Category Archives: Eastern and Western European States, USA, Canada

Israel demands Germany to defund NGOs, the Berlin Berlinale Film Festival and the Jewish Museum in Berlin

An official seven page letter from mid September, sent by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office to Chancellor Angelika Merkel, was published on December 6. The letter demanded Germany to cut its funding of the Jewish Museum in Berlin over the exhibition, Welcome to Jerusalem, since it “presents a Muslim-Palestinian perspective of the city”. The museum’s main exhibition is running since December 2017. The Jewish Museum said in a statement that “We believe open dialogue on controversial issues is crucial to allow (the museum’s) visitors to form their own position on the matter and judge it for themselves.”

Also listed are 12 NGOs and culture organizations, initiatives and institutions that Israel demands Germany fiscally divest from, including the Berlin International Film Festival (the Berlinale), exchange and funding programmes from the German Foreign Ministry, Women Wage Peace, Action Medeor, the Catholic Relief Services, and the Israeli opinion and news website +972 Magazine, which receives funding from the Heinrich Böll Foundation (politically associated with the German Green Party). The letter urges Germany to “review its funding guidelines” for organizations that are involved in “anti-Israeli propaganda” or endorse the anti-Israeli BDS movement (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions).

Sources: Die Tageszeitung (TAZ) December 6, 2018; Hyperallergic.com; Haaretz.comynetnews.com ; Sueddeutsche Zeitung, December 19, 2018

Fly The Flag for Human Rights

For a campaign of arts organisations and human rights charities to mark the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, artist Ai Weiwei has created a flag to celebrate universal human rights in UK. On 24 — 30 June 2019 schools and organisations are called “to celebrate that human rights are for everyone, every day.”

The website offers tutorials and information material for schools.

Cultural Loyalty Bill in Israel – temporary stopped

Some 1,000 Israelis turned out for the Oct. 27 demonstration in Tel Aviv against proposed legislation known as the “Loyalty in Culture” law.
Minister of Culture and Sports Miri Regev plans a cultural loyalty bill that would allow to cut state funding to cultural institutions which violate the so-called Nakba Law. The Nakba Law authorises Israel’s finance minister to revoke funding from institutions that reject Israel’s character as a “Jewish state” or mark the country’s Independence Day as a day of mourning. In fact, every one of the 98 requests to enforce the Nakba Law submitted in the past year were rejected by the Finance Ministry’s legal adviser, including 17 requests that came from the Culture Ministry. The Cultural Loyalty Bill would transfer the authority to revoke government funding to cultural institutions tot the Ministry of Culture and Sports. Regev would have the power to cut a quarter, a third and even half the budget of every Israeli theater. In Israel, with its relatively small culture market, survival hinges on government funds.
Speaking at the protest, actress, dancer and choreographer Renana Raz said “The desire to tame the art in law is so foolish, but more than that is also evil and even more than that – it is doomed to failure. Because to want loyalty in culture is to change the DNA of art, of creativity, of life.”

Sources: Al Monitor: Israel’s ‘Loyalty in Culture’ law spreads to other ministries (November 8), Israeli artists campaign against ‘Loyalty in Culture’ law (October 30); Haarez: Regev’s Loyalty Law (November 12); Jerusalem Post: HUNDREDS PROTEST ‘CULTURAL LOYALTY BILL’ IN TEL AVIV (November 12)

UPDATE: Scheduled for final vote on Monday November 26, the bill has been removed for an indefinite time from the Knesset agenda.  (Sources: Deutsche Welle, Jerusalem Post)

European Balconies Project launched

“Because Europe means unifying people, not integrating states…The European Council is hereby decommissioned. The European Parliament now has the power to make law.
Long live the European Republic!” On 10 November at 4 pm from over 150 balconies at public places and theatres all over Europe the manifesto for the proclamation of the European Republic was declared.
ITI Germany was co-organizer of the event at art center Kunstquartier Bethanien in Berlin-Kreuzberg. See all initiatives and comments at the project’s website.

European Balcony Project

 

DECLARATION OF THE MANY

Solidarity over privilege. It’s about all of us. Freedom for the Arts!
DIE VIELEN e.V. / THE ASSOCIATION OF THE MANY.

A German wide campaign was launched with press conferences in Düsseldorf, Hamburg, Dresden and Berlin on 9 November and focuses on the self-activation of networks in culture in order to become active against discrimination and for artistic freedom.

Joint actions, events and discussions are planned, such as the nationwide demonstration of art and culture in May 2019 together with other civil society groups.

The BERLIN DECLARATION OF THE MANY which ITI Germany has signed is part of the campaign . Individuals can support the declaration and express their attachment to the campaign via the website.

DIE VIELEN 

“The Challenges of Artistic Freedom”: Symposium and Round Table with ACAR at Maribor Festival

On Tuesday, 23rd October 2018, a Symposium and a Roundtable with international participants, co-organized by the Slovene Centre ITI, the German Centre ITI, ACAR and the Maribor Theatre Festival in the frame of the 70th Anniversary of ITI Worldwide will take place in the scope of the 53rd Maribor Theatre Festival.

On this one-day event, prominent specialists and guests will discuss current themes of evaluating and treating artistic (or the artist’s) freedom, mainly focusinthe g on various forms of violation, (self-)censorship or the restriction of activity, creation, and expression. Nowadays, even in Europe, these limitations primarily appear as financial pressure, various prohibitions, sentences and forms of violence; they also hit close to home because of certain notorious events involving Slovenian artists and Slovenian theatre tours abroad. By presenting not only different cases and systems of monitoring such violations, but also the Freemuse report, we will also focus our round-table observations on the challenges of the future and possible solutions and awareness of the basic norms of democracy, so clearly stated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, as well as in the constitutions and other legal documents of countries worldwide.

Among guest participants are Dr. Darko Lukić, theatre scholar, playwright and novelist, tenured professor at the Academy of Drama Arts University of Zagreb, as Keynote Speaker; Thomas Engel, managing director of the German Centre ITI and founding member of the ITI ACAR; Thomas Irmer, member of the German Centre ITI, scholar, critic and dramaturg, member of the ITI ACAR; Srirak Plipat, executive director of Freemuse; Tomasz Kireńczuk, dramaturg, theatre critic, programmer and art projects curator, programme director of the Nowy Theatre in Krakow and programme director for the International Theatre Festival Dialog – Wrocław; and others.

The event will take place in English, chaired by Tatjana Ažman, dramaturg, head of the Slovene Centre ITI and member of the Executive Council ITI Worldwide and Rok Andres, dramaturg and theatre researcher.