23/11/2014 Dear Laurent Garnier, 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 . 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 27/11/14.
The State of Israel was founded in 1948 on the basis of the ethnic
cleansing of nearly one million Palestinians from their homes . The
state practices severe ethnic-religious discrimination against its non
Jewish citizens . Furthermore, The Israeli government is committing an
ongoing massacre in the besieged Gaza strip , and a colonial apartheid
regime in the occupied West Bank, which even conservative politicians in
Europe have come to recognize .
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" .
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: ).
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" .
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 . 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  .
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