More than 40 Portuguese photographers, including teachers and students, have announced their cultural boycott of Israel and pledged not to accept any invitation or donation from the Israeli occupation government, Quds Net News reported on Wednesday. The photographers said that they would also never deal with any organisation complicit with the Israeli government unless it abides by global human rights principles.
The photographers signed a petition which included a number of the famous names such as João Pina, winner of the 2017 Prémio Estação Imagem Viana do Castelo and Portugal’s only photojournalism award, and Nuno Lobito, a TV presenter.
Reported on the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) website, the Portuguese photojournalist Miguel Carriço, winner of the 2012 Concelho da Bienal de Vila Franca de Xira award, urged fellow photographers to join the boycott. “Having witnessed first-hand the crimes Israel is committing daily against Palestinians, signing up to this initiative has become a natural step,” he explained. “It is fundamental to promote this effort through all means possible.”
The BDS campaign noted that Palestinian photographers and artists are not exempt from the brutality of Israel’s occupation. They too are denied visas, prevented from participating in international conferences and performances, detained at checkpoints, arrested, have their equipment broken and are exposed to the same violence perpetrated by the Israeli army on all Palestinians. “Israel was considered the second most lethal country for journalists in 2014,” it pointed out, “and continues to step up its attacks against journalists in 2017.”
Last April, said the BDS team, Israeli police fractured the ribs of AFP photographer Ahmad Gharabli and smashed two of his cameras. He was among six photographers targeted by the Israeli authorities on the same day.
In May, an Israeli settler shot Majdi Mohamed, another AP photographer, while he was covering an Israeli incursion in Nablus. Israel’s attacks against Palestinian and international photographers are part of a systematic policy and have been carried out with impunity.