Having heard that you are about to perform in a Jazz festival in the Israeli city of Eilat, we would like to ask you to cancel this show. It is particularly because of our love for your work that it would be sad for us to see how your music is appropriated and exploited in order to mask major human rights abuses.
Indeed, as members of an Israeli group who oppose the long and brutal repression of the Palestinian people by Israel, we feel that it is our duty to let you know that no matter how humanistic your personal views are, performing in an Israeli festival in the current situation would inevitably be perceived as a political act, namely of supporting or condoning one of the most ruthless and antidemocratic regimes: that which Israel imposes on the Palestinians. In other words, performing in Israel nowadays means crossing an international picket line, as your performance here will be construed as a vote of confidence in Israel’s oppressive policies. It is precisely because of these policies, and the silence about them from governments around the world, that Palestinians have called for an international boycott of Israel, asking artists to refuse to perform in Israel, that is, to refuse of being used to uphold the Israeli façade of normalcy.
We write this to you because we are sure that while dealing with the logistics of your trip, your Israeli hosts failed to inform you that barely 2 hours drive from where you are scheduled to perform, nearly 4 million Palestinians live under a ruthless occupation. They are surrounded by fences and routinely harassed by armed soldiers. These people, who live under an Israeli military regime, will not be allowed to come to your show, as they cannot leave the open-air prison that Israel has enclosed them in. The travel restrictions imposed on the Palestinians by the Israeli occupation prevent them from traveling on roads reserved for their Israeli neighbors alone. These discriminating travel restrictions, moreover, make it unfathomably difficult for many of them to travel very short distances as well, for instance when they are trying to get to work, to school and even to the hospital
But travel restrictions are only one aspect of repressing those who live under the Israeli occupation. In fact, the Israeli military regime in the Occupied Territories is informed by systematic land expropriation, collective punishments, house demolitions, and mass detainment and imprisonment of thousands of women, men and children, many of whom are the participants of non violent protests against Israel.
It is important to note, however, that such antidemocratic practices are not directed only towards the Palestinians who live in the Occupied Territories. Just last week, Israeli police razed an entire Bedouin village in a site located less than 200 hundred miles from Eilat. Even though the Bedouin inhabitants of that village, Al Arakib, are Israeli citizens whose ancestors lived in the very same place prior to the establishment of Israel, they are treated by the Israeli authorities as second-class citizens. Whereas Israel encourages Jews to establish new settlements in the same geographical area, native Bedouin populations are considered and presented as illegal intruders, and they are being systematically pushed away from their ancestral lands. During the last month, the village of Al Arakib has been completely destroyed for three times, that is, after the villagers, along with human rights activists, refused to let an entire village to go homeless and attempted to rebuild it. In each of these times, hundreds of police arrived to Al Arakib early in the morning, woke the families sleeping in temporary shacks, and destroyed every structure to the ground. According to a claim made by some of the authorities, Al Arakib should be destroyed in order to make room for planting a new forest.
As we believe that music, one of the highest expressions of humanity, should not be used in order to silence the oppressed (or to camouflage such a silencing), we urge you to heed the Palestinian call for boycott, and join the many artists who have already refused to lend their names to whitewashing the Israeli Apartheid policies, namely by canceling their scheduled performances in Israel. Elvis Costello put it best when he said: “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.”
We would love to see you perform when we can attend your concert together with our Palestinian friends in a just and equal society, but that day has not yet come. And so those of us who are struggling for that future ask that you help make this possible by standing on the side of justice and equality, and refusing to be complicit in the denial of Palestinian human rights.
On Behalf of BOYCOTT!