-opera-boycott-israel
[5] http://www.bdsmovement.net/2011/watersendorses-5484#.TsRUWsMr2so
Cultural boycott - with a twist 
The artist Robert Ballagh, the set designer for 
Riverdance, opposed its performance in Israel until 
and unless Israeli apartheid policies against the 
Palestinians are ended. But despite his opposition 
the performance went ahead. In response Ballagh is 
now reported to have donated all royalties from the 
performance of Riverdance in Israel to the Irish 
“Ship to Gaza” campaign. The vessel, the MV 
Saoirse, attempted to sail to Gaza in June of this 
year but its journey was aborted when its propeller 
shaft was sabotaged while at port in Turkey. It is 
now repaired and the Riverdance money will be 
used to buy fuel needed for the MV Saoirse to make 
its journey to Gaza. It is a notable irony that those 
who paid to see the show in Israel are now helping 
to breach the immoral Israeli blockade. This 
underlines the effectiveness of BDS - boycott, 
divestment, sanctions – as a powerful means by 
which civil society can demonstrate its solidarity 
with the Palestinian people. 
Material from James O'Shea,  
Irish Central Staff Writer.        
Read his full report10 
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expensive. We need funds to support visiting 
speakers, book rooms for public meetings, print 
leaflets and pay the whole range of expenses that a 
busy campaign demands. 

BRICUP is the British Committee for the 
Universities of Palestine. We are always willing to 
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