Dear Carl Craig

Dear Carl Craig,

We are Israeli activists who support the Palestinian civil society call
for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel's policies
of colonialism, occupation and apartheid towards the Palestinian
people. We have recently learned of your planned gig at the Block club
in Tel Aviv. We are writing in order to urge you not to come. Please hear us out.

Israel's attempts to mask systematic human-rights abuses and decades-long
oppression against the Palestinians, rely on its ability to maintain 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, are inherent even to something as seemingly light-hearted and joyous as a concert: Palestinian
fans of your music living under the brutal Israeli military occupation
of the West Bank or the hermetic siege of the Gaza Strip will be
prohibited from coming to Tel Aviv and enjoying your performance. Of
course this is only a small example; the hardship entailed in life
under occupation goes much further than the denial of access to
concerts. All aspects of Palestinian lives are controlled by a foreign
occupying army, from the ability to study, work or travel to building
permits on their own land.

Here is another example: Palestinian Freedom Riders have recently challenged Israeli segregated buses which they are not allowed to travel on. These buses carry instead
Israeli settlers to and from their homes, illegally built on stolen
land.[1][2][3].Prominent figures, including many musicians and artists, have come here to
witness for themselves the treatment of Palestinians living under
Israeli rule, and have vowed not to lend their legitimacy to these
racist policies.

The Palestinian people are being denied some elementary freedoms: the
freedom of movement, the freedom to access their stolen lands and the
freedom to protest injustice without facing brutal repression.[4] 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.[5] 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, kids 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.[6]

Representatives of Palestinian civil society, including over 170 different
organizations such as women, academic and workers organizations, 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.[7]
In a cynical PR attempt to differentiate Tel Aviv from Israel, performances
by international artists in Tel Aviv are used to market the city as a
"cool", "enlightened" bubble. This is patently false. Tel Aviv has been
built (to be precise, expanded) on the ruins of several Palestinian
villages, whose inhabitants had been killed or expelled during the
Nakba, the ethnic cleansing that took place in 1948. [8]
Moreover, Tel Aviv is a pillar of the culture and the economy that sustain Israel's apartheid. Here is alink to a photo of an official Tel Aviv municipality taken last night (2/10) in Tel Aviv [9]:

Translation: "Did you know?   IDF enlistment rate among high school graduates in Tel Aviv-Jaffa is 91% for girls and 92% for girls"

This poster is only one example among many: Tel Aviv is not cool, it`s the financial hub of apartheid and militarism!

Many artists have come to perform here 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 that of Roger
Waters (please see below). 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.

Some quotes from prominent artists and public figures follow:

-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.”[11]

-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’.” [12]
-Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa:“International
Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions against the Apartheid regime,
combined with the mass struggle inside South Africa, led to our victory
… 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 …
to perform in Israel.” [13]

In view of all this, we ask that you reconsider your participation in
whitewashing Israeli apartheid. Please stand against oppression, and in
favour of liberation, against deep rooted racism and in favor of
justice and equality for all.

We will gladly address any question or comment you may have!


BOYCOTT! Supporting the Palestinian BDS Call from Within