No Sunday Text Free Palestine 🇵🇸
ZM & GDLP
We aren’t publishing a text this week. Instead, got a favour to ask.
Please could you take the time you’d normally spend reading art criticism, and use it to email your MP. Please ask them to do something, take action and stop the war on Gaza.
Here’s a link to Palestine Solidarity Campaign’s email example. If you put in your postcode, an email template should come up. Please change the wording, put it in your own words. You’ll be more likely to get a response because they’re more likely to actually see it. MPs generally get a lot of emails, so their spam filters will send an auto-reply out to whatever the algorithm picks up as a template.
Alternatively, just freestyle it yourself. Put your postcode in here to get the email addresses for your MP, your local councillors (and if you’re in London, your London Assembly Members). You could email them all.
If you want prompts:
- ask them to call for an immediate ceasefire, a complete end to the attacks on Gaza.
- ask them to call for the siege on Gaza to be lifted, so that aid can be sent in. This siege has been in place since 2007, Palestinians in Gaza were reliant on aid before this current ‘total blockade’. Trucks being sent in from Egypt won’t even touch the sides.
- Remind them that collective punishment is a war crime, the siege of Gaza is a breach of international law, over a million people in Gaza have been forcibly displaced, left without food water or electricity. Hospitals are being bombed, apartment blocks are being flattened, thousands of people are dying. The mass graves are full and they’re running out of body bags — this is morally quite clear, we cannot stand by and watch it happen passively.
- Israel has made it clear that they want to mount a ground invasion of Gaza — this would be absolutely catastrophic, in a situation that’s already so so dire. Urge your MP to oppose this in strong vocal terms.
- Israeli politicians and military leaders are using genocidal language and threats. Israel’s defence minister, Yoav Gallant, described Palestinians in Gaza as “animals”, while other Israeli government figures pledged that Israel would “open the gates of hell.” Still, British politicians repeat over and over that ‘Israel has the right to defend itself’. Defence is not what’s happening in Gaza right now. It’s a genocide. Remind your MP that they represent you, and you would like them to speak out about this on your behalf.
- the UK must stop the export of arms and military technology to Israel. The UK has approved millions of pounds of licences for military equipment to Israeli forces, including components for F-35 fighter jets. These fighter jets are firing bombs into Gaza, in illegal attacks against Palestine’s civilian population. Call for your MP to oppose and speak out against arms sales to Israel, because they are using the weapons we sell them to commit literal war crimes.
- Urge your MP to support independent investigations of all violations of international law, including the open ICC investigation into the case of Palestine.
While you’re here
We’re assuming that if you’re interested in TWP, you’re interested in the arts. This huge industry where culture is made, where culture becomes public! Don’t you think it’s weird and horrible that galleries and arts institutions are silent right now? Barely any of them have spoken out to condemn the literal genocide Israel is committing in Gaza.
If you have time left over after emailing your MP, you could pick an institution (your favourite, your least favourite, the one nearest you) who hasn’t made a public statement of support for the Palestinian people, and email them.
- ask why they haven’t spoken out in solidarity with Palestine, with Gaza, why they haven’t publicly condemned the atrocities and violence committed by Israel.
- ask them to do so as soon as possible.
- ask them about their ethics policy — do they have BDS policies written in currently? If not, why not? Do they accept funding from arms dealers? Ask them if any of this information is publicly available.
Arts institutions normally have a public email address on their websites. Normally a contact@ or hello@ address for general concerns. If you’re worried about hassling overworked front of house staff, or if you’re not sure whether your email will be read by those in charge of making decisions about governance, policy and ethics guidelines — you could put the gallery’s website URL into this email address scraper. It is free! It will show you a couple of email addresses, and the email format the gallery uses, so you can make an educated guess about what a senior staff member’s email might be.
We’re not asking you to be rude or horrible to people. There are many people who work at these galleries who are horrified by the genocide, horrified by the murder of civilians in Gaza, who agree that this must be condemned and stopped. It’s not about the individual people that work there. It’s about the galleries as institutions themselves.
As institutions, galleries make up the social and cultural infrastructure of our public life. They have access to a wider audience of the public, online and offline. An institutional statement of support could be important, it could put Israel’s illegal war in Gaza at the front of people’s minds, it could make this issue unavoidable, it could mean that something is more likely to be done because public mood is louder, clearer. It could change the tone of public consensus, it could change someone’s mind. The more people we convince to speak out, take action by demanding their political representatives act on their behalves, take action by protesting and spreading awareness — the more likely we are to convince the government that their unwavering support of Israel is an untenable political position.
If you’re wondering what any of this has to do with the art world
If you’re wondering why art has to involve itself in politics in the first place, then we don’t see eye to eye, but I do understand your position. Fair enough! Art isn’t life and death in itself. But there are so many links between this war in Gaza and the art world. Artists are being murdered in Gaza, in Palestine, at the hands of the Israeli state — I feel like we owe our peers some solidarity. Even if all we can do is make sure their murders don’t go by unnoticed or unmarked, as if nothing happened. I think we owe them the respect of our outrage. But more clearly than that, there are art world funders with blood on their hands, blood on their money that they’re pushing through the art world in the hope of laundering it (the money and their reputation) clean.
If you haven’t read Morgan Quaintance’s article, Looking Back in Anger (published in Art Monthly 443 in Feb 2021) it is linked here as a pdf.
MAIN IMPORTANT POINTS: Candida Gertler is the co-founder, co- Director and Trustee of Outset Contemporary Art Fund. Her and her husband are also close personal family friends of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
- They hosted Netanyahu’s 70th birthday party at their home in Tel Aviv.
- Netanyahu’s wife, Sarah Netanyahu, attended their son, Raphael Gertler’s wedding in London this year..
- This is Benjamin Netanyahu, just for some context.
- Candida leads fundraising efforts for the Frieze Art Fair Special Acquisitions Fund, which buys artworks to donate to the Tate Collection. Candida and her husband, Zak Gertler, have contributed to the private philanthropic fund.
- As well as the Frieze acquisition Fund, the Gertlers also donate to JNF UK. They are official patrons listed on the organisation’s website. The JNF have been funding Israel’s forcible appropriation of land from Palestinians since the Nakba in 1948. They provide funds to the OR movement, an org involved in constructing an illegal settlement called Hiran to replace the Palestinian village of Umm-al-Hiran. They’ve also supported the illegal settlement of Sansana, a village in the occupied West Bank..
- A reminder that Israeli settlements in the West Bank are in direct violation of international law, please see Article 49 of the 4th Geneva Convention.
If you haven’t heard of the Zabludowiczs and the boycott of their money and patronage, please take the time to read this text: Boycott Zabludowicz
TL;DR **There’s a call to boycott the Zabludowicz Art Trust, including the Zabludowicz Collection. **
This is because their >£1million annual budget comes from Poju & Anita Zabludowicz and their personal fortune, which in turn, is accumulated profit from property (that has included interests on illegally occupied Palestinian land) and dealing and servicing arms to the Israeli Defence Force and Israeli Air Force.
MAIN IMPORTANT POINTS:
- Since 2014, there has been an international call to boycott the Zabludowicz Art Trust and all its various international cultural holdings. The boycott is a collective refusal to work for or with the Zabludowicz Art Trust; a refusal of your work, labour and the sale of your artwork to the Zabludowicz Art Trust, or to visit any of its institutions.
- The institutions include: the Zabludowicz Collection project space in North London, a gallery space in New York’s 1500 Broadway, and a residency programme in Finland. There’s also Daata Editions and Times Square Space, because though they aren’t part of the Zabludowicz Arts Trust, they were set up using Zabludowicz family money. The Zabludowiczs also provided seed funding for ARTA, a fine art shipping startup based in New York.
- The Zabludowicz Art Trust is a charitable organisation run by Poju and Anita Zabludowicz. Poju is the Chairman & Anita is the Director.
- Poju Zabludowicz’s father, Shlomo Zabludowicz founded Soltam Systems in 1950. Soltam Systems is an Israeli defence contractor that manufactures artillery for the Israeli Defence Force (/Israeli Occupation Force). He made millions (est. $200-300 million).
- Poju Zabludowicz is the CEO of a private investment organisation called the Tamares Group. Tamares has a $3billion investment portfolio, including owning shares in Knafaim Holdings. Knafaim is an aviation group, the largest in Israel, and it provides military aircraft maintenance for the Israeli Air Force. Last Friday, the Israeli Air Force tweeted that it has dropped about 6,000 bombs on Gaza, they included pictures of entire blocks of buildings flattened to rubble. This was on Friday 12th October, before the airstrike that hit Al-Ahli Baptist Hospital in Gaza City, killing over 500 people. This is a video of a press conference held by the doctors at Al-Ahli Baptist Hospital. In the clip, a British-Palestinian surgeon called Dr Ghassan Abu-Sittah, a volunteer with Doctors Without Borders (MSF), speaks in English. The bodies are pixellated at the beginning of the clip but there is graphic content.
- Tamares Group’s property holdings have included a shopping centre in Ma’ale Adumim, an illegal settlement in the West Bank. Israeli settlements in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, are in direct violation of international law. These are Israeli colonies on occupied Palestinian land (according to the UN).
- Poju Zabludowicz is the founder and former Chairman of BICOM, the Britain Israel Communications and Research Centre, an organisation founded in 2001 which lobbies the UK government on behalf of Israel. He is reported to have given the pressure group more than £2 million in three years.
This tl;dr is condensed down, we recommend you read the full text: Boycott Zabludowicz if you want clarification, nuance or further understanding.
Thank you for your time & attention on a Sunday. Thank you if you have already emailed and thank you if you do now go and send any emails.