Home 5 News 5 Hay Festival drops Baillie Gifford sponsor after activist pressure.

Hay Festival drops Baillie Gifford sponsor after activist pressure.

by | May 29, 2024 | News

After campaigning by the UK pressure group Fossil Free Books  (FFB), the Hay Literary Festival has suspended its sponsorship agreement with the investment group Baillie Gifford.  Julie Finch, CEO of Hay Festival Global, said: “In light of claims raised by campaigners and intense pressure on artists to withdraw, we have taken the decision to suspend our sponsorship from Baillie Gifford. Our first priority is to our audience and our artists. Above all else, we must preserve the freedom of our stages and spaces for open debate and discussion, where audiences can hear a range of perspectives.”

 

FFB issued a statement outlining its position.  “As of writing, over 35,000 people have been killed in Gaza, including more than 14,500 children.  This is the highest daily death rate of any major conflict this century.  The Israeli military is also destroying the cultural life and heritage of Palestine. Omar Robert Hamilton, the Director of the Palestine Festival of Literature has said “every single university in Gaza has been destroyed, journalists are being killed at an unprecedented rate, cultural centres, archives, printing presses, bookshops, publishing houses – all have been intentionally targeted by Israel’s precision bombs”.

 

“This destruction depends on financing. In addition to companies linked to the Israeli military, Baillie Gifford is also currently invested in Cemex, Cisco Systems, and Booking Holdings. The maintenance and expansion of Israeli settlements is illegal under international law and “gives rise to individual criminal liability as war crimes and crimes against humanity under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court”. All three of these companies have been condemned by numerous human rights organisations for their business involvement in the illegal Israeli settlements in occupied Palestine.

 

“Solidarity with Palestine and climate justice are inextricably linked, as emphasised by Friends of the Earth International: “Our liberation struggle is interconnected with global movements advocating for Indigenous rights, land rights, the fight against the fossil fuel industry and climate colonialism”.

 

 

 

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