We, the undersigned workers’, womens’ and farmer’s associations, appeal to chefs to cancel their participation in Round Tables 2018, scheduled to take place in Tel Aviv from November 9-23. It is an attempt to whitewash Israel’s grave violations of Palestinian human rights.
Several world-renowned chefs withdrew from previous editions of the culinary festival, sponsored by the Israeli Foreign Ministry, after learning of the festival’s agenda.
This year, the festival is using a feminist facade, through its “female edition” theme, to cover-up Israel’s decades-old system of occupation and apartheid. Palestinian women bear the brunt of of this system’s crimes and are doubly marginalized as a result.
The festival is partnered with companies involved in grave violations of Palestinian– and Syrian — human rights. Golan Heights Winery, Dan Hotels, and Argal Services Company all operate businesses in or that serve Israel’s illegal settlements, built on stolen land. Such settlements constitute war crimes under international law.
Round Tables claims to promote “cultural, economic and political dialogue through gastronomy,” while 72% of Palestinians besieged in Gaza are food insecure.
Israel, in fact, calculates the number of calories needed to bring Palestinians in Gaza to the brink of starvation. These calculations are a basis for Israel’s siege. As reported by BBC, in 2006, Israeli government adviser Dov Weisglass said, “The idea is to put the Palestinians on a diet, but not to make them die of hunger.”
Israel’s occupation snipers have recently killed over 150 unarmed Palestinian medics, protestors and journalists, including many children, in Gaza as they protested for their basic rights under international law. Amnesty International condemned Israel’s shoot-to-kill-or-maim policy.
That is why we, with the majority of Palestinian society, have called for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS), a nonviolent strategy to pressure Israel to respect our basic rights. It is inspired by the South African anti-apartheid movement and the US Civil Rights movement.
We urge you to cancel your participation in this festival. Regardless of your intentions, Israel’s far-right regime will use your participation to mask its crimes against our people.
We sincerely hope that we can share our table with you after we are free from military occupation and apartheid.
Until then, we appeal to you to respect our struggle for freedom, by declining your participation in this festival.
General Union of Palestinian Women (GUPW)
General Union of Palestinian Workers
Union of Palestinian Farmers
General Union of Palestinian Peasants
Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI)