British Writers In Support of Palestine

June 6, 2012

BWISP condemns arrest of Nabil Al Raee, Artistic Director of The Freedom Theatre

Filed under: West Bank — Naomi Foyle @ 7:59 pm
Tags: , , , , ,












As reported by Mondoweiss, last night at 3am, Israeli troops entered the home of Nabil Al Raee, Artistic Director of the Freedom Theatre in Jenin Refugee Camp, and arrested him at gunpoint, giving him and his wife no explanation for their actions, and terrifying his three-year old daughter. He is currently being held in a nearby military prison.

Jenin is in Zone A of the West Bank, under Palestinian control and administration, and this arrest by the IDF violates the Oslo Accords.  To be arrested without charge also violates Nabil Al Raee’s human rights.

British Writers in Support of Palestine condemns in unequivocal terms this violent, illegal and repressive act, which is part of a systematic campaign of intimidation clearly directed at the Freedom Theatre itself.   For the last three weeks Freedom Theatre co-founder Zakaria Zubeidi has been held without charge in a prison in Jericho.  The IDF investigation of the murder of founding Artistic Director Juliano Mer Khamis has only ever been directed at Freedom Theatre Staff, and has now been officially closed, ignoring significant forensic evidence.

British Writers in Support of Palestine demands a full and proper investigation into the murder of Juliano Mer Khamis, and the immediate release of Nabil Al Raee and Zakaria Zubeidi, neither of whom have been charged with any crime.  We thank our colleagues in the Irish Palestine Solidarity Campaign for their comprehensive statement placing these recent arrests in the context of the increasing abuse of Palestinian prisoners by Israeli military courts.  With the IPSC we call for the end of Israel’s policy of Administrative Detention and its Unlawful Combatants Law, by means of which Israel interns people without charge; and demand that Israeli courts treat all Palestinian prisoners in accordance with international law, and free all Palestinian political prisoners.

Our thoughts are with Nabil and Zakaria and their families and friends at this dark and uncertain time.

Press Release from The Freedom Theatre in Jenin Refugee Camp, northern West Bank June 6, 2012

At approximately 03:15 am the Israeli army entered the home of Nabil Al-Raee, the Artistic Director of The Freedom Theatre, and took him to an unknown location.

Nabil’s wife, Micaela Miranda explains what happened: “The dog started barking so I went outside and saw soldiers jumping over the gate and come into the yard of the house. They asked for my husband and I asked what for, that it’s my right to know and it’s my house. The soldiers replied that they were not going to tell me. They then took Nabil, brought him to an army jeep and drove off. We are very worried because we don’t know where they took him and why.”

Jonatan Stanczak, Managing Director of The Freedom Theatre: “I live on the floor above Nabil and when I heard what was happening I tried to go down to talk to the soldiers because I speak Hebrew. The house was surrounded by masked Israeli soldiers and three of them immediately pointed their weapons at me and pushed me back into the house.”

Attempts were immediately made to contact the District Coordination Office of the Israeli army but to no avail. More than half the employees of The Freedom Theatre were recently called to interrogations by the Israeli army, including Nabil Al-Raee. All came to the appointments as scheduled and answered to their best of their knowledge the given questions even though they were intimidated and even threatened.

Jonatan Stanczak continues: “I don’t understand why they do this after they know they could simply have made a phone call to Nabil and he would have come to answer any questions or concerns that they might have. Since this has happened so many times in the past, I can’t interpret it as anything else than an ongoing harassment of the employees of The Freedom Theatre and their families by the Israeli army.”

At this point it is unclear if any other members of The Freedom Theatre have been taken during the night. Several of them have not responded to phone calls.


August 12, 2010

Press Release: Irish Artists Unite to Boycott Israel

Filed under: Boycott Israel — Naomi Foyle @ 12:20 am
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Major Irish artists to perform at launch of IPSC ‘Irish artists’ pledge to boycott Israel’

Over 130 Irish creative and performing artists sign pledge to Boycott Israel

Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign

Press Release, Wednesday 11th August 2010, 4pm

The Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC) ‘Irish artists’ pledge to boycott Israel’ will be launched with a musical performance in Meeting House Square, Temple Bar, Dublin 2, this Thursday 12th August at 1pm featuring Eoin Dillon (Kíla), Treasa Ni Cheannabhain and Naisrín Elsafty.

The IPSC has drawn up the following pledge, signed by over 130 Irish creative and performing artists, whereby they undertake to boycott the Israeli state under present circumstances:

“In response to the call from Palestinian civil society for a cultural boycott of Israel, we pledge not to avail of any invitation to perform or exhibit in Israel, nor to accept any funding from any institution linked to the government of Israel, until such time as Israel complies with international law and universal principles of human rights.”
Note for photographers: Along with notable signatories and performers, there will be large format versions of the pledge and signatures, banners, flags and music, as well as supporters of the IPSC present on the day.

Described by the Palestinian Association for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) as “a ground-breaking initiative”, this pledge has so far been signed by over 130 Irish creative and performing artists: novelists, playwrights, poets, actors, composers, singers, dancers, painters, sculptors and filmmakers, ranging from those starting out on their careers to such household names as Christy Moore, Damien Dempsey, Donal Lunny, Robert Ballagh, John Arden, Seamus Deane, Andy Irvine, Bob Quinn, and Sinéad Cusack. The full list of current signatories is attached to this press release.

According to IPSC Cultural Boycott Officer Dr. Raymond Deane, “These artists are aware of the Israeli Foreign Ministry’s statement in 2005 that “We see culture as a propaganda tool of the first rank, and…do not differentiate between propaganda and culture.” These artists refuse to allow their art to be exploited by an apartheid state that disregards international law and universal principles of human rights, but look forward to the day when normal cultural relations can be re-established with an Israel that fully complies with such laws and principles.”

Dr. Deane, himself a classical composer and a signatory of the pledge, recalled Nelson Mandela’s dictum that “boycott is not a principle, it is a tactic depending upon circumstances.” Dr. Deane added: “Five years ago, when 170 Palestinian civil society organisations called a campaign of  Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel, they provided a central plank for worldwide activism on behalf of their cause.”

Dr. Deane continued, “Culture cannot stand aloof from such activism. Whether or not art is ‘above politics’, its presentation and representation in the real world can all too easily be hijacked by oppressive states. With this pledge, Irish artists have an opportunity to distance themselves from such exploitation, and to take a non-violent stand on behalf of the oppressed Palestinian people.”



Dr. Raymond Deane, IPSC Cultural Boycott Officer: 086 8124085
Freda Hughes, IPSC National Chairperson: 086 1260359


The full list, which includes 25 writers:

Signatories of IPSC “Irish Artists’ pledge”, as of 11 August 2010
Scríbhneoir = Writer/Author
Ceoltóir = Musician
Astrid Adler – Visual Artist, Musician, Mime artist
John Arden – Playwright, Novelist
Siobhán Armstrong – Musician
Derek Ball – Composer
Robert Ballagh – Visual Artist
Margo Banks – Painter
Cormac Begley – Musician
Liam Bradley – Musician
Diarmuid Breatnach – Musician, Poet
Cormac Breatnach – Musician
Cecily Brennan – Artist
Ronan Browne – Musician
Conor Byrne – Musician
Roisin Byrne – Visual artist
Séamas Cain – Poet, performance artist
Moya Cannon – Poet
Liam Carson – Scríbhneoir
Clare Cashman – Visual artist
Rhona Clarke – Composer
Siobhán Cleary – Composer
Mickey Coleman – Singer/songwriter
Joe Comerford – Film-maker
Dorothy Cross – Sculptor
Charles Cullen – Visual artist
Michael Cullen – Painter
Cindy Cummings – Dance Artist
Sinéad Cusack – Actor
Margaretta Darcy – Author and playwright
John F Deane – Writer
Raymond Deane – Composer
Seamus Deane – Author
Renate DeBrun – Painter/printmaker
Damien Dempsey – Singer
Tim Dennehy – Singer/Songwriter
Eoin Dillon – Ceoltóir
Keith Donald – Musician
Philip Donnery – Musician
Gráinne Dowling – Visual artist
Robert Doyle – Musician
Roger Doyle – Composer
Felim Egan – Visual artist
Martin A. Egan – Musician
Naisrín Elsafty – Singer
Róisín Elsafty – Singer
Elaine Feeney – Poet
Stephen Gardner – Composer
Anthony Glavin – Novelist and short story writer
Johnny Gogan – Film-maker
Carmel Gunning – Musician
Robbie Harris – Musician
Paul Hayes – Composer
Graham Henderson – Musician
Donogh Hennessy – Musician
Rita Ann Higgins – Poet
Michael Holohan – Composer
Andy Irvine – Musician
Ryan Johnson – Musician
Fergus Johnston – Composer
Fred Johnston – Poet
Trevor Joyce – Poet
Bernadette Kiely – Painter
Brian King – Sculptor
Vincent Kennedy – Composer
Trevor Knight – Music/Theatre
Conor Kostick – Novelist.
Gavin Kostick – Playwright
Dave Lordan – Poet
Donal Lunny – Musician
Pól MacAdaim – Singer/songwriter
Iarla Mac Aodha Bhuí – Scríbhneoir
Mickey MacConnell – Singer/Songwriter
Tony Mac Mahon – Musician
Lorcán Mac Mathúna – Singer
Brian Maguire – Visual artist
Alice Maher – Visual Artist
Brenda Malloy – Musician
Jimmy McCarthy – Singer/songwriter
Martin McElhinney – Musician
Joe McGowan – Author
Jackie McKenna – Sculptor
John McLachlan – Composer
Joleen McLaughlin (Henry) – Musician
Karen McLaughlin (Henry) – Musician
Lorna McLaughlin (Henry) – Musician
Tina Mc Laughlin- Singer/Songwriter
Eoin McLochlainn – Visual artist
John McSherry – Musician
Paul Meehan – Poet
Christy Moore – Musician
Thom Moore – Songwriter, writer/translator
Sharon (Shaz) Morgan – Musician, Photographer
Fiach Moriarty – Singer/Songwriter
Sami Moukkadem – Musician, film-maker, writer
Hassan Ould Muctar – Musician
Conor Mullan – Musician
Janet Mullarney – Visual artist
Gráinne Mulvey – Composer
Jimmy Murphy – Playwright
Niamh Ní Charra – Musician
Peadar Ó Ceannabháin – Singer
Saileog Ní Cheannabháin – Musician
Treasa Ní Cheannabháin – Singer
Áine Ní Chuaig – Musician
Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh – Musician/Singer
Pádraig Ó Baoill – Scríbhneoir
Niall Ó Callanáin – Musician
Eamonn O’Doherty – Architect, Sculptor
Méabh O Hare – Musician/Film-maker
Jane O’Leary – Composer
Brian Ó hUiginn – Musician
Donal O’Kelly – Playwright/Actor
Ciarán Ó Maonaigh – Ceoltóir
Seosamh O Neachtain – Dancer
Eoin O’Neill – Musician
Jerry O’Reilly – Singer
Peadar Ó Riada – Ceoltóir
Gregory Rosenstock – Writer
Pauline Scanlon – Singer
Rossa Ó Snodaigh – Ceoltóir
Paul O’Toole – Singer/Songwriter
Michael Quane – Sculptor
Bob Quinn – Visual artist/filmmaker
Jim Ricks – Visual Artist
Stephen Rothschild – Painter/printmaker.
Mary Russell – Author
Dermot Seymour – Painter
John W. Sexton – Poet.
Eileen Sheehan – Poet
Ronan Sheehan – Novelist
Michael Smith – Poet and translator
Hugh Travers – Writer
Caoimhín Vallely – Ceoltóir
Laura Vecchi – Painter/writer
John Wakeman – Poet
Hilary Wakeman – Author
Hazel Walker – Visual artist
William Wall – Author
Ronan Wilmot – Actor/Director
Steve Woods – Film-maker
Adam Wyeth – Poet

Blog at