Sydney Festival boycott

What I would call the ‘terrorist/apartheid’ Israeli embassy is desperate to artwash itself which is why it paid $20,000 to the Sydney Festival and got its Ministry of Foreign Affairs logo on all Festival paperwork.

Jennine Khalik, whose family land in the Galilee was stolen by Israel, has organised a boycott of the Sydney Festival and so far nine artists and organisations have rescinded agreements to participate.

She says, ‘…. this year’s Sydney Festival is being sponsored by a brutal regime, a state founded on the massacre and expulsion of the indigenous Palestinian people of the land it occupies. For decades, it has subjected them to a military occupation that controls every aspect of their lives and their freedom to move. It is currently engaged in a 14-year-long illegal blockade against a territory inhabited by two million people. It’s a state that demolishes homes and seizes the property of the people it occupies, has two legal systems, one civilian and one military, and exercises control over an occupied people’s water and resources’.

Shamefully, the Coalition and the ALP deny that Israel is an apartheid state and ignore Richard Falk and Virginia Tilly’s 2017 report for the UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia which ‘…concludes, on the basis of scholarly enquiry and overwhelming evidence, that Israel has imposed a regime of apartheid on the Palestinian people as a whole, wherever they may be. A regime that affects Palestinians in Israel itself, in the territory occupied in 1967 and in the diaspora.’ Thanks to Israel’s clout the report disappeared from the UN website after two days.

Australia bleats its commitment to a two-state solution but Israel renders this impossible as it continues to perpetrate the crime of apartheid and persecution. Mr Morrison, Mr Albanese, Australia urgently needs to uphold international law!

Gareth W R Smith, Byron Bay

and a response from the print edition of the Echo.