- 25 Jan 21
The 1,034 signatories include actors, writers, poets, painters, sculptors, film-makers, dancers, architects, composers, designers, musicians and others, including many members of Ireland’s state-sponsored academy of artists Aosdána and range from some of Ireland’s most internationally known figures to artists starting out on their careers.
That a landmark 1000th Irish artist has signed the pledge is a hugely significant milestone in support for the Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Movement.
1,034 cultural workers have signed the cultural boycott pledge since 2010.
The Irish artists’ pledge was launched a decade ago, initiated by renowned composer, and IPSC co-founder, Raymond Deane.
Initially signed by over 140 Irish creative and performing artists, the pledge now has over 1,000 signatories, including; Stephen Rea, Sinéad Cusack, Donal Lunny, Andy Irvine, Damien Dempsey, Sharon Shannon, Robert Ballagh, Mary Black and Kíla.
The above group have since been joined by exciting new artists Sisterix, CMAT, Pillow Queens, Kneecap, TPM, Steo Wall, Oein DeBhairduin and Roisin El Cherif as well as established figures Kevin Barry, Joe Rooney, Mary Coughlan, Derbhle Crotty, Paul Duane and Eugene O’Hare.
“We are very proud to have so many artists sign up to our pledge," IPSC Cultural Liaison Zoë Lawlor said.
"Reaching 1,000 signatories is a huge landmark in Irish solidarity with Palestine and a serious statement in support of the Palestinian struggle for freedom, justice and equality. As the indigenous Palestinian people endure their 73rd year of dispossession, ethnic cleansing, apartheid and enforced exile, and western governments fail to sanction Israel, they need the solidarity of people of conscience - and this pledge plays a major part in that,” Lawlor adds.
“Irish artists have faced an extremely difficult year, but have still shown their support for the Palestinian people, and it is both moving and heartening so see such empathy and shared humanity.”
The Pledge – which commits signatories to refrain from performing in the apartheid state of Israel – was launched by the Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC) in August 2010.
The Pledge reads as follows:
“In response to the call from Palestinian civil society for a cultural boycott of Israel, we pledge not to avail of any invitation to perform or exhibit in Israel, nor to accept any funding from any institution linked to the government of Israel, until such time as Israel complies with international law and universal principles of human rights.”
Israeli human rights group B'Tselem recently released described Israeli rule over Palestine as an apartheid state for the first time in its 30-year history.
“One of the key points in our analysis is that this is a single geopolitical area ruled by one government,” said B’Tselem director Hagai El-Ad. “This is not democracy-plus-occupation. This is apartheid between the river and the sea.”
As the world ramps up what is already on track to become a highly unequal vaccination push – with people in richer nations first to be inoculated – the situation in Israel and the Palestinian territories provides a stark example of the divide.
Israel transports batches of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine deep inside the West Bank. Currently, they are only distributed to Jewish settlers, and not the roughly 2.7 million Palestinians living around them who may have to wait for weeks or months.
Fatin Al Tamimi, Chairperson of the Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign, said: “As Palestinians struggle to deal with the dual threats of COVID-19 pandemic and Israel’s oppressive and worsening apartheid regime, there is a growing absence of hope in my homeland right now.
“However, the fact that over one thousand artists in Ireland are willing to stand in solidarity with our struggle by refusing to help Apartheid Israel culturally whitewash its crimes against my people, is a huge ray of hope, and makes me incredibly proud of my adoptive homeland. I thank each one of the signatories, and I ask every other Irish artist to sign up to boycott Israel until we Palestinians enjoy our freedom, justice and equality.”