Manzarek and Krieger of the Doors, honor your humane legacy and cancel your show in Israel


Feb 19, 2011
Dear Ray Manzarek and Robby Krieger of The Doors,
We are a group of Israeli citizens who support the human rights-based Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) [1]. We learned with dismay about your July 5th 2011 scheduled performance in Tel-Aviv, thus undermining a growing international movement to end Israel's impunity and promote a just solution that respects human rights and international law in Palestine\Israel.
As alumni of a rock band which has been subjected itself to police brutality and was against the Vietnam war, it seems particularly disappointing to us that you lend your voice and image to sustain and promote a “business as usual” attitude towards occupation, apartheid and ethnic cleansing. Your performance in Tel-Aviv is scheduled just days before the 6th anniversary of the Palestinian United Call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel until it complies with international law and universal principles of human rights [2]. The BDS Call is inspired by a similar campaign of the indigenous people of South Africa against the apartheid regime there. Since the BDS campaign was launched in 2005 many international artists and public figures have acknowledged the parallels between these two colonial conflicts – including the importance of boycott initiatives to both struggles. Among those who have expressed support for the Palestinian BDS Call and campaign are prominent activist Archbishop Desmond Tutu, South-African Artists Against Apartheid [3], Creative Workers Union of South Africa, the international alliance Artists Against Apartheid [4], Dave Randall [5] and Maxi Jazz of Faithless, Robert Del Naja of Massive Attack [6], filmmakers Ken Loach and Mike Leigh [8], 500 Montreal artists [9] and over 200 Irish artists [10].
Surely you are aware of some of the violations of international law committed by Israel against the Palestinian people. In 2008-2009 Israel launched a vicious attack against the besieged 1.5 million residents of the Gaza Strip, killing over 1434 people [11] (including 434 children) and wounding thousands while targeting mostly civilians and destroying homes of thousands of people. Israel performed numerous war crimes and crimes against humanity in that attack, as investigated by the UN Fact Finding Mission headed by Justice Richard Goldstone. Among those crimes described by Justice Goldstone is the siege on Gaza itself, which remains intact to this day, preventing all air, sea and ground movement of people; restricting severely imports into the Strip and banning exports almost completely. Lately, former Israeli chief of staff Ashkenazi handed over to his successor the “Gaza book of targets”, as Israeli air strikes and incursions continue to kill and execute Gaza civilians without trial [12]. Nonetheless, Israel has not yet faced sanctions from world governments and official international bodies for its disregard of international law. It is only civil society, primarily through the framework of BDS, that is acting today to hold Israel accountable.
In 2004 the international court of Justice in The Hague ruled that the Israeli-built West Bank separation wall, which annexes vast Palestinian land and most of East Jerusalem - is illegal. Yet, Israel has not dismantled it and is on the course of completing its construction, a process that typically involves uprooting Palestinian olive trees and destroying homes and orchards.
Palestinians inside the West Bank are also kept under sieges of sorts, which deny them free movement outside their “confined areas” by checkpoints and the separation wall. While this means they could not come to your show, this also has the much graver effect of a suffocating economic repression, as UN Special Rapporteur Richard Falk comments on the final report of his mandate (22 October 2010) [13]. While Jewish settlers enjoy their privileged status as citizens of the state and can travel freely in and out of the West Bank, sometimes in their own designated roads (for Israeli citizens only), Palestinians living in the same areas are governed by a military regime and subjected to a poorly standardized military legal system designed to keep them repressed. Palestinian demonstrations are violently attacked by the Israeli army, killing dozens, and wounding, maiming and imprisoning hundreds in just a few years. House and sometimes entire village demolitions are used as another repression mechanism against the West Bank's Palestinian population. Settlers' violence against Palestinians enjoys the protection of both the state and army, and is thus encouraged by them [14].
Inside proper Israel the 1.2 million Palestinian citizens of Israel face institutionalized racial discrimination implemented by over two dozen laws [15]. By this Israel commits what is universally recognized as the crime of apartheid. While dozens of new Jewish communities and towns were established since the formation of the state, not one Palestinian new community or town was allowed to be built. Instead, Israel repeatedly destroys the villages and houses of the indigenous population of the Naqab [16] (Negev), Lyd [17](Lod) and other communities. Israel has neglected its Palestinian citizens in all social areas: education, health, transportation, municipal services, etc. As a whole, they are unequivocally the poorest citizens of a state which excludes them by its very definition and structure as a “Jewish state”.
During the 1948 Israeli ethnic cleansing of Palestine [18] Israel expelled 800,000 Palestinians and took over their houses and properties. Until this very day most of the Palestinian people are refugees. Many live in refugee camps in the West Bank, Gaza and in other Middle East countries, awaiting their international law-anchored and UN sanctioned return and compensation, which are forcefully withheld by Israel.
As was in the case of white South-Africans, most Israelis believe today that complying with the Palestinian basic demands “will be the end of us”. The lessons from South-Africa, however, are to the contrary. White people there do not enjoy the privileged legal and institutional status by the state as they used to, but they still, by and large - especially in economic terms - form the elite and upper classes of society, far from fitting into the nightmare scenarios of being “kicked out to the sea” as many Israelis would put it. What the BDS Call specifies are in fact minimal requirements: to end the 1967 occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, to cancel the apartheid inside Israel, and to respect and promote the right of return and compensation for the refugees.
The BDS Call was issued by over 170 civil society organizations of all three parts of the Palestinian people: refugees, citizens of Israel and West Bank and Gaza residents. It received the support of almost the entire community [19] of Palestinian cultural workers. Many international artists cancelled their performances in Israel in response to BDS appeals, including Elvis Costello [20], the Pixies, actors Meg Ryan and Dustin Hoffman, American poet and musician Gil Scott-Heron and Mexican American rock guitarist Carlos Santana.
We hope you will not ignore this so acutely needed initiative and cancel your show in Israel.
Ayala Shani
Rachel Giora
Ohal Grietzer
Ofer Neiman
Oshra Bar
Iris Hefets
Neta Golan
Ofra Ben Artzi
Joseph Dana
Jonatan Stanczak
Jonathan Pollak
Leehee Rothschild
Dorothy Naor
Gal Lugassi
Connie Hackbarth
Sahar Vardi
Adi Dagan
Haggai Matar
David Nir
Renen Raz
Tal Shapira
Edo Medicks
Naama Farjoun
On behalf of
Boycott! Supporting the Palestinian BDS Call from within