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Leading Artists Demand Accountability For Israel’s Killing Of Abu Akleh

Above Photo: Shireen Abu Akleh. Social Media.

Pedro Almodovar, Susan Sarandon, Tilda Swinton, Mark Ruffalo, Eric Cantona, Miriam Margolyes, Jim Jarmusch, Naomi Klein and Peter Gabriel call for “meaningful measures to ensure accountability for the killing of Shireen Abu Akleh and all other Palestinian civilians.”

More than a hundred artists, including Hollywood stars, acclaimed authors and prominent musicians, have condemned Israel’s killing of esteemed Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh.

Actors Susan Sarandon, Tilda Swinton, Mark Ruffalo, Kathryn Hahn and Steve Coogan are among the signatories to an open letter calling for “full accountability for the perpetrators of this crime and everyone involved in authorizing it”.

Abu Akleh, well-known across the Arab world for her reporting on Israel’s occupation and apartheid system, was shot dead last week while wearing a press vest. Israeli human rights group B’Tselem has refuted attempts by Israeli leaders to deflect responsibility.

In a joint statement, film directors Pedro Almodovar, Carol Morley, Boots Riley, Asif Kapadia and Michael Winterbottom join musicians Tom Morello, Massive Attack, Ben UFO and Seun Kuti in supporting calls from Palestinian human rights groups for “proportional, targeted measures to hold Israel to account for its crimes, and to end its impunity”.

Susan Sarandon added, “I am saddened and angered by the murder of Shireen Abu Akleh and by the appalling attack on her funeral. I now know more than ever that without serious accountability and serious measures by our governments, apartheid and occupation will not end soon”.

The artists and public figures criticised a “pattern of violence, harassment, and intimidation against Palestinian journalists who are shining a light on what Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and Israel’s leading human rights organization, B’Tselem, have described as a system of apartheid imposed on the Palestinian people”.

Citing the response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, authors Colm Tóibín, Kamila Shamsie, Arundhati Roy, Philip Pullman and Monica Ali called on Western governments to “end their hypocrisy and to act with consistency in the application of international law and human rights”.

The signatories, who include actor and former footballer Eric Cantona, author Naomi Klein, DJ Marea Stamper (The Blessed Madonna) and author and economist Yanis Varoufakis, concluded: “There must be no double standards when it comes to the basic human right to freedom from persecution and oppression and the right to life and to dignity”.

Letter In Full

“We are deeply disturbed by the Israeli occupation forces’ killing of the highly respected Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, as she arrived, wearing a clearly marked press vest, to report on an Israeli incursion in the occupied city of Jenin last Wednesday. As we grieve her loss, we call for full accountability for the perpetrators of this crime and everyone involved in authorizing it.

The attack by heavily armed Israeli forces on Palestinian mourners further dismayed and horrified us. Soldiers beat and kicked mourners and pallbearers in the grounds of the St. Joseph Hospital in occupied East Jerusalem, to prevent them from carrying Abu Akleh’s coffin and marching to the church for the planned funeral service.

What are we to make of the brazenness and cruelty of this attack on human dignity?

The killing of Shireen Abu Akleh is a grave breach of international humanitarian law and an attack on journalism and freedom of expression. UN and international human rights experts have said that it may constitute a war crime and should be subject to an independent, transparent international investigation. Yet, it is far from being an isolated event.

Israeli forces have killed 45 journalists since 2000, injuring many more, simply for doing their job. These crimes are part of a pattern of violence, harassment, and intimidation against Palestinian journalists who are shining a light on what Amnesty InternationalHuman Rights Watch, and Israel’s leading human rights organization, B’Tselem, have described as a system of apartheid imposed on the Palestinian people.

For many years Palestinian human rights and civil society groups have been calling on the international community to take proportional, targeted measures to hold Israel to account for its crimes, and to end its impunity. We fully support this call.

When Israel’s policies blatantly violate international laws and norms, it is because Western powers have consistently provided diplomatic cover for it to do so. It has not gone unnoticed that while our governments have rushed to impose blanket boycotts and sanctions in response to Russia’s illegal invasion of the Ukraine and the cruelty of its attacks on a civilian population, the same governments continue to fund and shield Israel’s decades-long occupation and grave human rights violations against Palestinians.

Meanwhile, our governments are taking anti-democratic measures to repress their own citizens’ nonviolent campaigns of pressure aimed at holding Israel, and the companies and institutions that are complicit in its system of oppression, to account.

We call on our governments to end their hypocrisy and to act with consistency in the application of international law and human rights. We call on them to take meaningful measures to ensure accountability for the killing of Shireen Abu Akleh and all other Palestinian civilians. There must be no double standards when it comes to the basic human right to freedom from persecution and oppression and the right to life and to dignity.”

Full List Of 126 Signatories

Khalid Abdalla, actor
Hany Abu Assad, film director
Tunde Adebimpe, musician
Ahsan Akbar, poet
Yasmine Al Massri, actor
Omar Al Qattan, film director
Monica Ali, author
Candace Allen writer
Pedro  Almodovar, film director
Anthony Anaxagorou, poet
Ramin Bahrani, film director
Adam Bakri, actor
Saleh Bakri, actor
Joslyn Barnes, producer
Roy Battersby, TV director
Sarah Beddington, filmmaker, artist
Ronan Bennett, author, screenwriter
Frances Black, singer
Nicholas Blincoe, author
Iciar Bollain, film director
Juan Diego Botto, actor
Haim Bresheeth, filmmaker, scholar
Victoria Brittain, writer
Adam Broomberg, artist
David Calder, actor
Carmen Callil, publisher, editor
Eric Cantona, actor
Iggor Cavalera, musician
Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, choreographer
Julie Christie, actor
Isabel Coixet, film director
Steve Coogan, actor, comedian
Mark Cousins, writer, director
Liam Cunningham, actor
William Dalrymple, author
Angela Davis, author
Andy de la Tour, actor
Jeremy Deller, artist
Stephen Dillane, actor
Sara Driver, film director
Ben Ehrenreich, author
Brian Eno, musician
Jodie Evans, producer
Shepard Fairey, artist
Bella Freud, designer
Peter Gabriel, musician
Trevor Griffiths, playwright, screenwriter
Kathryn Hahn, actor
Charles Hayward, musican
M Imhotep, musician
Nicolás Jaar, musician
Gemma Jackson, production designer
Jim Jarmusch, film director
Asif Kapadia, film director
Aki Kaurismaki, film director
John Keane, artist
Brigid Keenan,  author
Patrick Keiller, filmmaker
Peter Kennard, artist
AL Kennedy, author
Jennine Khalik,  journalist
Naomi Klein, author, activist
Peter Kosminsky, screenwriter, director
Jan Kounen, film director
Nancy Kricorian, author
Hari Kunzru, author
Seun Kuti, musician
Pau Laverty, screenwriter
Mike Leigh, film director
Laima Leyton musician, artist
Jim Loach, film director
Ken Loach, film director
Dónal Lunny, musician
Mahmood Mamdani, author
Miriam Margolyes, actor
Kika Markham, actor
Yann Martel, author
Emer Martin, author
Massive Attack, band
Kleber Mendonça Filho, film director
Christy Moore, musician
Thurston Moore, musician
Tom Morello, musician
Carol Morley, film director
Laura Mulvey, film scholar
Karthika Nair, poet
Mira Nair, film director
Courttia Newland, author, screenwriter
Pratibha Parmar, film director
Maxine Peake, actor
Aubrey Powell, designer
Philip Pullman, author
Stephen Rea,  actor
Boots Riley, screenwriter, director
Bruce Robbins, author, literary scholar
Olga Rodriguez, author
Jacqueline Rose, author, scholar
Arundhati Roy, author
Mark Ruffalo, actor
Alberto San Juan, actor
Susan Sarandon, actor
Alexei Sayle, comedian, author
James Schamus, screenwriter, producer
Nick Seymour, musician
Kamila Shamsie, author
Tai Shani, artist
Alia Shawkat, actor
Marea Stamper, DJ
Juliet Stevenson, actor
Tilda Swinton, actor
Colm Tóibín, author
Ricky Tomlinson, actor
Ben UFO, DJV, author, playwright
Yanis Varoufakis, author
Mirza Waheed, author
Harriet Walter, actor
Roger Waters, musician
Irvine Welsh,  author
Monique Wilson, actor, activist
Jane Wilson, artist
Louise Wilson, artist
Michael Winterbottom, film director
Penny Woolcock, screenwriter, director
Susan Wooldridge, actor
Robert Wyatt, musician

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