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Gordimer criticism of Isaraeli visit is misconceived

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By Xolani Mbanjwa

Nobel Prize laureate Nadine Gordimer has rejected claims by international and local organisations that her trip to Jerusalem to attend a festival would give legitimacy to the Israeli state.

Gordimer (84) has come under severe pressure to boycott the International Writers’ Festival because it coincides with the Israeli government’s 60th celebration of Israeli statehood.

Yesterday she said concerns about her going to the festival were “misconceived”.

She said: “My solidarity with our struggle against apartheid surely can leave no doubt in the minds of my comrades and others concerned that I do not support the present (Israeli) government and deplore many of its actions.”

Gordimer, said there was “misinformation” about her visit.

She will be Israel from May 11 to May 15.

As part of her visit, she aims to help foster talks between Israelis and Palestinians.

Since her trip to Israel was announced last month, there has been pressure on her not to take part in the event.

However, Gordimer said she was not going to Israel under the “auspices” of the Israeli government but was honouring an invitation by the Konrad Adenauer Institute.

“The purpose (of my visit), conditions on which I have agreed to participate, are for writers to discuss their responsibilities to their art, their communities, their countries, and the world we share.”

Two weeks’ ago, the British Committee for the Universities of Palestine (BCUP) urged Gordimer to reconsider her trip saying it was “dispiriting” that a writer of her standing was prepared to appear in a city which was under military occupation and “founded on ethnic cleansing”.

“By taking part in an event substantially funded by the Israeli ministry of foreign affairs, you will be lending credibility to the state that has for decades subjected Palestinian towns and villages to collective punishment and boasts of its extrajudicial killings,” the BCUP said in a letter to Gordimer.

Source: Pretoria News


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