A number of well-known and renowned figures and institutes have announced their boycott of Israeli president Shimon Peres’s conference scheduled to be held in Jerusalem next month. This boycott is an expression of their condemnation of Israel’s occupation and violations against the Palestinian people. This has upset Israel, especially since the figures and institutes boycotting the conference are highly regarded and influential worldwide.
After famous physicist Stephen Hawking announced his boycott of the Israeli conference sponsored by Shimon Peres, Israeli media outlets highlighted this issue (the boycott) on Thursday and pointed out its effects and magnitude. Moreover, the media noted that over the past few years, a number of highly regarded figures and institutes, both academic and commercial, have joined campaigns boycotting Israel as an expression of their rejection of the occupation and policies exercised by Israel against the Palestinian people in the occupied territories.
“Haaretz” newspaper revealed the names of the 6 most prominent figures and institutes that have expressed their rejection of the Israeli occupation and policies against Palestinians either by refusing to visit the country and boycotting the conference or by refusing commercial, academic or cultural cooperation with the occupying state of Israel. The list of well-known figures and institutes boycotting Israel and its conference next week mentioned by the newspaper include the following:
- MUJI Japanese network for manufacturing and marketing (wholesale trade), which is a network that manufactures and markets over 7000 products including stationary, food, and cars. In 2010, MUJI refused to open a branch in Israel (despite Israeli insistence) in response to Japanese parties supporting and advocating the cause of the Palestinian people.
- British rock star and musician, Elvis Costello, who cancelled two concerts in Israel in 2010 due to the humiliation Israel exercises against the Palestinian people in the occupied territories. At the time, he commented on the cancellation of his concerts by saying “I cannot make an appearance in a place where they humiliate Palestinians in the name of Israeli national security.”
- In 2010, the British writer and director, Mike Leigh, who was awarded an OBE by the Queen for his services to the film industry, refused to visit Israel due to its violations against the Palestinians in the occupied territories.
- The University of Johannesburg in South Africa, announced its severance of academic ties with Ben-Gurion University in 2011 due to the university’s relations with the Israeli occupation army. Archbishop of South Africa, Desmond Tutu, commented on the University’s decision to boycott Ben- Gurion University saying, “Such relations cannot continue as Israeli universities are an essential part of the Israeli regime and chose to be so.” He stressed his continued support for the international campaign to boycott Israel, withdraw investments from it and impose sanctions on it.
- In 2012, the international American writer, poet, author and social activist, Alice Walker, refused for one of her most critically acclaimed novels, “The Color Purple”, which was awarded both the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize, to be translated into Hebrew. Moreover, in 2009, she participated in a solidarity visit to the Gaza Strip with 60 women from an anti-war group in response to the Israeli war on Gaza.
- This year, world renowned physicist Stephen Hawking announced his boycott of a 3 day Conference being held in Jerusalem under the patronage of the Israeli President Shimon Peres. He also called for an academic boycott of Israel due to its aggressive actions against the Palestinians and its continued occupation of Palestinian territories.