We the undersigned join with many in Exeter, who are dismayed by the actions of the Centre for Contemporary Art and the Natural World (CCANW) at Haldon Forest near Exeter.
At a time when Israel is being cited for war crimes in Gaza, whilst Israel continues its crippling illegal blockade of Gaza and its illegal Occupation of the West Bank, the centre have decided to host an exhibition part funded by the Israeli government.
Despite calls locally for the funding to be returned and for the Israeli artist and the centre to make statements distancing themselves from the policies of the Israeli government, the centre and artist have so far refused.
We believe that the CCANW’s decision to accept funding from the cultural arm of the Israeli government to fund the exhibition helps Israel gain respectability and a veneer of normality in the wider world; whilst at home it persists in denying Palestinian self-determination and continues with its policy of illegal occupation, against international law.
We feel that by accepting this funding the centre is tacitly, supporting Israeli policies which are clearly about exclusion, marginalisation and oppression of Palestinians.
We feel there is a certain irony in the Israeli environmental artist, Shai Zakai and a forest art centre doing an exhibition called "Forest Tunes" when ancient olive trees are being ripped out by the same Israeli government from which funding has been accepted.
We urge the centre to reconsider and return the Israeli part of the funding for this exhibition. We would also welcome some statement from the centre and artist publicly distancing themselves from the actions and policies of the Israeli government in its treatment of Palestinians.
John Williams - Musician
Ilan Pappe - Israeli Historian and Professor of History at Exeter University
David Halpin – founder of the Dove and Dolphin charity
Ahdaf Souief - Author
Karma Nabulsi - Writer , Academic and former PLO representative
Ghada Karmi - Writer and Academic
Professor Richard Seaford – Exeter Uni
Kathy Panama -Artist
Beverley Naidoo - Author
Kamil Mahdi - Academic
Kashif Rashid- General Secretary of Islamic Centre South West
Martin John Nicholls - Singer song writer and Peace campaigner
Jamie Wells -Branch Sec Devon National Union Teachers (NUT) (personal capacity)
Barrie Frost - National Executive Committee member for Devon and Cornwall NUT (personal capacity)
Amal Choueri - President Devon NUT
Trevor Cope – East Devon District Councilor, Sec of Lib Dem Friends of Palestine
Phil Chadwick - Branch Secretary Communication Workers Union South West Region 1 (personal capacity)
Alexis Lykiard Author
Dr. Suaad Genem-George - Writer.
Dr Richard Bradbury – Author and Playwright
Tim McFarlane – Executive Council Member for Fire Brigade Union (FBU) South West