Israel: Director and actresses receive death threats over feminist film

Palestinian film director and activist Maysaloun Hamoud has received a fatwa against her, as well as multiple death threats, which the actresses in her film ‘Bar Bahar’ (In Between) also received, due to it featuring taboo topics, such as drug and alcohol abuse and homosexuality, reported Telquel on 9 March 2017. Hamoud confirmed that she […]

Israel: Ultra-orthodox city censors female cartoon character from film posters

Posters and a billboard for animated film ‘Smurfs: The Lost Village’ have been scrubbed of their lone female character, Smurfette, in the ultra-Orthodox city of Bnei Brak, leaving three male cartoon smurfs on the advertisements, reported Jewish Telegraph Agency on 27 March 2016. The movie’s distribution company, Forum Film, told Israeli newspaper Haaretz on 29 […]

Israel: Gallery served eviction notice hours prior to event

Just hours before the Barbur Gallery in Jerusalem hosted an event by Breaking the Silence NGO, which included a discussion of their latest report on Israeli settler influence on Israeli Defence Forces activities in the West Bank, the city municipality ordered the eviction of the independent gallery within 90 days, reported The Times of Israel […]

Israel: Police detain Palestinian writer allegedly over novel

Israeli police detained Palestinian writer Khalida Ghosheh after raiding her home in the neighbourdhood of Beit Hanina in eastern Jerusalem and took her into custody for interrogation on 11 March 2017, reported the Ma’an News Agency. Ghosheh told her lawyer that the reason for her detention was related to her latest novel ‘Masyadat Ibn Awa’ […]

Israel: Palestinian authorities ban book, issue arrest warrant for writer

Palestinian authorities have banned Abbad Yahya’s latest novel ‘Crime in Ramallah’ for “indecency”, confiscated copies of the novel from bookstores and issued an arrest warrant for the writer, who is currently in Qatar on business and afraid of going back home, reported Al Jazeera on 10 February 2017. “I don’t know what to do. If […]

Israel: Palestinian writer arrested and detained

Israeli forces arrested writer Walid Hodali on 16 January 2017 after storming his home and confiscating some of his belongings in Ramallah in the West Bank, reported Palestine Today. The Voice of Palestine reported on 16 January 2017 that the writer was taken to an unknown location and the reason for his arrest was unknown. […]

Israel: Police temporarily shut down Palestinian theatre

Israeli forces posted a notice outside the el-Hakawati Theatre (also known as the Palestinian National Theatre) in Jerusalem stating the theatre would be closed from six o’clock in the evening until midnight on 8 December 2016 to prevent the performance of a musical they claim is linked to the Popular Front for the Liberation of […]

Israel: Art featuring ministers stirs controversy

Two recent displays of art featuring Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu have caused renewed uproar over art and freedom of expression in the major cities of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. Controversy erupted at the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design in Jerusalem after a provocative poster featuring Netanyahu with a hangman’s noose was displayed at […]

Israel: Culture minister and activists call for cancellation of Palestinian rapper’s performance

Israel’s controversial Minister of Culture Miri Regev tried to persuade the city of Haifa and its mayor to cancel Palestinian rapper Tamer Nafar’s performance at the 32nd annual Haifa Film Festival due to his stance on Israel, reported The Times of Israel on 18 October 2016. Regev’s letter followed warnings from Likud party activists who said […]

Morocco: News site publishes blacklist of artists with alleged ties to Israel

On 9 September 2016, Moroccan news site Noon Presse published its own blacklist of seven Moroccan performers and artists who have “normalised” relations with Israel, which means, according to the site, that the artists have chosen “to go against the flow” by “unashamedly visiting Israel or communicating with Israelis”. The blacklist includes three musicians, two […]

Israel: Tensions remain strained between artists and culture ministry

Members of Israel’s artistic community have filed a lawsuit against the country’s ministry of culture as artists and cultural institutions increasingly feel threatened under culture minister Miri Regev, who has attempted, among other things, to put laws in place that would tie funding to “loyalty to the state”, thus curbing artistic expression in the country, […]

Israel: Detained Palestinian poet heads to trial over poem

On 6 September 2016, Palestinian poet Dareen Tatour heads back to trial facing charges that one of her poems posted on YouTube and two Facebook posts constitute “incitement to violence”, a charge that carries a prison term of up to eight years. The charges mainly relate to Tatour’s poem on YouTube, ‘Resist my people, resist’, […]

INSIGHT 2015 publication: Targeting the arts

» Read on Targeting the arts INSIGHT articles about controversies and conflicts over art in 2015 Documenting incidents of censorship has never been enough. From the very beginning Freemuse has attempted to put censorship of music and arts into a larger context. In 2015 we introduced INSIGHT – a series of articles providing readers with […]

Israel: Proposed ‘loyalty bill’ to impact on artistic expression

The Israeli Minister of Culture, Miri Regev, wants to make allocation of funding of arts projects conditional upon the recipient’s loyalty to the Jewish state. At the end of January 2016, Miri Regev, Israel’s minister of culture and sport, proposed an amendment – dubbed the “loyalty in culture” bill – that would slash government funding for any […]

Israel: Culture minister proposes ‘loyalty bill’ for arts funding

Israeli Culture Minister Miri Regev proposed a bill on 27 January 2016 that would tie arts funding only to projects and performances that are ‘loyal’ to Israel, reported Ynet News. The controversial ‘loyalty bill’ would aim to deny state funding to artists and institutions that, for example, incite racism, violence or terrorism, support armed struggle […]

Israel: Officials ban book on Jewish-Arab romance

Officials in Israel’s education ministry banned Dorit Rabinyan’s ‘Gader Haya’ (Borderlife) book from being taught in schools because the plot involving a mixed romantic relationship between an Israeli and Palestinian is perceived as “threatening”, newspaper The Telegraph reported. Ministry of Education officials who banned the book on 30 December 2015 said that “intimate relationships between […]

Israel: The political legacy of muzzling artists

In June 2015, Israeli artists made a collective roar against their government over its arts funding policy which bans dissident artists. Like everywhere else in the world, the government of Israel can choose which artists to support with public funding. It can ban, expel and censor artists, according to its own political agenda. The exclusivity […]

Israel: Artists up in arms over remarks by Culture Minister

Israel’s new Culture and Sports Minister Miri Regev sparked a furore when she threatened to defund a children theatre managed by an Arab Israeli if he refused to perform in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. Israeli artists and leading cultural figures gathered Sunday 14 June 2015 to try and consolidate an approach against Culture Minister Miri […]

Israel: Palestinian artist prevented from travelling to New York for exhibition

The Palestinian artist Khaled Jarrar, who is known for his work about the West Bank barrier, has been prevented from travelling to New York for an opening of his exhibition, reported Khaled Jarrar was stopped by the Israeli authorities at the crossing into Jordan, according to the website +972. » The Art Newspaper – 15 […]

Israel: Supreme Court book ban a harsh blow to artistic freedom of expression

In a ruling handed down in April 2014, the Israeli Supreme Court rejected a writer’s appeal of a district court decision, which included a ban against the publication and distribution of his novel. In effect, the court ordered that the book be shelved, after it had already been published, printed and even sold in hundreds […]

Israel: Gaza theatres battle censorship and conservatism

A lack of female performers, the siege and close monitoring by the Hamas government has resulted in a dwindling Gaza theatre industry, reported Al Monitor. Hanouna said that the theater’s decline began about eight years ago, “when artists started self-censoring their work and thinking of the ruling authorities and their opinion about plays and the […]

Israel: Gaza cartoonist receives death threats

Gaza artist Majida Shaheen has been threatened for drawing a cartoon that ‘demonized’ Islamic Jihad. When Majida Shaheen on 22 January 2013 drew and published a cartoon on her Facebook page depicting Gaza Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh trying to tame an angry dog with the name “Al-Quds Brigades” — the military wing of Islamic Jihad […]

Israel: Palestinean drummer arrested and dumped in wasteland

Drummer Samer Jaradat was arrested by Israeli police at a checkpoint on the road between Nazareth and Jericho. Police claimed that his papers weren’t in order. “From all what we know, there was nothing wrong with his papers,” told Steinar Larsen, the director of Trondheim Soloists whom Samer Jaradat was touring with. A quintet from […]

Swedish city offers Gaza rapper safe city residency

Video interview with rapper Khaled Harara from Palestine who the Swedish city of Gothenburg has announced will be offered a ‘safe city’ residency for two years. In April 2013, the 26-year-old rapper Khaled Harara came to the Freemuse secretariat in Copenhagen. Having toured Denmark, he was afraid of returning to his home in Gaza. Khaled […]

Lebanon: Award-winning film banned for being shot in Israel

Lebanese authorities have banned the award-winning film ‘The Attack’ from cinemas in the country because it was partly shot in Tel Aviv using Israeli actors. “I regret to inform you that the Interior Minister of Lebanon, Minister (Marwan) Charbel, has decided to punish us and the film by banning it… claiming that the reason for […]

Israel: “Censorship minister” wants filmmakers to exercise self-censorship

On 26 February 2013, the Israeli Culture and Sports Minister Limor Livnat called on Israeli filmmakers to exercise “self-censorship” and refrain from producing movies that cast aspersions on Israel and “libel it throughout the world.” In response, this brought out an editorial in Haaretz, a leading Israeli newspaper, which labeled Limor Livnat as “The censorship […]

Israel: Theatre director Zakaria Zubeidi released on bail

Zakaria Zubeidi, theatre director and one of the founders of the Freedom Theatre in Jenin, Palestine, was released on 1 October 2012. He has been detained in a prison in Jericho since 13 May 2012, most of the time without charges. Zubeidi was detained during a wave of raids and arrests in his home city […]

Israel: Film festival crumbles under the weight of censorship

The international film festival ‘Through Women’s Eyes’ is held every two years and crumbles under the weight of censorship, reported SK Eyes Media on 30 August 2012. “Not only do the censors target this festival, they also view all movies screened during any public gatherings and other festivals in the Gaza Strip, causing great harm […]

Iran: Banned Israeli Persian-language album gains popularity

The music of Rita Jahan-Foruz — an Iranian-born, Israel-based singer — is becoming increasingly popular in both Iran and Israel, as political tensions grow between the two countries. 50-year-old Rita Jahan-Foruz’s music is banned in her birthplace Iran where any music whose singing, performance or distribution is not approved by the authorities is deemed illegal. […]

Israel: Two on hunger strike for The Freedom Theatre

In an Israeli military court hearing on 5 July 2012, the Artistic Director of The Freedom Theatre, Nabil Al-Raee, was accused of possessing guns, and helping a wanted person (Zakaria Zubeidi) as well as three other wanted (but unnamed) persons. In response to the accusations Nabil declared that he is starting a hunger strike from […]

Israel: Theatre director arrested by the Israeli army

At approximately 3:15 in the morning of 6 June 2012, the Israeli army entered the home of Nabil Al-Raee, Artistic Director of The Freedom Theatre, and arrested him. The soldiers refused to tell Al-Raee’s wife where they’d be taking him and why.   Jonathan Stanczak, who will be on stage at the World Conference on Artistic […]

Israeli musicians plan to break Richard Wagner taboo

A classical music event in Israel on 18 June 2012 is expected to break the country’s taboo on performing the music of Richard Wagner, the 19th century German composer and a well-known anti-Semite. The Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported that the event, scheduled for 18 June 2012, will be an academic symposium at Tel Aviv University […]

Israeli cartoons removed from Facebook

Four political satire images by the cartoonist Mysh have been removed from Facebook and Mysh’s account was suspended for three days as “punishment”, reported the liberal Jewish blogger Richard Silverstein. One of the censored cartoons was about the Israeli pogromists who assaulted African refugees in Tel Aviv. Others were The Green Sabra (a parody of […]

German poet barred from visiting Israel

Israel has declared the 84-year-old Nobel Prize-winning German poet Günter Grass a persona non grata.   On 7 April 2012, Israel’s Interior Minister Eli Yishai declared Günter Grass a persona non grata in Israel because he published a poem claiming that Israel is endangering world peace by threatening Iran. Eli Yishai said in a statement […]



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