”I’m for a Palestinian state, because that is the way to life. All other roads lead to death.” These words were spoken by Amos Oz to a gathering of 800, organized by the Israeli Playwrights Association at the Tsavta Theater in Tel Aviv on this date in 1988. Twelve leading Israeli writers spoke or read from their work, and seventy New York writers, artists and performers expressed their solidarity in a telegram, including E. L. Doctorow, Allen Ginsberg, Erica Jong, Roy Lichtenstein, Norman Mailer, Arthur Miller, Grace Paley, Gloria Steinem, and Susan Sontag. The gathering was a response to the first Palestinian intifadah, which had broken out three months earlier and involved the first massive non-violent Palestinian resistance to the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. Other protests by artists against the Israeli occupation would follow, including a March 1st onstage appearance by some 50 leading Israeli musicians at a Tel Aviv peace rally.
“I think it’s very important that artists whose political identities were not previously known express themselves . . . Musicians like Shlomo Artzi . . . are major figures in this country. The moment they say, ‘We have to make peace with the Palestinians,’ people begin to think about it.” —Motti Lerner, playwright