From Israeli Citizens - Please Don’t Play White City, Israeli Apartheid’s Sun City!

We are citizens of Israel 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 White City Festival in
Tel Aviv, and therefore write 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, 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". 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
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
 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 crimes.

Alice Walker made the following comments on her visit to Palestine: "Going
through Israeli checkpoints is like going back in time to American Civil
Rights struggle...I am a big supporter of BDS. I frankly think that it is
the best, absolutely the best way."[4]<>...One
of the things so painful to remember about the segregated south is that no
matter what white people did to them black people were not allowed to fight
back, not even with a word or a glance, hence the expression “reckless
eye-balling” which led many a black person to be beaten or killed. The idea
that the people of Palestine are not even supposed to fight back... To
collectively punish them (by bombing and starvation) for electing their own
government in a democratic election acknowledged by most observers to have
been fair, is sadistic as well as internationally condemned as
Professor Robin Kelley whose last book was about Thelonious Monk offers
this analysis: “... And so for people of my generation, the Israel-South
Africa nexus, dispossession of Palestinians ... these were the key
questions for anyone politically active in the 1980s. … witnessed a level
of racist violence that I hadn’t even seen growing up as a black person
here in the States  (laughs), I have to say, and I’ve been beat by the
cops. The level of racist violence from the settlers is kind of astounding.
… The key thing was the kind of engagement that helped us better understand
why the boycott is central... And part of what the boycott does is it
delegitimizes the claim that this is a normal situation. It’s not a normal
situation, it’s a settler-colonial situation, a situation of
*Cassandra Wilson* recently canceled her gig at a
*government-sponsored*Festival in Israel 2 days before her scheduled
performance. Following
appeals by BDS activists and fans via Twitter asking her to respect the
Palestinian call for boycott, she took a bold public political stand just
before she was due to board a plane to Tel Aviv. Wilson announced: “as a
human rights activist, I identify with the cultural boycott of Israel”, and
did not back down despite Israeli threats.  *[7]*
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
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.[9]<>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
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.[11] <> The call is all the
more relevant for a concert such as yours, which is sponsored by the
Israeli ministry of tourism, as well as the municipality of Tel Aviv.
Please note that *Israeli Ministry of Culture will endeavor to use your
name to legitimize and promote the current oppressive and racist order
through social media.
*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.”* [1<>

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 prominent artists have stated:
 -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

-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’.”[15<>

-Macy Gray: “I had a reality check and I stated that I definitely would not
have played there if I had known even the little that I know

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 reconsider your participation in
whitewashing Israeli apartheid, please 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