‘Windows into Gaza’ artist’s home is destroyed

A PAINTER whose work features in the Windows Into Gaza exhibition, currently in the Galway Arts Festival as part of its Irish tour, has seen his home destroyed in an Israeli bombing raid.

The attached photo shows Raed Issa standing beside part of the apartment block that was previously his home, and that of eight other households.

Claudia Saba, an Arabic-speaking member of Gaza Action Ireland who met Raed in Gaza last year, got him on the phone today as he picked through the rubble trying to retrieve his life and work. She relayed the following account:

‘He said he was back in the rubble trying to salvage whatever useful things he could find and that he wanted to do it now because at night “it’s a little more scary”. As I was speaking to him I heard a large explosion. He said that was an airstrike approximately a kilometre away.

‘No one in his family was hurt – they all evacuated beforehand. I asked him if they had received a “warning”. He said they’d received no phone call – but that the Israelis had called their neighbours and told them to evacuate “because the house next to theirs was about to be bombed”. So the neighbours informed Raed’s family and they quickly evacuated too. A few minutes later there was a “knock on the roof” rocket. Meanwhile a relative called them and said he’d been told (through another phone call I think) that Raed’s family should evacuate the women and children but not tell the men and let them die in the blast.  

‘Shortly after the “knock on the roof” a major airstrike came and the building was destroyed.’

Issa’s powerful paintings were among those gathered by Irish artist Felim Egan for the Windows Into Gaza exhibition, which received extensive coverage in the national media when it opened in Dublin earlier this year.

Gaza Action Ireland coordinator Zoe Lawlor said: ‘It is horrible to think that there is nothing unusual about Raed’s story. It has been repeated hundreds of times across the tiny strip in recent days, as part of the savage collective punishment of the mostly refugee population in Gaza.

‘Still, because we know Raed and have enjoyed his beautiful work, it brings home the horror and the cynicism of the sadistic Israeli campaign in Gaza. International pressure must force Israel to end it immediately.’

Raed

The Windows Into Gaza exhibition is currently showing in the Galway City Museum at Spanish Parade as part of Galway International Arts Festival, until 27th July. It will be in Limerick, the Belltable Arts Centre from 29th September, for four weeks, as part of the Limerick City of Culture.

Galway piece

 

Gaza Action Ireland, which grew out of the Irish Ship to Gaza initiative, is a solidarity group that organises civil-society contacts between Ireland and Palestinians in the Gaza strip. It is responsible for the Windows Into Gaza art exhibition that is currently touring Ireland, and it is planning to bring a team of young footballers from Gaza to play here. In addition to artists and sports clubs, it has also forged links with fishermen, journalists, human-rights activists and providers of emergency services.

Israel’s ‘free week’ to target civilians is condemned – Gaza Action Ireland

Israel’s ‘free week’ to target civilians is condemned

 

ANY RELIEF for the people of Gaza is welcome, but Israel should never have been allowed to have a ‘free week’ to add to its destruction of lives and property there, says an Irish group with extensive contacts in the Palestinian territory.

Gaza Action Ireland (GAI) said that despite today’s talks of a ceasefire, Israel must answer for deliberately killing civilians and targeting vital water and sewage infrastructure in Gaza — and for the impunity with which it is prepared to resume the savage assault.

One week after the start of the bombing campaign launched by Israel last Tuesday, more than 180 people, including at least 34 children, have been killed in the small coastal strip. Entire families have been obliterated in the massacre.

According to Zoe Lawlor, co-ordinator of GAI, “It’s an absolute outrage that this slaughter has happened, and has been allowed to continue by the western countries that provide vital aid and support to Israel. We’ve seen a repetition of the bloody tradition by which Israel gets at least one week of free bombing before there are any serious efforts by international actors to stop the collective punishment of a refugee population.

“Hundreds of people have been injured, made homeless and severely traumatised by this latest Israeli onslaught, which is completely illegal as well as utterly reprehensible,” Lawlor added. “As human-rights monitors including the respected Palestinian Centre for Human Rights have pointed out, multiple war crimes are being committed against the Palestinian people in Gaza.”

GAI called on the new minister for foreign affairs, Charles Flanagan TD, to take steps to express the Irish people’s anger at the assault, including the removal of the preferential trading status that Israel enjoys with the European Union.

“There were thousands of people out protesting all over Ireland on Saturday, yet our Government’s silence is deafening,” Mags O’Brien of GAI said.

“As on previous occasions in 2008, 2009 and 2012, there is evidence that Israel has deliberately destroyed civilian targets in Gaza, from family homes to sewage plants, and even treating Gaza’s civilian police force as a target ‘combatant’,” O’Brien added. “The notion of Israel encouraging people to evacuate their homes is farcical, when you consider that it has turned Gaza into a prison, where there is no place to hide and no way to escape.”

O’Brien, Lawlor and other members of GAI visited Gaza last year, not long after the destruction from ‘Operation Pillar of Defence’ in November 2012. When they visited it was possible to get through the border crossing with Egypt at Rafah, but the Egyptian closures of both the official crossing and the tunnels that were Gaza’s lifelines have made existence there even more difficult.

“The latest campaign is just an intensification of the constant terror, violence and economic de-development that is created by the illegal siege of Gaza and indeed the broader occupation of Palestine,” Lawlor said. “That’s why it’s so important that we answer the call from Palestinian civil society to support boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel and its institutions.”

A statement from the Gaza-based Palestinian Centre for Human Rights this week said: “”What is our demand? It is not extravagant, or unreasonable. We want to be treated as equals. We want our rights respected, and protected. We ask that international law be applied, equally, to Israel and Palestine, to Israelis and Palestinians. The rule of international law must be respected, and all those responsible for its violations must be held to account….. We call too on the international community, on civil society, to add your voices to ours in our quest for rights and justice. Without this, we are all lost.”

This echoes a call from Gaza civil-society groups for: an arms embargo on Israel; sanctions that would cut off the supply of weapons and military aid from Europe and the United States on which Israel depends to commit such war crimes; suspension of all free trade and bilateral agreements with Israel such as the EU-Israel Association agreement; boycott, divestment and sanctions, ascalled for by the overwhelming majority of Palestinian civil society in 2005.

Lawlor said GAI endorses and supports these calls from Gaza, and urged the Irish Government to heed them.

GAI 1

Ends

 

Gaza Action Ireland, which grew out of the Irish Ship to Gaza initiative, is a solidarity group that organises civil-society contacts between Ireland and Palestinians in the Gaza strip. It is responsible for the Windows Into Gaza art exhibition that is currently touring Ireland, and it is planning to bring a team of young footballers from Gaza to play here. In addition to artists and sports clubs, it has also forged links with fishermen, journalists, human-rights activists and providers of emergency services.

Enough is Enough, a Note from Roger Waters to Neil Young – Don’t Play Israel

“Enough is enough”.
Roger Waters, facebook, July 11, 2014

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

In January this year I wrote a private letter to Neil Young, it was sent via his manager Elliot Roberts’ email, I never received a reply of any kind.

More recently I spoke openly about The Rolling Stones performing in Tel Aviv.

In light of the appalling recent events in Israel and Gaza and my dismay at the the lack of any response from our governments and in a final appeal to Neil’s possible attachment to the rights of all human beings, not just the disenfranchised natives of North America, but all human beings all over the world, I am publishing that letter now.
Here it Is.

Dear Neil Young.

There are rumors flying about that you are considering doing shows in Tel Aviv this year.

The picket lines have been crossed in this last year by one or two lightweights from our community but no one of your stature. Woody Guthrie would turn in his grave. Neil Young! You are one of my biggest heroes, you are one of a very short list, you, John Lennon, Woody Guthrie, Huddy Ledbetter, Harry Belafonte, Sam Cooke, Billie Holiday and, like some others, but not many, your songs have always been redolent of love and humanity and compassion for your fellow man and woman. I find it hard to believe that you would turn your back on the indigenous people of Palestine. That you would lend support to, and encourage and legitimize, with your presence, a colonial apartheid regime, largely settled from Europe, that seeks to confine the native people of the land, either in exile or in second class status in reservations and ghettos.

Please, brother, tell me it ain’t so.

As I recall, back in the day, along with the rest of us (Stevie van Zandt, Bruce, Led Zep etc etc etc etc) you would not “Play In Sun City” I am asking you to stand on the same moral ground now. The late, great, Nelson Mandela lives on in us, we cannot let him down. He was explicit in his position and I quote, ” We know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians”. It is time for “Rock Against Racism” to show some of it’s muscle by refusing to lend our names to the whitewashing of the illegal colonization of Palestinian land and the systematic oppression of its indigenous people. Unfortunately the opposition lobby has a lot of muscle too. They spend millions on their “Hasbara”(If like me you have no Hebrew)”Explaining” or to you and me “Propaganda”. The propaganda machine is well oiled and ruthless. We, on the other hand, have only our commitment to non-violent resistance to lie down in front of the IDF caterpillar tractors that would raze the native people from the land of Palestine. We stand with those people, and with all the brave people of Israel and Palestine, Jewish and Arab alike who oppose The Israeli Governments brutal policies. We stand with Rachel Corrie, the young American woman who gave her life under the caterpillar’s tracks. Please join me and countless other artists all over the world in solidarity with the oppressed and the disenfranchised. It is time to heed the peoples call. People like The Bedouin, the nomadic people of the Negev in the arid south of Israel, please research their plight, one village, Al-Araqib has been destroyed 63 times by IDF Bulldozers. If you are in doubt about any of this, I will go with you to Palestine, and Israel, if they’ll let me in, you will see what I have seen, and then let us figure out the right thing to do.

By the way I watched your Bridge School concert on YouTube last year, it was very moving, you were, of course magnificent. You had asked me to perform, and as I explained to your management, I would have gladly done so had I not already been committed to The Wall Tour in Europe and Stand Up For Heroes in New York. This year I will be pleased and proud to come and support you if you call.

With respect, and love.

Roger Waters.

Bedouin

PS.
Fyi. Nice Christmas present:

Bedouin Village Demolished For 63rd Time
Thursday December 26, 2013 18:18 by Chris Carlson – 1 of International Middle East Media Center Editorial Group

For the 63rd time, Israeli forces have demolished the Bedouin village of al-Araqib, in the Negev, Thursday morning.

A Ma’an reporter in Beersheba said that bulldozers, escorted by 25 police patrols, raided the village at 9 a.m. and demolished all of its steel houses.

“Forces of demolition and destruction raided our village in the morning and demolished our houses, for the 63rd time. This is a barbarian assault, as they left residents homeless during wintry weather,” local resident Aziz Sayyah al-Touri told Ma’an. He highlighted that the assault has come following the Israeli annoncement to abandon the Prawer Plan in displacing Negev Bedouins. Bedouins claim the are as their ancestral lands, while Israel considers al-Araqib and all Bedouin villages in the Negev illegal. There are about 260,000 Bedouin in Israel, mostly living in and around the Negev, in the arid south. More than half live in unrecognized villages without utilities, with many living in extreme poverty.

PPS
Google “Prawer plan” and follow a few links, you may catch a glimpse of the tip of an extremely large and terrifying iceburg.

Neil, we’re talking about the occupation, subjugation, dispossession, eviction, ghettoization and possible eventual eradication of a nation.

You, more than most should find this, taboo, story, more than a little disquieting.

Irish group calls for end to Israel’s attacks on Gaza

9 July 2014

from Gaza Action Ireland for immediate release

ISRAEL’S attacks on Gaza must stop, and international pressure must be put on both the Israeli and Egyptian governments to lift the siege on the Palestinian territory, a group of Irish-based activists said today.

Gaza Action Ireland (GAI), which has close links with human-rights campaigners inside Gaza, said there could be no justification for the bombing that has killed more than 30 people in the territory in the last few days.

Eight children are reported dead, including six killed by a single attack on the home of the Kaware family in the southern-Gaza city of Khan Younis.

“Journalists and others need to understand that when they call these savage bombings an ‘Israeli response’ to Hamas rockets, or suggest some equivalence between the suffering of the two sides, they are playing into the PR strategy of the aggressor, the occupying power, the Israeli state,” Zoe Lawlor, a spokesperson for GAI, said.

Ms Lawlor said the current wave of attacks was started by Israel. “It’s simply another example of Israel carrying out collective punishment of the people of Gaza, contrary to all morality and international law,” she said. “On this occasion, the pretext was the deplorable murder of three young Israelis — but Israel has produced no evidence that Hamas was responsible, and indeed embarked on weeks of arrests, home raids and demolitions throughout the West Bank, again described by Amnesty International as collective punishment.”

GAI’s Mags O’Brien, a trade-union activist with contacts among emergency-service workers in Gaza, said hospitals there were already stretched beyond their capacity.  “Gaza suffers from a shortage of medicine and supplies, because of Israeli restrictions and the Egyptian government’s closure of the tunnels that have been such a vital supply line,”  Ms O’Brien said. “They’re struggling to cope with the casualties of this latest assault.”

Ms Lawlor, Ms O’Brien and other GAI members visited Gaza last year, not long after Israel’s ‘Operation Pillar of Cloud’ killed more than 150 people.

Ms Lawlor said: “We need Irish politicians, and others, to stand with the people of Palestine. This latest attack is just an escalation of the state of terror that is Israel’s standard operating procedure against the besieged people of Gaza. We also need civil society to support the Palestinian call for BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) on Israel.”

Gaza

Solidarity with Palestine events this weekend Dublin  Limerick  Cork
Gaza Action Ireland, which grew out of the Irish Ship to Gaza initiative, is a solidarity group that organises civil-society contacts between Ireland and Palestinians in the Gaza strip. It is responsible for the Windows Into Gaza art exhibition that is currently touring Ireland, and it is planning to bring a team of young footballers from Gaza to play here. In addition to artists and sports clubs, it has also forged links with fishermen, journalists, human-rights activists and providers of emergency services.

Letter to Neil Young from Farmers and Agricultural Workers in Gaza

Neil Young is scheduled to play apartheid Israel on 17th July 2014 (Neil Young, Tell Me Why You Would Play for Apartheid Israel), for an artist of his principle and standing, this is a shocking date to be in his performance calendar. Many letters have been written to him to ask him for his solidarity, not to cross the Palestinian picket line, to respect the BDS call. This is one from the besieged agricultural workers in Gaza, Palestine. We have to hope he is reading these letters and that his conscience will kick in and that he will cancel.

Letter to Neil Young from Farmers and Agricultural Workers in Gaza

Dear Neil Young,

We are Palestinian farmers and agricultural workers in the besieged Gaza Strip.

As you have stood many times for farmers and agricultural workers around the world, you would have undoubtedly found yourself meeting some of the most dignified, hard-working and family-oriented people. You will know that the life of cultivating the land is not easy. For Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, you would have to see the reality to believe what the Israeli occupation military forces do to our farming livelihoods, families and communities (many for whom you plan to perform in July this year). Try and imagine continuing our lives as farmers while:

  • Getting shot each day while planting or harvesting our crops with live ammunition by armed Israeli soldiers behind a fence with F-16 machine guns.
  • Having our crops and land overturned and destroyed by enormous American-made bulldozers protected by jeeps, tanks and snipers of the Israeli army.
  • Having our farmhouses crushed or demolished, losing our possessions, farming equipment, livestock and water wells.
  • Having huge areas of farmland bombed, with crop growth stunted by contamination from banned chemical weapons such as white phosphorous.
  • Having replacement equipment, rebuilding of houses, restocking of crops made impossible by a medieval Israeli blockade of our border, preventing materials and equipment from reaching the population, such as saplings, pesticides and fertilizers, plastic sheets for greenhouses and hoses for irrigation.

This is our daily life in the Gaza Strip. We ask for the simple right to live and work as farmers do anywhere in the world, instead of having the work and livelihoods we love destroyed by an occupying army no Western government or international institution will stand up to.

With Willie Nelson [and] John Mellencamp, you organized the first Farm Aid concert to raise awareness about the loss of family farms and to raise funds to keep farm families on their land. We share our solidarity with you and the entire world’s farming community. We also wish that you respond to the call of Palestinian farmers to not tolerate the Israeli occupation and siege that has suffocated our people and left our farming communities devastated.

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has documented the brutal edge of Israeli policy that punishes and denies access to our own farms, seriously affecting the lives of 113,000 people or 7.5 percent of our total population. Regular shootings make farming in the “buffer zone” next to the border “high risk,” where 35 percent of the most arable Palestinian land is situated.

There are frequent incursions by Israeli bulldozers accompanied by jeeps and tanks, levelling the best land and destroying our property. The value of agricultural and other property destroyed from 2005 to 2010 is estimated [to be] at least $308 million. Ninety percent of this cost is represented by fruit trees, greenhouses, chicken and sheep farms and water wells. Due to the blockade the lost agricultural output in this “buffer zone” totals 75,000 tons per year, representing lost income of more than $50 million.

More importantly for us farmers, our culture, self-determination and attachment to the land has been taken away from us. The Israeli military has demolished over 150 water wells in the restricted areas since 2005 and routinely destroys any crop taller than 80cm, forcing farmers to grow basic crops such as barley or wheat.

In Israel’s 2008-09 Cast Lead attacks on Gaza that killed 1,400 Palestinians in three weeks, including over 330 children, a total of 46 percent of agricultural land in the Gaza Strip was assessed to be inaccessible or out of production. Residue from phosphorous and artillery shells seriously impact the quality of the food that farmers are able to produce and have impacts on health. After the recent November 2012 Israeli onslaught on Gaza, the ministry of agriculture in Gaza estimated that the agricultural sector incurred losses totalling $21 million.

The generating capacity and reliability of the Gaza power plant was massively impaired over the past eight years by the destruction of six transformers by an Israeli airstrike in 2006 and the restrictions of the seven year Israeli blockade have significantly restricted the import of spare parts, equipment, and fuel. Recently we have suffered day after day with access to only six hours of electricity.

For farmers, as well as the other impediments, this means at least 140,000 dunums of land [a dunum is 1,000 square meters] planted with fruits and vegetables are at risk of drought due to inability to use 85 percent of the agricultural wells operated with electricity. Reduced production and incomes for Palestinian farmers have left 80 percent of Palestinians in Gaza dependent on food aid.

Mustapha Arafat, a farmer from Zeitoun, Gaza City says, “The daily aggression suffered by us the Palestinian farmers every day must be highlighted to the world, so people can understand the reality of the attacks and the suffering that has continued throughout the recent ‘ceasefire.’ The boycotts of Israeli companies in agriculture are so important as the Israeli occupation has destroyed our farming production and denied us the possibility of exporting our own products. International pressure on Israel from people of conscience is the only way our own economy will be allowed to develop and for us to live normal lives.”

 

gaza-farmer488

Thomas Jefferson, author of the US Declaration of Independence said, “Cultivators of the earth are the most valuable citizens. They are the most vigorous, the most independent, the most virtuous and they are tied to their country and wedded to its liberty and interests by the most lasting bands.”

In “Last of His Kind,” the words of your song resonate with farmers across Palestine:

“Don’t say much for the future

When a family can’t survive.

I’d hate to say the farmer

Was the last of his kind.”

We are tied to our land, but we are being forced off it, watching rich land eaten away by erosion that the Israeli army, which at gunpoint does not allow us to cultivate, and kills us if we do. We ask you to show solidarity with the farmers and their families of Gaza, by refusing to perform for the regime that is doing everything to destroy our means, our livelihoods and our communities.

Union of Agricultural Work Committees Association

Besieged Gaza

 

AMONG the many online media outlets that reprinted this letter, are:

http://mondoweiss.net/2014/04/solidarity-families-agricultural.html

http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/nour-joudah/gaza-farmers-urge-neil-young-not-play-tel-aviv

Mariza, não participe no branqueamento público dos crimes de Israel!

Portuguese Fado Diva is booked to play apartheid Israel on 27 May (in Ashdod).
The following is the letter sent from Portugal to Mariza:
Mariza, não participe no branqueamento público dos crimes de Israel!
O Comité de Solidariedade com a Palestina escreve-lhe para pedir-lhe que cancele o seu concerto em Israel no dia 27 de Maio, como medida de protesto pelas políticas de apartheid do Estado de Israel, numa altura em que o movimento internacional de boicote está a ganhar terreno, face às flagrantes violações dos direitos humanos dos palestinianos.
Assim como outras iniciativas culturais, o Estado de Israel usa o Festival Mediterrâneo de Ashdod para transmitir ao mundo a imagem de um Estado normal, progressista, tentando assim legitimar a sua presença no seio da comunidade internacional de artistas e intelectuais, não obstante prosseguir obstinadamente com a limpeza étnica, a discriminação e a negação do direito dos palestinianos à autodeterminação.
Pedimos-lhe que negue este protagonismo ao Estado de Israel, até que este reconheça aos palestinianos o seu direito à liberdade, à igualdade e à justiça. Apelamos a que reflicta sobre as implicações éticas de aceitar esta prova de reconhecimento dum Estado colonial de apartheid e que, em consequência, cancele a sua participação no Festival.
Como escreve Roger Waters, dirigindo-se a outros cantores, “actuar em Israel hoje é o equivalente moral de tocar na África do Sul, no auge do apartheid e contra a vontade da maioria negra. Independentemente das vossas intenções, atravessar essa linha vermelha favorece a propaganda que o governo israelita usa nas suas tentativas de branquear as políticas do seu regime injusto e racista”.
Enquanto lhe escrevemos, Israel continua a construção de colonatos ilegais exclusivamente judeus em Jerusalém e em toda a terra palestiniana ocupada, à custa da confiscação de terras palestinianas e da destruição de cada vez mais casas, prosseguindo a instalação de infraestruturas de separação como estradas, bloqueios e o infame muro do apartheid, declarado ilegal pelo Tribunal Internacional de Justiça da Haia em 2004.
Tudo isto colocar-lhe-á uma responsabilidade moral sobre os ombros, uma vez que ao aparecer no festival estará sem o querer a legitimar um regime colonial e de apartheid.
Perante o permanente desprezo de Israel pelo direito internacional e os direitos mais básicos do povo palestiniano, o tipo de solidariedade que esperamos de pessoas de consciência pelo mundo fora é o de responderem ao apelo de Boicote-Desinvestimento-Sanções contra Israel e as suas instituições cúmplices, feito pela sociedade civil palestiniana em 2005, tal como fizeram artistas e escritores durante a luta contra o apartheid sul-africano.
Ao responder a esse apelo, juntar-se-á ao crescente número de cantores e músicos que nos últimos anos têm recusado convites ou cancelado concertos que os associam à política de ocupação israelita, tais como Elvis Costello, Gill Scott-Heron, Roger Waters, Pete Seeger e Dulce Pontes.
Cordialmente,
O Comité de Solidariedade com a Palestina

PETITION  to Mariza here.

Mariza

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

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