Dear Nordwest Zeitung,
The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI), a member of the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee, the largest coalition in Palestinian civil society, urges you not to host the May 16 event featuring Arye Sharuz Shalicar and to deny him a platform at your newspaper where he is a frequent contributor.
Shalicar is Head of Foreign Relations for the Israeli Ministry of Intelligence. The notorious Shin Bet, Israelâ€™s domestic intelligence agency, has been condemned by theÂ UN Committee Against TortureÂ over its use of violent interrogation tactics on Palestinians. Shin Bet has been the object of hundreds of complaints of torture. Not a single one has resulted in prosecution.
Shalicar worked for years as a spokesperson for the Israeli military, specializing as a propagandist for Israeli war crimes. Shalicarâ€™s job was toÂ spin and justifyÂ repeated Israeli war crimes perpetrated by the Israeli occupation forces against Palestinians in the besieged Gaza strip, killing thousands of men, women and children.
Shalicar was alsoÂ part of the Israeli militaryâ€™s propaganda effortsÂ during the deadly 2010 military raid on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla, a nonviolent civil society initiative to break Israelâ€™s brutal siege holding 2 million Palestinians in what former British Prime Minister David Cameron described as anÂ open-air prison. Israeli commandos killed nine human rights activists in that raid.
Palestinian journalists face Israeli military checkpoints and apartheid walls that deny them theÂ right to freedom of movement. Israel has repeatedly carried out militaryÂ raidsÂ on the offices of Palestinian media outlets,Â shut downÂ radio stations, and hasÂ arrested,Â violently attacked,Â injuredÂ andÂ killedÂ Palestinian journalists
Between March and December 2018, Israeli snipers killed two journalists and wounded 39 others with live ammunition as they covered demonstrations in Gaza. An independent United Nations commission of inquiryÂ foundÂ that there were â€śreasonable grounds to believe that Israeli snipers shot journalists intentionally, despite seeing that they were clearly marked as such.â€ť
Last year, Reporters Without BordersÂ called onÂ the International Criminal Court to investigate war crimes committed by the Israeli military against Palestinian journalists covering protests in Gaza.
We ask you to try to imagine working as a journalist under these conditions. And yet Palestinian journalists do. Every day. Itâ€™s part of how Palestinians resist Israelâ€™s oppressive regime.
We are shocked that a media outlet would give a platform to an Israeli official whose job is to deliberately misrepresent the facts, allowing Israelâ€™s brutal regime to continue killing Palestinians and violating our human rights.
We urge you to take a stand for universal human rights by refusing to host the May 16 event with Shalicar and not allowing his twisted version of reality to appear on your newspaper. This has nothing to do with â€śfreedom of expression,â€ť as incitement to and justification of racial hatred and war crimes are never entitled to such protection or platforms.
Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI)
The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) was initiated in 2004 to contribute to the struggle for Palestinian freedom, justice and equality. PACBI advocates for the boycott of Israeli academic and cultural institutions, given their deep and persistent complicity in Israelâ€™s denial of Palestinian rights as stipulated in international law.Â