The US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel stands with protesters in Toulouse and everyone throughout France who say “No to the France-Israel Season!” As you organize and protest, Palestinians in Gaza are recovering from the latest round of Israeli bombing which targeted, among other institutions, a television station and the University College of Applied Sciences.
The “France-Israel Season” was inaugurated on 5 June, as Palestinians marked 51 years of the occupation of the West Bank, Gaza and Jerusalem and only weeks after they mourned 71 years of Nakba, colonization and dispossession. It was inaugurated in a showy event featuring Emmanuel Macron and Benjamin Netanyahu – while Israeli forces were shooting Palestinians dead in Gaza for participating in the popular peaceful protests for their fundamental rights, the Great March of Return.
Cultural luminaries denounced the “Season” and refused to be associated with it, but as hundreds of protesters rallied outside against the Netanyahu-Macron celebration, police shut down metro stations and closed bridges in an attempt to silence their outrage.
The “France-Israel Season” is a partnership in colonialism and racism. It is a blatant PR ploy to sell the “cultural advancements” of the Israeli occupation, while Palestinian cultural centers are bombed in Gaza, cultural workers and performers are arrested and jailed as political prisoners in the West Bank and Palestinian cultural projects in Palestine ’48 live under threat. The “France-Israel Season of Culture” takes place while Palestinian Walid Daqqa faces harsh penalties and the cancellation of his book launch as a penalty for writing a children’s book behind bars. It also comes as Palestinian cultural workers living around the world – like author Susan Abulhawa – are denied access to their own homeland to participate in arts and literature festivals by the Israeli occupation.
We raise our voices in solidarity with all those who protest tonight in Toulouse and all those building the campaign for the cultural boycott of Israel in defense of fundamental Palestinian rights. “Dance-washing” occupation is shameful and it cannot erase the daily crimes being committed against Palestinians with the full complicity of the U.S. government, the French state and other world powers. We urge all supporters of justice and rights to join in the protest in Toulouse and all other actions to say No to the France-Israel Season!