Jeremy Deller Never Meant to be on the Artists for Palestine Petition

Jeremy Deller

Turner Prize–winning artist Jeremy Deller has told Artnet News that he never intended to sign an open letter in support of the cultural boycott of Israel.

“I thought long and hard about it and then declined,” Deller told Artnet News in an email. “This was over a long period of time—months, I think—so the first I heard about my name being on the pledge was your article. The inclusion of my name was a genuine email mix-up.”

The petition, which was launched February 13, was organized by Artists for Palestine UK and bears the signatures of nearly 1,000 British artists and art world figures, including Ed Atkins, Phyllida Barlow, John Berger, Mona Hatoum, and Bob and Roberta Smith. The signatories agree to decline professional invitations to Israel or funds from institutions linked to the Israeli government. The petition is in support of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

Deller tells us he’s learned an important lesson: “The moral is to read emails on a proper screen, not a phone in the future.”

For more on the issue of Palestine and the arts, see “Banksy Heads to Gaza To Support the Palestinian Cause” and “The Cultural Boycott of Israel Isn’t Solidarity, It’s Condescension.”

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