Israel’s Colonial Conquest at Mexican Book Fair Draws Protests

Protest Israel’s honoured status at FIL!

Published on 12 November 2013
Written by Connie Hackbarth, Alternative Information Center (AIC)

 Israel was selected as guest of honour at the 2013 Guadalajara International Book Fair/Image: fil.com.mxIsrael was selected as guest of honour at the 2013 Guadalajara International Book Fair/Image: fil.com.mx

Mexico’s Guadalajara International Book Fair (FIL), slated for 30 November – 8 December, selected Israel as its guest of honour for this year’s event. A hasbara dream for Israel, the fair’s guest of honour “brings to the city its publishing industry and literary presence, as well as the best of its culture, including the performing and visual arts, music, cinema, gastronomy and folklore.” “Each night,” the Fair’s website notes “the Guest of Honour offers a performance at FIL’s Foro as well as several performing venues throughout the city that host events in an effort to display and achieve a transforming experience for the public.”

Prominent intellectuals in Mexico publicly condemned the selection of Israel as guest of honour, writing in the Mexican press that the creation of Israel “caused the tragedy of the Palestinian people, condemned to exile, oppression and dispossession…Coexistence was replaced by a state founded on ethnic and cultural exclusion which has denied the legitimate right of the Palestinians to a state and a territory.”

Signatories of the statement include Néstor Braunstein, an Argentine exile in Mexico and one of Latin America’s most prominent psychoanalysts, and Margit Frenk, the daughter of Jewish German refugees in Mexico and world expert in Spanish literature and Miguel Cervantes. 

Israel understands the importance of this honoured position, which according to fair organisers has over the years “consolidated the Book Fair’s international and multicultural character.” Israeli President Shimon Peres himself will be present to open the Israeli pavilion.

Statement signatories requested that a “pluralistic and representative roundtable on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict” be conducted during this year’s fair, and that Palestine be invited as the honoured guest in 2015. It is unclear at this stage if the fair organisers have responded positively to this public request.

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Univ. of California-Irvine: 11 Students prosecuted, student group banned for protest of Israeli speech

[As the US student movement grows, a central focus is building support for justice in Palestine, and opposition to the exclusivist Jewish state of Israel with its history of ethnic cleansing, apartheid, and brutal attacks such as the siege of Gaza.  In California, the student campaign has taken up the struggle to boycott Israeli goods and divest public funds from investment in Israel, and it has challenged propagandists of Israeli’s denial of human rights for Palestine.  In February, 2010, a student protest at UC Irvine was suppressed by police.  Students were arrested, and a student group was banned from campus.  The story continues, below.  For more information, see  http://www.irvine11.com/ — Frontlines ed.]
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The Stand with the Eleven Campaign mobilizes community support & raises awareness about the Irvine 11, who are unjustly facing prosecution by the Orange County DA for protesting during a speech by Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren.

What Happened?

“Michael Oren, propagating murder is not an expression of free speech!”

Unable to continue his intended statement, this student’s voice of protest was quickly drowned out by the threats and verbal harassment of others in the crowd.

A little over a year after Israel’s massacre in the Gaza Strip, the student was protesting a visit by Michael Oren, the Israeli Ambassador to the United States, for his refusal to acknowledge Israel’s war crimes and violations of humanitarian law.

A police officer walked up to the row from which the protester had stood up to be heard. Accompanied with backup, he gestured to the protester to leave the event. The protester willingly stepped out and was led by police out of the hall into another room where he was patted down and arrested.

Another nine individuals chose to rise up and exercise their right to free speech by sharing their own statements throughout the first half of the event. Each time, there was no resistance, no violence and no misconduct. After making his statement, each student would readily follow police orders to leave the room. Despite each individual’s ready compliance with officers, throughout the event school officials consistently felt the need to reassure the crowd that consequences were to be had, disciplinary action was to be taken, and possible suspension and expulsion was in order if the individuals continued to practice their freedom of speech.

After the tenth individual was escorted out by the police, about a third of the room, consisting of students from different races, ethnicities and religions, peacefully rose from their chairs and marched out chanting slogans, calling for justice both at home and in Palestine. During this time, the cops discreetly arrested one individual – a young man who was a part of the chanting crowd – whose reason for arrest remains unknown. This brought the number of arrests to eleven: the Irvine Eleven. Continue reading