Since its establishment in 2004, PACBI has not witnessed a sustained surge in cultural boycott of Israel such as has occurred in the last year and a half, since the Israeli war of aggression on Gaza. Particularly after the Freedom Flotilla Massacre, leading cultural figures and bands reacted swiftly and decisively.
British literary and academic figures appealed to fellow writers and scholars "to boycott all literary, cultural and academic visits to Israel sponsored by the Israeli government, including those organised by Israeli cultural foundations and universities."
British writer, Iain Banks, stated that the best way for international artists, writers and academics to "convince Israel of its moral degradation and ethical isolation" is "simply by having nothing more to do with this outlaw state." Stéphane Hessel, co-author of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, endorsed this position.
World renowned Swedish writer Henning Mankell, who was on the Freedom Flotilla when attacked, called for South-Africa style global sanctions against Israel in response to its brutality.
Recalling the Rosa Parks-triggered Montgomery bus boycott, best-selling US author Alice Walker called for wide endorsement of BDS against Israel as a moral duty in solidarity with Palestinians, "to soothe the pain and attend the sorrows of a people wrongly treated for generations."
In the world of performing arts, the Klaxons and Gorillaz Sound System cancelled their scheduled concerts in Israel; so did the Pixies. More recently US folk singer Devendra Banhart followed suit. The last band to cancel was Archive.
In the weeks before the Flotilla attack, artists of the caliber of Elvis Costello, Gil Scott-Heron and Carlos Santana all cancelled scheduled performances in Israel after receiving appeals from Palestinian and international BDS groups.