Israel boycott activist to take part in Olympic poetry festival


Israeli and Palestinian poets will be on the bill at an international poetry festival later this year as part of the Cultural Olympiad.

Anat Zecharya, a Tel Aviv-born writer and photographer, will be one of the up to 204 poets from Olympic nations taking part in the week-long celebration of verse at the Southbank Centre.

Ms Zecharya, whose first poetry collection was published in 2008, has won Tel Aviv's Poetry in the Streets Prize twice. She writes predominantly about women's desires and the influence of Israeli politics on people's personal relationships.

She will be joined at the event, running from June 26 to July 1, by Rafeef Ziadah, a Palestinian spoken word artist and anti-Israel political activist who lectures at the School of African and Oriental Studies.

She is a member of the member of the international Israeli Apartheid Week coordinating committee, a founding member of the Toronto-based Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid, and a member of the Palestinian Academic and Cultural Boycott Initiative.

Ms Ziadah, who is a secretariat member of the Palestinian BDS National Committee, chaired a recent Israel Apartheid Week event at UCL in February.

Israeli artists will also take part in other Cultural Olympiad events, including the Habima Theatre Company's staging of The Merchant of Venice at the Globe Theatre. Daniel Barenboim's East-West Divan Orchestra is set to perform all nine of Beethoven's symphonies at the Proms in July.

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