The Baramki House: The
Absent / Present
We in the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of
Israel (PACBI) call upon international civil society to support our efforts
to return the Baramki House in Jerusalem to its rightful Palestinian owners,
the Baramki family. After the death of his father, Gabi Baramki continued
the effort to reclaim the family home, but to no avail. In 1999, the Baramki
House was transformed into “The Museum on the Seam” by the Israeli Jerusalem
Foundation, which advertised as its mission its hope to “advance dialogue
amongst us despite our different viewpoints. We must commit ourselves to a
social dialogue that is based on what we have in common and what unites us
rather than on what divides us and keeps us apart.”
The story of the Baramki House is only one of thousands of similar stories;
but this particular case exemplifies the wider injustice. In August 2012,
Gabi Baramki passed away, leaving behind a rich legacy of struggle for
Palestinian rights and for developing Palestinian educational institutions.
The struggle for freedom, justice and equal rights, to which Gabi dedicated
his entire life, continues.
We in PACBI
see this Museum as an embodiment of Israeli criminality, hypocrisy, property
theft, colonization, oppression and persistent denial of the Palestinians’
very presence and the rights that go along with it. We demand that
international law be implemented, and the Baramki House be returned to its
legitimate Palestinian owners, the Baramki family.
Int’l Conference on Cultural Psychiatry in Mediterranean
community Mental Health Programme (GCMHP) is disturbed by the news about holding
the 1st International conference on cultural Psychiatry in Mediterranean
countries in Tel Aviv. They
appeal to the international
mental health community and professionals to boycott this conference.
On Music, Politics and Ethical Responsibility
September, in the lead up to a performance by the Red Hot Chili Peppers in
apartheid Israel, a worldwide campaign calling on them to cancel their show
gathered steam. Over the last several months, our South African, Lebanese,
Indian, American, Israeli, and Italian partners, among others, had all written
letters to RHCP, and a petition was set up that garnered over 7500 signatures
, a first of its kind.
In Lebanon, days before their show, the famous band, Mashrou3 Leila, announced
that it would be opening for RHCP and a huge online debate spurred about the
ethics of such a show in light of RHCP performing in Israel a few days later.
One of the most salient arguments used against those who were calling for
Mashrou3 Leila to cancel, as well as against those calling on RHCP to boycott
Israel, was that music should be separate from politics, indeed “above”
politics. This argument is based on various taken-for-granted claims, the most
frequently repeated of which are: Music has nothing to do with politics; music
should build bridges and peace not fall prey to conflict; music is about
bringing smiles and human compassion to an audience; and a musical performance
is not a political act. All artists who have crossed the cultural boycott
“picket line,” whether in the South African or Palestinian context, have
resorted to a similar logic to justify their acts of complicity. Let us consider
why in the context of Israel’s colonialism, occupation and apartheid the notion
that music and art are above politics rings hollow.
Since its inception Israel has taken great pains to destroy or inhibit the
development of Palestinian culture and to target Palestinians who chose cultural
production as their method of resistance. For decades, Israeli leaders routinely
proclaimed that Palestine didn't exist as a nation, and Israeli authorities and
complicit institutions attempted to destroy or confiscate indigenous Palestinian
culture, heritage, tradition, history and identity, if not explicitly then
through convoluted schemes and arbitrary laws.