WOMAD urged to drop Israeli singer

15 Jan

Israeli singer Victoria Hanna is scheduled to perform at the New Plymouth festival in March. Photo credit: Facebook

By Newshub staff, 14 January 2018

A Palestinian advocacy group is calling for the withdrawal of an Israeli singer from the WOMAD lineup.

Victoria Hanna is scheduled to perform at the New Plymouth festival in March.

But the Palestine Solidarity Network says her attendance would breach the international boycott movement known as BDS (Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions).

Hanna’s visit is “part of a propaganda tour for the Israeli state”, the group said on Sunday.

“Just as most New Zealanders stood with black South Africans in the fight against apartheid in South Africa, we must also stand in solidarity with the Palestinian victims of Israeli apartheid.”

The call comes after Kiwi pop star Lorde cancelled plans to perform in Israel in solidarity with Palestinian rights campaigners.

The BDS movement, launched in 2005 aims to end Israel’s occupation of what it says is Palestinian land.

Newshub

Here is the full letter from the Palestine Solidarity Network sent to WOMAD festival organisers on 31 December 2017 (no reply has been received):

PSN requests withdrawal of invitation for Victoria Hanna to perform at WOMAD 2018

We see from the programme that Israeli singer Victoria Hanna is scheduled to perform at the March 2018 WOMAD festival.

Our concern is that Victoria Hanna’s attendance at the festival would be a breach of the international boycott of apartheid Israel. This is referred to internationally as the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement and was launched by 170 Palestinian organisations in 2005 as a way to bring non – violent pressure on the Israeli regime to abandon its racist policies, end its military occupation of Palestinian land and allow the return of Palestinian refugees to their homes and land . . [See https://bds movement.net/ ]

Victoria Hanna is currently based at the University of California as part of the Visiting Israeli Artist Programme of The Israel Institute who describe their role in these terms –

“By presenting Israeli art, music, film, dance and literature to an international audience, the Israel Institute showcases an important aspect of modern Israel that few people get to see firsthand, and fosters the deeper understanding of Israel that the Institute is committed to inspiring”.

The “deeper understanding of Israel” is code for Israeli propaganda. In other words, Hanna ’s visit is part of a propaganda tour for the Israeli state.

This letter is therefore a formal request from PSN that you withdraw the invitation for Victoria Hanna to perform at WOMAD 2018.

Just as most New Zealanders stood with black South Africans in the fight against apartheid in South Africa we must also stand in solidarity with the Palestinian victims of Israeli apartheid.

We look forward to hearing from you shortly.

Na,

John Minto

Debbie Abbas

Roger Fowler

Janfrie Wakim

For the Palestine Solidarity Network admin@palestinesolidaritynz.net

 

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