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Ever wondered who boycotts Israel and why? Lot of people do, because Palestinians have called on us to support a boycott of Israel in support of Palestinian human rights and against Israel’s occupation and oppression.

Here are some of the well known names and faces:

Novelist Iain Banks, who died in 2013, explained why he was boycotting Israel: “I support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign because, especially in our instantly connected world, an injustice committed against one, or against one group of people, is an injustice against all, against every one of us; a collective injury.” Source>

Professor Hawking wrote to the Israeli President Shimon Peres conference  in 2013 stating:

“I have received a number of emails from Palestinian academics. They are unanimous that I should respect the boycott. In view of this, I must withdraw from the conference. Had I attended I would have stated my opinion that the policy of the present Israeli government is likely to lead to disaster.”

Nigel Kennedy refused to play in Israel and in 2007 told the Israeli newspaper, Haaretz, “I was really shocked when I saw the wall [that divides the Israel and the West Bank] here. It’s a new type of apartheid, barbaric behaviour. How can you impose collective punishment and divide people from one another? We are all residents of the same planet. I would think that the world learned something from South Africa. And the world should boycott a nation that didn’t learn. That’s why I won’t perform in your country.” Source, the Independent>

Ken Loach, film maker, joined the boycott in 2006 saying:

“I support the call by Palestinian film-makers, artists and others to boycott state sponsored Israeli cultural institutions and urge others to join their campaign.

Palestinians are driven to call for this boycott after forty years of the occupation of their land, destruction of their homes and the kidnapping and murder of their civilians.

They have no immediate hope that this oppression will end.

As British citizens we have to acknowledge our own responsibility. We must condemn the British and US governments for supporting and arming Israel. We must also oppose the terrorist activities of the British and US governments in pursuing their illegal wars and occupations.

However, it is impossible to ignore the appeals of Palestinian comrades. Consequently, I would decline any invitation to the Haifa Film Festival or other such occasions”

Film maker, Mira Nair, revealed in a series of tweets in 2013 that she supported the boycott:

“I was just invited to Israel as a guest of honor at the Haifa International Film Festival with “The Reluctant Fundamentalist.”

I will not be going to Israel at this time. I will go to Israel when the walls come down. I will go to Israel when occupation is gone.

I will go to Israel when the state does not privilege one religion over another. I will go to Israel when Apartheid is over.

I will go to Israel, soon.