From Israeli Citizens to Chris Rock


June 15, 2017

To Chris Rock,

We are citizens of Israel, opposed to the Israeli government’s policies of oppression, occupation, apartheid, and ethnic cleansing against the indigenous Palestinian people [1]. We know that you're opposed to being regarded as a role model, but it's also undeniable that your voice reaches wider than most. We write to you, as we write to other artists and entertainers, asking that you heed the Palestinian call and cancel your show in Israel.

Our long years of anti-racist activism have brought us to the understanding that the most effective way to stop the apartheid system that Israel employs against the Palestinian people is to boycott it. Therefore, we strongly support the Palestinian call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS), aimed at ending the apartheid regime through a nonviolent strategy [2].

In the past year and a half, Israel has executed over 300 Palestinians in the streets of the West Bank. Approximately a third of them were children [3]. Mass arrests have risen to over 6000 prisoners at any given time, including over 300 child prisoners, and 500 prisoners held without charge, trial, or release. All Palestinian prisoners in Israel's prisons are subject to systemic ill-treatment, arbitrary fines, medical neglect, beatings, and torture [4]. House demolition has doubled since last year, including whole villages, leaving over a thousand people homeless, over half of them children [5].

Gaza is still under a debilitating siege. 2 million people, over 50% of them children, crammed into 365 square kilometres, with power outages of up to 18-22 hours a day, 95% of the water undrinkable, civilian infrastructure devastated, including hospitals, schools, places of worship, and other institutions. Over 40% are unemployed, 80% of the population rely on humanitarian aid to cover their very basic needs, including food, basic education, basic health care, shelter, blankets, mattress or cooking stoves. The UN has declared that by 2020 - within less than 3 years - Gaza will become 'unliveable' – meaning that there will effectively not be enough resources for people to survive. Israel's restrictions on movement trap the population inside, without recourse to search for better living conditions than it is providing. [6]

Within Israel itself, Palestinian citizens are subjected to a system of discrimination, with 50 laws denying them basic human rights, which their fellow Jewish citizens get to enjoy [7]. Persecution of Palestinian political parties is also escalating [8] and Israeli public officials' blood libels against the Palestinian population is spreading like wildfire [9].

Lastly, Israel has denied Palestinian refugees- the biggest group of refugees in the world- their right to return to their homeland, in accordance to international law and resolutions [10], while continuing to seize their land, and expel people from their homes up to this day.

Chris, it is Israel's explicit policy to use culture as a tool for state propaganda [11]. Part of this is paying international artists unheard of sums of money in order to polish its image abroad and distract from it's massive crimes against the Palestinian people. We don't ask you to do anything extraordinary, nor do we ask you to lead. We only ask you not to lend your name to Israel's apartheid.


Boycott! Supporting the Palestinian BDS Call from Within