UAE-Israel Deal: Arab artists boycott Emirati-backed awards

Jerusalem: The United Arab Emirates’(UAE) move to pursue normalization with Israel has raised a backlash from Arab artists & intellectuals, who’re boycotting Emirati-backed cultural awards & events to help the Palestinian cause.

“I announce that I’m withdrawing from your exhibition,” Palestinian photographer Mohamed Badarne wrote to the Sharjah Art Foundation, based in one such 7 emirates that make up the UAE.

“As a citizens under occupation, we should take (2) a stand over anything to accomplish with reconciliation with the (Israeli) occupier,” Berlin-based Badarne informed AFP.

The UAE accepted past month to establish complete diplomatic ties with Israel in a US-brokered deal, creating it the 1st Gulf state & only the 3rd Arab nation to accomplish so.

The settlement has been denounced by Palestinians as “a stab within the back”, & sparked widespread rallies.

Numerous Palestinians watch the deal as a betrayal, breaking a consensus that normalisation with Israel is permissible only after the Palestinian query was resolved.

Palestinian Culture Minister Atef Abu Seif pushed Arab intellectuals to stand over a call that “strengthens the (Israeli) enemy.”

Cultural figures from Algeria, Iraq, Oman & Tunisia — along with the UAE — condemned the accord.

“A sad & catastrophic day,” Emirati writer Dhabiya Khamis wrote, following US President Donald Trump’s surprise announcement of the deal on Aug 13.

“No to normalisation between Israel & the Emirates & the nations of the Arabian Gulf!” Khamis added further. “Israel is the enemy of the overall Arab country.”

The UAE has in previous yrs. invested massive sums in culture, involving the Louver Abu Dhabi, a branch of the iconic Paris museum, that opened within the 2017.

The oil-rich Gulf state also funds multiple literary awards, like The Sheikh Zayed Book Prize, called after the previous Emirati president, that hands out gold medals & money prizes totalling some of the $1.nine mln every yr..

Moroccan writer Zohra Ramij has declared the withdrawal of her latest new from that competition, awhile Moroccan poet Mohamed Bennis resigned from its organising committee.

“It’d be a sin to gain an Emirati prize,” stated Palestinian author Ahmed Abu Salim, who withdrew his own entry from that Intl. Prize for Arabic Fiction (IPAF).

The competition, that started in 2007 & is mentored by this Booker Prize Foundation in London, is funded by Abu Dhabi’s Dept. of Culture & Tourism.

It awards $50,000 to the champion & $10,000 every to those shortlisted.

“I’m an intellectual supporter of the Palestinian cause, whatever the cost to pay,” Salim informed AFP.

Multiple previous prize winners & jury members, involving Palestinian intellectual Khaled Hroub, wrote an open letter to IPAF trustees insisting a suspend to Emirati funding.

“We call on the current Board of Trustees to assume its historic cultural responsibility in protecting the award by ending Emirati funding, in order to preserve the award’s reliability & independence,” the letter read.

IPAF didn’t respond to a appeal for comment.

Omar Barghouti, Palestinian co-founder of the Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions (BDS) movement, stated such a boycott has been “a normal & patriotic reaction of Arab intellectuals.”

Israel sees the movement, that urges BDS steps as “civil resistance” to the Jewish state, as a strategic danger, accusing advocates of anti-Semitism.

The UAE last week repealed legislation from 1972 boycotting the Jewish state.

However Barghouti alerted what he named the “corrupt tycoons” who stopped the embargo that they’d still feel the effect of the boycott.

Palestinian poet Ali Mawassi stated that even in case states normalise relations, residents didn’t have to accomplish the same.

Decades after Jordan & Egypt made peace with their own Israeli neighbor, numerous Egyptian & Jordanian artists “still reject to associate with anything linked to Israel,” Mawassi stated. However, Mawassi stated, different artists going to still be wooed by money.

“There have been numerous artists who’ll remain silent… to take (2) advantage of the opportunities afforded by Emirati amount,” he stated.