We, the undersigned, the Campaign to Boycott Supporters of Israel in Lebanon (CBSI) and the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) are pleased to learn that you plan to perform in Lebanon on July 31, 2015 but are deeply dismayed that, two days earlier, you are scheduled to sing in Tel Aviv. We call on you to cancel your Tel Aviv performance, as no matter what your intentions are, Israel’s regime of oppression will use your name, as the South African apartheid regime used artists’ names, to whitewash its crimes.
We represent large segments in Lebanese and Palestinian societies that hail from different backgrounds but are united in a common struggle to end Israel’s regime of occupation, settler-colonialism and apartheid, including the occupation of parts of Lebanon. We uphold the inalienable right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, and the right of return of Palestinian refugees who were ethnically “cleansed” from their homeland in 1948.
We urge you, as a prominent conscientious artist and a woman of color, to join hundreds of artists from around the globe who have heeded the call of the absolute majority in Palestinian civil society for a “cultural boycott of Israel” and refused to perform there, given the system of injustice that prevails. By declining to perform there, you will be among other world-renowned artists including Roger Waters, Massive Attack, Tindersticks, Leftfield, Faithless, Gorillaz Sound System, Elvis Costello, Carlos Santana, Bono/U2, Devandra Banhart, and Snoop Dogg, who have cancelled their Israeli performances or refused, to start with, to lend their good names to whitewash Israeli crimes and human rights violations.
The Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, of which PACBI is a key member, was launched in 2005 by the largest coalition in Palestinian civil society as a reaction to Israel’s ongoing policies of occupation, displacement, and racism towards Palestinians, including the denial of Palestinian refugees their fundamental right to return to their homes, as stipulated in UN resolution 194.
The Campaign to Boycott Supporters of “Israel” in Lebanon was founded in 2002 for similargoals, but also seeks to isolate the Zionist State and its supporters because of its ongoing occupation of parts of Lebanon, its terror against Lebanese civilians, and destruction of Lebanese infrastructure. In 2006, for instance, during a bloody assault on Lebanon, Israeli planes dropped an estimated one million cluster bombs over villages and agricultural lands that continue to harm children and farmers today.
The BDS call is “inspired by the struggle of South Africans against apartheid and in the spirit of international solidarity, moral consistency and resistance to injustice and oppression.” The Israeli government is a persistent violator of international law and has failed to respect fundamental human rights. Performing in Tel Aviv today is similar to performing in Sun City, South Africa during the Apartheid era. As Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu pointed out, “if you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.” Tutu and other South African leaders today describe Israel as also an apartheid state.
When urging South Africa’s Cape Town Opera to turn down an invite to perform in Tel Aviv, Archbishop Tutu wrote: “Just as we said during apartheid that it was inappropriate for international artists to perform in South Africa in a society founded on discriminatory laws and racial exclusivity, so it would be wrong for Cape Town Opera to perform in Israel.”
Prominent and independent Jewish voices, including Holocaust survivor and co-author of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the late Stéphane Hessel, have also endorsed the boycott as the right and moral thing to do.
Global support for this civil form of resistance to Israeli crimes is growing. Over 700 British artists have vowed to boycott Israel culturally. More recently, singer Lauryn Hill canceled her May 7 concert in Tel Aviv, after being appealed to by BDS activists worldwide. We are hopeful that you will be on the right side of history. We await your response and look forward to welcoming you in Lebanon as an ally in a just and worthy cause.
- Campaign to Boycott Supporters of Israel in Lebanon (CBSI)
- Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI)
26 June 2015
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