OPEN LETTER to Barbra Streisand: Don’t Sing for Israel’s Injustices

Dear Barbra Streisand,

It has come to our attention that you have plans to perform in support of Israeli Soldiers on 8 December.  Right now Israeli soldiers are committing with impunity countless well-documented war crimes against the indigenous population of Palestine.

We are calling on you now to heed the Palestinian call to boycott the only apartheid regime in the world, one which holds the population of Gaza in virtual imprisonment.[1] The IDF troops maintain what main-stream human rights organizations have called the largest open air prison in modern history, they enforce Israel’s five-year blockade, 63 years of dispossession and ethnic cleansing.  Palestinians rely on people of conscience, including artists and musicians, to take a stand and refuse to entertain Israel. In Gaza, over two thirds of the population are UN registered refugees, ethnically cleansed from their homes by Israeli soldiers in 1948 to live the rest of their lives in the Gaza prison camp.

Millions more refugees, living in exile, remain and are denied their right to return home to see their loved ones thanks to Israel’s policy of restriction of movement and its refusal to abide by international law.  Your performance for the “IDF Troops” will encourage the  Israeli state to believe that is does not have to be accountable to international law, that it can continue to act with impunity.

The ongoing siege of Gaza, has made existence for the approximately 1.2 million Palestinians there intolerable, cutting off the main life-line of goods and people coming into Gaza, resulting in severe shortages of food supplies, basic goods and crucially important items like cement which is vital to rebuild the 17,000+ homes that have been destroyed by Israeli attacks. Injured and ill people are not allowed to travel abroad to receive all manner of medical treatment unavailable in Gaza. Over 600 sick patients have died because they had no solution but to stay in the besieged Gaza Strip where they spent their dying days, to the despair of their families.

Most recently, Israel has instituted a ‘punitive policy’, more collective punishment, a crime against humanity,  toward the people of Gaza, by cutting off their electricity. The north of Gaza has had no power for the past 9 days. [2]

For musicians with a passionate heritage of music and dance, the Israeli siege of Gaza bans importation of instruments, the possibility of receiving international performances and taking their music abroad. Israel’s air, land and sea blockade of all their borders has meant that for years musical instruments were banned from entry to Gaza [3]

Do you really want to perform to support Israel’s soldiers given that in the winter of 2008-9, they attacked Gaza, committing war crimes and human rights violations against a population of which over half -an estimated 800,000- are children. During this merciless 23-day assault, 1,417 people were killed including hundreds of children, with over 5500 injured. These heinous crimes have been recounted in detail in the United Nations Fact Finding Mission report. [4]

In the face of an international conspiracy of silence, Palestinian Civil Society, almost unanimously, called for international artists to refuse to perform in Israel as part of the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) campaign which is a non-violent method of holding Israel accountable to standards of equality and human rights that modern nations are accustomed to.

A host of internationally renowned musicians have already joined this call by refusing to perform in Israel including Carlos Santana, Annie Lennox, Faithless, Elvis Costello, the Pixies, Gil Scott Heron, Massive Attack, Leftfield, Gorillaz Sound System, Snoop Dogg, Jean Luc Godard, and Devendra Banhart.  Roger Waters, wrote a letter announcing his support of a cultural boycott of Israel. He said that in his view,

“..the abhorrent and draconian control that Israel wields over the besieged Palestinians in Gaza, and the Palestinians in the occupied West Bank, coupled with its denial of the rights of refugees to return to their homes in Israel, demands that fair minded people around the world support the Palestinians in their civil, nonviolent resistance.” [5]

We ask you to join their fight, a fight for basic human rights, equality and justice. It is time for the world to take real action to stop Israel’s war crimes against children, women and men; it is time for conscientious individuals to stand on the right side of history by refusing to condone the war crimes of the Israeli state.

Please stand on the right side of history and refrain from entertaining a regime that has committed and continues to commit war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Sincerely,

Don’t Play Apartheid Israel

We are a group, of over 800  members, representing many nations around the globe, who believe that it is essential for musicians & other artists to heed the call of the PACBI, and join in the boycott of Israel. This is essential in order to work towards justice for the Palestinian people under occupation, and also in refugee camps and in the diaspora throughout the world.NOTES:
[1] http://www.pacbi.org/etemplate.php?id=869
[2] http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=440158
[3] http://www.gazagateway.org/tag/musical-instruments/
[4]  http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/hrcouncil/specialsession/9/docs/MediaSummaryReport_English.doc
[5] http://www.bdsmovement.net/2011/waters-endorses-5484#.TsRUWsMr2so

3 thoughts on “OPEN LETTER to Barbra Streisand: Don’t Sing for Israel’s Injustices

  1. Dear Madam,
    throughout the years the great reputation you have established as an artist with high sence of justice, quality and sensibility for dignity and human rights.
    your visit to Israel will only encourage the criminal government of Israel to continue it’s aggression and crimes against humanity.
    We appeal to you to disregard this trip and think seriously about the impact it might have on the lives of innocent unsuspecting people under the Israeli occupation
    With lots of love and espect
    Sincerely yours
    Mohammed E Batta

    • Dear Alex and Mohammed,
      Thanks for your great comments. Just to be clear, Barbra Streisand is not playing in Israel but in Los Angeles at a benefit for IDF soldiers. The concert is being sponsored by the Los Angeles chapter of the Friends of the IDF. This will, of course, have the same effect as playing there as it will endorse Israeli apartheid and IOF warcrimes.

  2. Dear Madam,
    throughout the years you have established a great reputation as an artist with high sence of justice, quality and sensibility for dignity and human rights.
    your visit to Israel will only encourage the criminal government of Israel to continue it’s aggression and crimes against humanity.
    We appeal to you to disregard this trip and think seriously about the impact it might have on the lives of innocent unsuspecting people under the Israeli occupation
    With lots of love and espect
    Sincerely yours
    Alex Penkas

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