From Israeli Citizens to International Artists: Please Do NOT Perform at the Yellow Submarine in Jerusalem

We are Israeli citizens 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 concert at the Yellow Submarine venue
in Jerusalem, and therefore write in order to urge you not to come. It is
important to note that your concert is sponsored by the Jerusalem
municipality and The Jerusalem Foundation. Hand in hand, these two entities
and settler organizations, are responsible for projects of creeping ethnic
cleansing in Jerusalem (details follow).

Israel's attempts to mask systematic human-rights abuses and decades-long
oppression against the Palestinians, relies 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". But in fact, Israel practices apartheid
policies, which are quite visible: Palestinian Freedom Riders have recently
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
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 issue of freedom of movement is connected to your concert as well:
Palestinian fans of your music living under the Israeli military occupation
of the West Bank or the hermetic siege of the Gaza Strip will be prohibited
from coming to West Jerusalem to enjoy your performance.

The Palestinian people are being denied some elementary freedoms in
addition to the freedom of movement: the freedom to access their stolen
lands and the freedom to protest injustice without facing brutal repression.
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]<
unimaginable situation takes place only an hour away from your
scheduled performance. In the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan, just
10 minutes away from your 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 collaborate with
state-sponsored institutions in Israel until it abides by its obligations
under international law and reverses these
policies.[7]<>The call is all the more
relevant for a concert such as yours, which is
sponsored by the municipality of Jerusalem. This municipality, especially
under pro-settler Mayor Nir Barkat, is responsible for severe violations of
human rights against occupied East Jerusalem's Palestinian residents

Your concert is sponsored by the Jerusalem municipality and The Jerusalem
Foundation. Hand in hand, these two entities and settler organizations, are
responsible for projects of creeping ethnic cleansing in Jerusalem. Some
details follow:

The Jerusalem Foundation boasts of having “pioneered much of the
archaeological discovery and preservation projects including the City of
David excavations, the major gates of the Old City Walls, the Tower of
David Museum and much more.”

In response, Israeli peace and human rights group Ir-Amim reveals that:
“In recent years, significant parts of the area have been wrestled away
from the local population. Public land and property, most importantly the
City of David National Park,  has been “privatized” without compensation
and handed over to”Elad”, a private ideological settler organization.
 Sensitive excavations also have been entrusted to Elad. The municipal and
national authorities have encouraged, funded, supported, and protected this
process.  Silwan is the pillar of a sweeping and systematic policy and
process of gaining control of the Palestinian territories that surround the
Old City, designed to cut the Old City off from East Jerusalem, and to
connect it to Jewish settlement blocs in northeast Jerusalem and the E-1
area. These plans have a decisive political and international significance
because their implementation would further complicate the possibility of
arriving at a viable agreement between Israel and the Palestinians.”

Please note that the Israeli government will endeavor to use your name to
legitimize and promote the current oppressive and racist order through
social media. [12<
Nissim Ben-Sheetrit, former deputy director general of the Israeli foreign
ministry, stated “We see culture as a hasbara [Israeli advocacy] tool of
the first rank, and I do not differentiate between hasbara and culture.”
[13] <>

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. 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 would like
to quote Roger Waters who says: “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 internationallaw.”[14]<
Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa said: “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.”

Understanding that the picket line has clearly been marked and that one
cannot avoid taking a political stand on this matter, we are now asking you
to take a moral stand. We ask that you stand against oppression and for
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