Hatikvah and Beirut Don’t Mix

Dear Members of Guns n Roses,

s occupation of Arab lands, its racial discriminatory practices, and its prevention of Palestinians from returning to their cities and villages.[1]

According to media reports, you will be performing at the Forum De Beyrouth on the 30th of this month.[2]s appeal to you, and instead of joining dozens of artists and bands like Rodger Walters, Elvis Costello, Vanessa Paradis, Cassandra Wilson, Carlos Santana, The Pixies, Klaxons, and Gorillaz Sound System who have boycotted that murderous, occupying, and racist state, your lead guitarist Ron Thal (known as Ronald Blumenthal) ended up performing the melody to Israel’s national anthem (Hatikva) in Tel Aviv on July 3rd, 2012.[3]

Dear Guns n Roses,

Hatikva is based on a poem written in 1878 by Naphtali Herz Imberin the wake of the construction of the Petah Tikva settlement in Palestine. The poem expresses the hope of the Jews to “return” to the “land of Israel,” in total disregard for the original inhabitants of Palestine: The Palestinian Arabs. The first stanza of the anthem reads:

As long as in the heart within

A Jewish soul still yearns,

And onward toward the ends of the East,

An eye still gazes towards Zion,

Our hope is not yet lost

The hope of two thousand years,

To be a free people in our land

The land of Zion and Jerusalem.

Dear Members of Guns and Roses,

Art cannot ignore human rights and the International Law; in particular, it cannot ignore the occupation, colonization, murder, displacement, destruction and racism that Israel inflicts on the Palestinian people. Furthermore, these Israeli actions are not limited to Palestine but extend to neighboring countries, particularly Lebanon. Israel has launched ongoing wars against Lebanon since the latter’s foundation and has killed tens of thousands of its citizens, displaced hundreds of thousands, as well as destroyed tens of villages and cities, including the capital Beirut. Israel continues to occupy valuable parts of Lebanon’s south, has planted millions of cluster bombs in its territory, and prevents more than four hundred thousand Palestinian refugees in Lebanon from returning to Palestine.

We thus call on you to apologize for playing the melody of the Israeli anthem; the anthem of killing, displacement, racism, and sectarianism. In case you do not, then we find ourselves, out of a moral and national sense of responsibility, obliged to ask our people in Lebanon to boycott your performances.

The sad irony is that March 30 is Land Day; on this same day in 1976, Palestinians resisting Israeli confiscation of their land (mostly in Galilee) were martyred. We promise not to take your dismissal of this suffering lightly.


The Campaign to Boycott Supporters of “Israel” in Lebanon

March 7, 2013


[1] http://www.pacbi.org/etemplate.php?id=1389

[2] http://www.beirutnightlife.com/events/calendar/guns-n-roses-live-in-beirut

[3] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O1ouOlRNqaw. http://jn1.tv/video/culture?media_id=34816.