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Walking to Palestine: a talk by Benjamin Ladraa

Benjamin Ladraa is a human rights activist from Sweden.  He recently walked 5,000 km from Sweden to Palestine to raise awareness about the human rights violations taking place under the military occupation of Palestine. Traversing 13 countries in 11 months, on arrival in Israel he was interrogated for 6 hours by the Israeli military, then refused entry.

Hear Benjamin talk of his experiences and the human rights situation in Palestine.

7pm, Friday 18 January 2019 at 46 The Pleasance Edinburgh EH8 9TJ.

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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

Response to Linehan 21 July 2018

Dear Mr Linehan

Thank you for your reply to our email about the L-E-V dance company.

The issue we raised about this dance company is not about the ‘nationality, country of residence or ethnic, religious or cultural  background’ of the dancers, the issue is about sponsorship and support from a state which is in breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention, in violation of numerous UN resolutions and stands accused of serious human rights abuses by groups including Amnesty International.

Thank you for assuring us that the L-E-V performances in Edinburgh will not receive funding from the Israeli government, however our research shows that the company has received support and sponsorship from the Israeli government over a number of years.

A few examples include:

L-E-V has clearly been happy to accept support and sponsorship over the years from the Israeli state. We believe that under the boycott criteria to which we referred in our previous correspondence, namely that they are ‘complicit in maintaining the Israeli occupation and denial of basic Palestinian rights, … through their silence or … whitewashing or otherwise deliberately diverting attention from Israel’s violations of international law and human rights.’ L-E-V should be boycotted.

We would be happy to meet to discuss this or future Festival events.

Yours sincerely

 

Jan Benvie

 

Stop Israel’s cultural whitewash of Apartheid

State-sponsored Israeli dance company, L-E-V, is performing at this year’s Edinburgh International Festival (EIF).

Write to Fergus Linehan, Director of Edinburgh International Festival, EIF, The Hub, 348-350 Castlehill, Edinburgh EH1 2NE; OR email director@eif.co.uk.  Ask that EIF cancel the L-E-V performance because of its links to the Israeli state.

EA4P wrote to Linehan (letter here) and received this reply.  Our response to the reply is here.

The Israeli state stands accused by Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the UN and other bodies of war crimes.
The festival director, Fergus Linehan, has declined to respond to Edinburgh Action for Palestine’s query about Israeli state sponsorship for this event, but we know that L-E-V’s performances are promoted by Israel’s embassies around the world (see the numerous links below), including their performance this month in London.

From the Israeli Embassy’s Cultural Facebook page   CultureIL

9 July at 11:08 · 

We are very excited for #Israeli dance company, L-E-V’s ‘Love Chapter 2’. Headed up by #SharonEyal Sadler’s Wells newest Associate Artist and #GaiBehar

13th & 14th July

Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) is a Palestinian-led movement for freedom, justice and equality. BDS upholds the simple principle that Palestinians are entitled to the same rights as the rest of humanity. .BDS demands are simple, comprehensive and clear:

  • End the Occupation & dismantle the Wall
  • Full equality for Palestinian citizens of Israel
  • Right of return for Palestinian refugees

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:

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.

Boycott is a traditional, peaceful form of protest. Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jnr & Nelson Mandela all used boycotts.

Cancellation of the performances would provide great encouragement to Palestinians suffering Israeli oppresion. If however the event goes ahead join us to protest outside the Kings Theatre, Edinburgh, 9-12 August.   For time and details of each evening’s protest, see our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/EdinburghAction4Palestine/or email to join our mailing list by emailing us at EdinburghAction4Palestine@gmail.com.

Links indicating Israeli government support and sponsorship of L-E-V:

https://nac-cna.ca/en/event/15920
http://embassies.gov.il/marseille/NewsAndEvents/Pages/Sharon-Eyal-Gai-Behar.aspx
http://embassies.gov.il/san-francisco/calendar-of-events/Pages/L-E-V-OCD-Love-Seattle.aspx
https://www.whitebird.org/event/l-e-v-israel/
https://nac-cna.ca/en/media/newsrelease/17848
https://twitter.com/IsraelinSG/status/973827975941709824
https://twitter.com/evelyncoster/status/976058731120209920

 

Wed 14 – Sat 17 Feb (twice on Sat) Special offer tickets for Mark Thomas’ show

Traverse have made special offer tickets available for Mark Thomas’ – Showtime from the Frontline – from Wednesday 14 Feb to Saturday 17 Feb (afternoon and evening on Saturday).
Please could you let your contacts know and post where you can on social media?  £14.00 tickets with code COMEDY18, across all performances limited to 10 tickets per performance. Available online, in person and over the phone.
Tickets available here: https: //www.traverse.co.uk/whats-on/ event-detail/1356/showtime-fro m-the-frontline.aspx
And here’s an interview with Mark in The List https://www.list.co.uk/ar ticle/98862-mark-thomas-coolne ss-is-the-enemy-of-comedy/
The show is going really well, with very positive responses from audiences so far, and mostly sell-out shows. Let’s try and get Edinburgh sold out too!

Café Palestine: Medicine in Gaza

As usual, our end-of the-month Café Palestine will be at 4pm on Sunday 31 July at the Peace & Justice Centre, 5 Upper Bow, Edinburgh, EH1 2JN. DR MAJDY ASSOUR from the Gaza Strip will make a presentation on the interaction between political history and health services in the Gaza Strip – just 2 days before he returns there for field work.

As usual there will be refreshments and an interesting and lively discussion.

You’ll be very welcome.
Café Palestine