Support is growing for theÂ Palestinian civil society callÂ for a boycott to pressure Israel to respect Palestinian human rights.
ArtistsÂ such asÂ Lana Del Rey, Lorde, Tunde Adebimpe, Peter Gabriel, Lauryn Hill, Talib Kweli, and Mark Ruffalo are taking courageous public stands for freedom, justice and equality, and refusing to cross our nonviolent boycott picket line. Israelâs repressive, right-wing government and its allies are desperately attempting to repress support for Palestinian rights.
As part of those attempts, a group called âCreative Community for Peaceâ (CCFP) is lobbying artists to perform in Israel. CCFP claims to be an entertainment industry organization advocating for artistic freedom and building bridges.
ButÂ CCFP carefully hides from artists that it is actually aÂ front groupÂ for StandWithUs (SWU),Â a long-established right-wing, anti-Palestinian, pro-Israeli settler lobby groupÂ with long-time ties to Israelâs far-right government.
RegistrationÂ andÂ tax documentsÂ show that StandWithUs and Creative Community for Peace are simply alternate names for a single IRS-registered non-profit, âIsrael Emergency Alliance.â CCFP staff works from StandWithUsâ longstanding LA office, and SWU manages many CCFP functions. CCFP and SWU founders and board leaders,Â DavidÂ andÂ Esther Renzer, areÂ married.
Examples ofÂ SWU and CCFPâs history of partnership with the Israeli governmentÂ include conveningÂ an organizing meetingÂ with Israeli government officials and music industry executives, and producing aÂ pro-settler videoÂ series withÂ Israelâs Ministry of Foreign Affairs. SWU even announced they were awarded a grantÂ from Israelâs Prime Ministerâs Office.
SWU and CCFP also regularlyÂ echo the Israeli governmentâsÂ racist positions,Â dehumanizing all Palestinians. CCFP never speaks out against IsraelâsÂ growing repressionÂ of both Palestinian and Jewish Israeli cultural workers who are critical of the State.
CCFP is no supporter of racial and social justice. AÂ key SWU partnerÂ isÂ Christians United for IsraelÂ (CUFI), headed by theÂ homophobic,Â racistÂ andÂ sexistÂ pastor John Hagee. In a confidential,Â leaked 2018 report, CCFP depicted movements for social justice as a dire threat to Israel. It claimed that support for intersectionality – which attempts to identify how interlocking systems of power impact those who are most marginalized – is allowing Palestinian rights groups, to âhijack other political movements, Black Lives Matter (BLM) and feminist groups in particular.â
In theirÂ confidential report, CCFP did accurately characterize the boycott movement as âconstantly growing and changing, developing new and innovative tactics to reach artists.â
Artists who support justice for all and oppose racism in all forms should be aware of CCFPâs deception and steer clear of its lobbying agenda.
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Chris Carlson is a student of religion at Mount Mercy University, United States, and has been a regular volunteer with the IMEMC since 2013. He assisted in providing extensive coverage of the 2014 Israeli military offensive on the Gaza Strip, and continues into the present day, with the issues at hand. He can be reached via email at c h r i s @ i m e m c . o r g.