We are a group of Israeli citizens titled Boycott! Supporting the Palestinian BDS Call from Within who supports the Palestinian call for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against our government's policies of colonialism, occupation and apartheid. We strongly believe that international action is essential in bringing these crimes to an end and creating an equal and just society here. We are asking you to cancel your planned show in Tel-Aviv on March the 10th. Please hear us out.
Performing in Israel means lending your voice and image to sustain an Israeli “business as usual” attitude towards a military occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, a siege on Gaza, systematic, ethnically based inequality inside Israel's recognized borders and a continued mass banishment of refugees. Please note that if you choose to perform under apartheid, Palestinian fans of your music, living under Israel's direct military occupation, will not even be allowed to attend your performance. Moreover it will certainly be used by Israeli propaganda (“Hasbara”), as has happened in the past, as a show of support for Israel. What you say on stage may be meaningless if Israeli flags are waving at you from the audience or even hanging on your stage, painting the entire performance with the colors which presently represent apartheid.
Many prominent artists, musicians and public figures, including people who had performed here in the past, are now publicly supporting the cultural boycott of Israel. Examples follow:
Devendra Banhart: "Unfortunately, we tried to make it clear that we were coming to share a human and not a political message but it seems that we are being used to support views that are not our own"
Elvis Costello: "There are occasions when merely having your name added to a concert schedule may be interpreted as a political act that resonates more than anything that might be sung and it may be assumed that one has no mind for the suffering of the innocent.
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. 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."
Roger Waters: "In my view, the abhorrent and draconian control that Israel wields over the besieged Palestinians in Gaza, and the Palestinians in the occupied West Bank (including East Jerusalem), coupled with its denial of the rights of refugees to return to their homes in Israel, demands that fair minded people around the world support the Palestinians in their civil, nonviolent resistance. For me it means declaring my intention to stand in solidarity, not only with the people of Palestine, but also with the many thousands of Israelis who disagree with their governments racist and colonial policies, by joining a campaign of Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel, until it satisfies three basic human rights demanded in international law."
Faithless: "We’ve been asked to do some shows this summer in your country and, with the heaviest of hearts, I have regretfully declined the invitation. While human beings are being willfully denied not just their rights but their needs for their children and grandparents and themselves, I feel deeply that I should not be sending even tacit signals that this is either ‘normal’ or ‘ok’."
Alice Walker: "Going through Israeli checkpoints is like going back in time to American Civil Rights struggle...I am a big supporter of BDS. I frankly think that it is the best, absolutely the best way."
Macy Gray: "I had a reality check and I stated that I definitely would not have played there if I had known even the little that I know now."
Dear Opeth, it is not the first time you visit Israel and the picket line has been clearly marked during recent years - it is no longer a question of whether to take a political stand but rather which stand would that be? In support of apartheid or against it? We hope that you will take a stand for human rights and do the right thing, please cancel your concert in Israel.
We will gladly address any comments or questions that you may have.
Ofra Ben Artzi
on behalf of Boycott! Supporting the Palestinian BDS Call from Within
(aka Boycott from Within)