More than 20 international performers have pulled out of the 2022 Sydney Festival over the “artwashing” of the Israeli apartheid and oppression of the Palestinian people, media reports have said, as conveyed by the Palestinian News Agency WAFA on Saturday.
The mass boycott of the event came after Israel was listed as a partner of the annual festival as its embassy in Australia made a $20,000 donation in support of an Israeli choreographer.
— The Palestine Project (@PalestineProjct) January 8, 2022
The Palestinian Justice Movement, a solidarity group in Sydney pointed out that the deal was reached in May 2021, when Israel launched a major attack on the Gaza Strip in which more than 250 Palestinians were killed.
“Palestine advocates call on all opponents of apartheid to boycott the 2022 Sydney Festival,” the group said in a statement. “By partnering with Israel, Sydney festival will … contribute to the normalization of an apartheid regime,” the group added.
While bombs rain down on Gaza yet again, the @sydney_festival remains solid in its partnership with the Israeli apartheid regime. More principled artists are withdrawing.
— Jennine #SaveSheikhJarrah #SaveSilwan (@jennineak) January 2, 2022
An open letter titled Do Better on Palestine called on the festival organizers to cancel its partnership with the Israeli government. “Israel has long used culture and the arts to cloak its atrocities against the Palestinian people,” the letter stated.
One of my personal faves (being from The Area): @BankstownSlam! They didn't mince words: "Sydney Festival partnering with the Israeli Embassy means they are complicit in artwashing apartheid."
— Fahad Ali (@fahad_s_ali) January 4, 2022
“The Sydney Festival Star Partnership with the Israeli embassy” serves to “artwash” the Israeli regime’s “violent control over the lives of Palestinians and enables the apartheid regime to continue to breach the human rights of Palestinians with impunity,” it added.
At least 23 performances have so far pulled out of the festival in protest at the Israeli sponsorship of the event.
(WAFA, PC, Social Media)