Israel: Culture as Propaganda?


Wednesday 9th December 2015 | 19:00 - 21:00


Speakers: Hazem Jamjoum and Sylvia Ferreira


The Israeli Government tries to legitimate their murder, occupation and apartheid against Palestinians by promoting ‘Brand Israel’. This paints Israel as a peaceful, democratic and progressive state. An important part of this lie involves selling Israel as a cultural hub, paying established foreign artists to perform in the country while sending Israeli artists abroad.

Israel’s use of art as propaganda has partly led to Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaigners pushing for a cultural boycott of Israel. A key part of this has been the Artists Pledge for Palestine where over 700 British artists pledged to boycott Israel culturally or professionally. Recently, JK Rowling argued against this. She has signed, along with controversial figures such as Eric Pickles, a letter against a cultural boycott of Israel stating that “cultural boycotts singling out Israel are divisive and discriminatory, and will not further peace”.

The link between art and Israeli crimes runs even deeper. The Zabludowicz gallery in London is funded by money made manufacturing and selling arms. The gallery’s founder, Poju Zabludowicz, bankrolls the Israeli lobbyist BICOM to the tune of millions.

In this Debates session we’ll be discussing how we can break the link between art and Zionism. How can the cultural boycott of Israel be more effective? What are the best targets? What should our tactics be? And how can we get involved?


From 2008 to 2010, Hazem Jamjoum was the Communications Officer of the Badil Resource Center for Palestinian Residency & Refugee Rights in Bethlehem, Palestine and the editor of its quarterly English language publication al-Majdal. Before that he was the executive director of the largest Palestinian community organization in Canada, and one of the organizers of the first Israeli Apartheid Week in Toronto back in 2005. He is currently a doctoral candidate in History and Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies at New York University.

Sylvia Ferreira is a Contemporary Dance Artist and Performance Activist.A former member of Al Zaytouna Dance Theatre, she has performed leading roles in productions that promote the Palestinian narrative and struggle. Over the years, Sylvia has provided diverse audiences with insights into Palestinian culture through national folk dance performances and workshops.As a Dabke Action Organiser and Performer, she has participated in the Stop Arming Israel Day, the Day of Rage flashmob and the Anti-UKIP Cabaret, amongst others.Sylvia is currently collaborating with a Palestinian artist on a topical Dance Theatre production and will continue taking dance workshops and performances to Refugee Camps in Europe in the new year.




The debate is organised by P21 Gallery in collaboration with Brick Lane Debates.