21 June 2010
Dear DJ Tiesto,
We read with great regret that you will be performing in Israel (July 2) before heading to Lebanon (July 3). As you know, music cannot be isolated from politics. A visit to Israel, particularly now, is viewed by Israel, and internationally, as implicit support for Israeli policies and indifference to the victims of Israeli crimes. A performance in Israel, regardless of intentions, helps Israel cover up its violations of international law, particularly its criminal siege of 1.5 million Palestinians in Gaza and its recent bloodbath aboard a humanitarian relief ship carrying hundreds of international human rights activists.
Several bands and artists have heeded the Palestinian Civil Society 2005 Call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel as a reaction to its occupation, apartheid and denial of Palestinian refugees their fundamental right to return to their homes, as stipulated in UN resolutions.
We urge you to follow in the steps of the Pixies, Gorillaz Sound System, Elvis Costello, Gil Scott-Heron, Carlos Santana, Bono/U2, among others, who have refrained from performing in Israel.
Most recently, American indie rocker Devendra Banhart cancelled his performance in Israel because, he said, “it seems that we are being used to support views that are not our own.” Likewise, your performance in Israel will be seen as a form of badly needed support for its system of repression in the face of increasing international isolation.
It comes as an additional grievance to us that you plan to come to Lebanon after you entertain apartheid Israel. It is not only the Palestinians who have been victimized by Israel. We, in Lebanon, have suffered a great deal. We appreciate your talent, as millions around the world do, but we cannot enjoy it while you ignore the suffering caused by the recurring Israeli aggressions on Lebanon.
Israeli aggressions against Lebanon began in 1948, with the occupation and annexation of 30 Lebanese villages, and have continued regularly since then.
1948: Israel annexed (occupied) 30 Lebanese villages as part of the ethnic cleansing of Palestine, and committed several massacres;
1967: Israel began its occupation of 10 Lebanese villages;
1970 – 1978: Israel repeatedly violated Lebanese sovereignty, and attacked and killed hundreds of civilians by air, sea and land;
1978: The Israeli army invaded South Lebanon, killing more than one thousand civilians, completely destroying 6 villages, and damaging 82 other villages. The Israeli Army further displaced 266,000 southern Lebanese;
1982: Israel invaded Lebanon. Beirut, our capital, was besieged, and electricity, water, food and medicine were cut-off. More than 19,000 Lebanese and Palestinian died and 30,000 were wounded. Approximately 3,500 civilians (as estimated by Israeli journalist Amnon Kapeliok) were slaughtered in the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps under the eye of Israeli generals;
1982 – 2000: Israel maintained its occupation of more than 20 per cent of Lebanon.
1996: the Israeli army bombed and massacred 100 Lebanese civilians, mostly women and children, who took shelter at the UN compound to escape Israeli shelling;
2006: More than 1000 Lebanese civilians were killed by Israel in the 33-day most aggressive onslaught by Israel. The July 2006 war was regarded as a crime against humanity and a war crime by a tribunal of international judges.
2006 to present: Millions of Israeli cluster bombs (from the July 2006 war) and land mines (from the 22-year occupation) still contaminate Lebanese agricultural land. These bombs continue to kill and injure people, the most recent case being the death of a Lebanese farmer in June 2010 in South Lebanon.
1948 to present: Israel continues to deprive 400,000 Palestinian refugees in Lebanon from their right of return to their homes and land and villages from which they were forced to leave at gun point in 1948. The refugees are not allowed to return only because they are not Jewish!
In response to Israel’s Freedom Flotilla massacre, the prominent Scottish writer, Iain Banks, wrote in the Guardian that the best way for international artists, writers and academics to “convince Israel of its moral degradation and ethical isolation” is “simply by having nothing more to do with this outlaw state.”1 We urge you not to allow your music and talent to be used whitewash the crimes of this outlaw state.
Democratic Youth Union
Syrian Social Nationalist Party – Students
The Youth and Student Sector of the People’s Movement (Haraket el-Sha’b)
Aidoun-Center for Refugees Rights
Lebanese Campaign for the Boycott of Zionism
Campaign to Boycott the Supporters of Israel