From Israeli Citizens to Carlos Santana: Don’t Walk into the Israeli Government’s Propaganda Trap!



July 2016

From Israeli Citizens to Carlos Santana: Don’t Walk into the Israeli Government’s Propaganda Trap!


We are Israeli citizens, opposed to our government’s policies of occupation, apartheid and ethnic cleansing [1]. Many of us are veteran human rights activists who have long worked against these policies and for Palestinian freedom. We strongly support the Palestinian civil society call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) [2], aimed at ending these policies. We have come to the conclusion that international involvement is necessary in order to end our government’s war crimes and violations of Palestinian human rights.  


We were surprised by your decision to perform in Israel, and we call on you to reconsider it.


Seeing a recent clip announcing your concert, produced in cooperation with StandWithUs (SWU) and Creative Community for Peace (CCFP), we believe that you have been steered into collaboration with the Israeli government’s propaganda arm. We would like to explain why both SWU and CCFP use the language of peace to promote Israel’s aforementioned policies of occupation, apartheid, and ethnic cleansing.


By now, it is probably clear to you that Creative Community for Peace and StandWithUs are closely affiliated. So closely that, in fact, they are one and the same organization [3] - an organization which is being paid by the Israeli government “to push the government’s political line... via social media” [4], according to Israel’s Haaretz newspaper. We know, from past cases involving well-meaning international artists invited to perform here in Israel, that it is very easy to be misled by the Israeli government’s language of “peace”. International artists such as yourself are repeatedly told by representatives and supporters of the Israeli government, such as SWU and CCFP, that a concert in Israel promotes peace. This, we are afraid, is patently false, and so is the claim that this organization (under whichever name) works for peace.


StandWithUs’ mission statement claims that their goal is to “ensure that the story of Israel’s achievements and ongoing challenges is told” [5]. They have fulfilled this mission through dehumanising Palestinians [6], denying their legitimate rights, such as the right of return and through misrepresentation of their plight such as claiming that Palestinian citizens of Israel have equal rights [7] when in fact Israel has over 50 laws that directly discriminate against them on the basis of ethnicity [8].


While “Peace” headlines the organization’s fictitious business name, and the use of the word features more prominently, CCFP’s goal is stated clearly: “...dedicated to promoting the arts as a means to peace and to countering the cultural boycott of Israel”.


As anti-apartheid activists, we often use art as a means to communicate a message of peace, justice, and an end to Israel’s apartheid and military occupation. Such art puts many of us – and Palestinian artists even more so- at risk of funding cuts [9], police indictments [10], and even prison [11].


It is deeply cynical, to say the least, that the people who make up CCFP [12] would label their attempts to break a civil society picket line - drawn by victims of colonization, belligerent military occupation, and ethnic cleansing - as an act of peace or art. It would be an act of peace, if these organizations supported Palestinian and dissenting artists, who criticize the state that steals Palestinian land for illegal Jewish settlements, destroys Palestinian homes, imprisons and tortures Palestinians by the thousands, including children, imposes a cruel and illegal siege on the people of Gaza, and countless other human rights abuses.


SWU and CCFP have nothing to do with peace, but do have much in common with Israel’s Ministry of Culture, which is now cutting funds to dissenting artists and redirecting the money to Israel’s illegal colonies in the West Bank [13].


In view of the facts presented here, and considering your record as a consistent human rights and human dignity advocate, we strongly believe that your association with right-wing, racist groups, directly affiliated with the Israeli government, would tarnish your reputation and undermine your image as an advocate of human rights. Furthermore, since any performance of an artist of your stature in Israel right now is used for apartheid propaganda purposes, we call on you to postpone your performance to a time when justice and equality, rather than apartheid, are the foundations of the government here.




Boycott! Supporting the Palestinian BDS Call from Within







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