Cinema, media and cultural institutions should refuse to provide platforms for national celebrations sponsored by Israel, say signatories including Helena Kennedy, Maxine Peake and Juliet Stevenson

While large numbers of unarmed protesters in Gaza are killed or maimed with impunity by Israeli snipers (Report, 28 April), this week the Seret London Israeli Film and TV Festival, co-sponsored by the Israeli embassy and the World Zionist Organisation, will occupy venues in London, Brighton and Edinburgh. It will use the appeal of cinema to promote Israel as “a melting pot of cultures and religions”.

Israel deliberately and routinely denies media freedom to Palestinians. On 6 April, Palestinian cameraman Yaser Murtaja was killed by an Israeli sniper as he filmed the “Great March of Return” in Gaza. On the same day six other photojournalists wearing press jackets were injured by the Israeli military. Since then photographer Ahmed Abu Hussein has been shot dead. This is not an anomaly. Last year Israeli forces assaulted 139 journalists and detained a further 33. In 27 cases they destroyed or sabotaged equipment. They closed down 17 media outlets. Palestinian journalists and film-makers are thus victims of systematic persecution based on their ethnicity.

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