A group of Canadian artists and poet Rupi Kaur have announced that they will not attend the Diwali celebration hosted by the White House on November 8, 2023. The reason for their boycott is the Biden administration’s support for Israel’s war against Hamas in Gaza, which they consider to be a genocide of Palestinians.
Rupi Kaur, a bestselling author and activist, posted a statement on her social media accounts, explaining why she declined the invitation from Vice President Kamala Harris. She said that she was surprised that the administration would celebrate Diwali, a festival of light and liberation, while backing Israel’s “collective punishment of a trapped civilian population”. She also criticized the US for not advocating a ceasefire and for blocking a UN Security Council resolution condemning the violence.
The White House has not issued any official response to the boycott, but sources say that the administration is concerned about the backlash from the South Asian community, which is a key voting bloc for the Democrats.