May 21, 2021
We have watched with horror the ongoing destruction and devastation of lives in Gaza and Palestine, which touches us both as a human rights issue of universal concern, and also impacts artists in our network. As an organisation that stands for social justice, we believe it is our responsibility to speak out in support of the Palestinian people in their struggle for freedom and safety.
Our position is rooted in the belief that everyone should enjoy basic human rights and freedoms, regardless of their background, identity or where they are born. We support the statement of solidarity led by Mosaic Rooms, which refuses to accept the framing of the situation as a ‘conflict’ between ‘two sides’, noting Israel’s disproportionate use of violence and military might, its occupation of the Palestinian Territories, and Human Rights Watch’s recent conclusion that its policies amount to apartheid and persecution.
We share the concerns set out in the statement about the targeting of artists and cultural spaces by the Israeli military, and echo its call for the arts sector to consider the oppression of the Palestinians in the context of our support for decolonisation and Black Lives Matter over the past year.
As an anti-colonial, anti-racist organisation we recognise the brutal discrimination and persecution that Jewish people have suffered and continue to face, in the UK and across the world. We stand against anti-Semitism in all its forms, which has no place in the movement for the rights and freedom of the Palestinian people.
Our immediate actions in this context will include:
– Signing and sharing the call to action initiated by Mosaic Rooms, inviting our network and partners to reconsider the language we use about Israel and Palestine; refusing funding from funders that support the illegal occupation of Palestine; and opening our programmes and platforms to Palestinian artists
– Sharing information on Israel’s breaches of international law with our current and past funders
– Continuing to commission, promote and collaborate with Palestinian artists, ensuring that their voices, stories and experiences are shared with wide and diverse audiences
We hope you will join us and the growing movement of organisations and individuals committed to supporting the human rights of the Palestinian people, including by signing and sharing the Mosaic Room’s statement of solidarity.
Image: As Far As Isolation Goes by Tania El Khoury and Basel Zaraa