(NEW YORK) – As US negotiation efforts in the region reach a potentially pivotal point, PEN America released the following on February 7, 2024: 

As an organization with a mission to foster free expression and support  writers, we are anguished about the direct impact of the current conflict between Israel and Hamas on writers, artists, culture, and the prospects for discourse across difference, values essential to PEN America. The war in Gaza has exacted a calamitous death toll on Palestinian writers and artists, and led to the destruction of treasured cultural centers, libraries and educational institutions. The premeditated October 7 attacks on Israel targeted an open air music festival, as well as Israeli writers and artists who were murdered or taken hostage. We are devastated by and mourn these grave and ongoing losses. We hope that the multi-national negotiations now underway will lead to a mutually agreed upon ceasefire, ending deadly airstrikes, and that a resolution can be reached that will save lives in the region, preserve rich and varied cultures, and pave the way toward a lasting peace that enables freedom and creativity for all.

At PEN America, we have done considerable work on the war in Israel and Gaza.  Some has been public, and some has been behind the scenes to protect the imperiled artists and writers we are assisting. Since October, we have issued statements and comments on threats to free expression emanating from the conflict and its repercussions in the US and globally. That work is ongoing and we will continue to speak out in the weeks and months to come on areas within our mission where we believe our voice can bring distinctive value.  

See PEN America’s page on the Israel- Hamas war