December 8, 2011
Israeli author booted from Marseilles panel
An Israeli author was kicked off a panel discussion in Marseilles at the request of the Palestinian poet Najwan Darwish.
Moshe Sakal, the author of “Yoland,” which was shortlisted for the 2011 Sapir Prize for literature, was removed Monday from a discussion of the Arab spring at a conference of Mediterranean writers, Haaretz reported.
French-Jewish author Pierre Assouline, the director of the conference, said Sakal’s participation in the panel “was not crucial.”
Darwish had apparently said that he would participate in the conference as long as he did not have to sit with any Israelis at roundtable discussions.
Describing the reaction to Sakal’s dismissial, Assouline said, “Half of the crowd got very angry, and the other half was thrilled.”
“I entered the hall just as [Moroccan poet] Tahar Ben Jelloun was speaking forcefully against this type of boycott,” Sakal said to Ha’aretz. “He said that there are many Israeli authors who are supportive [of the Palestinian cause] and one should speak to them even if one doesn’t approve of current Israeli politics.”
“There were hundreds of people there and there were a lot of hecklers,” Sakal said. “People were very upset.”