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Saturday, 15 May 2010

Margaret Attwood Snubs Israel Boycott

This is a story about Art and a real artiste.On Monday, like a breath of pure Galilee   - or perhaps Canadian! - mountain air, the celebrated writer, Margaret Atwood refused to bow to international pressure and accepted a major Israeli  prize.

Margaret.Attwood Unlike the fashionable slew of other internationally renowned  writers, artists, musicians and film makers too numerous to name, Atwood refused to snub the honour simply because of Israeli governmental  policies.

Interviewed before receiving the Dan David Prize at Tel Aviv University she said that to decline the honour would be tantamount to “throwing overboard the thousands of writers around the world who are in prison, censored, exiled and murdered for what they have published.”

Atwood, celebrated for works like The Year of the Flood and a vice president of International PEN, the literary human rights group, shared the $1 million prize with the Indian writer Amitav Ghosh.

Before the awards ceremony, Ms. Atwood had been urged by Palestinian groups and writers from other countries not to accept the prize as a protest against Israel’s policies toward the Gaza Strip and its artists. But she retorted:  “We don’t do cultural boycotts” and added: “Artists don’t have armies. What they do is nuanced, by which I mean it is about human beings, not about propaganda positions.”

Meanwhile, true to form, film director Ken Loach, Lib Dem peer Jenny Tonge, comedian Jeremy Hardy and Sir Gerald Kaufman MP are signatories to a petition which due to be delivered to Downing St as part of an anti-Israel march this weekend.

It will be the first organised rally outside Downing Street since David Cameron became Prime Minister.

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