We are writing you from Israel about your schedules performance here at the Israeli Opera. As you might have heard, practically every human rights organization in the world has condemned Israel's discrimination against Palestinian citizens and regular military attacks on those Palestinians who are not citizens.
The accusations made against Israeli officials in the previous was that their actions raised to the level of war crimes and even the more severe crimes against humanity.1 Some of these crimes were committed at the general headquarters of the Israeli army located across the street from the Opera house where you are scheduled to play. It might be hard to imagine that such types of crimes are committed on an ordinary looking street which also houses a courthouse and a museum. This difficulty is one reason that to date none of those responsible for the crimes described in the UN report have been held to account. In that sense the Museum and the opera house protect the army headquarters by providing it with a humanist facade. To the countless tragedies inflicted by the army your performance will add a cultural tragedy. It consists of letting the highest human achievements be used to hide the lowest criminal brutality.
For this reason amongst many others, a unified call representing all of Palestinian civil society was issued in 2005 calling on artists to refrain from performing in Israel. This campaign is inspired and informed by the campaign against apartheid South Africa. In fact the strongest supporters of the Palestinian call are those such as Desmond Tutu who also led the boycott of South Africa. Growing numbers of Americans are also joining the call for boycotting Israel. Recently, one of the largest members based Jewish Organization in the US- Jewish Voices for Peace has joined the call for boycott of Israel2. Others are also drawing parallels between the struggle against discrimination and state violence in the US and in Palestine. In particular, the Dream Defenders have also called for a boycott of Israel3
Like them we too think that the correct response to Israels continued discrimination and other crimes is to refuse to allow it to enjoy a facade of normalcy with the help of culture. Many artists have already refused to play in Israel, amongst them are Gil Scott-Heron, Carlos Santana, Stanley Jordan, Terence Blanchard, Marcus Strickland, Cassandra Wilson, Meshell Ndegeocello, Los Hacheros, Carlo Mombelli, Eddie Palmieri, Jason Morana, Portico Quartet, Tuba Skinny, Andreas Öber, Chris "Daddy" Dave, Pino Palladino, Kebbi Williams, Isaiah Sharkey, Matt Schofield,The Other Day.
We urge you to do the same and cancel your performance in Tel Aviv.
Boycott! Supporting the Palestinian call from within
1“HUMAN RIGHTS IN PALESTINE AND OTHER OCCUPIED ARAB TERRITORIES
Report of the United Nations Fact-Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict”; UN HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL, Sections 1934-1936.