Artists Urge Israel to Release Palestinian Poet from House Arrest

More than 150 artists, authors, and cultural figures have banded together to urge Israel to release Dareen Tatour, a Palestinian poet, from house arrest. Tatour was charged with incitement to violence on October 11 for publishing her work on social media, including a poem titled “Resist My People, Resist Them” (“Qawim ya sha’abi, qawimhum”) that was posted on YouTube. Tatour was incarcerated for three months at three different prisons: Kishon, Damon, and Hasharon. She was later transferred to house arrest but was unable to return to her family at her previous home, because the government considered her a danger to the public. Tabour is forced to wear a monitoring device while she awaits trial.

Six thousand signatures have already been added to a petition on Jewish Voice for Peace demanding that the charges against the poet be dropped. “We believe in the rights of artists and writers to openly express their artistic vision and share work freely,” the website reads. “The Israeli government’s actions reveal a desire to silence Tatour, part of a larger pattern of Israeli repression against all Palestinians.” According to JVP, she is one of four hundred individuals who have been arrested in the last year for expressing resistance to the Israeli Occupation on social-media platforms.

Among the signees of the petition are Alice Walker, Susan Abulhawa, Dave Eggers, Molly Crabapple, and Naomi Shihab Nye. The list includes nine Pulitzer Prize winners, fourteen Guggenheim Fellowships recipients, an NAACP Image Award winner, many Lambda Literary Award winners, and numerous recipients of other honors such as Tony Awards, Grammy Awards, Obie Awards, PEN/Open Book Awards, and National Book Critics Circle Awards.