A Czech event focusing on Jerusalem as the united capital of the Jewish state is the most recent cultural program under attack by anti-Israel activists.
Jerusalem continues to be a major focus of anti-Israel activism. Most recently, enemies of the Jewish state have taken up arms against an event in the Czech Republic that highlights Jerusalem as the united capital of Israel.
A group of known anti-Israel activists, including linguist Noam Chomsky and British film director Ken Loach, have united in protest against the Days of Jerusalem Festival, which is to included in the 2015 European City of Culture at the end of June in Pilsen, the Czech Republic. They claim that the event is helping to “legitimize Israel’s political strategy,” Radio Prague reports.
The Days of Jerusalem in Prague festival was established three years ago under the auspices of the Prague and Jerusalem municipalities. Plans to hold the festival in the city of Pilsen this year, within the framework of European City of Culture, have sparked a wave of criticism by Czech anti-Israel activists, including former foreign Minister Jan Kavan. At the end of April, they wrote an open letter to the organizers, calling on them to cancel the Days of Jerusalem program.
They failed with their petition and resorted to stepping up the pressure in other ways. On Thursday, they published an open letter addressed to the European Commission, parliament, and council, suggesting that the European Capital of Culture was helping legitimize what they termed the illegal annexation of Jerusalem.
Among the signatories are a number of notorious Israel haters, such as author Alice Walker, musician Roger Waters and history professor Shlomo Sand.
“The festival Days of Jerusalem is without any doubt introducing the city of Jerusalem as an Israeli city. We don’t agree with this because it is contrary to international law and the European Union. When we take into account that the event is partly financed by the EU, it constitutes a big problem for us,” one activist told Prague Radio.
Culture, Not Politics
The head of Pilsen European City of Culture, Jiří Suchánek, emphasizes that the festival is a strictly apolitical event. “I want to stress that we cannot combine politics and culture, we strictly divide these two things. Days of Jerusalem is a multi-genre festival focusing on different types of audiences and includes dance, music, visual arts, film and gastronomy and in no way can it be connected with politics. We are aware of the sensitivity of this topic and moreover we support the cooperation of both Jewish and Arab artists at this festival,” Prague Radio quotes him as saying.
The participation of Palestinian artists does not rectify the situation, one anti-Israel spokesperson said.
The organizers of Days of Jerusalem in Prague and Pilsen insist that despite the controversies, they are planning to go ahead with the event.
By: Max Gelber, United with Israel
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