Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Acid Arab: Affirms Cultural Boycott of Israel in public statement

Acid Arab's facebook post from Nov. 8 and 13, 2017 stated strong support for the Cultural Boycott of Israel:
In response to some propaganda claims regarding Acid Arab shows in Jaffa and Haiffa, we would like to clarify that these shows are performed in Palestinian venues, and organized by Palestinian promoters.
In the past, we played three times in Tel Aviv. We were naive enough to think that our musical project could break barriers and that we would perform for the «good» or the «right» people of Israel. But we realized recently that this is an impossible task, as Israel government, whose politic we consider as being one of reject and occupation, is too much present in every aspect of cultural life in Tel Aviv. We have decided not to perform again in non-Palestinians venues of Tel Aviv, nor to appear in Israel connected events worldwide.
We refuse to lend our names to a regime of occupation, lead by religious convictions instead of human rights. We will never undermine the non-violent Palestinians struggle for freedom, justice, equality and peace.
Much love and respect for all.
مؤخرا، قدمت فرقة "أسيد أراب" عروضا في حيفا و جفا. أثارت هذه الروض مجموعة من التعليقات و من ضمنها تهم دعاية لفائدة دولة إسرائيل. نود أن نلفت انتباهكم على نقطة بالغة الأهمية : تم تقديم جميع هذه العروض في قاعات فلسطينية مسيرة من طرف فلسطينيين و فلسطينيات. في الماضي، نعم، أدينا 3 عروض بتل أبيب. آنذاك، كنا ساذجين نوعا ما و كنا نظن أن بمشروعنا الموسيقي يمكننا "إسقاط الحدود" و استهداف الإسرائليين اللذين يشاركوننا الرأي. أدركنا مؤخرا أن هذه المهمة مستحيلة كون سياسة دولة إسرائيل سياسة رفض الآخر و استعمار. و هذه السياسة تنطبق على مجموعة من مظاهرالحياة الثقافية يتل أبيب. لقد قررنا أن ننهي عروضنا في القاعات الغيرـ الفلسطينية بتل أبيب و أن لا نشارك بفعاليات مرتبطة بدولة إسرائيل. نرفض أن يظهر إسم "أسيد أراب" بجانب نظام مستعمريدوس على حقوق الإنسان. نجدد دعمنا لفلسطين و نظالها الا مسلح من أجل الحرية، العدالة، المساواة و السلام. حب و احترام للجميع.
(translation: rania berrada)
SOURCE: https://www.facebook.com/acidarab/posts/1640520436010373

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Waters to Caetano: your resolve to perform in Tel Aviv will dissolve in a sea of tears and regret

Dear Caetano, 
Thank you for taking the time to reply to my letter. Dialogue is truly important. I will respond to the points you have raised. I fear you may be viewing Israeli politics through rose tinted spectacles. The fact is that for the many decades, since the Nakba, (catastrophe, dispossession of the Palestinian people) in 1948, Israel’s colonialist and racist policies have devastated the lives of millions of Palestinians. 
The BDS movement, which I am asking you to join, is a global movement that demands Palestinian freedom, justice, and equality. It is growing rapidly because of increased international awareness of the oppression the Palestinians have had to endure these last 67 years. Netanyahu’s current extreme right­wing regime is just the latest government perpetrating cruel acts of injustice and colonization. But this is not just a right wing problem. It was, in fact, the left­wing Labor party that founded the illegal settlement program and also failed to end the occupation of Palestinian land and make peace. 

In your letter you say that Jean­Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir believed in Israel before they died. That maybe so, but that was then and, maybe then, they didn’t know about or understand the brutality of the Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands and subjugation of its people. But, I do know this, the wine and coffee splattered floorboards of the Café Flores and Les Deux Magots would today reverberate with the sound of Jean­Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir turning in their graves to hear their names taken in vain and nailed to the mast of the occupation and oppression of the Palestinian people. 
You mention Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, he is among those embracing BDS, as he has observed Israel’s actions and has deep empathy for The Palestinian People. There is, as he noted to you, apartheid in the occupied territories that is just as definite and dehumanizing as it was in apartheid South Africa when the infamous and racist pass laws were in place. As in South Africa, Palestinians and their legal rights are defined by their racial and religious background. Can you imagine such a thing in Brazil or England or the USA or Holland or Chile, or? No. Why not? 

Because it is unacceptable, that’s why not. 

Caetano, if I may pose a question, why would you not reject complicity with such injustice now, just as surely as you would have rejected white racism against South Africa’s black population back in the eighties? Your letter suggests you believe your upcoming gig in Tel Aviv can help change Israeli policy. I would suggest this is a naïve proposition. Sadly, it is not just the Israeli government that needs a change of heart. Polls indicate that a staggering 95% of the Jewish Israeli public supported the 2014 bombing of Gaza,(561 dead children), 75% do not support a Palestinian state based on the long­negotiated ’67 borders, and 47% believe Palestinians citizens of Israel should be stripped of their citizenship. 
No, Caetano, playing a gig in Tel Aviv will not move the Israeli government or the majority of the Israeli people one jot, but it will be seen as you giving tacit approval to the status quo. Your presence there will be used as propaganda by the right and will provide cover and moral support for the Israeli government’s outrageously racist and illegal policies. 
It is a dilemma I know, but, if you really wish to influence the Israeli government, you will join us on the BDS picket line. We are having a powerful effect, as we can see from their reaction, the bullies coming out in full force to try to crush the voices of dissent and silence us. 
We will not be silenced, we are strong, and together we can help free not just the Palestinian people from the yoke of Israeli oppression, but also the Israeli people from the oppression of their own exceptionalism and dogma, which is deadly to both peoples. 
I implore you not to proceed with your engagement in Tel Aviv, instead take the opportunity to visit Gaza and the West Bank and see for yourself what Sartre and de Beauvoir never lived to see. I believe your resolve to perform in Tel Aviv will dissolve in a sea of tears and regret. 
Caetano, I do not know you, we have never met, but, I believe you mean well and I bear you no ill will. If you go to Tel Aviv in spite of our heartfelt entreaties, and if you visit Gaza or the occupied territories, you may well experience an epiphany. If you do, please reach out to us, all of us, not just in the Palestinian and Jewish communities, but all of us in solidarity in Brazil and elsewhere, all of us in BDS all over the world working for justice and equal rights in the Holy Land We will embrace you. 

I thank you again for joining this conversation. Please go and see things for yourself, but without performing there, without crossing the Palestinian boycott picket line. Maybe UNWRA can help, they certainly helped me when I was looking for the reality. Go and see for yourself, you will not have to use your imagination. The reality is devastating beyond anything you could possibly imagine. Obrigado, 
Your colleague, 
Roger Waters

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Elvis Costello: His Support for Cultural Boycott of Israel Reaffirmed

Roger Waters reaffirmed Elvis Costello's continued support for the cultural boycott of Israel in his recent article in Salon.com.  Waters asks Robbie Williams, UNICEF’s UK ambassador and a declared supporter of its Children in Danger campaign, not to violate the BDS call by playing in Tel Aviv.  Willams might do well to read Elvis Costello's letter from 2010.  Nearly five years ago Costello cancelled his planned gig in apartheid Israel, and wrote the acclaimed "It is After Considerable Contemplation..." statement on his "Yellow Press" 
blog (1). 
Costello led the way for many other artists to also say YES to the call for a cultural boycott of Israel.  Here's the well-known letter:
It is after considerable contemplation that I have lately arrived at the decision that I must withdraw from the two performances scheduled in Israel on the 30th of June and the 1st of July.
One lives in hope that music is more than mere noise, filling up idle time, whether intending to elate or lament.
Elvis Costello:  Boycotts Israel 
Then 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.
I must believe that the audience for the coming concerts would have contained many people who question the policies of their government on settlement and deplore conditions that visit intimidation, humiliation or much worse on Palestinian civilians in the name of national security.
I am also keenly aware of the sensitivity of these themes in the wake of so many despicable acts of violence perpetrated in the name of liberation.
Some will regard all of this an unknowable without personal experience but if these subjects are actually too grave and complex to be addressed in a concert, then it is also quite impossible to simply look the other way.
I offer my sincere apologies for any disappointment to the advance ticket holders as well as to the organizers.
My thanks also go to the members of the Israeli media with whom I had most rewarding and illuminating conversations.  They may regard these exchanges as a waste of their time but they were of great value and help to me in gaining an appreciation of the cultural scene.
I hope it is possible to understand that I am not taking this decision lightly or so I may stand beneath any banner, nor is it one in which I imagine myself to possess any unique or eternal truth.
It is a matter of instinct and conscience.
It has been necessary to dial out the falsehoods of propaganda, the double game and hysterical language of politics, the vanity and self-righteousness of public communiqués from cranks in order to eventually sift through my own conflicted thoughts.
I have come to the following conclusions.
One must at least consider any rational argument that comes before the appeal of more desperate means.
Sometimes a silence in music is better than adding to the static and so an end to it.
I cannot imagine receiving another invitation to perform in Israel, which is a matter of regret but I can imagine a better time when I would not be writing this.
With the hope for peace and understanding.

(1).  Elvis Costello's statement was published on his Web site on 15 May 2010; it is reproduced here for non-profit educational purposes.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Juliette Greco, for the sake of justice, please refuse to whitewash apartheid.

Dear Juliette Greco,

You are an artist who has stood the test of time and whose songs and life story are known to all. With your songs you convey the values of justice and the love of freedom. On many occasions you have carried out acts of resistance, as you did when you bravely sang anti-militarist songs at your concert in Pinochet's Chile.
In the name of those values, we are writing to you today regarding your concert planned for 4 May in Tel Aviv.
Boycott Israel,  Juliette Greco
Israel openly admits that it uses international artists like yourself in an attempt to improve its image. So we sincerely hope that, as you prepare to retire from the stage, you will consider the implications of your appearance in that country and instead choose not to join in the whitewashing and normalisation of Israeli occupation, colonisation and apartheid policies.
Please remember that Israel refuses to respect international law and persists in violating numerous United Nations resolutions, among which are three examples:
- Resolution 194 granting Palestinian refugees their Right of Return
- Resolution 242 demanding that Israel withdraw its army from the Palestinian territories it is occupying.
- Resolution 3236 reaffirming the Palestinian people's right to self-determination.
Israel continues to deprive the Palestinian people of their most elementary human rights. In the West Bank, there are still 150 Israeli colonies and the segregation wall is still standing, despite the 2004 ruling by the International Court of Justice which denounced its illegality and called for it to be dismantled. Hundreds of military checkpoints and an apartheid-like pass system prevent Palestinians from going to work, children from going to school, farmers from harvesting their crops, pregnant women and the critically ill from reaching hospital. In Gaza, after Israel directed its criminal bombing at the entire civilian population last summer (during which over 2,200 Palestinians were murdered, including 500 children, according to United Nations figures), the Israeli government is still maintaining its blockade and the population goes on suffering enormously.
In East Jerusalem, over 2,000 houses have been demolished by the Israeli authorities; those same authorities have refused to register more than 5,000 children who are therefore prevented from attending school, and tens of thousands of Palestinians have no homes any more, any rebuilding being banned by Israel.
Faced with Israel's impunity, Palestinian civil society, supported by the most progressive fringe of Israeli citizens, launched in 2005 the BDS (Boycott-Divestment-Sanctions) campaign. This international non-violent campaign was inspired by the similar campaign against South Africa in the apartheid era. It does not target individuals, it targets a political regime and its institutions.
Juliette Greco, you recently stated, when speaking about your final round of appearances, that you wanted to make a beautiful exit. To make that beautiful exit a reality, we appeal to you to hear the call for a cultural boycott of Israel, made by an oppressed people to the world's artists of whom you are one, asking them not to perform there.
We are asking you today not to support these countless violations of universal human rights and to join the personalities who have chosen not to appear in Israel as long as that State refuses to respect international law.
Among the artists who have refused to participate in the whitewashing of Israel's crimes are:Cassandra Wilson, Natacha Atlas, Cat Power, Gilles Vigneault, Roger Waters, Elvis Costello, Carlos Santana, Annie Lennox, Vanessa Paradis, Llasa, Gil Scott-Heron, Jello Biafra, Massive Attack, as well as Peter Brook, Susan Sarandon, Ken Loach, Mike Leigh....
We are of course at your disposal to provide you with any further information you might
wish to have.

Yours sincerely,

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

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

Monday, January 19, 2015

Kelis: The Cultural Boycott of Israel is the Right Thing

Hey Kelis,
We recently heard you and your band plan to return to Israel on 6 and 7 February, this year.  Your planned gigs are scheduled just 6 months after Israel embarked on a violent attack on the people living in Gaza, who have suffered collectively under a brutal, illegal siege since 2006.  Israel’s misleadingly termed “Operation Protective Edge” eventually killed over 2,200 people, including over 510 children, maiming many thousands more.  The overwhelming consensus amongst people of conscience, is that it is time for BDS.
Kelis:  The Cultural Boycott
of Israel is the Right Thing
BDS - boycott, divest and sanctions - includes a cultural boycott of Israel, because acts such as yours are used by Israel in a vigorous but futile effort to “re-Brand Israel,” (especially Tel Aviv) as a gay-friendly, artistic beacon of “freedom” in the Middle East.
First, Tel Aviv is not gay-friendly, not in the sense of acceptance of all people, encompassing human rights and advocacy for all oppressed people.  

"This pinkwashing of Israel not only plays on a variety of racist and Islamophobic tropes but also impedes a thorough and nuanced analysis of queer and feminist liberation. It refuses to acknowledge that Palestinian queers are among those who are harassed, brutalised, displaced, bombed, and incarcerated. Whatever liberties might be extended to Jewish queers in Israel, being queer does not save Palestinians from the constant and brutal assault that forms the conditions of their lives. The Israeli army does not give a 'free pass' to queer Palestinians; in fact, its soldiers target LGBTQ Palestinians."

Second, Tel Aviv is not progressive.  Progressive, forward thinking comes from a mindset of human rights, equality, and the desire to stop such injustices as the new Jim Crow in the USA, Israel’s land theft wall, administrative detention, and siege and attack on Gaza.

Third, it is not commensurate with liberated artistic values  to play for a segregated audience, while Palestinians under Israeli control are not allowed to leave the bantustans within which they are imprisoned.  Not only may Palestinians not visit to listen to music -  neither are they free to avail themselves of a hospital for childbirth!

EBONY magazine in the USA recently published “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 [1].”

Kelis, would you have the courage to cancel your gig in Israel, before tickets are sold, before Israel jails another child, bombs another home in Gaza, and stand with other artists of principle, like Talib Kweli, Stanley Jordan, Cassandra Wilson and many more to respect the cultural boycott today?

We are a group, of over 1,700 members, 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.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

An Appeal to Dusty Kid to Adhere to the campaign for a Cultural Boycott of Israel

Dear Dusty Kid,

We recently learned that January 23, 2014 you will be returning to play in Tel Aviv. [1]

We're writing to ask you not to play in the apartheid state called Israel and to condemn Israeli violations of international law and human rights against the Palestinian people.
Will Dusty Kid add his name
to artists of conscience and
boycott Israel?

Israel operates in blatant violation of basic human rights and international law by forcing the Palestinians to live under the oppression of a cruel system of racial discrimination and apartheid. [2]

For this reason, in 2005, over 170 Palestinian civil society organizations have called for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel until the latter does not respect human rights and international law [3].

The Palestinian call for BDS, inspired by the successful boycott that contributed to the end of the apartheid regime in South Africa, has the support of artists, academics, trade unions, churches, student groups, organizations and people of conscience all over the world. In particular, the call for cultural boycott is aimed at all the artists of mondo chiedendo them not to perform in Israel and not to participate in events that aim to normalize the dramatic situation in the placing on the same level the occupier and the occupied, the 'oppressor and the oppressed. [4]

Performing in Israel today would be like performing for the South African regime during the apartheid years.

There are numerous international artists and intellectuals [5] who have decided to respect the Palestinian call and to oppose Israel's cynical use of the arts to hide apartheid, ethnic cleansing and military occupation [6], including South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the Pulitzer Prize Alice Walker, Andreas Öberg, Angela Davis, Arundhati Roy, August Burns Red, Bono, Carlo Mombelli, Carlos Santana, Cassandra Wilson, Cat Power, Coldplay, Danny Glover, Devandra Banhart, Elvis Costello, Faithless, Gil Scott-Heron, Gorillaz Sound System, Jean Luc Godard, Jello Biafra and the Guantanamo school of Medicine, John Berger, Judith Butler, Stephen Hawking, Ken Loach, Lenny Kravitz, Mike Leigh, Mira Nair, Mireille Mathieu Naomi Klein, Natacha Altas, Oumou Sangare, Portico Quartet, Roger Waters, Snoop Dogg, Stanley Jordan, Stevie Wonder, The Pixies, Vanessa Paradis, Zakir Hussain

In a situation of injustice does not take a position equivalent to take a stand for the oppressor.

So we urge you to cancel your concert in Israel and to refrain from program other concerts in Israel until Israel does not respect international law and human rights of the Palestinian people.

Sharing the Palestinian call for boycott, as an artist of international fame can play a vital role in influencing change, in raising awareness and providing a contribution to the nonviolent Palestinian struggle for freedom, self-determination and equality.

Waiting for a your reply, Best regards,

Sardinia Palestine Friendship Association
BDS Sardinia


[1] http://www.residentadvisor.net/dj/dustykid/dates?yr=2015&ctry=8  https://www.facebook.com/events/1460420734234086/
[2] http://lawcenter.birzeit.edu/iol/en/project/outputfile/6/986afcc6c9.pdf
[3] http://bdsitalia.org/index.php/campagna-bds/77-appello-bds
[4] http://bdsitalia.org/index.php/campagna-bac/317-appello-pacbi
[5] http://www.bdsmovement.net/activecamps/cultural-boycott
[6] http://mondoweiss.net/2009/03/ny-times-offers-the-rationale-for-the-cultural-boycott-of-israel.html

  Source: BDS Sardinia