Artists gather outside Art Basel in Miami Beach to protest the ongoing war in Gaza

Artists gather outside Art Basel in Miami Beach to protest the ongoing war in Gaza
Fecha de publicación: 
9 December 2023
Imagen principal: 

More than 100 Miami-based artists and members of the South Florida Coalition for Palestine, which includes groups such as Jewish Voice for Peace, gathered outside Art Basel in Miami Beach on Friday afternoon to protest what they called “Israel “Genocide campaign” is what Palestinians in Gaza call.

Carrying placards that read “Away from death” and “Let Palestine live,” protesters called for a permanent ceasefire and an end to Miami-Dade County’s funding of Israel while the violence continues. In October, the county announced the purchase of an additional $25 million in Israeli bonds, bringing the total investment to $76 million. And on Friday, the US vetoed the UN Security Council resolution calling for a ceasefire in Gaza. The demonstrators also called for an end to “the brutal occupation under which Palestinians have lived for 75 years.” Several passers-by reacted by shouting “shame” and “racists”.

Since October 7, when Hamas terrorists murdered around 1,200 people in Israel and took around 240 hostages, more than 15,000 Palestinians have been killed in Israeli land, sea and air strikes on Gaza – two-thirds – according to the Hamas-run Ministry of Health including women and children. Critical infrastructure such as hospitals, water and road networks are now collapsing.

Protesters say the art world’s silence in the face of such a catastrophe is unacceptable and that those in the cultural sector who express support for Palestine “continue to face consequences such as canceled exhibitions, talks and job opportunities.”

Alan Levine, a civil rights attorney and member of the South Florida Jewish Voice for Peace, says there is no better place to protest than at the fair – “a place where people with a lot of money, power and influence gather.” He adds: “It shouldn’t be business as usual; Silence is unacceptable.”

Monica Uszerowicz, an artist and author, says: “We all grieve deeply for those who were killed, injured and displaced on October 7th.” But what has happened since then and what the world is reacting to is the Israeli government’s genocide of the Palestinian People in Gaza.”

An Art Basel spokesman says fair organizers are in “close contact” with local authorities to “ensure that any protests take place in accordance with local laws and do not impede visitors’ access to the halls.” They add: “Art Basel respects the right of individuals to participate in peaceful protests and gatherings.”

More protests took place in Miami this week. On the first night of Hanukkah on Thursday, the American Jewish Committee projected images on the facade of Temple Emanu-El, a synagogue across from the convention center, calling for the release of Israeli hostages and denouncing anti-Semitism. The “Welcome to Miami Beach” mural on 41st Street is also covered with photos of the hostages and a message calling for their “immediate return.”

Another group of artists and art world professionals, A Message to Miami, says it is “amplifying the silenced voices” starting October 7. The group this week projected messages such as “Rape is not resistance” on buildings and billboards across the city, citing evidence of sexual and gender-based violence by Hamas. The Israeli Civil Commission is calling for international recognition that the events of October 7 were systematic abuses that constitute a crime against humanity.

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