Boycott Pop-Kultur Festival campaign – 26 August 2020
After a years-long human rights campaign, Pop Kultur Berlin Festival is not partnering with or promoting the embassy of apartheid Israel this year, apparently for practical reasons related to the online-only nature of the 2020 edition. Still, the absence of the embassy will be welcomed by supporters of Palestinian human rights. But the festival should drop the embassy permanently.
The campaign to boycott Pop-Kultur Berlin festival has seen fifteen artists across three editions withdraw or distance themselves from the festival’s complicity in racism and artwashing Israel’s war crimes. It will continue if and when the festival once again partners with the Israeli embassy.
Recently, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that advocating for the Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement is protected speech. Hundreds of scholars and artists have pledged to oppose political litmus tests in Germany, and hundreds more have defended Black, brown and queer artists targeted by an ugly and growing McCarthyism within elitist German cultural and academic institutions.
Yet, instead of Pop-Kultur Berlin meeting its basic ethical obligation to end its complicity in Israel’s far-right regime of annexation, ethnic cleansing, occupation and apartheid, the festival has for years systematically engaged in the shameful political testing of potential artists, radically narrowing its once diverse programme as a result. It must end its repressive policy regarding what artists should say and think about Palestinian human rights.