18 June 2014 | Boycott from Within
Česky zde — We are Israeli citizens, including Jerusalemites, who are active against our government’s policies of occupation, colonialism and apartheid. We have been promoting human rights and peace for many years within our society.
We are appalled by the City of Prague’s decision to host an official Israeli propaganda event within its quarters. If the festival was given its appropriate name – Days of Apartheid in Prague – it would make perfect sense. The current act of propaganda carried out by the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs means celebrating the so-called “United City of Jerusalem” , which is in reality one of the most divided and explicitly racist cities in the world today.
The State of Israel, via the Jerusalem Municipality, refuses to acknowledge East Jerusalem as occupied Palestinian territory even though the ICJ had no difficulty in establishing this simple fact . At the same time, Israel and the Jerusalem Municipality carry out an explicitly racist policy which shamelessly includes the ethnic cleansing of the city’s Palestinian population and denying them residency , racist zoning and planning policies, discrimination in access to infrastructure and services, incursions and nightly arrests of residents including many child arrests.
In addition to the Old City wall, the State of Israel has erected a new tall concrete wall which literally cuts through East Jerusalem neighborhoods separating families from each other, children from their schools or the sick from adequate medical care.
Those of us who live in Jerusalem witness the state-sponsored violence and discrimination which is routine practice against the city’s Arab population. For example:
- On the so-called “Jerusalem Day”, thousands of Israelis are escorted by Israeli police as they march in occupied East Jerusalem while chanting “Death to the Arabs” and as local Palestinians are forced to take shelter in their homes  .
- Tens of thousands of Palestinians in occupied east Jerusalem are being denied access to water .
- The Israeli police regularly kidnaps children as young as 9 from their beds in the middle of the night, arrests and abuses them .
- Such children who are imprisoned by Israel may undergo torture, often carried out at a notorious detention centre on the outskirts of the city .
- The municipality of Jerusalem and the Israeli government are constantly demolishing houses in occupied East Jerusalem. These houses are built by Palestinian families on their own land, but the authorities rarely grant them the needed permits for construction, deeming virtually all Palestinian construction illegal and due for demolition. It has been shown that this practice serves the purpose of driving away as many Palestinians out of the city and into the rest of the West Bank .
The aforementioned human rights violations are taking place in the occupied and “united” city of Jerusalem, but they are only one element in many forms of apartheid policies which are carried out by Israel against the Palestinian people – those in the occupied Palestinian territories, those inside Israel and those who are in forced exile.
In order to counter such criminal policies and blatant human rights violations, we urge the city of Prague to immediately cease its complicity in these crimes and join the global campaign for equality, freedom and justice in Jerusalem and throughout historic Palestine.
We also call on all Czech citizens of conscience to join the BDS campaign in holding Israel accountable for its actions. More specifically, we call on you to stand up to the current Czech government if it continues to be morally and politically complicit in the violations of human rights and international law being committed by the Israeli government.
Finally, we would like to express our gratitude to the Czech activists who advocate for a boycott of the “Days of Jerusalem in Prague” propaganda event. We hope that our letter sheds some light on the true nature of this festival. We would like to stress that Israeli artists are welcome to perform their art but they should not be welcome to act as apartheid ambassadors collaborating with the Israeli ministry of foreign affairs.
Boycott! Supporting the Palestinian BDS Call from Within (aka Boycott from Within)