Artists’ letter on Trump & Jerusalem

Image: Ahmad Gharabli / AFP

Today’s Guardian newspaper carries a letter signed by one hundred artists, including prominent writers, filmmakers and musicians in response to Donald Trump’s ‘recognition’ of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Alongside Peter other signatories include actors Mark Ruffalo and Tilda Swinton, musicians Brian Eno and Robert Wyatt, writers Selma Dabbagh and Ahmed Masoud, filmmaker Ken Loach and poet Michael Rosen. In the letter the signatories state:

The Guardian reports (10th December) President Macron’s comment that recent US moves on the status of Jerusalem are a threat to peace. They are much more than that.

In recognising Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, Donald Trump seeks to achieve through a declaration what Israel has been trying to do for fifty years through force of arms: to erase Palestinians, as a political and cultural presence, from the life of their own city.

The Palestinian people of Jerusalem are already subject to municipal discrimination at every level, and a creeping process of ethnic cleansing. In addition to the continuing policy of house demolitions, in the last fifteen years, at least thirty-five Palestinian public institutions and NGOs in occupied East Jerusalem have been permanently or temporarily closed by the occupying forces. Cultural institutions have been a particular target.

At the same time Israeli authorities and entrepreneurs have spent millions in clearing Palestinian neighbourhoods to create ‘heritage’ projects that promote a myth of mono-ethnic urban identity, said to stretch back 3000 years.

We reject Trump’s collusion with such racist manipulation, and his disregard for international law. We deplore his readiness to crown the Israeli military conquest of East Jerusalem and his indifference to Palestinian rights.

As artists and as citizens, we challenge the ignorance and inhumanity of these policies, and celebrate the resilience of Palestinians living under occupation.

In addition to the letter Peter has also said:

Jerusalem must encompass the hopes and dreams of all its peoples and religions, not just those with the most political, economic and military power.

Trump wants to deliver something for those that funded him, but this ‘gift of gifts’ will further encourage an Israeli government that has overseen and encouraged terrible suffering, the theft of yet more Palestinian land through illegal settlements and a very cynical rejection of the “Two State Solution”.

I hope these protests will trigger a reaction around the world to condemn all the human rights abuses inflicted on the Palestinian people by the Israeli government and by the occupation, and lead to active international support for all those inside and outside Israel working for a just and fair peace and an independent Palestinian state – largely along the previously agreed ‘67 lines.

‘Peace cannot be kept by force; it can only be achieved by understanding.’  Albert Einstein

Read The Guardian article here

See the full list of signatories here