Dozens of Jewish organisations, artists urge boycott of Sydney Festival over Israeli sponsorship

Dozens of Jewish organisations, artists urge boycott of Sydney Festival over Israeli sponsorship
2 min read
16 January, 2022
In an open letter published to the Do Better on Palestine website, the signatories slammed the “artwashing” of Israeli apartheid.
The Sydney Festival received a $20,000 donation from the Israeli embassy. [Getty]

A group of over 70 Jewish organisations and individuals have backed calls for a boycott of the 2022 Sydney Festival due to an Israeli sponsorship deal.

In an open letter published to the Do Better on Palestine website, the signatories slammed the “artwashing” of “Israeli apartheid”.

"Following the lead of Palestinian organizers, we know that we cannot allow this artwashing to work as intended. Rather than staying silent we want to say loudly: Israeli apartheid, settler-colonialism, and occupation cannot be allowed to continue," the open letter read.

"Israel engages in daily violence, from the violence of the military courts, checkpoints, settlements, murders, land theft and daily harassment of Palestinian communities in the West Bank; to the siege on Gaza and airstrikes; to the attacks on East Jerusalem in May 2021 and the differential treatment of Palestinians and Jews throughout ‘48," it continued.

Among the signatories are UK-Based British-Australian actress Miriam Margoyles, UK-based hip hop artist Lowkey, the Loud Jew Collective, Jews Against Fascism, Hue, Jews against the Occupation Sydney, Tzedek Collective and Independent Australian Jewish Voices.

The three-week Sydney Festival is one of Australia's major arts and cultural occasions, drawing music, dance, theatre and visual art performances from around the world.

Earlier this month, more than 20 artists and performers withdrew from the event over the organisers' decision to accept a $20,000 donation from the Israeli embassy.

Israel is listed as a "star partner" on the festival's website due to the sponsorship.

After the artists' withdrawal, the festival's board said in a statement that it would review its practices regarding funding from foreign governments.

Around 30 percent of the festival's funding comes from Australian public entities and the remainder from private donations and partnerships.

Tags