Letter to Linehan 28 June 2018

Dear Mr Linehan

Congratulations on assembling another exciting package for the Edinburgh International Festival (EIF).  I would like on behalf of Edinburgh Action for Palestine to make enquiries about the L-E-V Dance Company from Israel.

In 2005 Palestinian civil society called on “international civil society organizations and people of conscience all over the world to impose broad boycotts and implement divestment initiatives against Israel similar to those applied to South Africa in the apartheid era.” They also invited “conscientious Israelis to support this call, for the sake of justice and genuine peace.”

They called for these non-violent measures to be maintained until Israel meets its obligation to recognize the Palestinian people’s inalienable right to self-determination and fully complies with the precepts of international law.

Several criteria have been developed for identifying artistic groups and events that should be boycotted (https://bdsmovement.net/pacbi/cultural-boycott-guidelines).  At least two of these criteria are relevant to L-E-V’s participation in EIF 2018.  I quote these criteria below:

As a general overriding rule, Israeli cultural institutions, unless proven otherwise, are complicit in maintaining the Israeli occupation and denial of basic Palestinian rights, whether through their silence or actual involvement in justifying, whitewashing or otherwise deliberately diverting attention from Israel’s violations of international law and human rights.

 A cultural EVENT/ACTIVITY is boycottable if it is partially or fully sponsored by an official Israeli body or a complicit institution.

Can EIF provide any instance of L-E-V or its directors speaking out against Israel’s violations of international law?  Can EIF assert that L-E-V has no sponsorship, financial or otherwise, from any official Israeli body?

I hope that, given Israel’s history of human rights abuses against Palestinians, the EIF will have taken the trouble to get this information before booking the company for this year’s festival and that you will therefore be able readily to answer these questions.

Edinburgh Action for Palestine currently understands that L-E-V are boycottable and will continue to do so, unless you can respond otherwise.

Jan Benvie

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