Letter to Neil Young from a Gaza Farmer – Don’t Play Apartheid Israel

A beautiful, heartbreaking letter to Neil Young from a Gaza farmer, Nasser Abu Said, asking him not to cross the Palestinian picket-line, not to breach the BDS call by playing for apartheid Israel.

Dear Neil Young My name is Nasser Abu Said, I am a farmer in the Gaza Strip, Johr Al Deak. We were poor but we had a family and we had a life, even if we lived by the Israeli border where incursions and regular shooting at our farm workers from Israeli soldiers and jeeps limited how much we could farm there.

They knew who we were, it is open land, and they did not attack us during Cast Lead in 2009. Then, on a quiet day in July 2010 my wife Na’eema and 5 children were enjoying the sunshine. They fired 5 tank shells and a flechette shell at our house. My five children were there and my wife Na’eema ran outside to bring in Jaber the youngest. She was hit by the nails of the flechette shell and I could hear small noises coming from her. I knew she was dying. For hours the Israeli military prevented an ambulance from coming. The children watched as she lay dying in front of their eyes. I was holding myself in, especially in front of the children. The children were crying hysterically and some had wet themselves. I lost my wife and the children have never recovered.

They attacked again with missiles in April 2011, this time burying 2 of my children in the home, injuring others but we all survived. We gave up once the house was half destroyed a second time, and have been living in tents ever since.

By going and entertaining the Israeli audience, many of whom will have committed similar atrocities while in uniform, you are giving a green light to Israel, telling them its business as usual, even if my story has happened so many times in Gaza. Is the blood of my wife not worth anything? There is a chance to help make a difference and joining the boycotts until Israel stops ruining families through occupation and siege, like they did for mine. The international community must do something and it’s up to people of conscience to lead, so that what happened to my wife and family does not happen to any other farmers in Gaza.

 

To join the campaign to ask Neil Young not to play apartheid Israel, you can like and post on this Facebook page:

Neil Young, Tell Me Why You Would Play for Apartheid Israel

And sign this petition:

 

 

land-day.jpg

 

Open Letter to Chris de Burgh, Don’t Play Apartheid Israel – IPSC

Dear Chris de Burgh,

In your song Lebanese Nights you wrote:

                                All over the world, the gift from before,

                                Nothing is left for the children of war…

Since the year 2000 more than 1400 Palestinian children have been killed by Israeli soldiers and illegal colonial settlers. Defence for Children International estimates that “since the year 2000, around 8,000 Palestinian children have been detained and prosecuted in the system…. The majority of these children are charged with throwing stones.”

In a report last month (February 2014), Amnesty International declared that Israeli forces have displayed a callous disregard for human life by killing dozens of Palestinian civilians, including children, in the occupied West Bank over the past three years with near total impunity…”

wall-art

These children are indeed “children of war”, but is there really nothing left for them except “the gift from before”? Do we not owe them our solidarity, particularly in view of the failure of the international community to end Israel’s “near total impunity”?

Almost a decade ago, in July 2004, dozens of Palestinian federations, associations, and civil society organizations “call[ed] upon our colleagues in the international community to comprehensively and consistently boycott all Israeli academic and cultural institutions as a contribution to the struggle to end Israel’s occupation, colonization and system of apartheid…”, and in particular to “refrain from participation in any form of academic and cultural cooperation, collaboration or joint projects with Israeli institutions” (note that this call is not directed against individuals).

One year later a more comprehensive call came from some 170 Palestinian civil society organisations for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against the Israeli state “until Israel meets its obligation to recognize the Palestinian people’s inalienable right to self-determination and fully complies with the precepts of international law.” A year later again, over 100 Palestinian Filmmakers, Artists and Cultural Workers called for a cultural boycott in similar terms. These calls from the oppressed constitute a strong mandate.

Recently such famous musicians as Roger Waters (who declared his “solidarity, not only with the people of Palestine, but also with the many thousands of Israelis who disagree with their government’s racist and colonial policies, by joining a campaign of Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions against Israel…”) and Elvis Costello (“there are occasions when merely having your name added to a concert schedule may be interpreted as a political act that resonates more than anything that might be sung and it may be assumed that one has no mind for the suffering of the innocent… “) have refused to perform in Israel.

Not least, at time of writing some 260 Irish creative and performing artists have signed a pledge undertaking not to accept invitations to Israel. Musicians constitute the largest single group of signatories, including Andy Irvine, Dónal Lunny, Peadar Ó Riada, Liam Ó Maonlaí, Damien Dempsey, Sharon Shannon, and many others from the fields of popular, traditional, jazz and classical music.

In view of these manifestations of solidarity and concern, your decision to perform in Tel Aviv on 29th March has been noted with deep disappointment.

It is because our governments refuse to take action to curb Israel’s crimes, even when enjoined to do so by the International Criminal Court or indeed by their own statutes (e.g. article 2 of the Euro-Mediterranean Association Agreement), that civil society is obliged to call for such harsh tactics as cultural, sporting and academic boycotts. Such tactics are aimed at bringing to an end the circumstances that called them into being – in this case, Israel’s occupation of Palestinian lands, its siege of Gaza (declared illegal by an independent UN panel), and its policies of apartheid and colonisation.

You may argue that music is “above politics”, but this hardly stands up in view of a statement by Nissim Ben-Sheetrit, now Director General of the Israeli Foreign Ministry, that Israel “see[s] culture as a propaganda tool of the first rank, and… do[es] not differentiate between propaganda and culture.” (Ha’aretz, 21/09/05). This means that any artist(e) visiting Israel will be exploited by that state’s very active propagandists to normalise it and to whitewash its crimes. By cancelling your projected concert in Tel Aviv you will be joining the likes of Stevie Wonder, Annie Lennox, Roger Waters, Elvis Costello and other conscientious musicians in refusing to be “propaganda tools” for the Israeli state.

But most importantly, by not crossing the picket line you will be showing the persecuted Palestinians that something is indeed left for the children of war – hope.

Yours sincerely –

Raymond Deane

Cultural Liaison

Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign

To Neil Young from a South African Anti-Apartheid Activist, Don’t Play Apartheid Israel

A powerful message to Neil Young from Salim Vally. Neil Young is scheduled to play apartheid Israel on July 17th, 2014.

Facebook page asking him not to play is here:  Neil Young, Tell Me Why You Would Play for Apartheid Israel

Dr. Salim Vally is director of the Centre for Education Rights and Transformation at the University of Johannesburg. He is renowned in South Africa as an academic, educator and human rights activist, and member of the Palestine Solidarity Committee.

Dear Neil Young,

Your music and songs provided much needed succour during our struggle against apartheid in South Africa.

I distinctly remember how we, school children in the notorious John Vorster Square prison in Johannesburg, after the Soweto uprising in 1976, changed the lyrics of your song ‘four dead in Ohio’-recalling the anti-Vietnam war demonstrations-to ‘hundreds dead in Soweto’.

We called on the world to isolate the apartheid regime and most of humanity, including musicians, eventually heeded our call. Some though played at ‘Sin City’.

Palestinians are confronted with, in the words of Archbishop Desmond Tutu, a system of discrimination “worse than apartheid in South Africa.”

Palestinians inspired by our global campaign against apartheid South Africa call for similar action against apartheid in Israel. They ask for nothing more than the basic democratic and human rights that we in South Africa largely enjoy today. Rights that exist in no small measure because of global solidarity. The words of Mandela, “‘We know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians” resonate with millions of South Africans and are deeply understood by those around the world who have faced adversity and oppression and who know the value of solidarity and our common humanity.

Please don’t disappoint Neil. Please don’t play at apartheid Israel’s version of ‘Sin City’.

Salim Vally

NY 1

2013 Summary of the Cultural Boycott of Apartheid Israel

2013 Summary of the Cultural Boycott of Apartheid Israel

by DPAI (UK, Australia, Ireland, USA)

This year brought with it bold public statements from Pink Floyd founder Roger Waters and acclaimed filmmaker Mira Nair that they support the cultural boycott of Israel and respect the boycott call by the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI).  Such declarations paralleled the wide-reaching news that Professor Stephen Hawking, the renowned University of Cambridge physicist and cosmologist, had joined the academic boycott of Israel.

Meanwhile, artists that had played in Israel prior to the boycott call continued to refuse to entertain apartheid.  A few examples are Rage Against The Machine, Suede and Radiohead, who all played Israel in 2000, but since Palestinian Civil Society made the boycott call in 2005, all three bands have refrained.  Peter Hammill also has not returned to play Israel since his concert there in 2001.

January 2013:Stanley Jordan delights many of his jazz fans when he cancels his appearance as headlining artist for the Israel Red Sea Jazz Festival (Winter).  His decision was preceded by an in-depth conversation lasting many days on his Facebook wall, in which people opposed to Israeli apartheid tried to inform him about the facts of that state’s treatment of the Palestinian people.  [1]

Highly publicized Lollapalooza Israel is cancelled because so many artists chose to refrain from playing Israel, a promoter stated “there were many difficulties in recruiting famous artists to take part in the festival…” [2]

Trance Addicts Against Israeli Apartheid is formed, dedicated to to the advocacy and promotion of a trance music boycott of Israel.[3]

Israel’s plan to utilize metalwashing slows when Germany thrash metal band Kreator (who played Israel in ‘06) cancel their Israel gig, and choose not to reschedule. [4]

February 2013:  Lowkey and M1(dead Prez) create a boycott video that encourages as well as educates many hiphop and rap fans about the BDS call. [5]

Boycott activists applaud the legendary Shuggie Otis when he quietly cancels a gig in Israel.  [6]

March 2013: Major music publication, Rolling Stone publishes an article: Roger Waters Calls for Boycott of Israel, bringing awareness of the cultural boycott into the mainstream. [7]

Young Canadian students from the largest students’ union in Canada, York University Federation of Students (YFS), vote overwhelmingly in favour of a resolution to endorse the global campaign for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israeli apartheid. [8]

April, 2013: The late author Iain Banks announces he has cancer and has just months to live, he reiterates his support of the cultural boycott of Israel. He explains in London’s Guardian publication why he decided his novels would no longer be published in Israel.[9]

Award winning American artist Raymond Pettibon, whose work is included in the collection of numerous museums and institutions worldwide, tweets support for the cultural boycott of apartheid Israel, refusing to let his work be shown in Tel Aviv.  [10]

An Israeli media site concocts a deceiving and false story that Pearl Jam will play Israel.

Fake quotes from the band are made within the article. The band’s management responded to a query with “Sorry, Pearl Jam does not have a Tel Aviv show scheduled.” [11]

Award winning singer Alexandra Burke, British pop sensation at age 24, quietly refrains from headlining the Zionist Federation Gala to celebrate Israel’s 65th birthday at Wembley Arena, London.  Anti-apartheid supporters had contacted Burke, and there were protests outside Wembley Arena in support of Palestinian rights. [12]

The Teachers Union of Ireland (TUI) vote unanimously, at the Annual Congress on 4 April to endorse the Palestinian call for the Academic Boycott of Israel. They become the first academic union in Europe to formally adopt the academic boycott.  The TUI revive the noble legacy of Irish support for the boycott against South African apartheid and bolster international support for the Palestinian call. [13]

Students in Australia at the University of Sydney boldly vote to support the academic boycott of Israel. [14]

The student senate at the University of California, Berkeley vote to divest from companies affiliated with Israel’s military on 18 April.  Pulitzer Prize-winning author Alice Walker, who has visited the Gaza Strip, attended the meeting and publicly voiced her support for SB 160.[15]

The Association for Asian American Studies (AAAS) votes in an historic decision to support the boycott of Israeli academic institutions.  AAAS becomes the FIRST academic organization in the U.S. to boycott Israeli institutions.[16]

May, 2013:  Israel’s Plugfest was due to take place in the ethnically cleansed Negev Desert.  International artists Azealia Banks, Lee Scratch Perry, Water Knot,  CSS, 2ManyDJs, !!!Chk Chk Chk, Tiger Love  and Tinariwen were contacted by campaigners and asked to respect the boycott call.  The entire festival had to be scrapped. The Plugfest cancellation is extremely significant, especially as Plug Productions initiated Plugfest to replace their failed attempt at Lollapalooza Israel..  Both were unsuccessful attempts to be Israel’s first ever international music festival, proving the boycott is so successful that a large number of musicians refrain from performing in Israel. [17]

Oberlin College Student Senate members vote to divest from six companies that profit from the occupation and oppression of Palestinians:  Hewlett-Packard, Caterpillar, Veolia, Elbit Systems, G4S, and SodaStream.  [18]

Professor Stephen Hawking joins the academic boycott of Israel in protest at treatment of Palestinians, cancelling plans to headline a conference hosted by Israel’s president Shimon Peres.[19]  Hawking’s bold decision reverberates around the world, greatly strengthening the boycott and taking it into the mainstream.

Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu and former Robben Island prisoner and anti-apartheid stalwart Ahmed Kathrada ask Hollywood star Morgan Freeman, who portrayed Nelson Mandela in the Rugby World Cup-inspired film Invictus, not to accept an award from a group linked to an Israeli university.[20]

Jazz artist Richard Bona quietly scraps plans to return to apartheid Israel for three concerts.  

[21] Bona disappointed some of his fans when he played Israel in 2011 and 2012, and his decision not to return this year was a courageous and welcome step towards human rights and justice.

June:  Mira Nair, internationally-acclaimed film director of Salaam Bombay! and Monsoon Wedding, refuses an invitation to take her latest film, The Reluctant Fundamentalist, to Israel, citing the Palestinian call for cultural boycott.

In a series of tweets, Nair made the following statement:

I was just invited to Israel as a guest of honor at the Haifa International Film Festival with “The Reluctant Fundamentalist.” I will not be going to Israel at this time. I will go to Israel when the walls come down. I will go to Israel when occupation is gone. I will go to Israel when the state does not privilege one religion over another. I will go to Israel when Apartheid is over. I will go to Israel, soon. I stand with the [Palestinian Campaign] for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) and the larger Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) Movement.[22]

The Israeli producers of the Jerusalem Festival of Sacred Music announce on their official Facebook page:

“Salif Keita canceled his participation in the Jerusalem Festival of Sacred Music. A few hours before his departure for Jerusalem the Malian musician Salif Keita decided to heed the demands of the cultural boycott of Israel and to cancel his participation in the closing concert of the festival.” [23]

Fans of UK stand-up comedian Russell Brand circulate a petition asking him to respect the boycott, and applaud his choice to decline to perform in Israel.[24]

Lim Boats

July:  Israeli press, Music Mako, report that despite already receiving half of 2.25 million shekels in a money transfer, The Killers have now decided not to play Israel.  The article goes on to make the dubious claim that it is difficult to hang the cancellation on to political pressures. [25]

The Killers band members were aware of the reason for the boycott of Israel.  Anti-apartheid activists created a facebook page urging them not to book Israel called The Killers:This Battle is Against Apartheid, Boycott Israel.  The Killers reportedly would have played Israel following their gig in Dubai on October 11.  

August:  The Red Sea Jazz Festival (Summer), referred to as #RedSeaApartheidJazz  on twitter, sees quiet cancellations by US jazz artists Chris Daddy Dave [26] and Matt Schofield and his band, The Matt Schofield Trio. [27]

Carlo Mombelli, celebrated South African jazz artist, withdraws from controversial Israeli concert at the University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg.  The organizer states “his conscience does not allow him to participate”. [28]

Renowned British violinist Nigel Kennedy performs with the Palestine Strings Orchestra at the BBC proms.  Mondoweiss reports:

“Mr. Kennedy is the most high-profile classical artist to date to boycott Israel because of its expropriation and ethnic cleansing of Palestine.  At last Thursday night’s concert he did something even more courageous: On the stage of London’s Royal Albert Hall, to a capacity audience of about five and a half thousand people, plus as many as two million listening live on BBC Radio 3, he invoked the taboo ‘A’ word—Apartheid—to describe the world where his young on-stage colleagues live. Nor did the BBC, at writing, excise the comment from its week-long online audio of the concert, and the recorded concert will be broadcast on BBC television to a viewership in the millions.” [29]

September:  Inspirational singer and composer Sonia Montez of Mexico advocates for the boycott of apartheid Israel.[30]

True to their punk rock background, Scottish Band Oi Polloi choose to boycott Kapittel, a festival in Stavanger, Norway, due to the participation of the Israeli ambassador to Norway Naim Aradi.  Oi Polloi announce on their facebook:

«We regret to announce that we are no longer appearing at the Kapittel literature & freedom of expression festival in Stavanger in Norway on Saturday since we found out that (incredibly) we were on the same bill as none other than the Israeli Ambassador! We don’t play with professional apologists for war crimes, torture, illegal occupation, ethnic cleansing & racism.»[31]

October: The Association for Humanist Sociology, an organization consisting mostly of North American university professors, releases a statement on their vote to support the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel. [32]

Israel’s use of metalwashing takes a major blow when three international metal bands cancel plans to fly to Israel to attend the 2nd Progstage Festival.  Circus Maximus (Norway), Haken (UK), and Bumblefoot (USA), were supposed to perform in Israel on the eve of October 11.  The entire festival was rescheduled for November 30, with fewer bands and smaller names.  Eventually the festival is scrapped completely, and never happens in November.[33]

December:  The Palestinian Campaign to Boycott the Oral History Conference at Hebrew University of Jerusalem writes:

“We are pleased to announce that the planned June 2014 “International Oral History Conference” being organized by Hebrew University of Jerusalem has been rendered a double blow with the withdrawal of their two international keynote speakers: Alessandro Portelli (Italy) and Mary Marshall Clark (USA).  The university’s claim to be hosting the “first international oral history conference” was unfounded when they made it; it is even less true now.” [34]

Vocal support for Palestinians by Calle13’s lead singer, Rene Perez Joglar, (aka Residente) makes international news.[35]  Soon after, the group releases the single #Multi_Viral on youtube, filmed entirely in occupied Bethlehem.

International news is made when the American Studies Association (ASA), an American organization of professors, announce a boycott of Israeli academic institutions to protest Israel’s treatment of Palestinians.  Omar Barghouti, a founding member of the PACBI, said the boycott vote shed light on the close collaboration between Israel’s universities and its government and military, and it put those universities on notice that they will become unwelcome in international academic circles:  “It is perhaps the strongest indicator yet that the B.D.S. movement is reaching a tipping point, even in the U.S., the last bastion of support for Israel’s unjust system”  [36]

Roger Waters writes in response to the ASA’s decision :  

“I am just a simple musician, but I have been advocating a cultural boycott of Israel since 2007. I have no words to express my profound support for all of you in the academic world.” [37]

The Council of the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association (NAISA) declares its support for the boycott of Israeli academic institutions. [38]

A widely circulated claim that JayZ would play Israel in December proves to be false.   The official Israeli government twitter had also circulated the claim, and proved that it uses musicians under false pretenses to musicwash apartheid. [39]

Musician Moddi (of the Island Senja, Norway) positively replied to the boycott call on his facebook page:

“I wish I could explain how much this question has been wearing on me. On the one hand I want to go to Tel Aviv, speak and sing from the stage, share the evening with like-minded, with goodhearted people who I know are with me. On the other, I am afraid that it won’t even help a bit, and that an international boycott now is the only thing that can make the Israeli government listen. These things have to stop.” [40]

Looking ahead to 2014:

Israel is turning to Russia to lure international artists.  The cultural boycott applies to artists from Russia as well.  Efforts are being made to translate material about the boycott into Russian.  Beyonce is urged by boycott activists not to book Israel in 2014.

NOTES:

[1] http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/alexander-billet/thanks-stanley-jordan-pulling-out-israeli-jazz-fest

[2] http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4333902,00.htm

The more detailed Hebrew report:

http://www.ynet.co.il/articles/0,7340,L-4333862,00.html

[3]http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/nora/bds-roundup-boycott-campaign-overwhelmingly-endorsed-grad-student-association-canadian

[4]

http://refrainplayingisrael.blogspot.com/2013/01/boycott-of-israel-biting-as-kreato

[5] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1N69oP9nrwo

[6] http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/nora/bds-roundup-future-professionals-demand-tiaa-cref-divest-israels-rights-violations

[7] http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/roger-waters-calls-for-boycott-of-israel-20130320

[8] http://www.bdsmovement.net/2013/york-federation-of-students-endorses-bds-campaign-10832

[9] http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2013/apr/05/iain-banks-cultural-boycott-israel

[10] http://www.pacbi.org/etemplate.php?id=2161

[11] https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=511548125568755&set=a.497585076965060.1073741825.103836346339937&type=1&theater

[12] http://www.thejc.com/news/uk-news/105862/zionist-federation-mystified-alexandra-burke-concert-cancellation-0

[13] http://www.ipsc.ie/press-releases/teachers-union-of-ireland-calls-for-academic-boycott-of-israel-in-unanimous-vote-first-academic-union-in-europe-to-do-so

[14]  http://www.greenleft.org.au/node/53818

[15] http://www.dailycal.org/2013/04/18/asuc-senate-passes-divestment-bill-11-9/

[16]

http://www.usacbi.org/2013/04/aaas-votes-in-historic-decision-to-support-boycott-of-israeli-academic-institutions/

[17] http://refrainplayingisrael.blogspot.com/2013/05/plugfest-israel-has-been-unplugged.html

[18]

http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/nora/oberlin-college-student-senate-passes-divestment-resolution-targets-six-companies

[19] http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/09/world/middleeast/stephen-hawking-joins-boycott-against-israel.html?_r=0

[20] http://www.iol.co.za/news/south-africa/western-cape/tutu-kathrada-take-film-star-to-task-1.1512288#.UYrC36JJO31

[21] http://refrainplayingisrael.blogspot.com/2013/05/richard-bona-will-not-play-apartheid.html  

[22]

http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/monsoon-wedding-director-mira-nair-boycotts-israel-film-festival

[23] https://www.facebook.com/JerusalemSeasonOfCulture/posts/644268528931386

[24]  https://www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/russell-brand-cancel-your-appearance-in-israel?utm_campaign=autopublish&utm_medium=facebook&utm_source=share_petition

[25]  http://www.mako.co.il/music-news/local/Article-2faca36e5003041006.htm?sCh=f6750a2610f26110&pId=786102762

[26] ://refrainplayingisrael.blogspot.com/2013/08/chris-daddy-dave-tweets-on-israel.html

[27] http://refrainplayingisrael.blogspot.com/2013/08/matt-schofield-trio-wont-play-apartheid.html

[28] https://www.causes.com/posts/798465-carlo-mombelli-celebrated-jazz-artist-withdraws-from-controversial-israeli-concert-at-wits-university

[29] http://mondoweiss.net/2013/08/bbc-festival-features-palestine-strings-and-condemnation-of-apartheid-to-jubilant-applause.html

[30]

http://www.kadaitcha.com/2013/09/01/musician-sonia-montez-says-support-the-cultural-boycott-of-israel/

[31] http://www.rogalandsavis.no/puls/article6866341.ece

[32]  http://www.ccsu.edu/uploaded/websites/Association_for_Humanist_Sociology/AHS_BDS_Support_Statement-1.pdf

[33] http://refrainplayingisrael.wordpress.com/2013/12/30/cancelled-progstage-2013-israeli-progressive-rock-festival-octnov/

[34] http://www.alternativenews.org/english/index.php/features/economy-of-the-occupation/7519-bds-hebrew-u-conference-dealt-two-blows

[35] http://news.yahoo.com/calle-13-singer-says-palestinians-puerto-rico-200036298.html

[36]

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/17/education/scholars-group-endorses-an-academic-boycott-of-israel.html

[37] http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/steven-salaita/pink-floyds-roger-waters-backs-american-studies-association-israel-boycott-vote  

[38]  http://naisa.org/node/719

[39] http://refrainplayingisrael.wordpress.com/2013/12/20/false-claim-by-israel-that-jay-z-would-entertain-apartheid-late-2013/

[40]

https://www.facebook.com/floriography/posts/10151591093872168

Letter to Cyndi Lauper asking her not to play apartheid Israel

Note, Cyndi Lauper gave an interview in the Israeli media the other day in which she demonstrated a lack of knowledge of Israel’s apartheid laws, particularly regarding marriage and family reunification rights. Details below the letter. Of course, Cyndi Lauper could educate herself by looking at the excellent Love Under Apartheid website.

Letter to Cyndi Lauper asking her not to play apartheid Israel

Cyndi Lauper, the country you are planning to entertain imposes violent segregation, not equality. By Leehee Rothschild

Dear Cyndi,

I’m glad that you believe in equality, so do I. Unfortunately, my country doesn’t. In the state of Israel, equality is a word frequently used, but rarely practiced. In the occupied territories, under Israel’s control, in East Jerusalem, and the West Bank, Palestinians and Israeli settlers share the same ground, but that’s all they share. There are separate legal systems, military for Palestinians, civil for Israeli, segregated roads, buses, and check points. There are different water quotas, and different building permits, as in, none of those for Palestinians.

Settlers have freedom of movement, of work, of protest, of speech, Palestinians have none of those. Every Palestinian protest is violently suppressed by the Israeli army. Also, most of the Palestinians living in the West Bank, cannot cross into Israel, whereas all settlers can do that. Many of them, will probably come to your show.

It goes without saying that all of the Palestinians living in Gaza, under siege since 2006, will not be able to make it. Many of them are without electricity, 16 hours a day, fuel is running out. Medical operations are made in candle light, and many pay with their lives, for the fuel shortage created by Israel’s closure of the strip’s borders. As for those Palestinians who are so called, citizens of the State of Israel.

Cyndi 1

Yes, they have citizenship, but their equal status begins and ends with this piece of paper. They don’t get equal funding, for school, for welfare, for infrastructures. The Israeli education system invests 8 times more in an Israeli pupil, than in a Palestinian one. Most Palestinian towns get no public transport, and not a single train station operates in any of those. The state of Israel operates in order to Judaise areas in which there’s a high concentration of Palestinians, such as the Naqab or the Galilee. These programmes include the demolition of Palestinian houses, the eviction of Palestinian citizens, and the expropriation of Palestinian lands.

As for romantic relationships between Palestinians and Israelis, there are several organizations, supported by various Members of the Knesset, that are working to intimidate such couples, with insults, humiliations and violent threats. Such a couple will never be able to get married inside Israel, as only religious marriages are possible. And while we’re on the subject I’ll add a word about lack of equality against non-Palestinians. I’m living in a religious state, in which as a woman, I can never get equal status. I’m living in a state in which state-funded buses operate, on which women are boarding from the back, and men are boarding from the front, to cater for an orthodox community, whose equality, seems to be more important than my own. I’m living in a state in which there’s a religious court system in which only men can serve as judges, and these men decide on every matter of marriage and divorce, according to laws set more than 2000 years ago.

I’m also living in a state that as we speak, rounds up African refugees into an enormous prison, for the sole crime, of seeking asylum. Dear Cyndi, we both believe in equality, we believe in freedom, in peace, in justice, and I hope that some day, we can celebrate them together. But you can’t find freedom, where there is occupation, you can’t find justice under apartheid, you can’t find equality in the state of Israel.

Yours,

Leehee

Facebook Campaign here:

Cyndi Lauper, Israel’s True Colors Shining Through, Like Apartheid

Cyndi Lauper is booked to entertain apartheid Tel Aviv next week, on 4th January.
From her interview in the Israeli media [published 26 December] she clearly still oblivious to apartheid. For example, she is unaware of the restrictions prohibiting marriage between Palestinians and Israeli Jews and Israel prevention of Palestinias family unification.
Instead she speaks of Israel sending an equality message to the world: “we believe in equality to all” in the context of a campaign to allow same sex marriage.

The full quotes from her short interview, which are at the end of a rather long article at:
http://www.mako.co.il/pride-weekend/Article-8e17a67416e2341006.htm

Open letter from Gaza to Moddi: Do Not Entertain Our Oppressor!

REBLOGGED: A brilliant letter here from Gaza to Moddi. Norwegian translation below.

Open letter from Gaza to Moddi:  Do Not Entertain Our Oppressor!

  ,Dear Moddi

Besieged Gaza, PalestineWe are a group of academics, students and youth from Gaza, and our only fault is being born Palestinian. You might think we are in an era from where you should not be murdered, tortured, forced to leave your houses and villages, denied water and electricity, restricted movement, imprisoned and regularly harassed and humiliated – all because of who you are when you are born, because of what is written on your identity card. But this encapsulates the reality of our entire lives for decades under the Israeli Apartheid that you are intending to entertain on 1st February and we implore you to take a stand by refusing to perform there.

The Israeli occupation of our land is the longest running in modern history. In Gaza we are in the seventh year of the Israeli imposed, medieval siege with our families and loved ones in what major Human Rights Organizations call the largest open air prison in modern history. Two thirds of us are UN registered refugees still dreaming of a return to our homes – the hundreds of Palestinian villages, towns and cities destroyed by Israeli bulldozers, tanks and missiles. The state you are planning to entertain is committed to a process of ethnic cleansing against us the indigenous people, a process that began with the Nakba in 1948. And now it is engaged in, what the Israeli academic Ilan Pappe calls, “slow motion genocide” against the 1.7 million population of Gaza, the majority of whom are children.

As this letter is penned from a refugee camp near Gaza City, it is Christmas Eve. And now the news comes through from East of Al-Maghazi refugee camp, central Gaza, that 3 year old Hala Abu Sabikha has been killed by shrapnel from an Israeli shelling. Her mother and her brothers, 3 year old Bilal and 6 year old Mohammad were injured while standing outside their house near a chicken farm. How will their family ever recover, overcome with permanent grief and loss from Gaza’s depleted hospital wards while those celebrating Christmas day in Norway and the rest of Europe sit in silence?

Hundreds of Palestinian Christians in Gaza are denied by Israel the possibility of going to Bethlehem, a one hour drive, for Mass this Christmas, and many more are denied entry coming from countries from outside. The Israeli regime controls all points of entry to Palestine.

We love music. But, we are deprived of it. For years musical instruments were one of those items banned from entering by Israel’s blockade, along with toys, pasta, school books and chocolate. The sound of Israeli-US made F16s, F15s, F35s, surveillance planes, white phosphorous bombs, naval gunboats and Merkava tanks drown the music and song that we delight in performing and listening to. Even listening to music on computers is impossible – in the last few months the Israeli siege and attacks on our power supply means we are now limited to 6 hours of electricity a day! The sewage system has also collapsed and many of the camps are flooded. Yet this is not an environmental disaster, this is imposed by the regime to which you plan on bringing your music.

Gaza

Do you know that most of the people in your audience will have served or are serving in the Israeli army? You are aware that we in Gaza could never cross the Israeli checkpoints to enjoy your music because we are Palestinian, born to mothers who do not have the “right” religion? We call upon your free soul that has been adding uplifting music into this disenchanted world of ours, to join those courageous people of conscience, artists like Elvis Costello, Annie Lennox, Roger Waters of Pink Floyd, Massive Attack, Gil Scott-Heron, Faithless, Carlos Santana, Vanessa Paradis, Natacha Atlas and Devendra Banhart. They are heeding the call to boycott Israel until it complies with international law, and until justice and accountability are reached just as the global Boycott Divestment and Sanction movement helped make way for the collapse of apartheid in South Africa.

The late, great Nelson Mandela said “We know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians.” Archbishop Desmond Tutu on his visits to Palestine described some of Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians as worse than apartheid. Would you have performed in Apartheid South Africa? How would that look now? Endorsing the 2005 Palestinian call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Tutu described as ‘unconscionable’ the prospect of the South African ‘Cape Town Opera’ performing in Israel earlier this year.

We ask you now, like so many people of your nation have stood with the oppressed in the past, to stand on the right side of history, to respond to our call from the Gaza ghetto to not turn your back on us. If you play in Israel, then we will be a short distance away from where you are playing. But your beautiful tunes will break our wrenching hearts and not sway our souls.

 Don’t entertain Apartheid this February 1st.

 Palestinian Students for the Academic Boycott of Israel (pscabi@gmail.com)

University Teachers’ Association

Åpent brev fra Gaza til Moddi

Kjære Moddi,

Okkuperte Gaza, Palestina. Vi er en gruppe av akademikere, studenter og ungdom fra Gaza, og vår eneste feil er at vi var født i Palestina. Kanskje dere mener vi er av en tid der du ikke skulle bli drept, torturert, tvunget til å forlate hjemmet ditt og bli nektet vann og electrisitet, begrenset område der du får bevege deg, fengslet og regelmessig undertrykket og mobbet. Alt bare på grunn av hvor du er født og hva som er skrevet i ditt identitetskort. Men dette innebærer virkeligheten i hele vårt liv, i flere tiår under Israelsk Apartheid der dere har intensjon å underholde den 1. februar, og vi oppfordrer dere sterkt til å ta et standpunkt ved å nekte å underhode der.

Den israelske okkupasjonen i vårt land er den lengste okkupasjon i nyere historie. I Gaza er vi nå i det syvende året av en påtvunget middelaldersk beleiring, med våre familer og alle dem vi er glade i boende i det Human Rights organisasjoner kaller det største frilufts-fengselet i nyere historie. To dredeler av oss er FN-flyktninger som fremdeles drømmer om å få reise tilbake til våre hjem, som er hundrevis av palestinske lansdbyer og byer som er ødelagt av israelske bulldosere, tanks og raketter. Det landet som dere planlegger å underholde i, holder på med en etnisk utrenskning av oss, det hjemmehørende folket, en prosess som begynte med Nakba i 1948. De er nå igang med det den israelske akademiskeren Ilan Pape kaller ”langsomt folkemord” (”slow motion genocide”) av Gazas befolking på 1.7 millioner, hvorav flesteparten er barn.

Idet dette brevet er skrevet fra en flyktningeleir i nærheten av Gaza City, er det julaften. Og nå kommer nyheten fra en flyktningeleir øst for Al-Maghazi i sentral Gaza, at 3 år gamle Hala Abu har blitt drept av splinter fra en israelsk granat. Hennes mor og hennes to brødre, 3 år gamle Bilal og 6 år gamle Mohammad, ble alle skadet mens de sto utenfor huset sitt i nærheten av en kyllingfarm. Hvordan vil familien noen gang komme på bena igjen, overmannet av sorg og tap på Gazas nedslitte sykehus mens de som feirer juledagene i Norge og resten av Europa forblir tause?

Hundrevis av palestinske kristne i Gaza blir nektet av Israel muligheten til å dra til Bethlehem, en times biltur, for å delta i julemessen. Og enda flere mennesker fra land utenfor dette området er også nektet adgang. Det israelske regimet kontrollerer alle inngangsmuligheter til Palestina.

Vi er glade i musikk. Men vi er fratatt musikken. I årevis har musikkinstrumenter vært noe av tingene som den israelske blokkaden forbyr oss å importere. Det har også vært tilfelle med leker,  pasta, skolebøker og sjokolade. Lyden av USA produserte F16, F15, F35, overvåkingsfly, hvit fosfor bomber, krigsskip og Merkava tanks drukner musikken og sangen som vi hadde glede av å utføre og høre på sammen.  Dessuten å høre på musikk på en computer er umulig. I de siste månedene har israelsk beleiring og angrep på våre kraftstasjoner betydd at vi har bare seks timer med strøm hver dag.  Kloakksystemet fungerer heller ikke og mange av flyktningsleirerne er oversvømt.  Men dette er ikke noen naturlig miljø catastrofe  -  det er en situasjon som er påtvunget oss av den israelske regeringen som dere har planer om å bringe deres musikk til.

Er du klar over at ditt publikum består av dem som har vært eller fremdeles er israelske soldater? Du vet sikkert at vi i Gaza kunne aldri krysse israelske checkpoints for å ha glede av din musikk fordi vi er Palestinere, født av mødre som ikke har ”den riktige” religionen.  Vi er takknemlige for det at du har bragt din inspirerende musikk til oss alle, men vi håper inderlig at du vil gjøre det samme som andre modige og samfunnsengagerte artister som for eksempel Elvis Costello, Annie Lennox, Roger Waters of Pink Floyd, Massive Attack, Gil Scott-Heron, the Pixies, Faithless, Carlos Santana and Devendra Banhart.  Disse musikkerne tar hensyn til oppfordringen om å boycotte Israel inntil de imøtekommer internasjonal lov og inntil rettferdighet og ansvarlighet  oppstår i Palestina på samme måten som BDS bevegelsen sørget for at det ble slutt med aparteid i Sør Afrika.

Nelson Mandela sa ”We know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians.”  Archbishop Desmond Tutu, når han besøkte Palestina beskrev israelernes behandling av palestinerne som ”worse than appartheid”.  Ville du ha opptrådd in Apartheid South Africa?  Hvordan ville det ha blitt vurdert idag?  Da han ga støtte til den 2005 ”Palestinian call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions”, Tutu beskrev som uakseptabelt planen som Syd Afrikas ”Cape Town Opera” hadde om å opptre i Israel tidligere i dette året.

Vi ber deg nå å gjøre som så mange av dine landmenn har gjort før  -  å støtte de undertrykte, å stå på den riktige siden av anstendighet og følge vår anmodning og ikke vende ryggen til oss.  Hvis du skulle spille i Israel, ville vi være like i nærheten, men dine vakre melodier ville knuse våre hjerter.

Ikke støtt Apartheid på første februar!

                        Palestinian Students for the Academic Boycott of Israel

                        University Teachersæ Association

Gaza in Israeli made Crisis – Email Your TDs

The situation in Gaza is now catastrophic,  due to apartheid Israel’s illegal siege, now facilitated by Egypt. People barely have electricity, the power plant has shut down, the water situation is chronic and the health system facing catastrophe. This is a man-made disaster which can be stopped with political will and integrity – we won’t see this from the ‘international community’. Let’s tell our politicians to take some action. (This post is now UPDATED with information on the flooding and escalating crisis in Gaza, as of December 15th )

Please email this or your own personalised version to your TDs.  Link to all TD email addresses.

Many thanks, Gaza Action Ireland

Dear Deputy,

I am writing to you to express my deep concern about the desperate situation that the people of Gaza are currently in. On November 1st the United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator Mr. James W. Rawley called for urgent action to address the looming humanitarian crisis due to the shut-down of Gaza’s only power plant. This shut-down means that people have only around 6 hours of electricity per day – a situation which impacts every aspect of life there. Such outages affect the hospitals, water and sewage systems and, with the largest waste water treatment plants stopping due to lack of fuel, Gaza’s residents are faced with sewage flowing down the streets. Children, having waded through sewage to get to school, are having to study in the dark.

Hospitals are in a near catastrophic situation – on top of the lack of electricity and fuel, medicines are running extremely low, with some stocks at or near zero percent. The Ministry of Health has warned of an imminent “health catastrophe” due to these shortages of medical supplies and equipment.

The siege, which already was crippling Gaza’s economy, has now been tightened by the Egyptian regime with many of the tunnels, the Strip’s lifelines, now closed thus halting the inflow of basic food and fuel commodities, many of which are banned by Israel.
Last week, outgoing UNRWA Commissioner Genera Filippo Grandi warned that “Gaza is quickly becoming uninhabitable” and Oxfam, describing the dire economic scenario said: “80 percent of people … receive international aid, 57 percent of households are food insecure, exports are virtually non-existent, many basic services are barely functioning, and unemployment is over 35 percent and rising.”

As well as all of the above, freedom of movement is severely curtailed, with the Palestinians in Gaza only able to leave through the Rafah crossing intermittently, their freedom of movement is at the whim of Israel and Egypt.
To compound the illegal siege, Israel makes regular military incursions into Gaza’s waters and airspace, thus violating the ceasefire. Farmers and fishers are regularly attacked while trying to make a living and people are subjected to airstrikes.

As of December, Gaza is experiencing increased catastrophe due to flooding, with thousands made homeless. ‘UNRWA spokesperson Chris Gunness said: “Any normal community would struggle to recover from this disaster. But a community that has been subjected to one of the longest blockades in human history, whose public health system has been destroyed and where the risk of disease was already rife, must be freed from these man made constraints to deal with the impact of a natural calamity such as this.”
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=657098

Severe flooding has forced thousands from their  homes.

The relief committee at the Arab Doctors Union has warned of a health disaster in the Gaza Strip as a result of the worsening humanitarian conditions in the besieged enclave.

Collective punishment is illegal under international law yet Israel maintains its blockade of Gaza with no sanction from the international community. Ireland, as a member of the EU, should try to exert some leverage to ensure that Israel is made to abide by international law – instead, we see Israel being rewarded with upgraded relations and with research programmes.

As a voter, I want to hear from my TDs that you are going to do something concrete to stop this outrageous situation in Gaza, a manmade crisis which could be solved with some political will and meaningful action.

UN: http://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/europe/8422-un-official-gaza-is-quickly-becoming-uninhabitable
Oxfam: http://us7.campaign-archive1.com/?u=d7bf98037b5abfd4c69593c62&id=a08ab5d83a

Yours etc

Gaza

Egypt’s closure of Rafah crossing brings death to Gaza

From Gaza Action Ireland, for immediate release

Egypt’s closure of Rafah crossing brings death to Gaza

The Egyptian government’s closure of the border crossing to Gaza is causing death and devastation in the Palestinian territory, according to Irish activists with contacts there.

This week a patient in Gaza died because, doctors said, he could not travel through the Rafah checkpoint for essential surgery in Jordan.

He was named by medical sources in Gaza as father-of-five Wael Abu-Sada, aged 40, the Middle East Monitor reported. Abu-Sada had suffered from a chronic heart condition.

“This sort of death was very common during Mubarak’s reign in Egypt, when his government cooperated with Israel in maintaining a stranglehold on Gaza from 2006 onward,” said trade-union activist Mags O’Brien of Gaza Action Ireland (GAI), who met with medical and emergency-service workers in Gaza earlier this year.

“But after the 2011 revolution in Egypt it got easier to get through Rafah,” she added. “Now the new Egyptian regime is taking Gaza back to the bad old days. This sad death is only the tip of the iceberg: the results are devastating.”

GAI

According to the Middle East Monitor, the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza says 9,500 people have now registered to travel through the Rafah Crossing. It said that 4,500 of them are patients and students in urgent need to travel for treatment or to attend school — many are losing scholarships and university places outside Gaza. Prior to the military coup in Egypt, as many as 1,200 people per day crossed legally at Rafah.

“Palestinians in Gaza are fully locked in by this siege, with the opening of their only two border crossings dependent on the whims of Israel at Erez and Egypt at Rafah,” said Zoë Lawlor, a spokesperson for GAI who also visited Gaza earlier this year. “The Israeli blockade is being enforced on all sides and the lifeline via the Rafah crossing into Egypt is rarely operational.”

After the ouster of Mohammed Morsi in July, the Egyptian authorities also destroyed many of the tunnels which provide a lifeline to the people of Gaza — often the only means by which Palestinians in the Strip can access goods, so many of which are not allowed to enter due to the Israeli blockade.

“Of course, the root cause of this is Israel’s illegal siege on Gaza, which has created a situation whereby the people there are subject to the whims of two different states,” Lawlor said.

GAI repeats its call on the Egyptian authorities to open the Rafah crossing immediately and to guarantee free passage for Palestinians into and out of Gaza: the Irish Government should call on Egypt to do so. Further GAI reiterates the longstanding call for the Irish Government and the EU to demand that Israel abide by international law and end the siege of Gaza.

People are invited to sign the petition, ‘Egypt: Open Gaza’s Rafah Crossing!’

Gaza Action Ireland is a new organisation (with origins in Irish Ship to Gaza) that has forged links in the Palestinian territory with sports clubs, artists, fishermen, journalists, human-rights activists and providers of emergency services.

See more at:

Irish fears over worsening conditions in Gaza

Irish fears over worsening conditions in Gaza

Irish activists have expressed growing concern about the dire consequences in Gaza due to the closure of the Rafah crossing, at the border with Egypt. 

While deploring the violence in Egypt and the appalling behaviour of the military regime there, members of Gaza Action Ireland (GAI) have reiterated that the people of Gaza must not be forgotten and abandoned.

“Palestinians in Gaza are fully locked in by this siege, with the opening of their only two border crossings dependent on the whims of Israel at Erez and Egypt at Rafah,” said Zoë Lawlor, a spokeperson for GAI who visited Gaza earlier this year. “The Israeli blockade is being enforced on all sides and the lifeline via the Rafah crossing into Egypt is no longer operational. The Rafah crossing is now almost permanently closed and the military regime in Egypt is refusing to allow people to enter and exit.”

The already dire humanitarian situation in Gaza has become more precarious after the ouster of Mohammed Morsi in July, with the Egyptian authorities destroying many of the tunnels which provide a lifeline to the people of Gaza.

The tunnels are often the only means by which Palestinians in the Strip can access goods, so many of which are not allowed to enter due to the illegal Israeli blockade.

Since July, many Palestinians arriving in Cairo in order to access Gaza through Rafah have been sent back to the countries from which they arrived, and people have been stranded on both sides of the Rafah crossing, denied entry and exit for days.

Prior to the military coup in Egypt, as many as 1,200 people per day crossed legally between Egypt and Gaza. That number fell to 50 after the coup, and last Monday [19 Aug] the crossing was closed completely after an unrelated attack on Egyptian police in Sinai by Egyptian insurgents.

“It really is criminal that the people of Gaza are being collectively punished by the Egyptian authorities and now are effectively completely locked in,” Lawlor said, noting that while the world is looking at Egypt, the humanitarian situation in Gaza is deteriorating alarmingly.

“Of course, the root cause of this is Israel’s illegal siege on Gaza, which has created a situation whereby the people there are subject to the whims of two different states.”

Lawlor added: “There has been a worrying and sustained campaign in some sections of the Egyptian media and state to demonise the Palestinians in Gaza, even blaming them for attacks on Egyptian forces in the Sinai. This adds to their vulnerability.”

GAI also pointed out that Egypt has banned Gazan fishing boats from its waters and they are routinely attacked by Israel when fishing in their own waters, most recently last Tuesday [20 Aug] when the Israeli navy opened fire at Palestinian fishermen off the northern coast. The previous week, Israeli forces arrested three civilians from al-Shati’ refugee camp who were swimming off Beit Lahia shore. To date they have not been released.

GAI 

Last year the UN issued a report that openly wondered whether Gaza will actually be livable by 2020. Now the people of Gaza are being subjected to further cruelty by the new closures.

GAI calls on the Egyptian authorities to open the Rafah crossing immediately and to guarantee free passage for Palestinians into and out of Gaza. Further it reiterates the longstanding call for the Irish Government and the EU to demand that Israel abide by international law and end the siege of Gaza.

Gaza Action Ireland is a new organisation (with origins in Irish Ship to Gaza) that has forged links in the Palestinian territory with sports clubs, artists, fishermen, journalists, human-rights activists and providers of emergency services

BDS is not a threat…..unless you consider equality for everyone threatening.

It’s hard to imagine that this still needs to be said but it does.

In the light of Israel’s current attempts to counter the success of the BDS movement, by calling those who highlight Israel’s myriad abuses of the Palestinian people bullies and ascribing threatening behaviour to them, it needs to be said again and again.Unfortunately some artists and their managers are buying into this narrative and while saying they are not political, they are dancing the most political of dances.

It’s amazing how ethnic cleansing, oppression, war crimes, apartheid don’t pose threats to many artists’ consciences but drawing their attention to them is characterised as threatening behaviour.

I call bullshit on this. My thoughts below.

Apartheid is wrong. This is not a threat.


Ethnic cleansing is wrong. This is not a threat.


War crimes are wrong. This is not a threat.


Asking you not to play in a state that does all the above to a people is not wrong. This is not a threat.


Asking you to listen to the Palestinian people and to simply not cross their picket line is not wrong. This is not a threat.


Asking you to set aside your privilege and activate your conscience is not wrong. This is not a threat. There are no threats. To you.

—————————————————————————————————

But this hasbara campaign will fail and justice will out. It’s a good time for BDS with Stephen Hawking, Mira Nair, Nigel Kennedy and Roger Waters leading the current wave of positive stories by boycotting or calling on their colleagues to boycott. The Palestinian picket line is becoming something fewer people are willing to cross…. conscience can’t always be bought.

-BDS all day, every day, until Israeli apartheid ends -

boat_2

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