The Palestinian Performin Arts Network (PPAN), organizations and individuals that represent the majority of the Palestinian cultural sector, call on Oscar nominees to reject the trip sponsored by the Israeli government.
According to PPAN, this is yet another cynical attempt of the Israeli government to use influential cultural figures to “whitewash” its persistent human rights abuses and denial of freedom to Palestinians.
In a press release the PPAN members stated:
“We urge you to distance yourselves from Israel’s official state propaganda efforts while it denies not only the right to life of Palestinians but also our right to artistic expression and any semblance of a normal life through a violent, decades-long regime of occupation, colonialism and apartheid.”
They also condemn the Academy awards for giving a platform for the Israeli government to bribe Oscar nominees with this trip.
“We see this as an extension to its overt discrimination against black artists and their deep-rooted exclusion from the Academy and wider discrimation in society. We stand in solidarity with our allies in the #OscarsSoWhite campaign and identify with their demands as Palestinians also grapple daily with Israel’s dehumanization, denial of human rights and racial exclusion.”
For PPNA, Israel’s wants to present itself as a normal tourist destination and a liberal democracy when in fact it rules over millions of disenfranchised Palestinians under military occupation, siege and discriminatory laws.
As part of its attacks on Palestinians, Israel deliberately attacks Palestinian art and cultural production: it banned in 2009 all displays of culture connected to Jerusalem as the Arab League and UNESCO designated Capital of Arab Culture.
Palestinian circus performer Mohamed Abu Sakha is currently imprisoned by Israel with no charge, detained as he was on his way to work.
Israel publicly celebrates visits by international artists as a sign of support for its policies and a breach in its growing international isolation.
Palestinian artists call on Hollywood figures to act with conscience by refusing Israel’s ongoing attempts to legitimiza its violations of international law and war crimes against the Palestinian people.
Valued at $55,000, the trip is courtesy of the Israeli Ministry of Tourism. The ministry will foot the bill for round-trip airfare, 10 days at fine hotels and sightseeing trips across Israel for the Oscar nominees and a guest.
The Palestinian Boycott, Divest and Sanctions movement (BDS) also urged the nominees to not accept the gift. BDS said that stars who take up the free trip will be propping up the occupation of Palestinian territories.
“We’re asking Hollywood figures as they did in the apartheid South Africa era to not give their names for Israel to whitewash the occupation and violation of human rights.”
Mark Rylance, who won best supporting actor for his role in “Bridge of Spies,” has spoken out in support of Palestinian causes and signed a pledge to not accept the trip-gift.
He has previously supported the BDS movement, signing a letter asking for Shakespeare’s Globe theatre to boycott an Israeli production.