Israel sponsors Polish soap opera in ‘image improvement’ drive – Polish and Israeli activists urge boycott
Polish and Israeli activists have called on the makers of a Polish medical drama ‘For Better and For Worse’ to abandon plans to film two episodes in Israel under the sponsorship of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The Israeli Embassy in Warsaw and the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs are co-operating to provide assistance to the project, in what officials say is an effort to change the attitude of Polish society towards Israel and to improve the image of Israel in the world. 
The Polish Campaign of Solidarity with Palestine (Kampania Palestyna) supports the Palestinian call by over 170 civil society organisations and trade unions initiated in 2005 for a comprehensive economic, sports, cultural and academic boycott of Israel until:
1. Israel withdraws from all occupied territory (Gaza, West Bank, East Jerusalem, Golan Heights and dismantles the illegal apartheid wall);
2. Respects the right of return for Palestinian refugees and their descendants expelled from their homes in 1948; and
3. Affirms equal rights for Palestinians living in Israel-Palestine.
‘For Better and for Worse’, a popular Polish soap opera about doctors is made by Artrama and broadcast by state television channel ‘Telewizja Polska SA (TVP). All appeals and protests registered in public domains including the programme’s home page and facebook have been removed.
The Polish campaign said: “State support for cultural projects, including those from the mainstream, is altogether laudable, but in Israel’s cas culture is treated as a tool to cover up violence, distraction of human rights and civil rights, absolute occupation and apartheid policies.
We consider it unethical to take part in events organized or co-financed by the State of Israel, the occupier of Palestine, given the very fact of occupation, particularly its violent nature, and the deliberate violation of international law. We call for a boycott initiative, and to waive the implementation of the episodes of “For better or for worse” in Israel”. 
Ten prominent Israeli academics and human rights activists  wrote to the makers of ‘For better or for worse’ requesting they visit occupied Palestine and meet with human rights activists before undertaking any decision to film. They said:
“We would like to stress that participation in such a project is equivalent to taking a political stand on a very important issue: the human rights crisis in the Occupied Territories, under Israeli military control. The crisis has significant medical aspects as well. 
We believe that the decision whether to proceed with the project should be based on a comprehensive understanding of the situation in our region. In view of this, before you commit to filming, we would like to invite you to meet Israeli peace and human rights activists during your visit here.In particular, we strongly recommend an informative guided tour with representatives of ICAHD, the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions. We will gladly respond to any comments or questions that you may have. 
They have received no response.
Kampania Palestyna urges people to register complaints over the Israeli state sponsored instrumentalisation of ‘For Better or for Worse’ to whitewash Israel’s image as a ‘democracy’ and normalise apartheid and occupation in Palestine.
Notes for Editors
 Oshra Bar, Dr. Jeff Halper (ICAHD founder), Shir Hever, Liad Kantorowicz, Assaf Kintzer, Edo Medicks, Ofer Neiman, Jonathan Pollak, Yonatan Shapira, Tali Shapiro
 In the last decade Israel has killed at least 56 medical rescuers, injured over 500, and denied access to 2242 cases of medical need. http://defendtherescuers.files.wordpress.com/2009/07/defend-the-rescuers-factsheet.pdf.
See also Btselem report into Palestinian deaths due to infringement of the right to medical care http://old.btselem.org/statistics/english/Casualties_data.asp?Category=21®ion=TER Defend the Rescuers http://defendtherescuers.wordpress.com/
The Palestinian Red Crescent Society http://www.palestinercs.org/en/ Physicians for Human Rights (Israel) http://www.phr.org.il/default.asp?PageID=4 Medical Aid for Palestine (UK) http://www.map-uk.org/
Contact: [email protected]