From Israeli citizens to Morten, Magne and Paul - members of A-ha - Please do not legitimize Israel’s apartheid
Dear Morten, Magne and Paul,
We are Israeli citizens, opposed to the Israeli government’s policies of oppression, occupation, apartheid and ethnic cleansing against the indigenous Palestinian people . Many of us are veteran human rights activists who have long worked against these policies. Our long years of activism have brought us to the understanding that the most effective way to stop the apartheid system is to deny it economic fuel and political legitimacy. Therefore, we strongly support the Palestinian civil society call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS), aimed at ending these actions . We write to you to ask you to heed this call and cancel your concert in Israel.
We would like to start by saying that Tel Aviv, where you are about to perform, is often used as a facade for branding Israel as a “cool” and “cultured” democracy, just like Sun City South Africa under the apartheid regime . A Major part of this facade involves the invitation of international artists to play in Tel Aviv, and the use of these concerts for official Israeli propaganda. All this is done while hiding a brutal history of colonization and ethnic cleansing. Tel Aviv sits atop the ruins of several Palestinian villages, whose inhabitants had been killed or expelled during the Nakba— the ethnic cleansing that Zionist-Israeli militias committed in 1948 .
More generally, within Israel itself, Palestinian citizens are subjected to a growing system of apartheid, with 50 laws denying them basic human rights, which their fellow Jewish citizens get to enjoy .
In the West Bank and Gaza, Israel is employing no less than a belligerent military regime, applying daily, systematic force. In the West Bank, just in the past year and a half, hundreds of Palestinian children, women, and men have been killed by Israel's armed forces, raising well-founded allegations of extrajudicial executions, by NGOs such as Amnesty International as well as global political figures . A fourth of those killed have been children and minors. Furthermore, military raids for the mass arrests of Palestinians are a daily routine, as well as the strangulating reality of checkpoints, closures, and curfews.
Gaza, today, is still under a belligerent siege. Two million people, over 50% of whom are children, are crammed into 365 square kilometres, with power outages of up to 18-22 hours a day. 95% of the water is undrinkable, civilian infrastructure have been devastated, including hospitals, schools, places of worship and other institutions. Over 40% of the workforce are unemployed, and 80% of the population rely on humanitarian aid to cover their very basic needs, including food, basic education, basic health care, shelter, blankets, mattress, or cooking stoves. The UN has declared that by 2020 -- Gaza will become 'unlivable' – which shows that there are effectively not enough resources for people to survive. Israel's restrictions on movement trap the population inside, without recourse to better living conditions .
Morten, we know that in 2008 you, along with the Norwegian Refugee Council, visited the miserable refugee camps of Dadaab in Kenya, where 250,000 people were living in gigantic camps . Therefore, we would like to inform you that the Israeli cabinet approved a new law aiming to deport tens of thousands of African asylum seekers back to Africa under the threat of indefinite detention. These moves are brutal violations of human rights . We know that after you visited the refugee camp in Kenya, you said that it’s a privilege being able to use your celebrity status for something that matters. Morten, you said: “We have to use the energy we are given, and then there’s nothing better than being able to reach out to others”. In another interview, with The Guardian, you also said that you’re not an entertainer, you’re an engager. Hence, we urge you to engage, and use your voice to reach out to others.
Please do not take part in Apartheid. Please cancel your show in Tel Aviv.
Boycott! Supporting the BDS call from within