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Appeal to Bollywood Actors to Support BDS Movement

Thursday 24 October 2019, by Alternatives international

We, members of the artistic community in Canada and the USA, appeal to the actors from Bollywood to withdraw their participation to the Indo Fest TLV to be held in Tel Aviv, Israel later this month.

We make this appeal because Israel overtly uses culture as a form of propaganda to deny human rights to Palestinians and justify occupation and apartheid type of horrors against the Palestinian people. Just as South African anti-apartheid activists had called on international artists, writers and cultural institutions to culturally boycott South Africa, we are urging the Bollywood artists to call off their visit, like hundreds of artists from world over.

An appeal* from the Palestinian BDS committee has been circulating regarding this matter.

A senior representative of the far-right Israeli government, urged Bollywood producers to invest in Israel during a trip to Mumbai. He admitted that the aim of his visit was to “fight BDS”. Israeli prime minister Netanyahu said, “we want Bollywood in Israel”.**

These events are part of the ‘Brand Israel’ project, which works hard to exploit the Indian film industry to whitewash, or art-wash its violations of international law and Palestinian human rights.

While Israel is using Bollywood to cover up for its crimes, it is selling arms worth over a billion dollars each year to India. Israel’s drones, guns and missiles are fuelling India’s militarization, most evident today in the over two month long blockade in Kashmir.

We appeal to the actors of Bollywood industry to boycott the festival and stand in defense of and in solidarity with Palestinian human rights. Request to do so is coming from the Palestinians living under Israeli occupation.

In solidarity

1. Thomas Waugh, Distinguished Professor Emeritus, School of Cinema, Concordia University, Montreal
2. Noam Gonick, filmmaker, Winnipeg
3. Mariam Zaidi, filmmaker, Toronto
4. Dipti Gupta, Professor Cinema Studies and Communications, Dawson College, Montreal, Canada
5. Rahul Varma, Playwright and Founding Artistic Director of Teesri Duniya Theater Company, Montreal
6. Minoo Gundevia, film and theater actor, Montreal
7. Patrice Roc, Visual Designer, Toronto
8. Catherine Pappas, Writer and filmmaker, Montreal
9. Maya Khankhoje, writer, literary critic and editor of Montreal Serai (
10. Ajay Bhardwaj, filmmaker and academic, Vancouver
11. Stefan Christoff, musician, Montreal
12. Matt Jones, playwright and academic, Toronto
13. Sushil Handa, Teesri Duniya Theatre Board Member, Montreal
14. Pasha M. Khan, Professor, McGill University, Montreal
15. Sophia Reuss, Writer, New York, NY
16. Ehab Lotayef, Poet, writer, Playwright, Photographer, Montreal
17. Mandeep Wirk, visual artist, writer and educator, Abbotsford
18. Fauzia Rafique, Writer, Coordinator, Surrey Muse Arts Society (SMAS), Surrey
19. Anand, Writer, Montreal
20. Majdi Bou-Matar, Playwright Kitchener
21. Richard Fung, filmmaker, Toronto
22. Sabeena Shaikh, PhD Student, Montreal
23. Veena Gokhale, Writer, Montreal
24. Leila Marshy, Writer, Montreal
25. Jan Jorgensen, poet, pastor, and co-host of the lawn chair soiree, a Montreal spoken word series
26. Marc Serpa Francoeur, Documentary Filmmaker, Toronto
27. Annie Lafontaine, Painter, Trois Rivières
28. Tehmina Khan, Writer, Montreal
29. Serge Bruneau, Painter, Writer, Montreal
30. Emmanuel Dror, Music journalist, Montreal
31. Emmanuel Madan, sound artist and media artist, Montréal
32. Thomas Woodley, President, Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME)
33. Anita Anand, writer and translator
34. Elise Moser, writer and editor, Montreal
35. Yasmin Jiwani, Professor at Concordia in Communication Studies, Montreal
36. Dominic Morissette, Photographer, filmmaker, Montreal
37. Sana Janjua, Playwright and performing artist, Psychiatrist nurse, Surrey
38. Jooneed Khan, Writer, journalist, Montreal
39. Nikki Shaffeeullah, theatre artist, Toronto/Toronto, Canada
40. Rushdia Mehreen, Visual Artist, PhD Student, Montreal
41. Bilal Baig, playwright and director, Toronto
42. Dipti Mehta, Actor, Director, Montreal
43. Rami Katz, Filmmaker, Vancouver
44. Rohit Chokhani, Artistic Director of Diwali in BC, Director / Producer
45. Violaine Cousineau, Professor, CEGEP, Montreal
46. Ali Kazmi, Filmmaker, Toronto
47. Safa Rai, Artist, Montreal
48. Shahrzad Arshadi, Photographer, filmmaker, Montreal
49. Zahida Rahemtulla, Playwright, Vancouver
50. Bill Bhaneja, Playwright, author, BC
51. Rana Khan, Writer, Toronto
52. Vishesh Abeyratne, playwright, Ottawa
53. Martin Forgues, Writer, documentary filmmaker, Montreal
54. Aaditya Aggarwal, writer and film programmer, Toronto
55. Rana Bose, Writer, Playwright, Editor of Montreal Serai
56. Sejal Lal, Musician, Vancouver
57. V. T. Nayani, Director/Producer/Writer, Toronto
58. Mariam Pirbhai, Professor, Department of English and Film Studies
59. Sushil Kumar, Filmmaker, Vancouver
60. Feroz Mehdi, Filmmaker, Montreal


21 October, 2019