Israeli poet Aharon Shabtai boycotts international poetry festival in Jerusalem

From the archive (legacy material)

Aharon Shabtai | Email circular | 3 January 2006

Note: Aharon Shabtai is an Israeli poet and teaches Hebrew literature at Tel Aviv University. His letter (below) was sent to the organizers of the 5th international poetry festival in Jerusalem. He has approved wide ciruclation and publication of his letter.
From: aharon shabtai
Date: January 3, 2006 12:11:06 CET
To: Elisabeth Mizrahi
Subject: Re: From Yitshak Ayzenberg – Mishkenot Sha’ananim
Yitshak Ayzenberg Shalom,
Thank you for the invitation to participate in the International Poetry Festival in Jerusalem, 2006, and for the details. I ask that you remove my name from the list of participants. I read nowadays of the barbarism of the Qalandiah check-point. I object to an international poets festival in a city where the Arab inhabitants are systematically and brutally oppressed, imprisoned between walls, being robbed of their rights and their livelihood, humiliated in check-points, and international laws are trampled. I think that even poets were not allowed in the past, and are not allowed in the present, to ignore persecution and discrimination on a racist and nationalist background.
Yours, Aharon Shabtai