Natalie Imbruglia, Please Don’t Make a Big Mistake

Dear Natalie,

We are writing to you to ask you to please reconsider your performance in Israel, scheduled for the 1st March, 2017. We understand this will be your first appearance in Israel and would like to inform you that playing there will be in breach of the Palestinian call for artists to respect the cultural boycott of Israel until it adheres to international law and Palestinians have their civil and political rights which they are currently denied by the apartheid Israeli government. [1]

Like Aboriginal people in Australia before 1966, indigenous Palestinians who live in Israel are prevented from enjoying full citizenship in that state. Full citizenship is available only on theocratic grounds, to people who are defined as Jewish by the State. Furthermore, Palestinians in Israel are subject to more than 50 laws discriminating against them – de facto apartheid.  Palestinians who reside in the Occupied Territories of East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza which Israel seized and occupied in 1967 cannot vote at all in Israeli elections. These Palestinian people subsist in segregated bantustans isolated from each other by apartheid walls and fences with their movement controlled by over 500 checkpoints, preventing them from attending universities and hospitals, and seeing friends and relatives – many families have been separated for years due to this system of apartheid. Indeed the International Court of Justice declared Israel’s apartheid wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory illegal in 2004 – further international law that it ignores.

Palestinians persecuted by military occupation naturally wish to live freely with rights in their own ancestral lands. However, illegal Israeli settlements continually expand and encroach upon those lands, despite several United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions. Most recently, on 23 December 2016, the UNSC passed another resolution unanimously against expansion of the illegal settlements, and again affirmed their illegality under international law, yet Israel refuses to recognise these resolutions.  Israel has now declared de facto war on the resolution’s sponsors, including New Zealand [2] and also intends to withhold UN dues [3]. Since the resolution Israel has accelerated its demolition of Palestinian homes to four times its 2016 weekly average, making hundreds of people homeless.

Nearly 800,000 Jewish people now reside illegally on Palestinian lands, enjoying full political rights while Palestinians languish, brutalised by military occupation and without rights. Palestinian refugees driven out in the 1948 Nakba from the areas which Israel claimed comprise the second largest refugee population in the world and again, despite the requirements of international law, Israel refuses to permit these Indigenous people to return to their homes. In many countries Palestinians are stateless, living in squalid refugee camps for decades, never giving up hope that their right of return will be realised and they can return to their Indigenous home and heritage which has been usurped and colonised.

Zionist colonisation of Palestine follows a similar trajectory to British colonisation of Australia, where Indigenous Australians were forced into isolating missions and reserves, slaughtered and dispossessed of their land and culture, while Palestinians too are subjected to extreme violence and forced into refugee camps and bantustans  We understand you have experienced the end results of these genocidal colonial crimes during your participation in the First Contact SBS programme and are sympathetic to the plight of Aboriginal people in Australia consequent to white colonisation. We ask you to consider also the distressing situation for Palestinian people and the importance of support for their struggle for liberation and justice. Because the international political community has refused to act to support their rights, Palestinians called in 2005 for cultural boycott and asked people of conscience like yourself for solidarity with their movement by refraining from performing in Israel.

By respecting their call, you will also be supporting the women of Gaza who suffer from breast cancer, another area where you have shown empathy. Israel prevents breast cancer sufferers, and indeed most cancer sufferers from obtaining appropriate treatment, due to its collective punishment of two million civilians which it has incarcerated in the largest prison in the world – Gaza – since 2006.

Dozens of female cancer patients in the Gaza Strip have launched a protest against Israel’s refusal to allow them to cross into Israel to seek medical treatments in hospitals in Israel, East Jerusalem and the West Bank. The women say the ban or delay of their treatments is a “premeditated death sentence.” [4]

Due to Israel’s military attacks on Gaza and its illegal, immoral siege which prevents the import of fuel supply and parts, sickness is common there since the water supply is contaminated by dysfunctional sewerage treatment plants and electricity supply is currently down to a mere four hours per day [5]. Physicians for Human Rights comments on Israel’s deprivation of medical equipment:

There are no syringes, no bandages and no tubes. When one of our surgeons asks for a specific scalpel or bandage during surgery he’s told that there aren’t any available. When we train a local doctor and teach him techniques and procedures he has nothing to work with.” [Ibid.]

The UN has estimated that without major reconstruction, Gaza will be uninhabitable by 2020. [Ibid.] Should you play your concert in Israel, be aware that this crime against humanity is being perpetrated just miles from you.

Certainly, Israel will continue to carry out its injustices against the Palestinian people if we are silent and do not act. We implore you to recognise your performance in Israel cannot create bridges over apartheid, oppression and suffering, merely obscure it so Israel can continue to pretend that its crimes are “normal” and blame Palestinians for their own plight. This is clearly not the case any more than the myth proliferated by white supremacists that Aboriginal people in Australia are responsible for their own immiseration.

The reality is that for Israel any show that isn’t cancelled because of boycott appeals is considered a political victory over the Palestinian struggle and international solidarity with it. Performing in Tel Aviv means playing for a segregated audience, on ethnically cleansed land. We really hope you can’t see yourself doing this and you join Lauryn Hill, Cassandra Wilson, Sinead O’Connor, Cat Power, Massive Attack and thousands of other artists who have refused to play in Israel – in Ireland over 540 artists have pledged to boycott the state, as have over 1,190 in the UK, and many more all over the world.

Please respect the Palestinian call to boycott Israel – you can make a real difference here and help tip the moral scales toward justice.

DPAI

We are a group, of over 2000 members from 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.

Palestine Support Network Australia (PSNA)
Australian Friends of Palestine Association (AFOPA)
Australian Boycott, Divestments and Sanctions Campaign for Palestine (BDS)
Coalition for Justice and Peace in Palestine (CJPP)
Sydney Staff for BDS
The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI)

Samah Sabawi, Palestinian Australian playwright and Al Shabaka policy adviser
Kollaps, Melbourne band
Candy Royalle, Writer, Performer, Activist, Educator
Amy McQuire, Indigenous Writer
Penelope Swales, Musician
Sara Dowse, Writer
Trish Nacey, Videographer and Musician
Walbira Murray, Indigenous Research Officer
Ken Canning, Indigenous Playwright
Jeff Sparrow, Writer, Editor and Broadcaster
Marcelo Svirsky, Writer

Notes:

  1. https://bdsmovement.net/pacbi/cultural-boycott-guidelines
  2. https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/why-israel-should-fear-new-zealand
  3. http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/01/israel-halts-6m-protest-unsc-settlements-vote-170106205417524.html
  4. http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-1.763355
  5. http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-1.763280

ni

 

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Blixa Bargeld and Teho Teardo, Don’t Play Apartheid Israel

Dear Blixa and Teho,

Since the beginning of this campaign, we have been pondering the fact that Blixa has made a film for television on the ex-Israeli musician and activist Dror Feiler, which is due to air on the Arte TV channel four days before Blixa’s own planned concert in Tel Aviv on 15 September.

It is commendable that this film will shine a light on Dror’s activities, which most significantly include his participation in several of the flotillas to break the Israeli government’s brutal siege of Gaza. However, Blixa’s planned concert in Tel Aviv, four days after the broadcast of this film, would completely negate any positive impact coming from it, and would amount to both an affirmation and amplification of Israeli propaganda. The proximity of the broadcast to Blixa’s scheduled breach of the Palestinian BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) call inevitably gives the impression that the former in some way is expected to justify the latter. The Israeli government, by viewing “culture as a propaganda tool of the first rank”, has created a zero-sum game scenario, the iron logic of which allows for no ambiguity and can only be successfully opposed by a boycott. By weaponising culture itself, the Israeli government further compels artists to decide between providing it with further ammunition or refusing to be complicit in this. It is precisely for this reason that Palestinian civil society has called for a cultural boycott of Israel.

In addition, while the tension arising from the broadcast of the film and the breach of the boycott immediately afterwards appears to give rise to an interesting dialectic, this scenario is achieved at the expense of Palestinian suffering. It seems, therefore, that Blixa is instrumentalising Dror Feiler, but also, and more importantly, the wider political situation as a whole purely for effect. By the same process the Israeli government will be able to instrumentalise Blixa for its own propaganda aims. We wonder if Blixa feels comfortable being used by a state that employs culture as a weapon while also using physical weapons such as cluster bombs and white phosphorous against the Palestinian people, killing and maiming thousands.

Furthermore, artists should not think that in using their performances in Israel as a platform to criticise the state and its policies they are constructively contributing to the Palestinian cause. They are doing nothing of the sort, but rather they facilitate Israeli government in its propaganda by allowing it to portray itself as a democracy tolerant of criticism, when, in fact, this is not the case.

Nor is the argument valid that there are other states in breach of international law, the point is that the Palestinian people have called for a boycott, just as those struggling against South African apartheid did. All that is being asked of you is that you not cross the Palestinian picket line.

Even if there is no direct government involvement of funding in this particular gig, PACBI’s guidelines stipulate “In general, PACBI urges international cultural workers (e.g. artists, writers, filmmakers)… where possible and as relevant, to boycott and/or work towards the cancellation of events, activities, agreements, or projects involving Israel, its lobby groups or its cultural institutions, or that otherwise promote the normalization of Israel in the global cultural sphere.” And “It must be emphasized that a cultural product’s content or artistic merit is not relevant in determining whether or not it is boycottable.”

The reality is that for Israel any show that isn’t cancelled because of BDS appeals is considered a political victory over the Palestinian struggle and international solidarity with it. Hence any artist that’s been appealed to and refused to boycott is a win for Israel, in the view of the state.

Performing in Tel Aviv means playing for a segregated audience, on ethnically cleansed land, can you really see yourselves doing that?

For these reasons, we must repeat, with added emphasis, what so many international groups wrote to you in their first letter: “The call to boycott Israel until it complies with international law and universal principles of human rights was first made in 2005, by over 170 (now over 200) Palestinian civil society groups. The boycott is a non-violent tactic against oppressive state power. It would be extremely disappointing if artists of your stature chose to break this call for solidarity with the Palestinian people, particularly at a time when Israel is escalating its daily attacks on them.”

In all of this the plight of the Palestinians is once again pushed into the background and the foreground struggle becomes that of yet another high-profile western artist refusing to use their position of privilege to stand in solidarity with people who have only asked that they do no harm. Therefore we would like to conclude by quoting the Palestinian Students’ Campaign for the Academic Boycott of Israel’s letter to you:

“We are asking you to not side with the oppressor by performing in Tel Aviv 15th September. Don’t let your music normalize the racist brutality and the ethnic cleansing Palestinians suffer from day in day out under the control of the Israeli Apartheid regime. Instead, let your music stand on the right side of history. If you do so, you will look back with a clean conscience when the day arrives that we Palestinians are granted the same human rights as anyone else.”

Letters

From Gaza

 From International Groups

From Boycott from Within (2

  From Don’t Play Apartheid Israel

From Boycott from Within (1)

PALESTINIAN-ISRAEL-CONFLICT-GAZA-FLOTILLA

Palestinians hold their national flag as they ride boats during a rally to show support for activists aboard a flotilla of boats who are soon to set sail for Gaza in a fresh bid to break Israel’s blockade of the territory, at the seaport of Gaza City on June 24, 2015. Freedom Flotilla III

Tel Aviv https://electronicintifada.net/content/jaffa-eminence-ethnic-cleansing/8088

***************************************

 

Blixa Bargeld and Teho Teardo – Please Don’t Play Apartheid Israel

Dear Blixa and Teho,

 

We are very dismayed to see that you have a concert in Israel on 15th September this year and are writing to ask you to reconsider playing there and breaching the Palestinian picket line.

Many principled musicians chose to take a stand and cancelled their gigs in Israel and we hope you will join them. As Thurston Moore explained after he cancelled last year: “It was with serious deliberation that I eventually arrived at the personal conclusion that to perform with my band in Israel was in direct conflict to my values. With the realization that a cultural and academic boycott is central to its purpose in exposing a reality of brutal human rights violations – including those accompanying Israel’s discriminatory laws and occupation of the West Bank – I felt the need, with humility, to cancel the engagement.”

Many artists of conscience have chosen not to play there since Palestinians are denied their most basic human rights by Israel. They have heeded the Palestinian call to boycott which was issued in 2005 and has the support of more than 200 civil society organisations.

Large swathes of Palestinian land have been stolen and ethnically cleansed for the development and expansion of illegal Israeli settlements. Currently over 500,000 illegal settlers live in the West Bank in direct contravention of international law.

Palestinians are denied their fundamental right to freedom of movement. A vast matrix of checkpoints, roadblocks, walls and fences separates local villages and towns from each other, and sometimes even cuts entire towns in half. Israeli settlers face no such restrictions, they travel on Jewish-only roads and live in illegal Jewish-only settlements at the expense of Palestinians. This Israeli government policy of segregation has had a devastating effect on the livelihoods and family life of millions of Palestinians and is uniformly condemned by human rights groups.  Many of those who resisted and protested South African apartheid are horrified by the brutality of Israeli apartheid and how it is used against the Palestinians. You will be playing to a segregated audience if you play this gig.

In 2014 Israel’s bombardment of Gaza’s dense civilian population killed over 2,200 Palestinians, with 550 children murdered and thousands more injured. Over 100 thousand people have been left homeless. Israel carried out similarly devastating massacres in 2012 and in 2008-2009. UN reports have found significant evidence of war crimes in these attacks including the use of white phosphorus – a chemical weapon, and the murder of unarmed civilians carrying white flags. Of course, no sanction has been invoked against the perpetrator of these crimes which is why it is so important that civil society act.

To compound the misery, virtually no building materials are allowed due to the ongoing Israeli siege of Gaza which controls what commodities enter, even down to the amount and type of food and medical supplies, and leave the territory.

Palestinians are also subjected to mass imprisonment. The Israeli military has detained around 750,000 Palestinians since 1967. The Israeli army tries prisoners – including minors – in closed and unaccountable military courts, denies them access to lawyers, subject them to tortures and abuses, all in contravention of international law.

Further to the situation of the 4 million + Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Gaza, the 1.5 million Palestinians having Israeli citizenship face racial discrimination enshrined in more than 50 Israeli laws that systematically, directly or indirectly, discriminate against them. There are also approximately 5 million Palestinian refugees scattered worldwide who are denied their right to return to their homes.

Since October 2015 220 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces in the militarily occupied West Bank.

This Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) campaign, modelled on the boycott against apartheid South Africa, is supported by over 1,000 culture workers in the UK alone and many more artists worldwide. The boycott has been respected by many artists, including: Leftfield, the Killers, Thurston Moore,  Lauryn Hill, Roger Waters, Elvis Costello, Brian Eno,  Mira Nair, Ken Loach, Massive Attack and Alice Walker.

Israel is all too aware of the power that artists wield. Since 2006 it has been running an aggressive PR campaign it calls ‘Brand Israel’, deliberately using culture as propaganda. This PR campaign seeks to promote an image of the state as a peace living, fun and vibrant liberal democracy, and obscure its violent and racist reality. The aim is to promote a false image in order to distract from the harsh realities of occupation, dispossession and wanton destruction.

Israeli promoters and propagandists for Israel tell musicians that art should not mix with politics and that artists do not play for the government but merely entertain ordinary people. But in fact,  Israel has been using artists who breached the boycott as a means of legitimising their crimes against the Palestinian people.

You face a choice – you can stand up for human rights and against oppression and injustice by respecting the Palestinian boycott call. Or you can allow yourself to be cynically used for the whitewashing of apartheid.

We hope that you will cancel your planned gig in Israel on September 15th and refuse to entertain Israeli apartheid.

Many thanks for reading, in solidarity,

DPAI (Don’t Play Apartheid Israel)

We are a group, of over 1700, representing many countries 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.

Blixa Bargeld and Teho Teardo: Don’t play in Apartheid Israel.

 

Blix

Tricky: Cancel your apartheid Israel Gig, recognize BDS!

Dear Tricky (Adrian Thaws),

We recently heard you and your band plan to play in Israel on 26 February this year.  Your planned gig comes a few months after Israel embarked on a murderous 50 day attack on the Palestinian people living in Gaza.  Israel’s misleadingly termed ‘Operation Protective Edge’ killed over 2,200 people (including over 510 children) and maimed 10,000 more, left thousands homeless and caused the obliteration of 89 entire families.   The devastation in Gaza is catastrophic and, as this is the third major assault on the Strip in just six years, has left the people there deeply traumatised. Israel also regularly kills Palestinians in the West Bank, imprisons thousands, including children, and carries out illegal home demolition as well as settlement building. There are more than 50 laws which discriminate against the Palestinian citizens of Israel, while those in the West Bank live under occupation, those in Gaza live under siege and constant attack, and the huge refugee population, spread all over the world, lives with the pain of exile and dispossession.

Would you perform for the oppressors in any state? Would you have performed in Sun City during the era of South African apartheid?  From EBONY magazine regarding Dream Defenders, formed in the aftermath of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin’s killing last year:
“Dream Defenders unanimously passed a resolution to support the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement in this interval [1].”
On 15 January, Dream Defenders visited Occupied Palestine and did a solidarity demonstration in support of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign called for by Palestinian civil society in 2005 [2].
Tricky_-_August_13,_2009

While you may be told that music is a way to build bridges, in fact your very presence will be used as an endorsement, whether given or not, of Israel’s policies. Indeed its official state social media sites regularly post about artists who breach the boycott, linking them to state policy – do you really want this?

 

Award winning author and BDS supporter David Sheen writes about Israel:
“Another type of racist assault that has become increasingly common in Israel is attacks on Africans. Incitement against the 50,000 non-Jewish Africans who have sought asylum in Israel in recent years, including top government officials comparing them to cancer and Ebola, has made them a popular target for racist ruffians in Tel Aviv. Locals report it is not uncommon for Israeli youths to throw dog feces at African mothers nursing their babies. In January, an Israeli man stabbed a one-year-old African baby in the head and later explained to police that he did it because “they said that a black baby, blacks in general, are terrorists [3].”

 

Tricky, we appeal to you to join many other artists of conscience, and respect the Palestinian-led call for a cultural boycott of Israel, to stand with the principle that justice -contingent on freedom and equality- must be present before peace is possible.

Please know that you will not be playing to a free audience in Israel, you will be playing to a segregated audience, one which Palestinians cannot be part of. Your audience enjoys its privilege at the expense of millions of incarcerated, occupied Indigenous Palestinian people, and also African refugees who are imprisoned in camps in Israel.

Israel is an apartheid state engaged in extreme discrimination against the Palestinian people. With so many years occupying and dehumanising the Palestinian people, Israel is an extremely racist society in which marches are common against the indigenous people and also immigrants seeking asylum.

Inspired by this Palestinian led struggle which has huge international support, many artists have refused to play in Israel, including over 500 Irish artists who have all signed a pledge to respect the boycott. [4] The choice to join them is yours, please do the right thing.

DPAI (Don’t Play Apartheid Israel)

We are a group, of over 1700, representing many countries 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.

DPAI Facebook page:

Tricky, Apartheid Israel is a Murder Weapon – Don’t Play

Tricky’s twitter is: @KnowleWestboy

NOTES

[1]http://www.ebony.com/news-views/dream-defenders-black-lives-matter-ferguson-reps-take-historic-trip-to-palestine#axzz3P0RYklDX]

[2] https://www.facebook.com/DreamDefenders/posts/664571190318530

[3] http://www.alternet.org/world/how-israel-covers-its-ugly-racial-holy-war

[4] http://www.ipsc.ie/press-releases/irish-artists-pledge-to-boycott-israel-reaches-500-signatures

Original source:

 

Cultural Boycott Highlights and Cultural Worker Support for Palestinians: A Summary of 2014

Cultural Boycott Highlights and Cultural Worker Support for Palestinians: A Summary of 2014

By Don’t Play Apartheid Israel (DPAI)

January 2014: Norwegian artist Moddi courageously cancels his planned concert in Israel and writes: “I have chosen to cancel my performance in Tel Aviv on February 1st. This is without comparison the most difficult decision I have ever made as an artist, and one that hurts almost as much as it feels right.  The reason for my decision is the situation in Israel and the areas it controls. Although music can be a unique arena for public debate, the debate over these territories has been misused for a long time [1].”

Jasiri X furthers the message about the boycott of Israel with his release of music video Checkpoint, rapping “Support BDS, don’t give a dime to the checkpoint [2].”

 MA
JULY: British band Massive Attack in
Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon
support BDS (Getty Images).

 

French musician Titi Robin shows amazing solidarity with the Palestinian people, his cancellation of his planned Israel concert is particularly significant as he had performed there in the past.  He states “these journeys finally made me take this decision, which appears to me, after a long term reflection, the most honest one regarding the evolution of the situation [3].”

February 2014: Notable international cartoonists, including Siné, Tardi and Joe Sacco, mobilize against the presence of Sodastream at the International Festival of Comics in Angoulême, France. Ninety-nine cartoonists sign onto an open letter asking the organizers to join in the boycott of Sodastream [4].  Other famous names in contemporary comics that signed include Alison Bechdel (“Fun Home”), Kate Beaton (“Hark A Vagrant”), Ben Katchor (“The Jew of New York”), Peter Kuper (“Spy vs. Spy”), and Jaime Hernandez.

March 2014: People’s Books Co-op in Milwaukee, WI voted to join the BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) movement against Israel. In support of the cultural boycott the PBC will not participate in any official Israeli celebrations or festivals and will decline offers to perform or speak in Israel [5].

Founders of Pink Floyd, Roger Waters and Nick Mason come together in support of the BDS movement, and they both urge all bands intending to play Israel to reconsider, pointing out that “Playing Israel now is the moral equivalent of playing Sun City at the height of South African apartheid; regardless of your intentions, crossing the picket line provides propaganda that the Israeli government will use in its attempts to whitewash the policies of its unjust and racist regime [6].” Waters has been a supporter of, and advocate for, the BDS movement for some years now.

Playing Israel today, in this time of ever increasing Palestinian solidarity, is a huge political statement. This tweet by the Associated Press is indicative of just how big BDS has become.

“@Beyonce won’t be heading to Israel for a concert. Her rep tells @APEntertainment that reports about Bey performing in Tel Aviv are false [7].”

 JD
OCTOBER: Bestselling Dominican-American author and Professor at MIT Junot Díaz endorses the cultural boycott of Israel.

 

Philosopher and activist Grace Lee Boggs and actor and activist Danny Glover denounce the inclusion of the film ‘American Revolutionary: the Evolution of Grace Lee Boggs’ in a government-sponsored Israeli film festival. In a strong statement they assert that:  “We stand in solidarity with the people of Palestine, and support their call for cultural and academic boycott of Israel.” This was sent to the Electronic Intifada and co-signed with ten other individuals involved with the award-winning documentary that focuses on the life and work of the 98-year-old Boggs [8].

NY band The Shondes write in agreement and support of the cultural boycott:  “We support the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions Movement (BDS) because it pressures Israel to comply with international law: to end the illegal occupation, ensure refugees their right to return home, and guarantee full rights to Palestinian citizens of Israel [9].”

Over 100 artists and intellectuals — including Judith Butler, Lucy Lippard, Chantal Mouffe, Walid Raad, Martha Rosler, and Gayatri Spivak — observe the cultural boycott by signing on to a public letter calling on participants to withdraw from Creative Time’s travelling ‘Living as Form’ exhibition on the grounds that it is currently showing at an institution with a “central role in maintaining the unjust and illegal occupation of Palestine.” The missive came in response to revelations that the social practice exhibition curated by Nato Thompson had been touring in Israel for six months unbeknownst to participants, including its appearance at The Technion, a university in Haifa with extensive research-and-development links to the Israeli military and defense technology industry [10].

July 2014: Israel embarks on a violent attack on the people living in Gaza, which is held under illegal siege.  Israel’s misleadingly termed Operation Protective Edge, eventually kills over 2,200 people (including over 510 children).

After learning about the Palestinian-led call for boycott, divest and sanctions against Israel, US rapper Talib Kweli announced on twitter that he would respect BDS. Kweli was supposed to appear in an international hip-hop, funk and groove festival planned for mid-August in Israel [11].

According to Israeli media, Pearl Jam implicitly supports the cultural boycott. Lead singer Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam effectively denounced Israel’s attacks on Palestinians (though without naming it) at a concert: “I swear to fucking god, there are people out there who are looking for a reason to kill. They’re looking for a reason to go across borders and take over land that doesn’t belong to them. They should get the fuck out, and mind their own fucking business.  We don’t want to give them our money. We don’t want to give them our taxes to drop bombs on children [12].” An article in Hebrew reports on the failure to bring Pearl Jam to Israel and implicitly concludes that  the reason the efforts failed was the boycott [13].

A huge coordinated effort was made to ask Neil young to cancel his planned gig in Israel.  Roger Waters is among those who contacted Young, stating “Woody Guthrie would turn in his grave!  Neil Young! [14]”  Speculation has been made that Young allowed Israel to manipulate the reasons for his cancellation.  Staging and fencing were never built for his gig in Tel Aviv, ticket refunds were made, and he did not state he would reschedule.

Numerous bands and festivals are cancelled as Israel’s offensive rages on, and Israel predictably makes the questionable claim that cancellations were made for security reasons.  BDS activists continue to urge all artists to respect the boycott.  Meanwhile, many artists support Palestinians on twitter [15].  Waka Flocka Flame and French Montana are two of many groups to tweet in support of Palestine.

Nobel Peace laureates Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Adolfo Peres Esquivel, Jody Williams, Mairead Maguire, Rigoberta Menchú and Betty Williams join with other notables to support a military embargo of Israel.  Other signatories include Noam Chomsky, Roger Waters, playwright Caryl Churchill, US rapper Boots Riley, João Antonio Felicio, the president of the International Trade Union Confederation, and Zwelinzima Vavi, the general secretary of the Confederation of South African Trade Unions. Such cooperation across a wide spectrum of people is significant [16].

Influential Ebony magazine publishes “Why Black people Must Stand With Palestine”, drawing parallels to injustices;  “Similar to the Palestinians’ call for people of conscience to boycott and divest from companies that support their oppression, we might call on people abroad to pressure an end to “the New Jim Crow”—mass incarceration [17].”

 Sinead.GAZA.LONDON
AUGUST: Sinéad O’Connor dons GAZA solidarity shirt during her London concert.

 

Irish singer Sinéad O’Connor cancels her show (planned for September), refusing the bow to pressure to play, and assuring her fans that she had not previously been aware of the cultural boycott [18]. During her August show in London, the singer puts on a t-shirt with GAZA written on it (see photo).

Cultural artists join over 21,000 people in signing on to a letter to David Cameron, demanding military sanctions against Israel.  Signatories include rock legend Peter Gabriel, Jemima Khan, Bobby Gillespie of Primal Scream, Robert Del Naja of Massive Attack, Brian Eno and Bryan Adams, the writers Will Self, Hanif Kureishi, Ahdaf Soueif, Esther Freud, Laura Bailey and William Dalrymple, and the actors David Morrissey, Maxine Peake and Alexei Sayle [19].

Brian Eno of Roxy Music fame takes an active role in the press, asserting that the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC): “… seems to regard Palestinian lives as less valuable, less newsworthy [20].”

Award-winning band and veteran political activists Massive Attack use their headline slot at Longitude Festival in Dublin, Ireland to highlight their solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza.  A lit-up message behind the performers said: “Gaza has been ocupied [sic] or under restrictions since 1948 [21].”

Going beyond outrage at Israel’s crimes against humanity, and vocally answering the call for BDS, artists come together in “Boycott Israel.”  Norwegian Don Martin, Immortal Technique, El Tipo Este of Cuban duo Obsesion, Parisian rapper Tonto Noiza, and Johannesburg-based Tumi Molekane inform listeners about BDS in different languages [22].

New York Times bestselling author Ayelet Waldman tweets support for BDS, saying  that although she is Israeli and she loves her country, and she formerly opposed BDS, she is ready to give BDS a chance [23].

The Hollywood Reporter, the largest publication covering the entertainment industry,  attempts to explain the widespread support by celebrities of Palestinians with “Why Young Hollywood is More Willing to Question Israel’s Policies [24].”

Multiple award winning singer Selena Gomez  tweets to what she calls #wearethenextgeneration to be that change, it’s about humanity, pray for Gaza.

[25] Her tweet stays on twitter.

Prominent Jewish people, Palestinians, and others stand for Palestine in a powerful video with Jonathan Demme (Academy Award), Gloria Steinem, Tony Kushner (Pulitzer Prize), Diana Buttu, Chuck D, Eve Ensler, Brian Eno, Roger Waters, Mira Nair (Academy Award), Wallace Shawn, Naomi Klein, Mira Nair, Raj Patel, Noura Erakat,  Alison Bechdel, Urvashi Vaid and many others [26].

The cultural boycott of Israel is the central topic of conversation, in speculations about the real reason why the Israeli dance troupe’s performance was nixed from the program at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe show [27].

Magic Johnson was slated to play basketball for 5000 Israeli armed forces soldiers during an inauguration for a newly opened arena. It was reported that the Jerusalem Municipality was surprised when he refused to participate in the event.

The Hollywood Reporter notes support for Palestinians again when Oscar winners Penelope Cruz, Javier Bardem and Pedro Almodovar denounce Israeli genocide in an open letter, others who signed the letter include directors Montxo Armendariz and Benito Zambrano, along with actors Lola Herrera, Eduardo Noriega and Rosa Maria Sarda; and musicians Amaral and Nacho Campillo among others [28]. Their support also makes headlines in many large Spanish language publications such as Eldiario.es.

Video “La Palestine pleure de SANG” is released by SLM, a popular French rap duo, using images from Gaza to compelling music [29a].

Yaakov Shwekey, known for formerly playing for the Israeli military, cancels his planned concert in Israel [29aa].

Robert Del Naja and Grant Marshall of Massive Attack visit the Bourj el-Barajneh refugee camp in Lebanon (see photo), and speak of their ‘love and commitment’ to supporting the plight of young Palestinian refugees.  Del Naja asserts “it is important to bring attention to those Palestinians living in Lebanon since 1948: all the young people I met who weren’t born in Syria were born in Lebanon, and all of them are waiting to go home [29b].

Veteran American band Kansas backs out of a planned gig in Israel, no plans for a reschedule are firm, and full ticket refunds are given [29bb].

August 2014: The Irish artists’ pledge to support the cultural boycott of Israel reaches 500 signatures, a significant milestone for such a small country, and includes creative and performing artists residing all over the island of Ireland. Over 200 artists signed up due to Israel’s murderous attack on Gaza. [31]

Musician Anoushka Shankar, daughter of the acclaimed Ravi Shankar,  speaks out on Israel’s attack upon Gaza: “I can’t be silent.  It is genocide [32].” Shankar’s declaration is notable, in that she has previously bypassed the cultural boycott, playing in Israel.  Her choice to become an artist of conscience now is commendable.

In an enormous victory for BDS, the Tricycle Theater refuses to host the UK Jewish Film Festival citing Israeli sponsorship [32a].  In a huge turnaround, acclaimed Irish film director Lenny Abrahamson (former Israel supporter and defender of Israel’s attack on Lebanon) publicly announces:  “As a filmmaker of Jewish background I fully support the Tricycle’s position [32aa].”

Often teetering on one side or another, Russell Brand makes a case for BDS, calling for big businesses to pull funding from Israeli companies that facilitate the oppression of the people of Gaza [33]. His video goes viral.

Many more musicians continue to cancel their planned Israel gigs as August wears on and the damage to Gaza is publicized.

South Korean directors Park Chan-wook (Oldboy, Stoker, Joint Security Area) and Ryoo Seung-wan (The Berlin File, The Unjust) were among 100 public figures, along with academics, legal experts and religious figures to sign a petition and deliver it to the Israeli embassy in Seoul.  The petition refers to Israel’s actions in Gaza as a “civilian massacre” and calls on Israel to “stop immediately.” Elsewhere in the petition, the actions of Israel are described as a “war crime.” The governments of South Korea, Europe, and the US are asked to comply with what amounts to military sanctions against Israel [34].

Regarding Lana Del Rey’s cancellation, the Wondering Sound writes: “It’s a sad twist that Del Rey’s excellent new album is titled Ultraviolence, making her cancellation all the more tragically appropriate [35].”  When musicians reschedule Israel they are acting to support the Israeli state, regardless of whether intentional or not.

Jazz trumpeter Terence Blanchard and saxophonist Marcus Strickland withdraw from the Red Sea Jazz Festival, an event sponsored by the Israeli government.

A group of high-profile political figures predominantly from Central America, South America and the Caribbean — including Bolivian President Evo Morales, US author Alice Walker, deposed Honduran President Manuel Zelaya (signed with his common name “Mel Zelaya”), former Cuban president Fidel Castro,Cuban musician Silvio Rodrígiuez, Uruguayan author Eduardo Galeano and others — sign onto a strongly worded statement of solidarity with the Palestinian people and support for BDS [36].

Numerous Norwegian actors sign a pointed statement endorsing the BDS movement, and insisting that the Norwegian National Theatre shall not be used to normalize Israel’s illegal actions.  Actors Siri Austeen, Camilla Eeg-Tverbakk, Chris Erichsen, Trine Falch and dozens more signed [37].

Throughout August, more celebrities tweet in support of Palestine and question Israel’s actions including Mia Farrow, John Legend and footballer Joey Barton.

G4S is the British-Danish firm which provides security services to checkpoints, prisons and interrogation centers in Israel.  When legendary musician Pete Wylie found out the city of Liverpool had been paying for services from G4S he argued: “I cannot condone or work with a council that sees fit to engage with G4S,” cancelling his appearance at the city’s International Music Festival in support of BDS [38].

Wylie’s move follows a wider campaign by local Palestine solidarity groups which has seen Liverpudlian writers, actors, musicians and other artists sign up to an open letter to the city council, criticizing its contracts with G4S.  Signatories to the letter — which refers to the “appalling misery and carnage in Palestine” — include authors Frank Cottrell Boyce, Alan Gibbons and Jimmy McGovern and actor and comedian and Alexei Sayle, alongside several dozen other artists [38].

Renowned comedian Bill Bailey has put his voice to a powerful new video calling for medical aid to Gaza [39].

The Society for Cinema and Media Studies – Middle East Caucus, writes an open letter endorsing BDS [40].

Bryan Adams, Grammy Award, Oscar Award (among many others) winning musician, uses twitter, “..and the Israeli blockade of #Gaza just entered its 8th year, leaving its 1.7 million inhabitants destitute [41].”

Renowned Algerian singer Souad Massi explains with conviction why she upholds the cultural boycott of Israel, though she had been offered bookings in Israel “time and time again [42].”

Acclaimed film director Ken Loach spoke at the Katrin Cartlidge Foundation Award Ceremony (Sarajevo film festival) honoring Palestinian directors Abdel Salam Shehadeh and Ashraf Mashharawi, and called for an “absolute boycott of all the cultural happenings supported by the Israeli state.” Referring to the boycott, he added “Israel must become a pariah state [43].”

The 20th Annual Film Festival in Bristol, England, publically refuses Israeli Embassy Funding in order to maintain a “neutral political status [44].”

“The oppression of one concerns that of all,” say the majority of artists and participants of the 31st São Paulo Bienal Art Exhibit, who refused to support the normalization of Israel’s ongoing occupation of the Palestinian people, “We believe Israeli state cultural funding directly contributes to maintaining, defending and whitewashing their violation of international law and human rights [45].”

Popular Lebanese singers use twitter to raise awareness to their fans about Gaza [46].

The Amsterdam “Spot on Israel” show fails to normalize Dutch relations with Israel during its sojourn with the “first lady of the Israeli Habima theater.”  Brave activists can be seen being assaulted and then arrested for protesting in a video that halts the small Israeli state funded show [47].

Many authors including Junot Díaz and Eliot Weinberger sign in agreement with the cultural boycott that: “ It is deeply regrettable that the Brooklyn Book Festival has chosen to accept funding from the Israeli government just weeks after Israel’s bloody 50-day assault on the Gaza Strip, which left over 2100 Palestinians – including 500 children – dead, displaced a fourth of the population, destroyed homes, schools, and hospitals, and involved numerous potential war crimes [48].

Author and academic Marcelo Svirsky sets off on his Walk for BDS from Sydney to Canberra, a distance of 287 kms. He is feted by well-wishers from Sydney University Staff for BDS [49].

Concerts benefiting Gaza with financial contributions take place worldwide, too numerous to list here.

The Swiss Federal Council is called upon by over 640 Swiss swiss artists and cultural actors to suspend military cooperation with Israel, including canceling a recent order of Elbit H-900 military drones, which were tested in Gaza and would are intended to be used by the Swiss intelligence to monitor Switzerland’s own population [50].

September 2014: Notable international artists donate their work to create a series of compelling posters for Gaza [29].

Golden Globe and Academy Award winner Asghar Farhadi joins with Nasrin Sotoudeh to create a campaign titled “stop killing” to address the massacre in Gaza.  Farhadi  is considered by Time magazine (2012) to be one of the top 100 most influential people in the world [30].

October 2014: The Beach Boys don’t specify a reason, however they cancelled their planned gig in Israel as reported in Haa’retz and many other media outlets [51].

Israel especially singles out international film festivals as targets for rebranding attempts, often assigning local Israeli embassies as financial sponsors of festivals.  In Belgium, the Brussels Jewish Film Festival was not exempt from this effort.  The Union of Progressive Jews of Belgium (UPJB) boldly protested this by withdrawing both their participation and their sponsorship from the Brussels Jewish Film Festival [52].

New York Times bestselling author Junot Díaz (see photo), who received a Pulitzer Prize for his novel ‘The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao’ and won the prestigious MacArthur “Genius Grant,” endorsed the United States Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (USACBI). Diaz asserts: “If there exists a moral arc to the universe, then Palestine will eventually be free. But that promised day will never arrive unless we, the  justice-minded peoples of our world, fight to end the cruel blight of the Israeli occupation [53].”

Hip hop superstar Chuck D, of the groundbreaking group Public Enemy, also signaled his endorsement of USACBI [53].

Mira Nair reaffirms her strong support for the cultural boycott by joining numerous other artists in an open letter asking the World Music Institute (New York) not to present Israeli propagandist Idan Raichel [54].

 

 

NOTES

[1] ttp://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/moddi-cancels-tel-aviv-gig-after-appeal-gaza

[2]http://mondoweiss.net/2014/01/video-checkpoint-jasiri

[3] In the French Press:

http://www.lecourrierdelatlas.com/663418022014Titi-Robin-renonce-a-jouer-a-Jerusalem.html

[4] http://www.peoplesbookscoop.org/?page_id=1333

[5] http://www.peoplesbookscoop.org/?page_id=1333

[6] http://www.salon.com/2014/05/01/pink_floyds_roger_waters_and_nick_mason_why_rolling_stones_shouldnt_play_in_israel/

[7] http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/beyonce-denies-shes-going-israel

[8] http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/grace-lee-boggs-danny-glover-object-film-screening-tel-aviv

[9] http://www.tikkun.org/tikkundaily/2014/05/29/an-open-letter-from-the-shondes/?utm

[10] http://hyperallergic.com/131497/over-100-artists-and-intellectuals-call-for-withdrawal-from-creative-time-exhibition/

[11] http://www.kadaitcha.com/2014/07/03/talib-kweli-solidarity-with-those-who-live-it-is-a-stronger-statement/

[12] At 5:22

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X4ukBCCyczA#t=244

[13] In Hebrew http://www.mako.co.il/music-news/world/Article-5ee5eaf4a3c2741006.htm

[14] http://www.theguardian.com/music/2014/jul/14/neil-young-crazy-horse-israel-concert-gaza-conflict

[15] http://www.salon.com/2014/07/31/tweet_and_delete_on_gaza_celebrity_courage_and_cowardice_over_social_media/

[16] http://www.bdsmovement.net/2014/nobel-celebrities-call-for-military-embargo-12316#sthash.iwrtjr3q.dpuf

[17] http://www.ebony.com/news-views/why-black-people-must-stand-with-palestine-402#axzz37pFwSTIv

[18] http://www.hotpress.com/Sinead-OConnor/news/Sinad-OConnor-I-wont-play-in-Israel/11954250.html

http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/music/reviews/sinead-oconnor-london-roundhouse-gig-review-gaza-robin-williams-its-all-here-from-a-singer-who-refuses-to-skirt-issues-9667054.html

[19] http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/amena-saleem/rock-stars-peter-gabriel-and-bobby-gillespie-urge-arms-embargo-israel

[20] http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/amena-saleem/brian-eno-joins-criticism-bbcs-bias-against-palestinians

[21] http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/music/news/massive-attack-makes-gaza-statement-using-headline-stage-at-longitude-festival-9622836.html

[22] http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/alexander-billet/watch-global-hip-hop-call-israel-boycott

[23] https://storify.com/jvplive/celebrities-speak-out-on-gaza

[24] http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/why-young-hollywood-is-more-721353

[25] http://www.buzzfeed.com/miriamberger/selena-gomez-instagrammed-a-picture-in-support-of-palestinia

[26] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pxDYiBls99w

[27] http://www.scotsman.com/lifestyle/arts/news/edinburgh-fringe-second-israel-funded-show-pulled-1-3498490

[28] http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/penelope-cruz-javier-bardem-denounce-721894?mobile_redirect=false

[29a] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jtxSZOtDN3s

[29aa] https://twitter.com/MrPeeZee/status/493480856426512385

[29b] http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/massive-attack-visit-palestinian-refugees-in-lebanon-all-of-them-have-a-right-to-a-life-of-dignity-and-beauty-9635645.html

[29bb] http://www.timesofisrael.com/promoters-hold-out-hope-for-some-culture-this-summer/

[29] http://www.humaginaire.net/

[30] http://keyhani.blog.lemonde.fr/2014/07/17/iran-asghar-farhadi-et-nassrin-sotoudeh-se-mobilisent-contre-le-massacre-a-gaza/

[31] http://www.ipsc.ie/press-releases/irish-artists-pledge-to-boycott-israel-reaches-500-signatures

[32] http://mondoweiss.net/2014/08/genocide-anoushka-shankar

[32a] http://www.thejc.com/news/uk-news/121157/tricycle-theatre-refuses-host-uk-jewish-film-festival-over-israeli-sponsorship

[32aa] http://www.irishtimes.com/news/ireland/irish-news/irish-director-backs-festival-boycott-over-israeli-sponsorship-1.1890360#.U-QE_lvBMPU.twitter

[33] http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/russell-brand-calls-for-israel-boycott-comedian-urges-big-businesses-that-facilitate-the-oppression-of-people-in-gaza-to-pull-funding-9668147.html?kdk

[34] http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/korean-filmmakers-sign-gaza-petition-723383

[35] http://www.wonderingsound.com/news/lana-del-rey-postpones-tel-aviv-israel-concert/

[36]  http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/jimmy-johnson/fidel-castro-alice-walker-bolivian-president-condemn-israel-join-latin-american

[37] In Norweigan http://www.underskrift.no/vis.asp?Kampanje=5192

[38] http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/sarah-irving/musicians-condemn-liverpool-councils-g4s-link-citing-abuse-against-palestinians

[39]

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rXyoEM5_jAo#t=40

[40] http://mecstatement.wordpress.com/

[41] https://twitter.com/bryanadams/status/501867732875624449

[42] http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/5/33/108885/Arts–Culture/Music/I-have-the-right-not-to-perform-in-a-country-which.aspx

[43]http://www.screendaily.com/news/ken-loach-calls-for-israel-boycott/5076553.article?blocktitle=LATEST-FILM-NEWS&contentID=40562

[44] http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-bristol-28981867

[45] http://news.artnet.com/art-world/artists-call-on-bienal-de-sao-paulo-to-reject-israeli-funds-updated-88974

[46] http://en.bellebeirut.com/behind-beirut/lebanese-singers-tweet-support-gaza/

[47] http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/video-activists-assaulted-arrested-protesting-israeli-theater-amsterdam

[48] http://adalahny.org/adalah-web-action/1194/open-letter-brooklyn-book-festival-re-israeli-sponsorship

[49] http://mondoweiss.net/2014/10/marcelo-svirskys-palestine

[50] http://www.lecourrier.ch/declaration2014 and http://www.bds-info.ch/index.php/fr/home-fr/158-bds-fr/campagnes/bds-suisse/boycott-culturel-academique/921-640-swiss-artists-demand-that-the-swiss-federal-council-suspend-military-cooperation-with-israel

[51] http://www.haaretz.com/life/music-theater/1.621971

[52] http://www.upjb.be/communiques/article/l-upjb-ne-participera-pas-au-brussels-jewish

and http://www.kadaitcha.com/2014/10/23/international-cultural-venues-encouraged-to-boycott-israeli-government-funding/

[53] http://www.usacbi.org/2014/10/artists-and-intellectuals-including-junot-diaz-chuck-d-and-boots-riley-call-for-boycott-and-divestment-from-israel/

[54] http://adalahny.org/adalah-web-action/1202/open-letter-world-music-institute-do-not-present-idan-raichel

Reblogged from: http://refrainplayingisrael.blogspot.ie/2015/01/cultural-boycott-highlights-and.html

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.

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