Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Petitions, Letters, Articles, Video Urge Motown Legend Stevie Wonder to Refrain from Playing for Israel Military Forces Fundraiser Gala

(30 Nov) UPDATE:  Stevie Wonder has made a statement about his choice to boycott Israel's FIDF event, as posted by Radio Free 102.3 FM KJLH in Los Angeles:

A Message from Stevie Wonder

"Given the current and very delicate situation in the Middle East, and with a heart that has always cried out for world unity, I will not be performing at the FIDF Gala on December 6th. I am respectfully withdrawing my participation from this year's event to avoid the appearance of partiality. As a Messenger of Peace, I am and have always been against war, any war, anywhere. In consistently keeping with my spirit of giving, I will make a personal contribution to organizations that support Israeli and Palestinian children with disabilities.
Hoping for one world, one people, one day, Stevie Wonder."

(29 Nov) UPDATE:  Stevie Wonder has chosen to honor the cultural boycott of Israel, and refuse to play for the fundraiser for Israel's military forces event.  The Jewish Journal reported today that:

“Representatives of the performer cited a recommendation from the United Nations to withdraw his participation given Wonder’s involvement with the organization.  FIDF National Director and CEO, Maj. Gen. (Res.) Yitzhak (Jerry) Gershon: ‘we regret the fact that Stevie Wonder has decided to cancel his performance at an important community event of the FIDF, an American organization supporting the educational, cultural, and wellbeing needs of Israel’s soldiers, their families, and the families of fallen soldiers. FIDF is a non-political organization that provides much-needed humanitarian support regardless of religion, political affiliation, or military activity.’”
Wonder as UN Messenger of Peace

(28 Nov) The cultural boycott of Israel currently takes on a fast and energy driven momentum with last minute calls by thousands asking Stevie Wonder to cancel a gig which was just announced last Sunday.  
Its hard to even keep track of the many letters, petitions, and articles written asking the Motown legend Wonder to bow out of a politically driven event in Los Angeles, which celebrates Israel's military forces, and raises money for its recruits.  
A video featuring Alice Walker, recorded on her visit to Gaza after the 2009 Cast Lead attack by Israel, informs Wonder about the dire conditions seen in Gaza's hospitals, and the horrific effects on children by Israel's use of advanced weaponry (used on Gaza's captive population).
A facebook page was set up by cultural BDS supporters and attempts to keep track of all the actions around the world asking Stevie Wonder to cancel his gig on 6 December.  With over 800 "likes" in less than 2 days, the facebook page "Stevie Wonder say No to Israeli Defense Forces Gala" continue to grow at an amazing pace.  

One petition has gathered 3,478 signatures, stating:  "We call on Stevie Wonder, as a conscientious American advocate for human rights and dignity not to support the Israeli Defense Force by performing at their gala fundraiser."
Another petition has 3,726 signatures, the author writes: "dear: stevie wonder please don't play for war criminals. the idf has committed numerous war crimes in the west bank and gaza. over sixty years of occupation,racism,ethnic cleansing,house demos,land grabs,evictions,and other war crimes.  The annual gala of the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF) organization will be held on Thursday, December 6, at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza in Los Angeles.pleae don't play for apartied,please support bds! boycott,divestment,and santions, thank you and god bless you!"

Human rights organizations are being asked to sign onto the open letter Stevie Wonder: Don't Be a Part-Time Lover of Justice! penned by the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation.

Alexander Billet writes an article titled "Will Israeli apartheid steal Stevie Wonder’s soul?"  chronicling Wonder's history of social conscience during the time of apartheid in South Africa.  

Many personal open letters have hit the internet and an event has also been created on facebook with over 700 attendees who agree to spread the petition on around.

The US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (USACBI) has also published an extensive twitter alert, telling Motown Records on twitter (@motown) about Israel's apartheid policies and more. With 6 "tweet now" samples, the twitter sphere is creating a sensation that Motown Records cannot ignore.  Some examples:
Stevie: We Just Called to Say, Don’t Entertain Apartheid! #BDS #Palestine cc @motown tweet now!
Be the Sunshine of My Life, don’t play for apartheid. Ask @motown’s Stevie Wonder to cancel! #BDS tweet now!
For the IDF, ‘These Three Words’ are apartheid, occupation & siege: cancel your gig Stevie! cc @motown  tweet now!
The cultural boycott of Israel is a rallying point for human rights supporters.  Whether they support one-state or two-state, they all agree on one thing:  Stevie Wonder should not play for Israel's poltiics.

UPDATE:  Israeli citizens urge Wonder to reconsider his plans  at

Palestinian fan Bassem Nasir writes to Wonder from Ramalleh, Occupied Palestine at

Palestinian musician Tariq Shadid speaks to Wonder through another video at

Friday, November 23, 2012

Open letter: Alanis Morissette please show courage & cancel your gig in Israel

Open letter to Alanis Morissette from UC-Irvine and Lundt University-Center for Middle Eastern Studies Professor, Musician, and Writer, Mark LeVine, Ph.D 

Alanis, this is a disaster.

You have been a heroine of mine since your first album. Your artistic courage is indisputable. But for you to play Israel, now more than ever, betrays either incredible ignorance or incredible racism.

Israel's human rights violations and rank brutality against Palestinians can no longer be denied.

Among the most violated of Palestinians are women and children, who suffer disproportionately from its occupation and the death and destruction it has produced for nearly 50 years. If you actually care about women and children--Israelis as much as Palestinians--you must cancel your concert.

Playing Israel is playing Apartheid South Africa, except it's actually worse, as most anti-Apartheid activists who've visited Israel have declared.
Please show courage when it's needed most. 

Mark LeVine, PhD
UC-Irvine and Lundt University-Center for Middle Eastern Studies

Speaking out for The Cultural & Academic Boycott Of Israel

Watch "The Case For The Cultural & Academic Boycott Of Israel"
The Palestine Solidarity Campaign in London have created a valuable resource making  the Case for Cultural and Academic Boycott. Hear from renowned English film and television director Ken Loach, journalist Ben White, Palestinian poet Rafeef Ziadah, Mike Cushman of BRICUP and Ronnie Barkan of Boycott From Within on why they support the cultural and academic boycott of Israel.
Watch today and share with friends

Sunday, November 18, 2012

In Solidarity with Gaza: Lupe Fiasco at Austin City Limits

Revelers and high flyers filled Austin's streets last night on the eve of the Grand Prix formula one races, and Austin City Limits hosted hundreds of  fans who came to hear Lupe Fiasco perform.  Above is a short clip of Lupe's opening song, in which he states that the Gaza Strip is being bombed... once again (at 2:45)
Some fans stood in the front center of the stage, and held the Palestinian flag up during the concert.  Near the end of Lupe's energy driven performance, he stated he would pray for some names passed to him on a list from the audience, most likely names of victims of Israel's latest bombardment of Gaza.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

In Solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza, Zebda Releases One Life Less , and Faces Controversy

Zebda, Toulouse, France
Zebda is a highly successful French band of Algerian descent.  They have courageously released this single in solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza.  The release was warmly welcomed in France with comments on their facebook page:
Un chanson manifique ecrit d'un subjet tres important, peut ĂȘtre le subjet le plus important du monde - solidaritĂ© avec le peuple palestinien!

 Merci beaucoup, c'est une tres belle chanson. Votre solidaritĂ© est tres sympa :)
touchant...droit au coeur...sublimes paroles...superbes images...merci...
Chanson merveilleuse !!!
Magnifique, juste dommage qu'elle ne figure pas sur l'album!

But their generous and compassionate support for those under oppression has not come without controversy.  

Two weeks prior to the release of this single, Zebda was falsely criticised as being anti-Semitic.  A representative of CRIF (Council of Jewish Institutions in France) published an inaccurate article with strong tones of slander against the band, the writer, and the artists.  CRIF appears to be a group formed in France to monitor anything or anybody that criticises Israel's policies of apartheid and human rights abuses.  CRIF appears to act as a fear inducing bully in order to silence people who may want to express their disapproval of apartheid Israel.  Apparently CRIF likes to spread the lie that anyone who does not like Israel's policies must be anti-Semitic.

While CRIF seeks to defend injustice, Zebda seeks to show humble compassion for those oppressed.  Listen to this marvelous song and enjoy the amazing graphics, we've copied the heartfelt lyrics below.

Lyrics ( by Jean Pierre Filiu) :
I was born in a country that does not exist
I was born on a land that is no longer mine
A land that's autonomous only on paper
A land occupied, a land trampled upon
I was born to the walls and cries of joy
I was born after so many in the crowded camp
The sea was my boundary, my sanctuary
To forget settlers, blockade and misery
I grew up humming the melodies of exile
The thread of a tenacious hope even in this impasse
One day we will stand straight and have our place
We will have our place
We will have our place
I grew up too fast, torn between mourning and forgetting
I grew up spending my days with the infinite horizon
Hot sand below my feet carried me beyond
I will be so big so strong, so everyone can see me
I lived in Gaza without ever stepping out of it
I lived day by day without remorse or complaint
Despite barbed wires, curfews and tanks
I nurtured deep inside the dream to break away
The dream to break away
The dream to break away
I lived the human waves of the intifada
I lived marches and strikes rising flags
We sung our passion at the top of our voices
While they paraded their planes over us
I died, went the lie, from a stray bullet
I died, murdered by an unknown man
Who thought his duty to shoot through the fog
At enemy shadows with dwarfed weapons
I died like thousands others
Thousands before thousands after
I died an autumn evening during Ramadan
But I only wanted to live and be free
live free
I only wanted to be free
only wanted to be free
I only wanted to be free

Ali Guessoum & Natacha Bigan designed the graphics for UNE VIE DE MOINS or One Life Less.