Statement 3: November 2015

Following the first public meeting held by BDZ Group at MayDay Rooms on 3 October 2015, we began gathering the signatures of people wanting to commit to the pledge below. The individuals and organisations listed agreed that their name could be published as part of a list of 100 or more supporters, in the belief that a boycott of the Zabludowicz Art Trust ought to be public and collective.
To add your name, please email
bdzgrp@riseup.net

In solidarity with the Palestinians who have called for a boycott of Israeli cultural institutions that promote acceptance, in the global cultural sphere, of Israel’s ongoing colonisation, occupation and its apartheid policies, and in light of the current escalation of violence against Palestinians in Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza, we the undersigned make a public commitment not to show at, collaborate with or participate in any events taking place at, nor to visit or to sell our work to the Zabludowicz Collection, and not to work with Zabludowicz Art Projects/Zabludowicz Art Trust/Daata Editions[1]. We additionally commit, wherever possible, to withdrawing the conceptual content of previous participation in and/or sales made to the Zabludowicz Collection. We shall uphold this pledge until such time as the Directors of the Collection publicly recognise the rights of Palestinians, and desist from all activities and investments supporting the Israeli state in maintaining an oppressive and colonial system of apartheid. In the spirit of the guidelines produced by the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic & Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI), we call on other cultural workers of all nationalities to observe this ‘picket line’. Our solidarity expressed through collective refusal is our strength.

[1] Though itself London-based, the Zabludowicz Collection is principally owned and funded by Zabludowicz Art Trust, which is financially associated with companies that are active in Israel and that provide maintenance and services to the Israeli Airforce. See PACBI’s statement for details: http://www.pacbi.org/etemplate.php?id=2755

Sherko Abbas
Leila Abdelrazaq
Larne Abse Gogarty
Bisan Abu Eisheh
Lawrence Abu Hamdan
Reem Abu-Hayyeh
Ignacio Acosta
Arts Against Cuts
Tom Allen
Emanuel Almborg
Elaine Ang
Irene Aristizabal
Vivien Ashley
Shelly Asquith
Yusef Audeh
Giles Bailey
Rachel Baker
Alison Ballance
Camille Barbagallo
Jacob Bard-Rosenberg
Alex Barrett
Dia Batal
Emily Beber
Francesco Benenato
Josephine Berry
Nic Beuret
Danny Birchall
Natasha Bird
Jozs Bitelli
Hannah Black
Jenna Bliss
Body by Body
Emma Bolland
Kamal Boullata
Dyveke Bredsdorff
Tessa Brown
Samuel Burton
Brad Butler
Amy Budd
Fred Bungay
Gavin Butt
Amelia Bywater
Letitia Calin
Sophie Carapetian
Luke Carlisle
Merlin Carpenter
Rodrigo Cesar
Cesura//Acceso Journal
Christina Chalmers
Jane Cheadle
Maria Chehonadskih
Weihuah Chen
Binna Choi
Rachel Cheung
Ben Westley Clarke
Leah Clements
Paul Clinton
Elena Colman
Susan Conte
Edmund Cook
Andrew Cooper
Mike Corcoran
Sam Cottington
Lucy Cowling
Sacha Craddock
Tom Crawford
Liam Crockett
Charlotte Cullen
Janet Currier
Ana Cvorovic
Austin Danson
Miri Davidson
Susanna Davies-Crook
Barry Dean
Veronica Diesen
Karen Di Franco
Tim Dixon
Sam Dolbear
Eoin Donnelly
Ralph Dorey
Noel Douglas
Daniel Dressel
Konstancja Duff
Sinead O’Donnell Dunn
Anna Eaves
S. J. Edwards
Tania El Khoury
Kathryn Elkin
Redmond Entwistle
Dylan Erickson
Gareth Evans
Gavin Everall
Hossein Eyalati
Alexandra Ezberova
Lucia Farinati
Jiaya Fin
Saskia Fischer
Mathilde Fowler
Oceane Huaqing Francioli
Katherine Fry
Barbara Gamper
Claudia Gangemi
Dora García
Alina Gavrielatos
Carl Gent
Maudie Gibbons
David Ferrando Giraut
Lauren Goddard
Patrick Goddard
Goldsmiths SU
Avery Gordon
Rebecca Gordon-Nesbitt
James Gormley
Richard Gott
Ros Gray
Teal Griffin
David Grundy
John Gruntfest
Rose-Anne Gush
Laura Guy
Nicola Guy
Selma Hafizovic
Inas Halabi
Richard Hames
Catherine Hamilton
Omar Robert Hamilton
Katie Hare
J. A. Harrington
Millicent Hawk
Corey Hayman
Andy Healy
Caspar Heinemann
Sarah A. Hemmaida
Yaiza Hernandez
Jack Hogan
James Holcombe
Sarah Hollamby
Lizzie Homersham
Joanna Hughes
Gabriel Humberstone
Claudia Hunte
Stephen Hunter
John Hutnyk
Horrible GIF
Tommie Introna
Jaki Irvine
Victoria Ivanova
Jakob Jakobsen
Victor Jakeman
Stephen James
Perce Jerrom
Lisa Jeschke
Sue Jones
Sophie Jung
Yael Kahn
Ari Kanaga
Justin Katko
Helen Kaplinsky
Marie Karlberg
Vera Karlsson
Morag Keil
Dean Kenning
Sam Keogh
Margareta Kern
Oscar Khan
Shama Khanna
Sharon Kivland
Tarek Knorn
Dimitra Kotouza
Ashok Kumar
Hari Kunzru
Ladette Space
Gonçalo Lamas
Robert Langlands
Kaisa Lassinaro
Lawrence Leaman
Louisa Lee
Sophie Lee
Ed Lehan
Rebecca Lennon
Joseph Lewis
Rafaela Lopez
Rona Lorimer
Brighid Lowe
Katharina Ludwig
Ed Luker
Zeina Maasri
David Mabb
Samia Malik
Suhail Malik
Jumana Manna
Faiq Mari
Duncan Marquiss
Mira Mattar
Mariano Mauricio
Matthew McQuillan
Conal McStravick
Sophio Medoidze
Dorine van Meel
Bindu Mehra
Sidsel Meineche Hansen
Karen Mirza
Dan Mitchell
Kevin W. Molin
Steven Mooney
Felice Moramarco
Patrick Moran
Stephanie Moran
Hamish Morrow
Roberto Mozzachiodi
Sienna mustafa
Mute Magazine
Deepa Naik
Daniel Neofetou
Georgie Nettell
Sakand Nezamabad
Hugh Nicholson
Matthew Noel-Tod
Noreen
Sara Nunes Fernandes
Felix Oehmann
Louise O’Hare
Trenton Oldfield
Maeve O’Neill
OOMK Zine
Andrew Osborne
Catherine Osterberg
Richard Parry
Lucy Parker
Elizabeth Peebles
Dave Peel
Ellen Kenyon Peers
Miranda Pennell
Aubree J Penny
Hestia Peppe
Luli Perez
Raul Pina Perez
Holly Pester
Alexa Phillips
Olivia Plender
Diana Policarpo
Nina Power
Claire Potter
Ben Pritchett
Charlotte Procter
Hannah Proctor
Charlotte Prodger
Sam Pulitzer
Natasha Rees
Hannah Regel
Stephen Regel
Ash Reid
Elaine Reynolds
Rebecca Ribichini
Adrian Rifkin
Kat Rickard
Irene Rincón Iriondo
Kari Robertson
Ivan Robirosa
Tanya Rochow
Alicja Rogalska
Jacques Rogers
The Royal Standard
John Russell
John Ryan
SALT. Magazine
Stefan Sadler
Natascha Sadr Haghighian
Kareem Samara
Mohammed Sami
Beti Scott
Erica Scourti
Benedict Seymour
Shirin Shahidi
Louise Shelley
Amer Shomali
Nastassja Simensky
Tanya Singh
Siuarni
Monica Slavov
John Smith
Joshua Smith
Cherry Smyth
Himali Soin
Samuel Solomon
Monika Srodon
Margreta Stolen
Linda Stupart
James Sturkey
Angelica Sule
Francis Summers
Jamie Sutcliffe
Zoe Sutherland
James Sutton
Gili Tal
Anne Tallentire
Shireen Taylor
Alda Terracciano
Javier Marquerie Thomas
Chris Timms
Maija Timonen
John Tiney
Edgar Titterton
Amy Tobin
Cara Tolmie
Alberto Toscano
Adriana Tranca
Anthony Tremlett
Tom Trevatt
Egle Trezzi
Ishbel Tunnadine
Lena Tutunjian
Sofia Unger
U N N A W A Y
Mihaela Varzari
Nikhil Vettukattil
Marina Vishmidt
Dan Ward
Cecilia Wee
Eyal Weizman
Holly White
Michael White
Christopher Whigfield
Josefine Wikström
Saul Williams
Steve Willey
Oliver Roger Williams
Eilidh Wilson
Kasia Wlaszczyk
Kamolros Wonguthum
Liv Wynter
Rehana Zaman
Tirdad Zolghadr

Statement 2: October 2015

Over the last three decades, as Israel’s economy has ‘opened up’ to global capitalist investment, and its status in the community of nations has been normalised, the Israeli state has done everything it can to close down on the possibility of Palestinian liberation. The two processes appear to be contradictory but are in fact mutually supportive. As Israeli capitalist investment in the domestic arms industry has declined, and Israeli capitalist integration into global markets for communications, real estate, and art has increased, the ability of Israel to demand international support for its colonial aggression has increased also. Likewise, as Israeli oppression of Palestinian resistance to colonial rule becomes more sophisticated, Israel-based investment opportunities tend to grow in allure.

The Zabludowicz Art Trust (which funds Zabludowicz Art Projects and the Zabludowicz Collection) is a perfect example of the above-described two-sided process: what appears, in the form of ‘philanthropic’ investment in art, to be a retreat from colonial brutality only serves to disguise its violent intensification. The collection and funding of contemporary art by Zabludowicz Art Trust is a monument to the contribution that art can make in creating a supportive environment for colonial murder, oppression, and despoliation.

The Zabludowicz Art Trust and Zabludowicz Art Projects derive their name from Chaim (Poju) Zabludowicz, the co-founder, with Anita Zabludowicz, of the Zabludowicz Collection. Poju Zabludowicz is the Chairman and CEO of Tamares, a private investment group with direct links to the Israeli state. Tamares focuses on real estate (e.g. Tamares Real Estate Investments UK), technology (e.g. Knafaim), leisure and media (e.g. Tamares Telecom). Tamares was founded as the corporate arm of The Zabludowicz Trust. Poju Zabludowicz is, additionally, a director of the Britain Israel Communications & Research Centre (BICOM), a company dedicated to creating ‘a supportive environment for Israel in Britain.’

The Call:

We, BDZ group, call for a boycott of the Zabludowicz Art Trust as an expression of solidarity with the Palestinian struggle and the call by Palestinian artists for a cultural boycott of Israel.

The boycott includes the following measures:

We ask artists, cultural workers and producers to refuse to sell their labour to the Zabludowicz Collection, and/or to withdraw the ‘conceptual content’ of any work already owned. The boycott extends to collaborations and performances with the Zabludowicz Art Trust, Zabludowicz Art Projects and the associated digital platform Daata Editions.

We ask the viewing public to respect the boycott by refusing to enter the London project space located at 176 Prince of Wales Road, the New York space at 1500 Broadway, and the residency sites available to visit on the island of Sarvisalo, Finland.

We (BDZ Group) work to highlight the complicity of the Zabludowicz Art Trust in the affairs of the Israeli state and demand divestment, of any form of Zabludowicz Art Trust support, by universities and art institutions including the following:

Artangel, Artreview, Bard College (New York), Bedford Creative Arts, British Friends of the Art Museums of Israel (BFAMI), Contemporary Art Society (London), Camden Arts Centre (London), Christie’s Education, Goldsmiths College (University of London), East London Fawcett Group, Institute of Contemporary Arts (London), Kiasma (Helsinki), London Borough of Camden Council, Norwich University of the Arts, Performa (New York), Royal College of Art (London), Spike Island (Bristol),  Stanley Picker Gallery at Kingston University, SUNDAY Art Fair, University of the Arts London (including Central St Martins and Chelsea College of Art),  Tate Britain, Liverpool, Modern and St Ives, Tel Aviv University Trust, Tel Aviv Museum, Whitechapel Gallery (London). 

This statement demands that the boycott be upheld until such a time as the directors of the Zabludowicz Collection publicly recognise the rights of Palestinians, and desist from all activities and investments supporting the Israeli state in maintaining an oppressive and colonial system of apartheid.

We are in solidarity with Artists for Palestine who are advocating a cultural boycott of Israeli companies and institutions in receipt of funds from the Israeli state, and non-cooperation with attempts to silence and suppress critique of Israeli policy in the UK and abroad. The boycott is formulated in line with BDS and PACBI guidelines, and does not include activist, educational and peace-building initiatives in Israel, Palestine or abroad not supported by Israeli state agencies.

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“Racists and Fascists out of Dalston! Shut down LD50 Gallery!”

We, BDZ Group, fully support the campaign to shut down LD50 Gallery. Just as there’s no place in the art gallery for Israel lobbyists who’s current business interests are entangled with the Israeli Military Complex, like wise there’s no place for Neo-nazis no matter what contemporary nomenclature it’s dressed up in.

On Saturday (25/02/2017) 11am, Shut Down LD50 will be flyering the area to highlight the actions of the gallery to the local community.

Racists and Fascists out of Dalston! Shut down LD50 Gallery!

A REPLY TO QUESTIONS FROM COMRADES REGARDING BDZ, BDS AND BICOM

The ethnic cleansing of Palestinians is an integral, not accidental, part of the Israeli state. Palestinians learn through experience that the whole state of Israel, its nominally commercial as much as its overtly repressive or military sections, requires this in order to continue to exist in the form in which it was created: a Zionist state in which Palestinians are politically, socially, culturally, geographically and demographically subordinate.

The Spinwatch report on Bicom, the Israeli UK propaganda body in which Poju Zabludowicz is a key player, corroborates Bicom’s role in this destructive state programme. Here are a few details to give those new to this issue more background:

* ‘Bicom was formed in response to the outbreak of the second intifada and its early focus was very much on responding to negative coverage of the violence [i.e., of violence perpetrated by Israeli state forces] (p. 49).

* It focuses on selectively distributing factually correct pro-Israeli information during acute periods of conflict. Its strategic assumption is that this will incline elite opinion-makers to adopt a stance that is generally sympathetic to Israel, in spite of the asymmetry of suffering and the concentration of infrastructural damage in the territories inhabited by Palestinians.

* In 2007, BICOM initiated a Stop the Boycott campaign (p. 50) against a decision by UCU to ‘encourage members to consider the moral implications of existing and proposed links with Israeli academic institutions’. Zabludowicz himself has underwritten a £300,000 ‘fighting fund’ to oppose academic boycott (p. 54). Bicom doesn’t only ‘disagree’ with the boycott campaign; it is the institutional main engine of the drive to depict international Palestinian solidarity as ‘institutional anti-Semitism’ and to constrain the solidarity movement by means of slow-down tactics and litigation.

* In 2011, the Director of Bicom explained the institution’s strategy of maintaining sympathetic media coverage of Israel especially during periods of maximum colonial brutality: ‘We now have a well-developed and practiced crisis management system and protocol run jointly with the JLC. We used it to great effect in response to Operation Cast Lead, in 2010 as the first Flotilla hit the headlines, as well as last year during the Palestinian bid for UN membership’ (p. 45, our emphasis).

* In 2012, during Operation Pillar of Defence (174 Palestinians killed, 6 Israelis), Bicom’s ‘grassroots network’ We Believe in Israel ‘sent out daily briefings and circulated information about an “emergency rally” in support of Israel organised by the Zionist Federation’ (p. 53).

Ipso facto, as we say in our recent note to Matthew Fuller’s review of the Whitechapel Gallery Exhibition ‘The Electronic Superhighway’, ‘Zabludowicz Art Trust [via its connections with Bicom] is an important player in the cultural legitimation of the Israeli policy of apartheid and mass murder of Palestinians.’ The question of which faction of the state Bicom supports (openly racist and exterminationist, or nominally ‘liberal’ proponents of a two-state eventuality) is irrelevant to its breathtakingly emphatical support for every instance of Israeli-state military intervention in Palestine during the c. 10 years of its existence.

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All references are to  Spinwatch, The Britain Israel Communications and Research Centre: Giving Peace a Chance?

 

 

 

Statement 1: July 2014

[Headnote: the following text was written in July 2014 at the time of the Israeli assault on Gaza. It was first published on Tumblr, and then re-published the following October at www.metamute.org. It is published here, with minor changes.]

Boycott the Zabludowicz Collection! No more selfies with the patrons of war!

  1. Art and Art Patronage

Who are the Zabludowiczs and why do they need to be boycotted immediately? Answer #1: Guns + Real Estate → Israeli State = London Art World. Answer #2: The Zabludowicz Collection has played a central role in supporting emerging artists in London over the past few years, but their cultural ‘patronage’ isn’t as selfless as it seems. It involves the washing of some very dirty money through the labour pool of young London-based artists. As the effective public-relations front end for what was historically a large supplier of arms to the Israeli state, as well as for the UK-based Pro-Israeli Lobby group BICOM, the Zabludowicz Collection represents a direct link between the opportunities for careers in art for young people here in London and the current bombing and ongoing genocidal oppression of Palestinians in the Occupied Territories.

  1. How did Zabludowicz get so rich?

Short answer: through arms dealing and, subsequently, property development. Zabludowicz’s fortune derives from the Tamares Group, which has large real estate interests (including, until recently, in the occupied territories) and casinos. Earlier his activities were coordinated through Soltam, the Israeli arms manufacturer set up by his father Shlomo Zabludowicz, who sold arms to the Israeli Defense Forces.

Via his past chairmanship, investment and interest in the pro-Israel lobby group, BICOM, Zabludowicz has played a sophisticated and possibly pivotal role in shaping opinion about Israel in both the UK media and parliamentary spheres. This has helped him to influence UK-Israeli relations. Apart from his activity with BICOM, Zabludowicz has also been involved in making large donations to the Conservative Party.

  1. What can you do? Boycott!

We call upon artists to uphold the BDS / PACBI guidelines and to boycott the Zabludowicz Collection. We ask artists, cultural workers and producers not to sell or show their work with the Zabludowicz Collection in the future and/or to withdraw the ‘conceptual content’ of their work from the Collection. We ask artists to respond to BDS / PACBI and refuse to sell their labour to the Zabludowiczs or to those institutions with which they collaborate.

We cite the PACBI guidelines and reiterate that these campaigns have called for a ‘picket line’ to be formed around Israeli-affiliated cultural institutions internationally. We support this demand in recognition of the fact that these institutions are ‘complicit in the Israeli system of oppression that has denied Palestinians their basic rights guaranteed by international law, or has hampered their exercise of these rights, including freedom of movement and freedom of expression’. ‘Cultural institutions’, the guideline states, ‘are part and parcel of the ideological and institutional scaffolding of Israel’s regime of occupation, settler-colonialism and apartheid against the Palestinian people’. [1]

We call on artists not to scab and to act in solidarity.

This is direct solidarity with the communities under assault in Gaza, victims of state terror on both sides, and with resistance movements in both Israel and Palestine.

  1. Rise of private funding in London

The decline of public funding, along with the ongoing capture of public funding by the neoliberal dogma of ‘philanthropy’, has the same toxic effect today that it has always had: glorifying the rich, whether directly or ‘autonomously’, becomes the task of art, while government cutbacks structurally and ideologically legitimate the social inequality and exploitation which makes people rich enough to ‘donate’ money to the arts.  While neither private capital nor the state can offer autonomy to artists or anyone else, it is still possible to distinguish between sources of support.

For anyone involved in the field of contemporary art, boycotting Zabludowicz is not a piece of moralizing theatre. It is a withdrawal of labour. The Zabludowiczs’ have enough friends in high places; you don’t need to do their PR for them. And that’s all participating in Zabludowicz-funded projects is – PR and the desperate bleaching of some very nasty money.

  1. Patronage vs Autonomy

Some people may want to shrug their shoulders and say that, in the end, it doesn’t matter where the money comes from, so long as something good can come of it: art. But what kind of art? Artists need to recognise that the places where their work is exhibited, the money that makes it possible, and the interests it can be made to serve all make up a part of its aesthetic content. Even the most ‘autonomous’ or ‘critical’ artwork exhibited in the Zabludowicz gallery instantly transforms itself into the merest piece of tinsel trailing off the back of the freight ships that even now are transporting the weapons that will be used to murder more Palestinian civilians.

Let’s be clear. The Zabludowiczs’ historical involvement in the arms trade is absolutely relevant to their present role in BICOM and their white-washing through the art market. It doesn’t matter that they’ve ‘divested’; selling up and then switching the values that they ‘earned’ through mass slaughter into ‘culture’ doesn’t mean that it’s somehow unacceptable to accuse them of complicity in mass death.

Likewise: aesthetics and organisation are not comfortably separable. Should private patrons seek to fund the arts, then we welcome them to close their institutions and unconditionally to deliver over all their money, property and resources to artists and everyone else, who can perfectly well distribute, self-administrate and self-organise themselves: We want the money!

Footnote:
[1]Pacbi Guidelines for the International Boycott of Israel
Further Links:
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2009/jan/04/bisco…
http://www.thefreedomtheatre.org/news/36377/?utm_c…
https://www.academia.edu/5061190/The_Britain_Israe…
http://www.artiscontemporary.org/features_detail.p…
http://www.theguardian.com/stage/2014/aug/05/tricy…
http://www.trayner.org/boycott_web.pdf
http://www.pacbi.org/index.php
http://www.bdsmovement.net/

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