Israeli -funded “FOREST TUNES” at Haldon Hill
while Palestinians still face the music in Gaza and the West Bank.
Classical Guitarist John Williams and Israeli Professor of History at Exeter, Ilan Pappe will not be dancing to the FOREST TUNES of Israeli artist SHAI ZAKAI, at Haldon Hill in October (see attached signed statement) Why? They join a growing list of people calling for the local arts centre, Centre for Contemporary Arts in the Natural World (CCANW), to distance itself from the brutal policies of the Israeli Government after the centre accepted Israeli funding for its exhibition in October.
Most recently the Israeli operations in Gaza brought over a 1000 Devon residents from all walks of life onto the streets of Exeter in January this year. Exeter Palestine Solidarity Campaign (EPSC), along with other concerned individuals, some of whom have first-hand experience of Israeli actions on the ground, have been in dialogue with the Director of the CCANW, Clive Adams, urging him to re-consider accepting Israeli government funding for the exhibition at the centre , “FOREST TUNES”.
Local Quaker couple, Penelope and Jim Putz, who in May joined a study tour of Israel/Palestine with the Israeli human rights group ICAHD, have stated to the centre,
“We were very concerned to hear that you are going to promote an Israeli sponsored exhibition. I am passionately concerned about global warming, having worked for an environmental organisation back in the `60s, but I find it ironic that the Israeli government is so concerned when I think of all the land laid waste by them to build the Wall with a cordon sanitaire beside it, not to mention all the olive groves, often the only source of income for the farmers, which have been wantonly destroyed elsewhere.”
EPSC have also asked the artist and the centre to distance themselves from the actions of the Israeli government in response to their concerns.
According to Lizi Allnatt a member of EPSC, the centre and artist had so far refused to make such a commitment. She said
“We would like to make it perfectly clear that we are not against the artist Shai Zakai, nor her work, but simply with the Israeli government involvement with this project. Ms Zakai has informed us that she has worked alongside Palestinians in the past. Clive Adams the Director of the Centre has spoken to us of his efforts to bring Palestinian art to the UK. It is all the more surprising for us that neither have so far agreed to make any statement distancing themselves from Israeli Government policy whilst being happy to use Israeli Government funding.
If the Centre and Shai were to return the funding or at least make a statement saying they do not in any way agree with the illegal actions (under international law) of continued settlement building in the West Bank, or the UN cited war crimes which took place in the recent attacks on Gaza to name just a few, then more people would be able to enjoy the exhibition with a clear conscience.
The CCANW and Ms Zakai have both told us that they are non political and so will not make a statement. We believe in accepting this funding in the current climate, where Israel and its actions to the Palestinians have been cited as not just illegal but also war crimes by the UN, is in itself a political act.
The fact is there has been huge environmental damage inflicted on the land in Palestine by the Israeli government. We do hope we can take up the CCANW ‘s offer of featuring Palestinian artists at the centre in the future.”
Yes to ART, No to Israeli government funding!