Israeli backing for New York festival rejected in angry letter by authors

More than 100 writers, including Pulitzer Prize winners Alice Walker, Richard Ford and Junot Díaz, have called on the PEN American Center “to reject support from the embassy of Israel” in a furious open letter.

Sent to PEN American Center and other festival participants in March but published online on Wednesday, the letter opposes the Israeli embassy’s sponsorship of PEN’s annual World Voices Festival (PWVF), a seven-day event in New York at the end of this month.

The same assholes I bet…

The PEN American Center has been criticised by the other branches of the writers’ freedom of expression organisation before. In 2015, more than 200 writers protested after it gave a freedom of expression award to the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in the wake of the attack on its Paris offices earlier that year.

That letter said that by selecting Charlie Hebdo, PEN was “valorising selectively offensive material: material that intensifies the anti-Islamic, anti-Maghreb, anti-Arab sentiments already prevalent in the western world”.