Dear Red Hot Chili Peppers,
We are citizens of Israel who support the Palestinian civil society call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel’s policies of racism, apartheid and occupation towards the Palestinian people. As we have recently learned about your planned gigs in Tel Aviv in September of 2012, we write in order to ask you not to come. Our letter is also premised on what we have learned about your activism for human rights throughout the years.
Israel’s attempts to mask systematic human-rights abuses and decades-long oppression against the Palestinians largely rely on its ability to maintain a progressive and democratic image in the eyes of the international community. Israel often promotes itself as “the only Democracy in the Middle East”. However, Israel’s apartheid policies are inherent even to something as seemingly light-hearted and joyous as rock concerts: Palestinian fans of your music living in the West Bank, in a land governed by Israel, are under martial-law and will not be permitted to come to Tel Aviv and enjoy your performance.
The Palestinian people are being denied some of the most elementary freedoms: the freedom of movement, the freedom to access their stolen agricultural land and the freedom to protest without facing life threatening violence: When they demonstrate against the Israeli government, they face brutal treatment. (http://mondoweiss.net/2011/07/lets-stand-with-shireen-al-araj-and-the-co…)
Their relatives in the Gaza strip (44% of whom are children under the age of 14) live under a debilitating siege restricting the badly needed amounts of food, medical supplies, and construction material. (http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/jul/24/gaza-fishermen-gunboats-isra…)
In the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan, kids are being abducted from their homes, in violation of international law, and taken to violent police interrogations. (http://www.btselem.org/video/2011/05/child-arrest-silwan)
Numerous artists have come to perform here with the good will and intention to use their art as a means of changing Israeli public opinion and spreading the message of peace. However, this has not succeeded (not even with Roger Waters, who now supports BDS). On the contrary; High profile performances, such as your scheduled gig, have served the government’s agenda of whitewashing its war crimes and creating an image of Israel as a “modern state”, where celebrities come to perform and see the sights. In reality, some of the sights are situated on occupied land, and over 3 million people, including Palestinian fans of yours, cannot attend concerts in Tel Aviv, even though they are living under Israeli control, namely the occupation.
Another fact to consider is the role of the production company hosting your performance, Shuki Weiss Promotion and Production LTD., in obscuring Israel’s atrocities and enhancing its image in the world.Weiss and the Israeli government have a special relationship. Mr. Weiss as attended parliamentary meetings about outlawing boycotts (http://maxblumenthal.com/tag/shuki-weiss/ , more from that meeting athttp://pulsemedia.org/2011/02/14/the-macy-gray-effect/).
Mr. Weiss has also sent Israeli officials VIP tickets to shows he produces. This is not just corruption within the system, but corruption that serves to whitewash Israel’s war crimes against the Palestinian people, using international artists such as you:
“Tourism Ministry spokeswoman Shira Koa said that the ministry had agreed with the producers of the concert that the event would be used to promote Israel as a safe tourism destination. “Madonna belongs to an exclusive club of mega stars, who draws thousands of fans from abroad to her concerts. For this reason, the ministry authorized an agreement with the producers that would give the ministry video and stills footage of the singer and her entourage, both during the concerts and her visits to tourist sites in Israel, to be used in international marketing campaigns. They also agreed to have four displays at the concert with films promoting Israel, supplied by the ministry, targeting the thousands of foreign tourists… Such promotion campaigns are regular occurrences both in Israel and abroad.” (http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/tourism-minister-given-illegal…)
It should be noted that prominent artists and public figures have endorsed the BDS campaign. Some examples follow:
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.”
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. “
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.”
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,”
Mike Leigh: ”As you know, I have always had serious misgivings about coming, but I allowed myself to be persuaded by your sincerity and your commitment… And it is because of those special qualities of yours that I am especially sorry to have to let you down. But I have absolutely no choice. I cannot come, I do not want to come, and I am not coming. Eight weeks after our lunch, the Israeli attack on the flotilla took place. As I watched the world very properly condemn this atrocity, I almost cancelled. I now wish I had, and blame my cowardice for not having done so. Since then, your government has gone from bad to worse. I need not itemise all that has taken place … I still had not faced up to the prospect of pulling out until a few weeks ago, but the resumption of the illegal building on the West Bank made me start to consider it seriously. And now we have the Loyalty Oath. This is the last straw – quite apart from the ongoing criminal blockade of Gaza, not to mention the endless shooting of innocent people there, including juveniles …”
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.”
We have learned that not performing is very effective in promoting justice in the region, as Israeli policy makers are coming to understand that the international community does not approve of their brutal policies towards the Palestinian people. Therefore, we are asking you to re-consider your decision to perform in Israel. It is with great admiration of your art and activism that we suggest that a people oppressing another should not have the benefit of enjoying it or cynically using it as a tool of self-justification. In view of the aforementioned facts, you can make a difference and promote justice and human rights, by deciding not to play in Israel at this time!
If you are interested in what a group of Israeli citizens who support BDS have to say, please let us know. We would be happy to address any comments or questions you may have. We would also recommend going straight to the source and speaking to representatives of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI).
BOYCOTT! Supporting the Palestinian BDS Call from Within
April 3, 2012
Violence against children and direct targeting of (playing) children is reaching unknown heights and intolerable. Not only direct targeting, but indiscriminate bombing of Gaza and it’s urban, highly dense residential areas leave many children wounded, disabled or dead.
Yet direct targeting also happens in Gaza as in the case of 17 year old Khames, who was shot with 10 bullets in head and upperbody. Khames was mentally disabled and nearing a no – go zone and immediately assassinated.
Attacks against (unarmed) children are a transgression of literally every law imaginable and this world should act against these atrocities committed by Israel.
Invincible - People Not Places
Prepare for take off
Touch down- ben gurion
Strict search make sure nobody enters with bombs
Blue white flags
For the birthright Tour I’m on
Never mention 3 villages the airport is on
recent history buried but it speaks thru the sand
all jews- law of return-I don’t seem to understand
a land without a people for people without a land? But
I see a man standing with a key and a deed in his hand
First stop- museum of the holocaust
walkin outside- in the distance-saw a ghost throwing a Molotov
Houses burnt with kerosene-mass graves- couldn’t bare the scene
it wasn’t a pogrom-it was the ruins of Deir Yassin
next stop shopping at the kenyon malcha
built it on the back of the town Al Malha
wishing we could call it its name
uphauled by the change
and now a mall full of chains
is all that remains
my Ima misses people not places
has she seen the towns with names in Arabic the Hebrew replaces?
The policies are evil and racist, deceitful and heinous
You’ll never be a peaceful state with legal displacement
(Abeer- Arabic translation)
Remember the names of our cities before you came and replaced it
Remember and tell me how am i supposed not
to miss a nation living within us?
At the wailing wall I’m rollin a wish
Then stick it in between the hole in the bricks
I’m feelin more than melancholy
This used to be the Moroccan quarter
Until we stopped em short and
Now their grandkids is the ones that’s throwing rocks at borders
I aint one to play and I don’t pray often
so I’m AWOLin
While u making native sons
feel like a stranger in they own land like James Baldwin
This aint about a Quaran or a synagogue or Mosque or Torah
The colonizer break it into acres and dunums
Erasing the culture-
Changed Haifa to Chaifa, changed
Yaffa to Yaffo- the old city left to haunt
hummus pronounced chumoos we ate in a restaurant
next hit the discotheque yes we on the list of guests
Palestinians cant get in its blatant disrespect
Cops stop em for speakin they language its dangerous
To repeat it when
With history we disconnect
200 year old Olive trees uprooted the groves
to build a wall now Their future enclosed
settlements spreading like cancer and toxic sewage polluted the roads
now full of checkpoints
I superimpose the truth and it shows
Village ruins overgrown with planted trees
Who’d have thought the “desert blooms” and Tubishvat
I cant believe- this aint environmental
Disguising lies extincting lives like manatees
Callin it a transfer? Please-
More like a catastrophe!
Birthright tours recruiting em, confuse em into moving in
Claim its only names and words but denying the root of them
Power been abusing it our past never excusing them
60 years since 48 and 40 since Jerusalem
my boy Shadi wanted to visit it so badly
he lied he’s diabetic to see it for 5 seconds
One Nine Four ruled the courts in the case
mom, you can’t disconnect a people from the importance of place
There is a remix of this song in the works featuring members of DAM.
I also am turning this piece into a docu-music video and educational workshop tool on this topic.
Another workshop is being created to juxtapose “People Not Places” as a case in point expose of colonization in relation to a song/docu-music video of mine about gentrification in Detroit called “Locusts”.
ABOUT THIS PIECE: “People Not Places” by Invincible featuring Abeer (produced by Vaughan T).
This song was inspired by and has been in the works since a conversation with my mom (or ima in Hebrew) 5 years ago, when I asked her if she missed “back home”,(which she calls Israel) and she responded profoundly- “I miss people not places”. I realized what a privilege it was to not miss a place and land that so many Palestinians have been displaced from.
The song takes the listener on a journey through a haunted “birthright” tour where the buried Palestinian significance of each location comes to light. Along the route i expose the process of historic and continued colonization as being even deeper than land seizure and ethnic cleansing of Palestinians, but one that is invested in erasing the Arabic language, culture, and memory.
One of my main aims is to destroy the myth of a “Jewish birthright” to a land Palestinians are denied the Right of Return to.
ABOUT THE ARTIST: It is truly rare to find an artist like Invincible. Her spitfire wordplay has gotten her acclaim from Hip Hop fans all across the world, while her active involvement in progressive social change has taken her music beyond entertainment, and towards actualizing the change she wishes to see.
Repping Detroit, MI, many are already familiar with Invincible’s work with Waajeed and the Platinum Pied Pipers, Finale, the all-female ANOMOLIES crew, Black Star,on Free The P, and many others. Dubbed by XXL Magazine as “every A&Rs worst nightmare” for rejecting major label deals and general industry politrix, Invincible started her own record label, EMERGENCE, self-releasing her long-awaited full length LP, ShapeShifters, June, 2008.
She works with Detroit Summer, and traveled along with a youth leader to the West Bank as part of a US Palestine Youth Solidarity Network delegation. She is also a member of the International Jewish Solidarity Network.
Abeer Alzinaty,aka Sabreena da Witch is a Palestinian artists,R&B singer and educator, was born and raised in Lyd , Palestine/Israel, 20 minutes from Tel Aviv, and 40 minutes from Jerusalem. The challenges of being a Palestinian woman living inside of Israel led Abeer to express herself through art. She studied film in the film department in Tel Aviv university, and photography in Bezalel Academy of art in Jerualem. She became active in political and social events in the Israeli, and the Palestinian territories, After the second Intifada started in 2000. She is featured on DAM’s song”Born Here”, and stars in the film “Slingshot Hip Hop”.
David Rovics - Palestine
My daddy was an Arab from Beersheva
A situation so unkind
My momma was a refugee from Ramallah
Had to leave her land behind
I grew up in this refugee camp
In this sunwelcome land
In this little parcel of Lebanon
We were dealt a losing hand
Then one day the soldiers came
A tired old refrain
I’ll try to tell you what happened next
But there’s no way to explain
The soldiers raped my mother
Then they killed her dead
Along with the rest of the Shatila Camp
While I hid beneath my bed
Now I’m a-wanderin’, I’m a-wanderin’
No place to call my home
All around the world I roam
My aunt came over from Jordan
Brought me there to live
And together we’ve moved to half the world
Oh for peace what I would give
In Beirut, Greece and New York town
I’ve watched the world churn
But my home is Palestine
Someday I will return
This is my situation here
In the Heart of the empire
That sends the ‘copters and bulldozers
That turned Ramallah into a funeral pyre
Well you’ve heard my story
And time will not allow
Soon my visa will expire
What will you do now
Gazas invisable children - Netanyahu 2012
”According to reports over the past 24 hours, the US military has used unmanned Predator Drones to end the lives of at least 20 people in Yemen and 15 people in Pakistan. Also the US backed Israeli army has ended at least 10 lives in Gaza. The United States and Israel boycott the International Criminal Court. Why would anyone invite entities such as this into Africa or Syria under the pretext of arresting war criminals? Why would any US citizen have to look any further than their own government when looking for war criminals.
The aggressive Israeli military attacks of Friday were the most serious since the last Israeli war on Gaza that ended in 2009.
It is noted that the aggression started in the wake of the controversial meeting between the occupation government premier Benjamin Netanyahu and US president Barack Obama, who agreed on delaying or not considering the option of attacking Iran; what it looks like that the occupation was entertaining the intention to deliver a painful strike against the Gaza Strip in a bid to restore its deterrence capability that it had lost after Wafa Al-Ahrar swap deal, as well as to drain the resistance, test its actual ability and monitor its moves.”