Sydney Festival Photo: www.sydneyfestival.org.au
More than 20 international performers have pulled out of the 2022 Sydney Festival over what they say the “artwashing” of the Israeli apartheid and oppression of the Palestinian people.
The mass boycott of the event came after Israel was listed as a partner of the annual festival after its embassy in Australia made a $20,000 donation in support of an Israeli choreographer.
The Palestinian Justice Movement Sydney pointed out that the deal was orchestrated in May 2021, when Israel launched a major attack on the Gaza Strip in which more than 250 Palestinians were killed.
“Palestine advocates call on all opponents of apartheid to boycott the 2022 Sydney Festival,” it said.
“By partnering with Israel, Sydney festival will … contribute to the normalization of an apartheid regime.”
An open letter titled Do Better on Palestine called on the festival organizers to cancel its partnership with the Israeli government.
“Israel has long used culture and the arts to cloak its atrocities against the Palestinian people,” the letter stated.
“The Sydney Festival Star Partnership with the Israeli embassy” serves to “artwash” the Israeli regime’s “violent control over the lives of Palestinians and enables the apartheid regime to continue to breach the human rights of Palestinians with impunity,” it added.
At least 23 performances have so far pulled out of the festival in protest at the Israeli sponsorship of the event.