Lebanese novelist Elias Khoury joins Paris Arab festival boycott over Israel 'normalisation'
Famed Lebanese novelist Elias Khoury has withdrawn from an Arab culture festival organised by the Arab World Institute, Paris because of its ties with Israeli institutions and the undisclosed participation of Israeli artists.
Khoury told Facebook followers on Wednesday: "I announce my withdrawal... as a result of the festival's ambiguity and the air of normalisation that surrounds it".
Khoury's withdrawal comes after growing calls to boycott the festival for its ties with Israeli institutions, including the Museum of Israel and the Ben Zvi Foundation.
Palestinian artists Suhad Khatib and Alaa Abu Diab said earlier this week that they would not participate in the festival because they had not been informed that Israeli artists would be taking part.
Speaking to the Arabic language outlet Al-Quds Al-Arabi, Khoury said that he too had decided to withdraw due to the presence of an Israeli singer in one of the participating bands, and due to the inclusion in the festival of an exhibition - 'Oriental Jews' - taken from Israeli museums.
The Arab World Institute has since cancelled the symposium "The Arab-Israeli conflict between Literature, Cinema, and History" that Khoury was due to speak in. As things stand, the rest of the festival programme will still go ahead, including a headline concert by Canadian-Lebanese band Adonis.