Dear Dionne Warwick,
We are citizens of Israel who oppose our government’s policies of colonialism, military occupation, and apartheid against the Palestinian people . We write to you in support of the Palestinian call for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israeli institutions , and specifically the call for artists to refrain from playing in Israel at this time . We would like to make sure that you are aware of all the moral implications of performing here. We ask that you cancel your gig at the Menora Arena in Tel Avivon 19.5.15.
We understand that some of your concert proceeds will be donated to Variety-Israel. While we, of course, have no objections to such positive endeavours, we cannot ignore the fact that Israel's conduct towards Palestinian children with special needs has been consistently shameful.
It has been documented many times over that Israel’s army harasses, detains, and imprisons children with special needs in the occupied West Bank. Recent incidents- such as the detention of two children near the Jenin refugee camp, as recently as this January  and the assault of a teenager in the same area last month ; An 11 year old boy, handcuffed, blindfolded, and forced into a military jeep by the army as settlers yell racial slurs, last year - show that this is common practice, as indicated by the conclusions of a Defence for Children International/Palestine Section report  about Israel’s practices of torture of Palestinian children, from 2013, stating:
“considering the severe mental pain or suffering solitary confinement may cause when used as a punishment, during pretrial detention, indefinitely or for a prolonged period, for juveniles or persons with mental disabilities, it can amount to torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment."
In besieged Gaza, developmentally disabled children and youths are also not spared Israel’s brutal military policies, as incidents of bombing and shooting have shown. In 2011, 17 year old Sa’d Majdalawai’s chest was riddled with 10 bullets . The youth had suffered from mental disability and a speech impairment. Furthermore, in a separate incident that year, a mentally disabled Palestinian child was shelled to death .
Within Israel, discrimination against mentally disabled Palestinian children is inherent to a system which discriminates against Palestinians in general :
“The 'compound discrimination' faced by Arab and Bedouin children with special needs violates Israel’s duties pursuant to Article 23 of the CRC, which calls on state parties to ensure that “mentally or physically disabled child should enjoy a full and decent life, in conditions which ensure dignity, promote self-reliance and facilitate the child’s active participation in the community”. The inadequate provision of resources and the multiple obstacles to accessing information and care for disabled Arab children greatly impedes their right to the highest quality assistance possible, and thus preserves their status as one of the most vulnerable groups in Israel.”
A recent egregious example of such systematic discrimination is the turning of a kindergarten for Arab-Palestinian children with special needs into a Jewish-only school, without prior notice, in the city of Lod.
All these are just the tip of the iceberg, when trying to describe the lives of the most vulnerable of the Palestinian people. We hope it serves as a prism through which you may understand how Israel implements racial discrimination, apartheid, military means and colonialism against the entire Palestinian people.
We hope that you reconsider your concert in Israel, in accordance with the called by the General Union of Disabled Palestinians, the Local Committee for Rehabilitation of the Disabled in the Dheishe refugee camp in Bethlehem, and the Local Committee for the Rehabilitation of the Disabled in Nablus, among over 170 other Palestinian civil society organisations who call on the international community to stand with them in solidarity and join the BDS campaign.
BOYCOTT! Supporting the Palestinian Call for BDS from Within