Lapid: British Artists Boycotting Israel Don't Realize Radical Islamists Would Kill Us All

'I am not as grandiose as Richard Ashcroft,' says Yesh Atid head in letter to Guardian. 'What I want is far more modest: For people not to try to kill me just because I’m a Jew.'

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Lapid delivers a speech during an conference in Tel Aviv on December 24, 2014.
Lapid delivers a speech during an conference in Tel Aviv on December 24, 2014.Credit: AFP

Yesh Atid leader and former Finance Minister Yair Lapid penned a letter to the Guardian newspaper on Thursday, blasting the cultural boycott of Israel announced by over 100 British artists.

"As an Israeli politician who supports the creation of a Palestinian state it’s been a long time since I saw a letter so lacking in coherence," Lapid wrote, wondering whether the signatories are aware of the repeated Palestinian refusal of generous Israeli offers over the years.

The artists, including filmmakers Ken Loach and Mike Leigh and musicians Brian Eno, Roger Waters and Richard Ashkroft, wrote in their petition that they "will not engage in business-as-usual cultural relations with Israel." According to the letter, this includes accepting professional invitations to Israel or funding from any institutions linked to the Israeli government.

"I guess I’ll never be as complex as Ken Loach or as grandiose as Richard Ashcroft," Lapid wrote in his letter if response, "what I want is far more modest: for people not to try to kill me just because I’m a Jew." He wondered whether the artists knew what would happen if the IDF lay down its weapons for even 24 hours: "Radical Islamists would kill us all," he said. "Women and children first. That’s what they’re doing to their brethren in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen and across the Islamic world. What are the chances that they’ll spare us?"

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