Artists urge end to Israel’s siege of Gaza amid coronavirus crisis

Philip Pullman, Alia Shawkat, Peter Gabriel and 500 others back Amnesty International’s call for a military embargo on Israel “until it fully complies with its obligations under international law”

Philip Pullman, Naomi Klein, Peter Gabriel, Alia Shawkat, Vic Mensa and Viggo Mortensen Jr. are among more than 500 musicians, actors, filmmakers, authors and others calling for an end to Israel’s siege of the Gaza Strip amid the coronavirus crisis.

In an open letter published on May 13th, they write, “Gaza’s almost two million inhabitants, predominantly refugees, face a mortal threat in the world’s largest open-air prison.” 

The first cases of coronavirus in blockaded Gaza were reported in March. Palestinian, Israeli and international humanitarian and human rights organisations have called for the lifting of Israel’s siege so that Gaza can address its severe shortages of medical equipment.

Authors Irvine Welsh, Jeanette Winterson and Pulitzer Prize for Biography 2020 winner Benjamin Moser, actors Julie Christie and Steve Coogan, and sculptor Antony Gormley are also signatories to the letter, which states: 

“International pressure is urgently needed to make life in Gaza liveable and dignified. Israel’s siege must be ended. And most urgently, a potentially devastating outbreak must be prevented.”

Marking two years since Israel killed sixty Palestinian protestors in Gaza, the signatories — including Irish novelist Colm Tóibín, visual artists Kevin Beasley and Shepard Fairey, and 2019 Turner Prize co-winners Tai Shani and Lawrence Abu Hamdan — continue: 

“What happens in Gaza is a test for the conscience of humanity. We back Amnesty International’s call on all world governments to impose a military embargo on Israel until it fully complies with its obligations under international law.”

Film producer and director James Schamus, actors Peter Mullan and Liam Cunningham and artists Charlotte Prodger, Mark Wallinger and Helen Marten join pioneering poet K. Satchidanandan, novelist and screenwriter Candace Allen, composer and producer Brian Eno and musicians Roger Waters and Massive Attack in signing the letter, which concludes:

“We recognise that the rights guaranteed to refugees by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights must be upheld for Palestinians as well. 

In these times of international crisis, we must stand for justice, peace, freedom, and equal rights for all, regardless of identity or creed. We may be staying at home, but our ethical responsibility shouldn’t.”

Read the full letter:

Long before the global outbreak of COVID-19 threatened to overwhelm the already devastated healthcare system in Gaza, the UN had predicted that the blockaded coastal strip would be unliveable by 2020. With the pandemic, Gaza’s almost two million inhabitants, predominantly refugees, face a mortal threat in the world’s largest open-air prison.

Two years ago on May 14th, Israeli snipers killed sixty Palestinian men, women and children in Gaza, with total impunity. The overwhelmingly peaceful Great March of Return weekly mass demonstrations, currently on hold due to the threat of coronavirus, were met with brutal violence. 

Well before the ongoing crisis, Gaza’s hospitals were already stretched to breaking point through lack of essential resources denied by Israel’s siege. Its healthcare system could not cope with the thousands of gunshot wounds, leading to many amputations. 

Reports of the first cases of coronavirus in densely-populated Gaza are therefore deeply disturbing. As several health professionals recently wrote: “Epidemics (and indeed, pandemics) are disproportionately violent to populations burdened by poverty, military occupation, discrimination & institutionalised oppression.”

Yet Israel’s blockade impedes the flow of medical equipment, personnel and fundamental humanitarian aid. International pressure is urgently needed to make life in Gaza liveable and dignified. Israel’s siege must be ended. And most urgently, a potentially devastating outbreak must be prevented.  

What happens in Gaza is a test for the conscience of humanity. We back Amnesty International’s call on all world governments to impose a military embargo on Israel until it fully complies with its obligations under international law. We recognise that the rights guaranteed to refugees by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights must be upheld for Palestinians as well.

In these times of international crisis, we must stand for justice, peace, freedom, and equal rights for all, regardless of identity or creed. We may be staying at home, but our ethical responsibility shouldn’t.

Signed, [UPDATED 21 MAY]

Tulika Aasma, Visual Artist
Khaled Abol Naga, Filmmaker
Muriel Aboulrouss, Filmmaker
Lawrence Abu Hamdan, artist
Ramzi Aburedwan, Musician/composer
Majed Abusalama, Journalist, Producer
Yassin Adnan, Writer
Taha Adnan poet
Giannis Aggelakas, singer, songwriter, poet
Hamja Ahsan, Artist, writer, curator
Mania Akbari, film director
Päivi Akonpelto, actor
Fatiha al Ghorri, comedian
Ahmad Al-Tashi, Musician
Pau Alabajos, singer, songwriter
Silem Ali, plasticien
Senad Alic, visual artist
Simon Allemeersch, theatre maker
Candace Allen, author
Udi Aloni, filmmaker
Samah Alshaikhdeeb, Writer and actress
Rafael Alvarez, choreographer, dancer
Miren Amuriza, writer, versolari
Nathaniel Andrews, Musician
Lisa Appignanesi, writer
Zaina Arekat, Musician
Kervin Arias, Graphic Design
Ariane Ascaride, actor
Michel Aubert, Poet
Austra, solo artist
Ariella Azoulay, writer, filmmaker
Babi Badalov, Artist
Noura Badran, Musician
Kobe Baeyens, classical singer
Mert Bagcan, musician
Alain Baggi, Filmmaker
Balkan Bomba, band
Sibaji Bandyopadhyay, author, performer
Matthew Barnes, Artist
Bernardo Barros, musician
Kevin Barry, writer
Murat Başaran, writer
Kevin Beasley, artist
Patrick Bebi, theatre maker, actor, teacher
Nacera Belaza, choreographer
Yacine Belhacene, singer
Bella Cuts, DJ, producer
Gina Ben David, performance, paints
Ronan Bennett, screenwriter
Grange Bernadette, Painter
Franck Besnard, poet
Vinod Bhardwaj, Art Critic and Writer
Ira Bhaskar, Cinema Scholar
Rimli Bhattacharya, writer, academic
Akeel Bilgrami, philosopher
Daria Birang, Artist
Rana Bishara, Visual artist
Frances Black, Singer, Senator
Mary Black, singer
Tuva Sunniva Thomassen Bolstad, Musician
Tove Bornhøft , artistic theatre director
Bruno Boussagol, theatre director
Tove Bøygard, singer, composer, writer
Osman Bozkurt, Artist
Howard Brenton, playwright
Jen Brister, comedian
Victoria C Brittain, Writer
Adam Broomberg, artist
Boussagol Bruno, Metteur en scène
David Bryan, Photographer
Melanie E L Bush, Academic
Pankaj Butalia, filmmaker
Teresa Cabral, painter
Burt Caesar, actor, film director
Paulo Caetano, author, photographer
Carmen Callil, publisher, writer, critic
Viviane Candas , Filmmaker
Dayana Cata, writer, artist
Teresa Cavina, Festival curator and script analyst
Oliver Chanarin, artist
Indira Chandrasekhar, Publisher
Pascal Chardome, musician, composer
Melissa Chemam, Writer
Christian Chessa, metteur en scène
Sheba Chhachhi, photographer
Lounes Chikhi, scientist
Régine Chopinot, choreographer
Jesper Christensen, Actor
Kenny Christie, Production Manager
Julie Christie, actor
Chullage, rapper
Ciel, DJ, producer
Luís Cília, musician, singer
Andrew Clarke, Video game artist
Simon Coates , artist
Jacqueline Cohen, writer
Jeanne Colin, dancer, choreographer
Jean-Louis Comolli, Filmmaker
Céline Condorelli, artist
Steve Coogan, comedian, actor
Mary Costello, Writer
Molly Crabapple, writer
Crisis de los 40, band
Maggie Cronin, Actor
Darren Cullen, artist
Liam Cunningham, actor
Sinéad Cusack, actor
Bruna Cusí, actor
Lebuïn D’Haese, sculptor, visual artist
Runar Dahl, Guitarist
Jonathan Daitch, Photographer
Moataz Dajani, Artist/Cultural Activist
Alain Damasio, writer
Jesse Darling, artist
Dror Dayan, Filmmaker and Lecturer
Cristiana de Marchi, Artist, poet
eX de Medici, visual artist
Eva De Roovere, singer-songwriter
Corrado Maria De Santis, Musician
Guillaume de Seille, Filmmaker
Raymond Deane, Composer, author
Firas Dehni , Filmmaker
Dries Dekocker, musician / producer / sound tech
Foivos Delivorias, singer, songwriter
Petit Delphine, Peintre/restauratrice d’oeuvre d’art
Satish Deshpande, Academic
Sudhanva Deshpande, Theatre Director, Actor
Emanuela Di Giunta, Sound Editor
Rokhaya Diallo, writer, filmmaker
Kate Dickie, Actor
Sergio Dileo, musician
Sibel Dincer, musicienne, comédienne
Corinne Diserens, Director art academy
Doctor Prats, band
Mark Donne, filmmaker
Rory Donohue, Musician
Dreamtrip, Music Producer ,DJ
Frederic Dussenne, Stage director
Madhusree Dutta, Filmmaker, Artistic Director
Geoff Dyer, writer
Galit Eilat, curator, writer
Radhouane El Medebb, choreographer
Akim El Sikameya, Artist, Singer & Violinist
Samir El-Youssef, Author
Fons Elders, writer
Electric Litany, band
Bahy ElQurany, Filmmaker
Tina Enghoff, Visuel artist
Brian Eno, musican
Anne Enright, writer
Osman Erden, Art Historian, Writer
Annie Ernaux, writer
Charles Esche, museum director, professor
Marcelo Evelin, choreographer
Tristan Faes, classical singer
Shepard Fairey, artist
David Farr, screenwriter
Gunther Fasoel, fotograaf
Naima Fatima, Filmmaker
Kevin Fay, dancer
Isabel Fazenda, writer
Mark Fell, electronic musician
Simon Fisher Turner, composer, producer, actor
Annar Follestø, violinist, artistic director
Fontaines D.C., Band
Samuel Francis, Filmmaker
Øystein Bru Frantzen, Musician
Cesk Freixas, singer, songwriter
Peter Gabriel, musician, music festival founder
Sabeena Gadihoke, Photography and Cinema Scholar
Dimitra Galani, singer, composer
Rashna Gandhy, author, psychologist
Antonella Gandini, artista visuale
Munishwar Nath Ashish Ganju, Sustainable Architect
Tim Garratt, Musician
Sylvain George, filmmaker
Katia Gerou, actor, writer
Lena Ghannam, artist
Arundhati Ghosh, Curator
Sanchayan Ghosh, Professor of Fine Arts
Nida Ghouse, Writer, Curator
Iythar Ghurab, Fine Artist
Marc Gicquel, singer
Gigakoops, electronic musician
Jordi Ginesta, singer
Jakob Thonander Glans, composer, musician, conductor
Thea Glenton Raknes, musician
Sérgio Godinho, musician, singer
Jale İris Gökçe, Artist
Shanta Gokhale, Writer and Theatre Critic
Priyamvada Gopal, writer, scholar
Lalitha Gopalan, Film Scholar
Antony Gormley, artist
Gossos, band
Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb, visual artist
Spyros Grammenos, musician
Øyvind Grande, composer
Dominique Grange, Chanteuse engagée
Allain Graux, écrivain-voyageur
Andre Gregory, actor, theatre director
Ohal Grietzer, composer, mixed-media performer
Trevor Griffiths, playwright
Cathy Gulkin, filmmaker
Anita Gupta, filmmaker
Latika Gupta, curator
Parul Gupta, artist
Probir Gupta, artist
Gwenno, musician, songwriter
May Haddad, Ceramist
Ella Maria Hætta Isaksen, artist, singer
Maysaloun Hamoud, film director
Nir Harel, artist
Githa Hariharan, writer
Tobi Haslett, writer, art critic
Natasha Hassan, Designer
Justin Hayward-Young, musician
Charles Hayward, musician
Tzion Abraham Hazan, artist
Anne Marie Helger actor, activist
Kristien Hemmerechts, writer
Síomha Hennessy , Sisterix (band)
Dalilla Hermans, writer, columnist
Garth Hewitt, Singer, songwriter
Claire Hilger, visual artist, graphic designer
Anke Hintjens, Singer
Hiro Kone, DJ, producer
Bernadette Hopkins, Visual/Performance Artist
Martin Horntveth, musician, composer, artist
Gemma Hummet, singer
Asad Hussain, writer, film editor
Emmanuelle Huynh, dancer
Alba Hyseni, Musician
Karem Ibrahim, Visual Artist
Trond Ingebretsen, musician, singer
Marc Isaacs, documentary filmmaker
Fahad Jabali, Filmmaker
Vanessa Jackson, artist
Julie Jaroszewski, singer, filmmaker, actress
Terry Johnson, playwright, director
Filip Jordens, singer, actor
Em Joseph, artist
Trevor Joyce, Poet
Mahmoud Kaabour, Filmmaker
Susanne Kahlil Yusef , artist
Abla Kandalaft, VO artist and painter
Liad Hussein Kantorowicz, performance artist & musician
Geeta Kapur, Art Curator
Anuradha Kapur, Theatre Director
Sam Karam, Musician/DJ
Embla Karidotter, musician
Ioanna Karystianni, writer
Kyriakos Katzourakis, artist, film director
Petra Kayser, Curator
Nuzhat Kazmi, Art Historian
Patrick Keiller, artist, filmmaker
Denis Kelleher, Poet/songwriter
A.L. Kennedy, author
Chris Keulemans, writer
Nadine Khouri, Musician
Naomi Klein, writer
Anna Elise Sørdal Klungre, Musician
Judith Knight, Arts producer
Thanos Kois, musician
Billie Koppel, Singer
Szczepan Kopyt, poet, musician
Ashish Kothari, Environmentalist
R. Siva Kumar, Art Historian
Caroline Kuyper , craftivist
La Kruel band
Dominika Łabądź, Visual artist
Lágrimas de Sangre, band
Vicky Langan, Artist
Lankum, band
Paul Laughlin, Poet
Gaëlle Le Bourvellec, illustratrice
Mike Leigh, screenwriter, director
Leo Leonhardsen, musician
Britta Lillesøe, Actress, Cultural Coordinator, Event Maker
Faustin Linyekula, choreographer
Lluís Llach, singer, songwriter
Ken Loach, film director
Jen Long, artist manager, DJ
Josie Long, comedian
Los Castos, band
Los Chikos del Maíz, rap group
Ben Lunn, Composer
Dónal Lunny, musician
Nightmare Lyre, musician
Mafalda, band
Alessandro Magania, performer, choreographer, visual artist
Jim Maginn, Photographer
Mammút, band
Harsh Mander, Author and Columnist
Esther Manito, comedian
Alex Mankiewicz, illustrator
Carol Mann, Writer
Marinah, singer
Kika Markham, actor
Yann Martel, author
Helen Marten, artist
Angela Martin, Filmmaker
Robin Martin, Theatre director
Emer Martin, writer
Raoul Martinez, artist, writer
Ruchama Marton, psychiatrist, filmmaker
Marwan, singer, songwriter, poet
Delente Maryse, Choregraphe
Mai Masri, Filmmaker
Massive Attack, band
Francoise Mateu, Graphiste
Monica Mauer, Filmmaker
Tom McCarthy, author
Niall McDevitt, Poet
Hugh McFadden, Poet/ writer
Cahal McLaughlin, filmmaker
Siobhán McSweeney, Actor
Gérard Memmi, Photographe
Wency Mendes, Filmmaker
Vic Mensa, rap artist
Marc Mercier, artistic director
Claude Meunier, musicien
China Miéville, author
Luc Mishalle, musician
Katrina Mitchell-Kouttab, storyteller
Thurston Moore, musician
Christy Moore, singer
Gérard Mordillat, filmmaker
Federica Morelli, singer
Stamatis Morfonios, Musician
Danny Morrison, Writer
Viggo Mortensen Jr., actor, musician, author
Junior Mthombeni, theater director, actor, musician
Peter Mullan, actor, director
Jimmy Murphy, Playwright
Murat Muslu, actor
Pushpamala N, Artist
Farah Nabulsi, Filmmaker
Najwa Najjar, Film writer/director
Rita Natálio, artist, researcher
Nel Tardiu, band
Fatiha Neuman, Singer
Jef Neve, pianist, composer
Courttia Newland, author
Bernard Noël, writer
Roland Nurier, self-taught director
Kiera O’Toole, Artist
Object Blue, DJ
Ohnesorg, band
Joan Miquel Oliver, singer, songwriter
Ragnar Olsen, singer
Susie Orbach, psychoanalyst, writer
Marco Ormas, musician
Jørn Simen Øverli, singer, artist
Agnieszka Owczarek, Filmmaker
Ruth Padel, poet
Marc Pansu, Scientist essay and poem
Carmen París, singer, songwriter
Melissa Parmenter, composer, film producer, pianist
Anand Patwardhan, documentary filmmaker
Maxine Peake, actor
Eddie Peake, artist
Claudia Perez, musician
Mireille Perrier, actor
Dimitris Piatas, actor, writer
Ernest Pignon-Ernest, artist
Marijke Pinoy, actress
Alain Platel, choreographer
Rebel Politik, Visual Artist
Jocelyn Pook, composer
Patrícia Portela, writer, playwright
Aaron Porter, solo artist
Charlotte Prodger, artist
Jean-Pierre Pujos, photographer
Philip Pullman, author
Pupil·les, band
Michael Radford, film director
Roland Ramade, singer
Chitra Ravi, Pedagogy Expert
RAVI, artist, composer
Gauhar Raza, Poet and Scientist
Stephen Rea, actor
Evelyne Reberg, auteure pour la jeunesse
Marine Relinger, Dramaturge
Dave Rendle, poet
Ian Rickson, theatre director
Luigi Rizzo, Film editor
Titi Robin, artist musician
Tiago Rodrigues, national theatre director, playwright
Luz Room for Resistance, DJ
Andrew Ross, Writer
Jean-François Roux, filmmaker
Rrose, musician
bruno Rubat du Mérac dit Arno-Aa, sculpteur
Carole Ruiz, ballet teacher
Liv Runesdatter, singer, composer
Ann Ryan, Visual Arts
Pilar Salamanca, writer
Øyvind Sarheim, Musician
Xavi Sarrià, musician
K. Satchidanandan, writer
Aura Satz, artist
Shermine Sawalha, Producer
James Schamus, director, producer
Noémie Schellens, classical singer, actress
Marc Schepers, visual artist
Gaea Schoeters, writer, journalist, scenarist
Zachary Seely, Musician
Jai Sen, Academic
Shuddhabrata Sengupta, Artist, Curator
Aous Shaheen, Writer
Mim Shaikh, broadcaster, writer, actor
Tai Shani, artist
Refqa Shaqoor, Docent
Alia Shawkat, actor, artist
David Shock, Artist
Carol Shyman, Palestinian film festival organizer
SIGMATRON, DJ
Jørn Simenstad, Musician
Andy Simons, Musician
Sindicat de Músics Activistes de Catalunya – SMAC musicians’ union
Bjørn Bolstad Skjelbred, Composer
Robyn Slovo, film producer
John Smith, artist filmmaker
Smoking souls, band
Drew Snyder, art historian
Caio Soares, filmmaker
Abdelrhaffar Souiriji, writer
Heiny Srour, Filmmaker
Patrick Staff, artist
Stay at Homas, band
Janneke Stegeman, theologian, writer
Marc Steiner, Poet
Nora Stemland, Musician
Tore Dolg Stemland, Musician
SB Stokes, poet
DAAN Stuyven, singer-songwriter, composer
Elbadawy Suliman, Designer
Ghada Sultan, Graphiste/Plasticienne
Fares Sultan, Painter
Nandini Sundar, Academic
Vivan Sundaram, artist
BV Suresh, artist
Nick J. Swarth, poet, performer, musician, visual artist
Guy Swinnen, singer
Jacques Tardi, Dessinateur
Susie Tharu, Writer
Kirsten Thorup, novelist
Moira Tierney, filmmaker
Marine Tillé, photographer
Colm Tóibín, author
Tommi Tokyo, Musician, artist
Sílvia Tomàs, singer, songwriter
Ricky Tomlinson, actor
Peter Tregear, musician
Tudanca, band
Joëlle Tuerlinckx, visual artist
Dirk Tuypens, actor
Merlijn Twaalfhoven, composer
Txarango, band
Adil Tyabji, editor
Uzramma, Artisanal Textile Manufacturer
V (formerly Eve Ensler), playwright, activist
Niall Vallely, Musician, composer
Jaap van der Vinne, Fotographer
Myriam Van Imschoot, performance, theatre, music
Achin Vanaik, Academic
Michiel Vandevelde, choreographer
Judith Vanistendael, graphic novelist
Hanne Vasshus, Musician
Eleni Vassili, photographer
Pramila Vasudevan, Choreographer, Interdisciplinary Artist
Kees Verbeek, Writer
David Verdaguer, actor
Isabel Verledens , danser
Nils Vest, Film director
Violet, DJ, producer
Lorena Vitali, Comedian
Erik Vlaminck, author
Pantelis Voulgaris, film director
Samuel Vriezen, Composer/writer
Cesar Vromman, Theater maker
Naomi Wallace, playwright
Mark Wallinger, artist
Katharina Wallisch, producer
Harriet Walter, actor
Roger Waters, musician
Amit Weisberger, Musician
Einat Weizman, director, writer, actor
Irvine Welsh, author
Sonia Wickham, Visual artist
Michael Wiehe, singer, musician
Unni Wilhelmsen, musician, composer, writer
Karina Willumsen, Musician
Jeanette Winterson, writer
Bent Wold, singer
Wolf Alice, band
Arne Würgler, Musician
XY, band
Luke Younger, experimental musician
Rula Zaki, Singer/music teacher
Christoforos Zaralikos, comedian
Zoo, band