Great-grandson of S.Y Agnon to McEwan: Don’t shake hands with apartheid

Israeli activists from the Boycott From Within disrupted an event with British author Ian McEwan this evening in Jerusalem. McEwan, the recipient of this year’s Jerusalem Prize for Literature, was asked by Israeli and Palestinian activists to boycott the prize and not ‘whitewash’ Israeli violations of international law in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem. Ignoring the boycott call, McEwan accepted the prize and gave a strong speech denouncing Israeli actions towards the Palestinians. McEwan also visited the weekly protest against settlement activity in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah with Israeli writer David Grossman.[youtube][/youtube]

This evening, activists held a banner in front of McEwan at a large literary event connected to the book festival in Jerusalem. The banner, “Ian McEwan Shaking Hands with Apartheid”, was a reference to McEwen’s photo opportunities with Jerusalem mayor Nir Barkat and Israeli president Shimon Peres as part of his prize recognition. Fittingly, one of the activists who held the banner is the great grandson of Nobel prize wining Israeli author S.Y. Agnon. Activists also handed out fliers about BDS in the auditorium hall (see below).


Tonight’s action was part of a growing number of protests aimed at Jerusalem’s international appeal. Mayor Nir Barkat has announced major changes to Jerusalem branding from simply a holy place to an international cultural capital. Events such as the Jerusalem book festival, next months first ever Jerusalem Marathon and other cultural events in the city are part of Barkat’s master plan to rebrand the city. Israeli activists have been successful in disrupting these events in order to bring light to the aggressive policies of ethnic cleansing that are taking place in East Jerusalem.

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