USACBI is outraged at the sentencing of Palestinian poet Dareen Tatour, calls for solidarity from artists, writers and cultural workers

We in the US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel express our outrage at the sentencing of Palestinian poet Dareen Tatour and call for solidarity from artists, writers and cultural workers around the world.  On July 31, Tatour was sentenced to 5 months in Israeli prison for her writings online, including her poem, “Resist, my people, resist them.”

Dareen Tatour is a Palestinian citizen of Israel from the village of Reineh near Nazareth. Her arrest, imprisonment and trial, which has dragged out over a nearly three-year period, highlights the reality that all Palestinians face under Israeli occupation. The recent “nation-state” Basic Law has highlighted the apartheid regime that Palestinians face in occupied Palestine ’48, but it reflects the racist nature of the Israeli state since its founding through Nakba, massacres, colonization and dispossession of Palestinian people since 1948.

She was seized from her family home in Reineh on October 11, 2015; since that time, she spent three months in Israeli prison before entering house arrest for two and one-half years. She has been denied access to the internet and was tracked by an ankle bracelet; for a long period, she was kept outside her village, and her brother and sister-in-law were forced to set aside work and education, compelled to serve as “jailers” to secure her house arrest.

Dareen Tatour has won international support. Writers and artists like Edwidge Danticat, Ariel Dorfman, Ahdaf Soueif, Alice Walker, Russell Banks and Eve Ensler have added their names to appeals for her release. PEN International has joined the call for freedom, noting that “Dareen Tatour has been targeted for her poetry and activism and [PEN] is calling for her immediate and unconditional release.”

This attack on a Palestinian poet is, sadly, neither new nor extraordinary and reflects a long history of Israeli repression, imprisonment and even assassination of leading Palestinian cultural figures, from Samih al-Qasim to Ghassan Kanafani. Dareen Tatour herself has refused to be bowed or silenced by the criminalization of Palestinian creativity, and notes “The trial gave me more recognition as a poet who defied the Israeli regime as well as social conventions and the masculine order with her words. I was often pleased that my position and my trial influenced women, especially in their status as poets, creators, and artists. Many artists around the world took notice of my case and used my trial as inspiration for their own artistic expression.”

Palestinians have called for the boycott of Israeli cultural and academic institutions, embedded in occupation, colonization, apartheid and the denial of Palestinian rights. In response to the growing cultural boycott movement that has seen celebrities like Lauryn Hill, Snoop Dogg, Cat Power and many more cancel numerous concerts in Israel and artists like Roger Waters, Mira Nair, Ken Loach, Talib Kweli and many others sign on to the cultural boycott campaign, the Israeli state has made claims to “cultural exchange” and “academic freedom.”

The arrest, imprisonment and conviction of Dareen Tatour for her poetry highlights once again the empty nature of these claims when they are compared to the Palestinian reality today under the Israeli regime. Dareen Tatour’s imprisonment is a call to the conscience of artists, cultural workers, film festival organizers and others involved in the art world to take a stand for justice and support the cultural boycott of Israel. A state that imprisons poets for expressing their realities is one that must face rejection and isolation by cultural workers of conscience.

The cultural boycott is growing around the world. Now is the time to join the campaign to support Palestinian arts targeted for criminalization and marginalization and to take a stand against the complicit Israeli cultural institutions and state agencies that play a role in those very attacks at the same time that they promote a false global image of “cultural openness.” To sign on to the cultural boycott, visit the USACBI site here:

Free Dareen Tatour and all Palestinian prisoners!

For more information:

Dareen Tatour’s Poem, Resist My People, Resist Them – translation by Tariq al Haydar at

Resist, My People, Resist Them

Resist, my people, resist them.
In Jerusalem, I dressed my wounds and breathed my sorrows
And carried the soul in my palm
For an Arab Palestine.
I will not succumb to the “peaceful solution,”
Never lower my flags
Until I evict them from my land.
I cast them aside for a coming time.
Resist, my people, resist them.
Resist the settler’s robbery
And follow the caravan of martyrs.
Shred the disgraceful constitution
Which imposed degradation and humiliation
And deterred us from restoring justice.
They burned blameless children;
As for Hadil, they sniped her in public,
Killed her in broad daylight.
Resist, my people, resist them.
Resist the colonialist’s onslaught.
Pay no mind to his agents among us
Who chain us with the peaceful illusion.
Do not fear doubtful tongues;
The truth in your heart is stronger,
As long as you resist in a land
That has lived through raids and victory.
So Ali called from his grave:
Resist, my rebellious people.
Write me as prose on the agarwood;
My remains have you as a response.
Resist, my people, resist them.
Resist, my people, resist them.

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