Sabah Alnasseri, a professor of political science at York University in Toronto, is the latest participant to have pulled out of Austria’s Salam.Orient festival over sponsorship by the Israeli embassy.
Alnasseri, an Iraqi native who lives in exile, had been scheduled to give a 16 October lecture on Western interventions in the Arab world, previously billed on the official Salam.Orient program as the opening event of the festival.
Salam.Orient, a multi-cultural festival of music, dance and lectures, has already been hit hard by boycott actions. In the past week, Syrian singer Lena Chamamyan, Lebanese MC Malikah, and Palestine’s DJ Sotusura, MC Boikutt and Marwan Abado withdrew from the festival because of sponsorship from the Israeli embassy.
After Alnasseri was alerted by activists in Lebanon about Israeli embassy sponsorship of Salam.Orient, he demanded that his lecture, organized by the Vienna Institute for International Dialogue and Cooperation, be completely dissociated from the Salam.Orient festival and removed from its website.
Helmut Krieger, a lecturer at the University of Vienna’s Department of Development Studies, and the moderator and organizer of the lecture, wrote to The Electronic Intifada:
Thanks to Electronic Intifada’s articles we received the information about the co-sponsorship of the Israeli embassy in Vienna on Sunday night, two days before the event should have taken place. Due to his solidarity with the Palestinian people and his strong commitment to the rights and resistance of the Palestinians, it was absolutely clear for Sabah [Alnasseri] that the event cannot take place under any circumstances if it will not be pulled out from Salam.Orient festival.
As a result, the announcement of our event was removed from Salam.Orient’s website on Monday the 15th of October, our event was managed as independent from that festival, and the festival officially had to start one day after our event took place.
The Electronic Intifada can confirm from archived screenshots of the original schedule, that Alnasseri’s event was removed from the Salam.Orient website, and the official start date of the festival pushed back from 16 to 17 October.
The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) calls on academics and cultural workers around the world to boycott events sponsored by the Israeli government, and in other circumstances that it sets out in its guidelines, as part of the global movement for boycott, divestment and sanctions aimed at pressuring Israel to respect Palestinian human rights.