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Nobel winner Ernaux backs Germany boycott over Palestine ban

Nobel Prize winner Annie Ernaux backs German institution boycott over crackdown on pro-Palestine expression
2 min read
12 January, 2024
Annie Ernaux was one of more than 500 artists who signed the petition by the 'Strike Germany' campaign,
Germany has for years cracked down n pro-Palestine solidarity [Maryam Majd/Getty]

Nobel Prize for Literature winner Annie Ernaux has joined hundreds of artists in calling for a boycott of German cultural institutions in response to Germany's crackdown on pro-Palestine solidarity.

The French author was one of more than 500 artists to sign a petition by the 'Strike Germany' campaign, which describes itself as "a call to refuse German cultural institutions' use of McCarthyist policies that suppress freedom of expression, specifically expressions of solidarity with Palestine".

The campaign's three main demands from German cultural institutions are the protection of artistic freedom, focus in the fight against antisemitism, and the combatting of structural racism.

Germany has been accused of stifling pro-Palestine activism, partly due to it claims that criticism of Israel is antisemitic.

It has accelerated its crackdown since Israel launched its war on Gaza on 7 October. More than 23,000 people have been killed in the Palestinian territory in the three months since the war began.

Protests over the war on Gaza have been banned or met with heavy police presence, and artists who have expressed pro-Palestine views have also fallen victim to the crackdown.

"Cultural workers are subjected to focused background checks concerning their positions on Palestine/Israel," Strike Germany said.

"Cultural institutions are surveilling social media, petitions, open letters, and public statements for expressions of solidarity with Palestine in order to weed out cultural workers who do not echo Germany’s unequivocal support of Israel.

"Strike Germany demands that cultural institutions refuse to police the politics of their artists and instead insist on their autonomy from state policy, invite critical discourse, and allow for dissent."

Ernaux won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2022, and has previously expressed support for Palestinians in the face of Israeli apartheid.

Other artists who have signed the petition include American actor Indya Moore, Palestinian writer Mohammed El-Kurd, and Lebanese musician Yasmine Hamdan.