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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