MEDIA INVITE:
National Arts Festival public discussion on "cultural boycott of Israel"

The Grahamstown National Arts Festival: Africa’s largest, longest-running and most recognized cultural event will today host an official discussion on the cultural boycott of Israel.

The discussion will be chaired by Think!Fest convener and Associate Professor in Rhodes University's School of Journalism, Anthea Garman. 

Panelists consist of prominent members of the arts community, including celebrated playwright, Mike van Graan; Durban based hip-hop artist and member of the SA Artists Against Apartheid Collective, Iain ‘Ewok’ Robinson; the editor of The Daily Maverick, Brooks Spector; and others.

2012 NATIONAL ARTS FESTIVAL EVENT: Cultural Boycotts - Are They Effective?
DATE: Tuesday, 03 July 2012
TIME: 14h00
VENUE: Blue Lecture Theatre, Eden Grove, Grahamstwon
CHAIR: Professor Anthea Garman
SPEAKERS: Mike van Graan, Iain "Ewok" Robinson, J. Brooks Spector, Professor Robert van Niekerk, Salim Vally

The cultural boycott forms part of the larger worldwide boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel campaign that was launched by Palestinians themselves in 2005 as a creative and non-violent method of placing pressure on Israel to comply with international law and bring about the requirements for a just peace. It is inspired and shaped by the successful boycott of Apartheid South Africa.

Since 2005 several prominent international cultural figures have backed the cultural boycott of Israel including Alice Walker, Naomi Klein, John Berger, Judith Butler, Etienne Balibar, Ken Loach, Roger Waters, Arundhati Roy, Angela Davis and  others. Furthermore, there have been several artists and groups that have respected the cultural boycott by cancelling their Israeli appearances including: Dance band, Faithless; Ireland's music group, The Dervish; Grammy award winner, Cassandra Wilson; and, South African writer,  J.M Coetzee.

Most recently, world renown writer, Alice Walker, set the literary world abuzz when she refused to have her book "The Color Purple" published in Israel: “It isn't possible for me to permit [publication] at this time for the following reason:  As you may know, last Fall in South Africa the Russell Tribunal on Palestine met and determined that Israel is guilty of apartheid. I grew up under American apartheid and this was far worse."

FOR MORE INFORMATION OR TO ARANGE INTERVIEWS WITH THE SPEAKERS YOU CAN CONTACT "SA ARTISTS AGAINST APARTHEID" SPOKESPERSON JONI BARNARD
- 082 780 9758 / 084 211 9988