Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Shuggie Otis cancels gig in apartheid, Israel

Deep respect and gratitude go out to Shuggie Otis.  Auris Media reported that Shuggie Otis has cancelled his gig in Israel planned for May 1, 2013.  Boycott activists had contacted the legendary musician best known for "Strawberry Letter 23."  Otis has not made a statement as of yet regarding his decision.  The global movement for a cultural boycott of Israel applauds his choice not to violate the Palestinian call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel's policies of colonialism, occupation and apartheid towards the Palestinian people.

Click here to thank Otis on twitter.

The May 1 performance in Tel Aviv, has been removed from Otis' official website.  Otis continues to tour and perform worldwide.  

Article also appears at http://www.pacbi.org/etemplate.php?id=2132

OPEN LETTER: Alicia Keys Apartheid Must End in Our Lifetime, Cancel Israel

Tweet to Alicia here to let her know how you feel.

Dear Alicia Keys,

We urge you to cancel your plans to perform for a segregated audience in Tel Aviv on July 4, 2013.  Palestinian civil society has called for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel's policies of colonialism, occupation and apartheid towards the Palestinian people.

Israel's attempts to hide systematic decades-long oppression and human-rights abuses against the Palestinians depend on its ability to maintain the facade of a  progressive and democratic image in the eyes of the international community. Israel often goes as far as promoting itself as "the only Democracy in the Middle East.”   Israel's apartheid policies, however, even permeate events as joyous as concerts: Palestinian fans of your music living under the Israel’s brutal military occupation of the West Bank or its medieval siege of the Gaza Strip will be prohibited from coming to Tel Aviv to enjoy your performance. These 4 million people who are being denied their most fundamental rights include many Palestinian women, whom will not have the chance to be empowered by hearing you sing.

Palestinian Freedom Riders challenged Israeli segregated buses on which they are not allowed to travel. These buses carry instead Israeli settlers to and from their homes, illegally built on stolen land.[1][2][3] The ethnic-supremacist state of mind does not end there, unfortunately, as evidenced by the Tel-Aviv city councilman who appealed to the state to allocate segregated buses for African refugees and migrant workers in the city[4].

Prominent figures (authors, professors, and musicians) have visited Israel, Occupied Palestine and Gaza to witness for themselves the treatment of Palestinians living under Israeli occupation, and have vowed not to lend their legitimacy to these crimes.

Alice Walker made the following comments on her visit to Palestine: "Going through Israeli checkpoints is like going back in time to American Civil Rights struggle...I am a big supporter of BDS. I frankly think that it is the best, absolutely the best way."[5]
"One of the things so painful to remember about the segregated south is that no matter what white people did to them black people were not allowed to fight back, not even with a word or a glance, hence the expression “reckless eye-balling” which led many a black person to be beaten or killed. The idea that the people of Palestine are not even supposed to fight back... To collectively punish them (by bombing and starvation) for electing their own government in a democratic election acknowledged by most observers to have been fair, is sadistic as well as internationally condemned as illegal."[6]

Professor Robin Kelley offers this analysis: "My last book was about [the jazz musician] Thelonious Monk. ...  And so for people of my generation, the Israel-South Africa nexus, dispossession of Palestinians ... these were the key questions for anyone politically active in the 1980s. … witnessed a level of racist violence that I hadn’t even seen growing up as a black person here in the States  (laughs), I have to say, and I’ve been beat by the cops. The level of racist violence from the settlers is kind of astounding. … The key thing was the kind of engagement that helped us better understand why the boycott is central... And part of what the boycott does is it delegitimizes the claim that this is a normal situation. It’s not a normal situation, it’s a settler-colonial situation, a situation of oppression."[7]

The Palestinian people are denied elementary freedoms: the freedom of movement, the freedom to access their stolen lands and the freedom to protest injustice without facing brutal repression.[8] Those living in the Gaza strip (56% of whom are children) live under a debilitating siege, limiting their access to water, medical supplies, and construction material.[9] This unimaginable situation takes place only an hour away from your scheduled performance. In the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan, 40 minutes away from the scheduled venue, children are being abducted from their homes, in violation of international law, and taken into violent police interrogations with no access to their parents or a lawyer.[10]

Representatives of Palestinian civil society, including over 170 different organizations such as women, academic and worker groups, have called for a boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel’s policies. International artists are asked not to perform in Israel until it abides by its obligations under international law and reverses these policies.[11]

Some artists perform in Israel with the good will and intention to use their art as a means of changing Israeli public opinion and spreading the message of peace. One such example would be Roger Waters. These artists have later come to realize that their performance, as well-meaning as it was, has been hijacked and used to send a green light to the ongoing Israeli policies of oppression.

We have therefore learned that not performing is important to the promotion of justice in this region, as Israeli policy makers are coming to understand that the international community does not approve of their brutal policies towards the people of Palestine. Some prominent artists have stated:

Roger Waters: “In my view, the abhorrent and draconian control that Israel wields over the besieged Palestinians in Gaza, and the Palestinians in the occupied West Bank (including East Jerusalem), coupled with its denial of the rights of refugees to return to their homes in Israel, demands that fair minded people around the world support the Palestinians in their civil, nonviolent resistance. For me it means declaring my intention to stand in solidarity, not only with the people of Palestine, but also with the many thousands of Israelis who disagree with their governments racist and colonial policies, by joining a campaign of Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel, until it satisfies three basic human rights demanded in international law.”[12]

Faithless: “We’ve been asked to do some shows this summer in your country and, with the heaviest of hearts, I have regretfully declined the invitation. While human beings are being willfully denied not just their rights but their needs for their children and grandparents and themselves, I feel deeply that I should not be sending even tacit signals that this is either ‘normal’ or ‘ok’.”

Macy Gray: “I had a reality check and I stated that I definitely would not have played there if I had known even the little that I know now.”[13]

Cassandra Wilson: “as a human rights activist, I identify with the cultural boycott of Israel.” [14]

Understanding that the picket line has clearly been marked and that you cannot avoid taking a political stand on this matter, we are now asking you to take a moral stand. Please reconsider your participation in whitewashing Israeli apartheid.  Stand against oppression and for liberation, against deep rooted racism and in favor of justice and equality for all.


We are a group, of over 1000 members, representing many countries around the globe, who believe that it is essential for musicians & other artists to heed the call of the PACBI, and join in the boycott of Israel. This is essential in order to work towards justice for the Palestinian people under occupation, and also in refugee camps and in the diaspora throughout the world.

This letter also appears at http://www.pacbi.org/etemplate.php?id=2135

Friday, February 22, 2013

Alicia Keys "Favorites" tweet asking her to bow out of Israel Gig

Click on image to enlarge
Breaking:   Alicia Key's Official twitter account has only "favorited" three tweets since 2011.  On February 21, a tweet was favorited asking her to cancel her planned gig in Israel.  Keys has not yet announced she is cancelling her July 4th date to sing in Tel Aviv, and tickets are already up for sale.  However the boycott is making inroads into the music scene as more and more artists of conscience decline invitations to perform for segregated audiences in Israel.  The tweet:   

 your one of my favorite musicians please don't perform in the apartheid state of Israel!

Thanks to tweeter @birdSTL for the link.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Facebook Page Asks Alicia Keys to Boycott Apartheid Israel

UPDATE 2/20/13 A PETITION  on change.org is asking Alicia Keys to cancel her concert, the goal at this time, is to get 5000 signatures.  

A facebook page has been created titled "Alicia Keys: Don't Be Fallin For Apartheid, Cancel Israel"

It states:
"Joined with the global movement for a cultural boycott of Israel by musicians, we all ask Alicia Keys to stand on the side of justice and cancel her gig in Tel Aviv, Israel.
Alicia Keys is scheduled to play to a segregated audience in Israel on July 4, 2013 at Nokia Arena in Tel Aviv. Other bands will open for her, but have not been announced yet. We urge all non-Israeli bands to refrain from this event."

One message on the facebook page states:
Dear Alicia Keys,
I'm writing this to you from the Galilee. I'm originally from Denver but I've been living in the occupied West Bank and now in Israel for nearly a decade. My wife, a Jewish Israeli, and I have been working very hard to teach young people abroad about the reality here. Israel practices Apartheid. This is hard for many Americans to swallow, but Archbishop Desmond Tutu and countless others will confirm this. If you play a concert in Israel, it will be used by the government here to demonstrate how 'normal' the situation is. There is no such thing as an apolitical show in Tel Aviv. Likewise an artist cannot play in the spirit of peace and justice if she does not respect the resounding call of people of conscience across the world to boycott Apartheid. Like those who have gone before you - from Birmingham to Cape Town - please take a stand for equality and refuse to play Apartheid!
- Mark Thomas

Keys' is a musician of conscience, with a concern for victims of AIDS, education, poverty in Africa, Hurricane Katrina victims, Hurricane Sandy victims, and women under any kind of oppression.  

Last year the Grammy-winning singer Cassandra Wilson was scheduled to be the featured performer at the Holon International Women's Festival in Israel.  Just days before her sold out performances, she politely bowed out, saying “As a human rights activist I identify with the cultural boycott of Israel.”  Wilson received letters of thanks signed by solidarity groups from around the world.

Stanley Jordan recently refused to play in Israel, cancelling his gig planned for last January.  

Already, appeals to Keys have appeared on twitter letting her know about Anarchists Against the Wall in Israel, a group that has joined with Palestinian civil society in asking for a cultural and academic boycott of Israel.   People have joined in asking her to become aware of the reasons for the boycott, so that she may make an informed decision. 

Her Israeli booking agent, Mr. Weiss, is known to actively participate in the infringements of human rights, by assisting the state of Israel in whitewashing its war crimes against the Palestinian people; co-opting human rights organizations in opaque interactions including offering bribes; adopting state propaganda rhetoric, which has a clear goal to distract attention from state violations in its communication with its business partners and clients; and willfully participating in parliamentary debates that aim to stifle the freedom of speech and prevent legitimate protest.

For more information please visit http://pulsemedia.org/2012/12/12/israel-2012-the-question-of-a-nation-what-does-culture-have-to-do-with-politics/
“Shuki Weiss Promotion and Production Ltd. in the Service of the State of Israel

Weiss and the Israeli government have a special relationship in which they include him in Knesset meetings about outlawing the protesting tool of boycotts [http://maxblumenthal.com/tag/shuki-weiss/], and he sends them VIP tickets to shows he produces [http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/tourism-minister-given-illegal-gift-of-vip-madonna-tickets-1.262006 ]. 

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Eora Nation site of Boycott Israel Video

Yesterday a video was released simple titled "Boycott Apartheid" featuring M1 (Dead Prez) and Lowkey.  The video, in gritty black and white with Arabic subtitles, was made on the land of the Gadigal people of the Eora nation, a people whose sovereignty never ceded to Australia.
One of the strongest statements in the video:
"There is only one line of division, it's not a line of division between Muslim and Jew, it's not a line of division between Palestinian and Israelis, it is a line of division between those who stand for the equality of all, And those who stand for the supremacy of some."

Saturday, February 16, 2013

On Boycotting Israel & Depeche Mode

When a mega band like Depeche Mode schedules a gig in Israel, the Israeli branding machine begins to crank ahead at full speed.  The Official State Twitter of Israel engages, along with the Israeli press, and the false notion that Israel is a haven of culture speaks to the outside world, while inside Israel, the population is  lulled into the misleading notion that all is well. 

But all is not well, and the images in this recently released video speak volumes.  We watch how the Palestinian population that is dominated by Israel is treated no better than cattle at dusty checkpoints under the hot sun.  Soldiers push the elderly around, and homes are deliberately destroyed using specially equipped bulldozers.  The horrendous illegal apartheid wall is shown tearing apart a village, separating family and neighbors from their livelihoods.  A young boy is pulled away from his mother and taken away by fully armed Israeli Occupation Soldiers.  Children look down at a dreary view of a checkpoint flanked by the hideous wall.  "Arbitrary arrests, Torture" "Palestinian civil society struggles against all this.  It asks you for one simple act: Depeche Mode, cancel your concert in Israel.  Boycott Apartheid."  Neomily uploaded the original video on Vimeo.  
A petition was recently started, as a symbolic gesture, to let fans of Depeche Mode know about the cultural boycott.  Thus far, signers have shown support from all over the world.  People who support BDS have signed from Italy, England, Australia, Ireland, Brazil, USA, Jordan, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Netherlands, and Spain.  

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The Jerusalem Quartet: Why Boycott?

Kyril Zlotnikov, Alexander Pavlovsky,  Sergei Bressler, 
and Ori Kam form the Jerusalem Quartet, which is the 
subject of a cultural boycott currently.  For this 
reason, protests of their concerts are being planned.
"If one minute they're (The Jerusalem Quartet) in T-shirts and the next in ties and jackets, these days they can just as frequently be seen in army fatigues. Last year they were inducted into the Israeli Defense Forces and endured a month of basic training. Bressler (second violin) says his only fear then was that something would happen to his hands.
The Quartet now serves as Distinguished Musicians, performing for troops three times a week. Recitals are laced with explanations. Not intending to produce subscribers to the Philharmonic, Gross says they simply want their fellow troops to appreciate classical music. And to a large extent they have been successful.
For the three immigrants, carrying a rifle in one hand and a violin in the other is the ultimate Zionist statement. "It's something our parents could hardly have imagined ten years ago," says Zlotnikov."
The above except shows the horrifying truth about the The Jerusalem Quartet.  Written by Shelley Kleiman, of the World Zionist Press Service on 19 June 1998, it reveals that the Jerusalem Quartet does not solely exist for the sake of music, but it is funded by the state of Israel in order to support the oppressive military institution of the apartheid government. Currently, in an attempt to falsely brand Israel as a culturally enlightened state, the foursome are embarking on a concert tour. Dates below are for reference use for those wishing to boycott or protest the Jerusalem Quartet.
Below are details of listed performances of the Jerusalem Quartet European/US  tour, Feb 11 – May 27:
Monday, Feb 11                20:00   BELGIUM              HASSELT: CULTUURCENTRUM
Tuesday, Feb 12                20:00     NETHERLANDS   ROTTERDAM: DE DOELEN
Wednesday, Feb 13          20:00     UK                         BIRMINGHAM: BARBER INSTITUTE
Friday, Feb 15                    21:00     ITALY                    SIENNA: PALAZZO CHIGI SARACINI
Saturday, Feb 16               19:30     UK                         LONDON: WIGMORE HALL
Monday, Feb 18                20:30     ITALY                    FERRARA: TEATRO COMUNALE DI FERRARA
Tuesday, Feb 19                00:00     LUXEMBOURG   PHILHARMONIE DE LUXEMBOURG
Sunday, Mar 10                 15:00     USA                       PORTLAND, OR: LINCOLN HALL
Monday, Mar 11               19:30     USA                       PORTLAND, OR: LINCOLN PERFORMANCE HALL
Wednesday, Mar 13         19:30     USA                       PORTLAND, OR: LINCOLN PERFORMANCE HALL
Thursday, Mar 14             19:30     USA                       PORTLAND, OR: LINCOLN PERFORMANCE HALL
Sunday, Mar 17                 17:00     USA                       NEW YORK, NY: ALICE TULLY HALL
Tuesday, Mar 19               19:30     USA                       NEW YORK, NY: ALICE TULLY HALL
Friday, Mar 22                   19:30     USA                       NEW YORK, NY: ALICE TULLY HALL
Sunday, Mar 24                 17:00     USA                       NEW YORK, NY: ALICE TULLY HALL
Monday, Apr 15                19:30     GERMANY           BAD KISSINGEN: REGENTENBAU
Tuesday, Apr 16                19:30     GERMANY           POLLING: BIBLIOTHEKSAAL
Wednesday, Apr 17          20:00     GERMANY           MUNICH: HERKULESSAAL
Thursday, Apr 18, 2013, 20:00      GERMANY           HUMLEBAEK: MUSEUM LOUISIANA,
Friday, Apr 19                    20:00     GERMANY           HUMLEBAEK: MUSEUM LOUISIANA,
Sunday, Apr 21                  16:00     BELGIUM             ANTWERPEN: DE SINGEL
Monday, Apr 22                20:15     NETHERLANDS   GRONINGEN: DE OOSTERPOORT
Tuesday, Apr 23                20:15     NETHERLANDS  THE HAGUE: THEATER DILIGENTIA
Wednesday, Apr 24          20:30     NETHERLANDS   MAASTRICHT: SINT JANSKERK
Thursday, Apr 25               20:00     NETHERLANDS   GENT: SEDELIJKE CONCERTZAAL DE BIJLOKE
Saturday, Apr 27               20:00     AUSTRIA              HOHENEMS: SCHUBERTIADE
Sunday, May 19                17:00     GERMANY           NEUWIED: SCHLOSS ENGERS
Wednesday, May 22        19:00     PORTUGAL          LISBON: GULBENKIAN
Friday, May 24                  19:00     GERMANY           BONN: BEETHOVEN-HAUS
Sunday, May 26                20:00     SWITZERLAND    ZURICH: TONHALLE
Monday, May 27              20:00     MARSEILLE: THEATRE NATIONAL - LA CRIEE

Thank you to the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign for this information.

Friday, February 1, 2013

OPEN LETTER: Cliff Richard Don't Play Apartheid Israel

Human rights groups, anti-apartheid activists and Christian campaigners from many churches have expressed grave concern over the sad news that contemporary Christian singer Cliff Richard (UK) is planning to give a concert in Tel Aviv, Israel this summer.
In an open letter, one group has written:

Dear Cliff Richard:
We read that you’re scheduled to perform in Tel Aviv, Israel, on July 11 this year. From the TV coverage of your 1988 birthday celebration for Israel, where you say that ‘as a Christian, Israel has special significance for me’, we understand your forthcoming show might have similar motivation.

It seems to us, however, that such automatic identification with Israel is increasingly questioned by Christians, who express concern about Israel’s racist actions in the Palestinian territories it illegally occupies and call for action against the Israeli government. We are writing to ask you to reconsider your decision to perform in Israel.

We wonder if you've read the letter from church leaders to the US Congress, published on 5 October last year. Fifteen senior Christian leaders, from the US Presbyterian, Evangelical Lutheran, Roman Catholic, United Methodist, American Baptist, and other churches, told Congress: ‘As leaders of churches and religious organisations committed to seeking a just peace for Israelis and Palestinians...it is our moral responsibility to question the continuance of unconditional U.S. financial assistance to the government of Israel’.

Their letter lists many human rights violations committed by Israeli forces against Palestinian civilians, including the killing of children, house demolitions, and the use of prohibited weaponry such as white phosphorus and flechette shells.

Perhaps you missed the press release issued in December last year by Southern African church leaders, including the heads of the United Methodist, Presbyterian, Roman Catholic churches and the Evangelical Alliance. From Jerusalem they reported: ‘Our exposure to [occupied] East Jerusalem and the West Bank was overwhelming, one which traumatised us. We did not expect the extent to which Israel violates international laws to oppress the Palestinian people. However, even though we experienced that Palestinians live in open-air prisons, they were still able to inspire us with their dignity and their commitment for a just peace based on human dignity for both themselves and the Israelis’.

Importantly, the Southern African church leaders renounced any kind of biblical justification for what is happening to the Palestinians: ‘We are conscious how a literal reading of the Bible, one where the Israel of the Old Testament is confused with the State of Israel, can result in the oppression of people’.
Sir Cliff, when you sang Yerushalayim, the anthem of the Israeli occupation forces in East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza, did you not realise – as the church leaders we’ve quoted do – that Israeli conquest means Palestinian dispossession and ongoing repression?

Palestinians under occupation are calling for a cultural boycott of Israel by international artists like yourself. The South African church leaders support the boycott call, as ‘a strategy that helped end apartheid in South Africa’. In response to an appeal from Kairos Palestine that describes the occupation as ‘a sin against God and humanity’, growing numbers of individual Christians and church groups around the world are engaging in campaigns of boycott, divestment and sanctions.

Your appearance in Tel Aviv, however, will reassure Israelis that ethnic cleansing and repression of the Palestinians are morally tolerable – to you, at least, if not to presidents and congregations of churches in the USA, South Africa, and elsewhere. Sir Cliff, we urge you to consider whether this is a message you want to give. Please don’t go.
Yours sincerely,

Professor Haim Bresheeth 
Mike Cushman 
Professor Adah Kay 
Professor Jonathan Rosenhead

London, 28 January 2013

SOURCE http://www.indcatholicnews.com/news.php?viewStory=21846