Boycott on Israeli Literature

From the Z Word Blog:

Furious debates continue to rage around the Paris book fair, which has just begun and goes until 19 March, and the Turin book fair, scheduled for May, following the decision of both fairs to highlight Israel’s literary achievements in a year marking the 60th anniversary of the State’s creation.

A number of Arab and Muslim countries, as well as several individual authors and independent publishers, decided to boycott the book fairs because of Israel’s participation.

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One Comment on “Boycott on Israeli Literature”

  1. Michael Kalmanovitz Says:


    On Monday 31 March over two dozen people picketed the Italian Embassy in London with placards, banners and loudhailers, calling for a boycott of the Turin Book Fair, which has invited Israel as the “guest of honour”.

    Protesters were appalled that the President of the Italian Republic has added his weight to this decision by publicising his intention to open this Book Fair on May 8, even though this is in the week of Nakba – the 60th anniversary of the ethnic cleansing of Palestinian people by the Israeli state.

    Jewish anti-Zionist women and men in the Global Women’s Strike and Payday men’s network, who called the picket, and activists from Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods (J-BIG) and Camden – Abu Dis Friendship Association (CADFA) were vocal in their denunciation of Israel’s deputy defence minister Vilnai’s call for a “shoah” – a holocaust – against people in Gaza. A speaker from the Utility Workers Union of America (AFL-CIO) decried that the AFL leadership had helped support and finance the occupation.

    Anti-Book Fair demonstrations at the weekend in Turin, Rome & Milan were reported to the picket. Over 700 people had rallied in Turin’s main square, with street theatre and a photo exhibition; and there were sit-ins at Feltrinelli bookshops in Milan and Rome because they announced that they would take part in the Book Fair. The police attacked the demonstrators in Milan following an afternoon of provocation by Zionists, who tried to tear up one of the banners.

    Representatives of the London picket tried to deliver a letter of protest to the Ambassador, but the carabiniere representing the Embassy said that the Ambassador would not accept the letter without an appointment! A demonstrator commented on her loudhailer that “They’d rather welcome Israeli Zionists!”

    Demonstrators, who were also from Canada, Egypt, Germany, Iran, Israel, Italy, New Zealand, Sweden, Turkey and the US, were incensed at the Ambassador’s refusal and declared that they would contact their networks to flood the Embassy with letters.
    Please email this letter or write your own to the Italian Embassy in your country.
    Please CC the Global Women’s Strike & Payday men’s network
    For the list of Italian Embassies check

    We protest against the outrageous decision of the Turin Book Fair to make Israel its “guest of honour”. If this decision to invite and honour Israel is not rescinded, the Book Fair must be boycotted.

    The invitation has sinister echoes in the UK: on 7 April Prince Philip hosted a dinner in Windsor Castle for the Jewish National Fund, a key Zionist organisation that has dispossessed & expelled Palestinian people from their lands.

    We find it all the more astonishing that President of the Italian Republic Giorgio Napolitano plans to open the Fair on 8 May considering that the Fair’s President, Rolando Picchioni, was a member of the Masonic Lodge P2, led by Lucio Gelli, who was not only a fervent admirer of the Fascist leader Mussolini, but a liaison officer with the Hermann Goering SS division. In the ‘70s the P2 infamously planned a right-wing coup d’état in Italy.

    Those of who are Jewish are particularly outraged that the Israeli State is so eager to take a part in the fair organized by an old associate of Nazis. This collaboration, however, is less surprising following Israel’s deputy defence minister Vilnai’s Nazi call for a “shoah” – a holocaust – against people in Gaza.

    Calling for a boycott in response to inviting the Israeli State to the Paris & Turin Book Fairs, Israeli poet Aharon Shabtai said:

    “The book event, or any other kind of exhibition in which the Israeli State is invited, is not a way to promote peace in the Middle East, and not a way to bring justice to the Palestinians, but only propaganda to give Israel an image of being a liberal & democratic society. A State which maintains an occupation & commits daily crimes against civilians does not deserve to be invited to whichever cultural week.”

    The Union of Palestinian Writers & Intellectuals has also called for a boycott. And there are protests, demonstrations & boycott demands planned throughout Italy: on 5th February the headquarters of organizers of the Fair, Fondazione del Libro, was occupied; Italian book publishers have launched an appeal; a petition is being circulated & signed internationally by MEPs, students, workers, teachers & prominent individuals; demonstrations took place in Turin, Milan and Rome on 29th March; and your London embassy was picketed on 31st March.

    For the organisers of the Book Fair to honour Israel in the week before Nakba is not only a provocation but also a disgraceful defence of the murder, rape & torture that is the Israeli occupation.

    This occupation is one with the occupation of Iraq: military control of oil & water in the Middle East for the real axis of evil – US, Israel & their European stooges. And now the Italian authorities have shown they are complicit in the additional crime of Nakba denial.
    Global Women’s Strike 020 7482 2496
    Payday men’s network 020 7209 4751

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