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Israel boycott targets Tate exhibit

Helen Jacobus
Jewish Chronicle
9 August 2002


A TATE Britain exhibition by an avant-garde Tel Aviv-born artist is the latest target of campaigners for a boycott of Israeli goods and events.

The London branch of the Pales-tine Solidarity Campaign is urging supporters to demonstrate against or send written protests about the show, by photographer and video artist Ori Gersht, 34.

Running until August 26, the “Afterglow” exhibition features photographic and video images of disputed territory in Israel — and of Arab towns and villages. The artist — who holds dual British and Israeli nationality — said the boycott attempt reflected “ignorance of the lowest kind.”

Speaking from Israel, he told the JC that his portrayal of the country’s ancient landscape demonstrated the “absurdity of conflict. I’m interested in the poetical resonance of this land.

“The boycott only shows tyranny and disrespect for freedom of speech and inspiration. What I’m doing is so much more philosophical,” he said.

A Tate Britain spokesman said that it was “not the policy of the gallery to discriminate against artists on the grounds of race, nationality or religion.” Any protest letters would be dealt with on an “individual basis.”

Meanwhile, top academics are due to meet at the Board of Deputies’ London offices next Wednesday to formulate a “strong and unified response” to the boycott of Israeli universities and academics.

The initiative is in response to the sacking of two Israeli academics from the editorial boards of two privately owned journals of translation studies. The journals are edited by Mona Baker, a professor of translation studies at the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology.

Board director-general Neville Nagler said that “a unified response from those within the academic world” was desperately needed.

He added that some academics were already taking individual action.

One is Norman Fenton, professor of computer science at Queen Mary College, University of London, who is refusing to attend, or give seminars at UMIST, or at the Open University, the teaching base of Professor Steven Rose, who is leading the academic boycott against Israel.


Cultural Boycott of Israel - Includes information on upcoming cultural events featuring israeli participation - target details with sample letters, etc.