Dear John Lee Hooker, Jr.

It has come to our attention that you are scheduled to perform in the city of Tel Aviv. As a group of Israeli citizens who object the long and brutal oppression that our state inflicts on the Palestinian people that are held under its sway, we urge you to cancel this show. Indeed, we hope that you will join the many artists around the world who have already endorsed the 2005 Palestinian civil society call for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS), and announced that they will refrain from including Israel in their concert tours.

Artists such asCarlos Santana, Elvis Costello, the Pixies and Devendra Banhartare only a few of those who seem to recognize that performing in Israel cannot count any more as a “normal”, “neutral” or “non political” act, a cultural undertaking that is unattached of the situation in which it is entrenched. Indeed, how can one stay unattached or “neutral” when only half an hour drive from the place where he or she performs, more than three million people are forced to live behind fences and blockades, repressed by the atrocities of a military occupation, and systematically deprived of their very basic human rights? How can one stand on stage playing music, while knowing that his or her show would be exploited to maintain a façade of normality, so badly necessary for the whitewashing of daily crimes made against innocent people? How can an artist give his or her voice, when this voice is used to silence the oppressed?

What many artists have realized is that whether they would like it or not, performing in Israel nowadays does constitute a political act: it is a vote of confidence in the Israeli occupation of Palestine, and thus in the ruthless regime that Israel imposes on the Palestinians. To put it differently, performing in Israel in the current circumstances is like performing in front of white Afrikaners in South Africa during the time of the Apartheid regime. It is not only an act of indifference for the suffering of the oppressed, but also an injection of legitimacy to the oppressor, who always strives to presents the impression of “business as usual”.

But in reality nothing is as usual. Nothing is as usual in Gaza, a city of more than one million people that is held under a cruel siege since 2007. Nothing is normal where two and a half million Palestinians who live in the West Bank are not allowed to use roads that were built on their lands, since they are open for Jews only. Nothing is right in a reality where hundreds are imprisoned without a trial, and where hundreds of thousands go to sleep each night, knowing that during their sleep armed soldiers might invade their villages and homes, and that in the morning, when they will try to get to school or work, they would have to spend hours passing through humiliating military check points. Indeed, there is no justice in a state of affair in which Jews enjoy civil rights while their neighbors, the Palestinians, are deprived of such rights because of their ethnicity. There is no democracy where only 25 miles from Tel Aviv, Abdallah Abu Rahmah, an inhabitant of the Palestinian village of Bili’n, was sentenced to imprisonment by a military court for organizing non violent demonstrations against the expropriation of his village’s lands for the sake of expanding an illegal Jewish settlement, or where the Bedouin village of Al-Araqib has been recently destroyed in order to make way for a Jewish National Fund (JNF) park.

We are writing to you because we believe that you might not be fully aware of the political situation in Israel-Palestine. You may not know, for instance, that Palestinians who live under the Israeli occupation in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip would not be allowed to see your show in Tel Aviv.

Over the years, Israel has been successful in maintaining an image of a western, liberal and democratic state. As a matter of fact, the frequent conceptualization of the political reality in Israel-Palestine as “a conflict” sustains the image of equality between the two parties, and thus helps to conceal the fact that in reality Israel has become a racial Apartheid state. Since we believe that the only way to change this situation lies in the unmasking of the true nature of the Israeli regime, and in the cutting off the cultural legitimacy that this regime enjoys from, we strongly encourage you to cancel your show in our country.

As Israeli citizens we ask you: do not give your voice to the Apartheid.

Ofer Neiman
Kobi Snitz
Shir Hever
Noam Lekach
Rachel Giora
Jonathan Pollak
Ohal Grietzer
Dorothy Naor
Naama Farjoun
Neta Golan
Ronnen Ben-Arie
Tal Shapira
Edo Medicks

On behalf of BOYCOTT! Supporting the Palestinian call for BDS from within. (http://boycottisrael.info)

I'm a teacher, writer, and activist based in Bangalore. I am dedicated to various issues including #BDS and Palestine, living Zero Waste, and reversing the effects of climate change.

Posted in Boycott News, Cultural Boycott, Israeli Organizing
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