A letter to All Metal Bands

Dear Metal Bands,

We are a group of Israeli citizens who support the Palestinian call for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS). We oppose our government's policies of racism, apartheid and occupation, and we strongly believe that without international pressure, it will be almost impossible to reverse these policies.

Israel's attempts to mask systematic human-rights abuses and decades-long oppression against the Palestinians, largely rely on its ability to maintain a progressive and democratic image in the eyes of the international community. It often promotes itself as "the only Democracy in the Middle East". However, Israel's apartheid policies are inherent even in something as seemingly light-hearted and joyous as a music show: Palestinian fans of your music living in the West Bank, in a land governed by Israel, are under martial-law and will not be permitted to come to Tel Aviv and enjoy your performance.

The Palestinian people are denied some of the most elementary freedoms: the freedom of movement, the freedom to access their stolen agricultural land and the freedom to protest without facing life threatening violence: When they demonstrate against the Israeli government, they face brutal treatment .[1] Their relatives in the Gaza strip (44% of which are children under the age of 14) live under siege restricting the needed amount of food, medical supplies, and materials for construction . [2] In the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan, kids are abducted from their houses, in violation of international law, and taken to violent police interrogations. [3]

You may have heard that during the past month, tent cities have sprung up all over the State of Israel. Israeli citizens are protesting against their government's unfair policies: tax benefits to the rich, lack of public housing, underinvestment in infrastructure, privatization of social services and more. However, although there may seem to be a revolutionary uprising in the Israeli public, modeled after the Arab Spring revolutions, one subject is taboo in the tents: there is no public call for the government to change its policies against Palestinians. Under the call for “revolutionary unification” in Israeli society, social justice does not extend to Palestinians living under Israel's occupation. [4]

The Palestinian call for boycott was placed by over 170 Palestinian civil society organizations of diaspora refugees, citizens of Israel and Palestinian under occupation and siege. It is not a boycott of individuals, but rather of institutions. Musicians and artists who decided to comply with the call of the oppressed, are responding to an indigenous call from the oppressed people living in the land governed by Israel.

As such, when you come to perform in Israel, you are not only crossing the picket line of a non-violent struggle for human-rights and liberation, you are also actively contributing to the normalization of a situation of quotidian apartheid policies.

In particular, the Pic.Nic festival is produced by Shuki Weiss, who has a special relationship with the Israeli establishment. Mr. Weiss attended Knesset meetings [5] which have led to draconian anti-democratic legislation to outlaw boycotts [6]. Under this law, promoted by Mr. Weiss, advocating for boycott is a criminal offense for Israeli citizens.

You have an opportunity to stand with the oppressed. Please don’t play in apartheid Israel, until it complies with international law, ends its brutal occupation, recognizes full equality for its Palestinian citizens and respects and protects the Palestinian refugee’s right of return to their homes and properties.


Assaf Kintzer
Dorothy Naor
Edo Medicks
Iris Hefets
Jonathan Pollak
Leiser Peles
Liad Kantorowicz
Neta Golan
Yael Kahn
Ofer Neiman
Oshra Bar
Renen Raz
Ronni Barkan
Leehee Rothschild
Shir Hever
Tal Shapira

[1] Let’s stand with Shireen Al-Araj and the courageous people of Al-Walaja http://mondoweiss.net/2011/07/lets-stand-with-shireen-al-araj-and-the-co...
[2] Guardian reporters experience first-hand Israeli efforts to intimidate Gaza fishermen and keep their fishing trips ever closer to shore http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/video/2011/jul/24/gaza-fishermen-israel-...
[3] Child Arrest in Silwan http://www.btselem.org/video/2011/05/child-arrest-silwan
[4] Tahrir Envy: An Anti-Occupation Activist’s First Thoughts on the Tent Protests in Israel, http://pulsemedia.org/2011/08/05/tahrir-envy-an-anti-occupation-activist...
[5] News from Chelm: Knesset discusses ways to pressure performers not to cancel concerts in Israel, http://maxblumenthal.com/tag/shuki-weiss/ (more from that meeting at http://pulsemedia.org/2011/02/14/the-macy-gray-effect/)
[6] European Union expresses concern over Israel's boycott law http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/european-union-expresses-c...