From Israeli citizens to Francois K - Please cancel your gig in Tel Aviv

Dear Francois K,
We are citizens of Israel who are critical of, and active against, our government’s policies of colonialism, occupation and apartheid towards the Palestinian people

In particular, many of us are veteran activists in the campaign against Israel’s illegal colonization and settlement and wall construction policies in the occupied West Bank.
We write to you in support of the Palestinian call for BDS - boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israeli institutions, specifically the call for artists to refrain from playing in Israel [1]. We would like to make sure that you are aware of all the moral implications of performing in Israel at this time. We ask that you cancel your gig at the Block club in Tel Aviv on 30.10.14.
The State of Israel was founded in 1948 on the basis of the ethnic cleansing of nearly one million Palestinians from their homes [2]. The state practices severe ethnic-religious discrimination against its non Jewish citizens [3]. Furthermore, The Israeli government is committing an ongoing massacre in the besieged Gaza strip [4], and a colonial apartheid regime in the occupied West Bank, which even conservative politicians in Europe have come to recognize [5].    

The Israeli government openly uses cultural events in order to divert attention from its war crimes. For example, Nissim Ben-Shitrit, former deputy director general of the Israeli Foreign Ministry says: "We are seeing culture as a hasbara [advocacy] tool of the first rank, and I do not differentiate between hasbara and culture" [6].
And here is another example, highly relevant to your gig: The owners of the Block Club in Tel Aviv are very proud of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs use of their name in its promotional videos: "The Block club is known as a center of culture and music, where international artists of the first rank perform on a regular basis. A place that's recognized, both in Europe and the USA, as one of the best nightclubs in the world today. So much so that the Hasbara [advocacy] branch of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has chosen it to represent Israel in an official image short to boost tourism." (Hebrew source: [7]).

Furthermore, video and stills footage of the singer and her entourage, both during the concerts and visits to tourist sites in Israel, to be used in international marketing campaigns" [8].

Due to all this, in past years, numerous international musicians have also cancelled their performances in Israel, including  Cassandra Wilson, Elvis Costello, Faithless, Gil Scott Heron, Cat Power, Stanley Jordan and many others [10]. Since international music festivals have become one of Israel's most commonly used forms of public relations, artists who did participate in these have expressed regret after after learning of the political situation here. Two examples are Macy Gray and Meshell Ndegeocello [9] [10].

In view of all this, we as Israeli citizens, are asking you: Please cancel your gig at the Block club. Please boycott apartheid. We will gladly address any questions or comments you may have.


Boycott! Supporting the Palestinian BDS Call from Within