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Sandra Hebron (UK) attends the The British Film Festival in Tel Aviv in spite of appeals by Israeli BDS Activists
BfW`s letter followed by SH`s response:


Dear Sandra Hebron,

We (Boycott! Supporting the Palestinian BDS call from Within - BfW) are a group
of Israeli citizens active against our government`s policies of racism,
occupation and apartheid. Your email contact was passed to us by British artist
and filmmaker, John Smith, who is also a supporter of British Artists for
Palestine and the British Committee for Universities of Palestine. We have
learned that you are scheduled to speak at The British Film Festival in Tel Aviv
on 9 and 10 February. We would like to ask you to reconsider your decision.

The British Film Festival is an integral part of the British Council`s programme
of film activity supporting the UK-Israel Co-Production Film Treaty which was
ratified earlier this year, after its launch at the Haifa International Film
Festival. The British Council is an organization that the Palestinian Campaign
for an Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) has previously taken to
task for promoting cultural cooperation with Israel through the BI Arts scheme,
co-funded by the Israeli Ministry of Culture and Sport and the Ministry of
Foreign Affairs. The British Council is, therefore, part of the same UK
officialdom that has regularly granted immunity to Israel and has refrained from
imposing sanctions of any kind upon this rogue state. Festivals and similar
events, put on by state-supported cultural institutions in Israel, are occasions
par excellence for the Israeli rebranding campaign, and are used by officials to
discredit the growing international support for Palestinian civil societys call
for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS), as well as to show off Israel as a
cultural and artistic haven.

Palestinians have been living under a brutal military occupation for decades,
dispossessed by the ongoing state-sponsored, illegal colonisation of their land.
The Israeli state and its apologists seek to portray Israel within the 1949
`Green line` as a liberal democracy. This is in spite of the fact that the
average Palestinian community inside Israel has lost up to 75% of its land since
1948, while a quarter of all Palestinian citizens are internally displaced,
their property confiscated for use by the state and Jewish towns. An estimated
90,000 Palestinian citizens live in dozens of `unrecognised villages`, which
suffer from home demolitions and a lack of basic infrastructure. Israeli
officials openly talk of `Judaizing` areas and tackling the `threat` posed by
non-Jewish citizens. Residency in many Israeli towns is managed by committees
that filter out those deemed `unsuitable` for the `social fabric`. As Ben White
points out in his recent New Statesman article, these are just a few examples of
what Professor Oren Yiftachel has described as an `ethnocracy`: `Despite
declaring the regime as democratic, ethnicity (and not territorial citizenship)
is the main determinant of the allocation of rights, powers, and resource ...
[and] the logic of ethnic segregation is diffused into the social and political

We are therefore asking you to heed our call, which is also the call coming from
Palestinian civil society, and support the BDS campaign, by cancelling your
talks in Tel Aviv. We will gladly address any comments or questions you may


Boycott! Supporting the Palestinian BDS call from Within (BfW)


Dear BfW

Thank you for your email, and for making me aware of your group and its
concerns. I know and respect John, and I am grateful to you for outlining your

However, I gave a great deal of thought as to whether to accept the British
Council`s invitation to participate in the British Film Festival, and having
made a decision to accept I will not be cancelling my visit.

Yours sincerely
Sandra Hebron



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