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Muslims boycott Israeli-Arab art festival

Anti-Israel demonstrators. (AP/Michel Euler)

Some Muslims have decided to boycott an Arab art festival held in Israel, to which a curator responded that they were motivated by anti-Semitism.

At the behest of the anti-Israel BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement, several Muslim artists have decided to boycott the Mediterranean Biennale, an Israeli Arab-run festival held in the Sakhnin Valley in the north, where several Arab villages are situated.

The Third Mediterranean Biennale – in which 60 artists from 25 countries, including Kuwait, Morocco and Algeria, will display their works – is scheduled to open this week.

However, five Muslim artists demanded that their works be removed from the exhibit, saying they wished to show solidarity with the Palestinians.

Belu-Simion Fainaru, one of the curators, responded that their decision was politically motivated and supportive of BDS, “which aims to boycott Israel in any possible venue.”

Fainaru slammed BDS as a modern form of anti-Semitism. ”They are trying to disseminate anti-Semitism throughout the world by harming Israel, while tarnishing its name and isolating it.”

He underscored the power of art to transcend political disagreements and to serve as a tool for free speech, which creates bridges between people.

“I believe art is above politics, and its true power is in creating love and solidarity among people,” Fainaru said.

He stressed that the works of art were being presented to Arabs living in northern Israel, as the event’s objective as a cultural venue is to create discourse, “while opposing the enhancement of hatred and animosity through boycotts.”

The BDS movement promotes financial, academic and cultural boycotts against Israel, ostensibly as a nonviolent struggle against the so-called “Israeli occupation.” Critics say its activities are a modern form of anti-Semitism and that its true objective is to destroy the State of Israel.

By: World Israel News Staff

Aryeh Savir: