From Israeli Citizens to Alice In Chains: Please don’t legitimize Israel’s apartheid and Gaza massacre!
Dear Jerry Cantrell, Mike Inez, Sean Kinney and Willian DuVall,
We are a group of Israeli citizens, opposed to our government’s policies of oppression, occupation, apartheid, and ethnic cleansing against the indigenous Palestinian people . We have learned of your upcoming concerts in Israel this month. We write to you now as our government is committing an ongoing massacre against the population of Gaza, and attempting to whitewash it with art and culture, and as more and more international artists are taking a stand against this, including a wave of solidarity statements from Portishead, Viggo Mortensen, Ken Loach and Young Fathers, to name a few.
As Israeli citizens, we join this list of artists who oppose Israel’s policies of oppression, occupation, apartheid, and ethnic cleansing against the indigenous Palestinian people. Our years of activism have brought us to the understanding that the most effective way to stop these policies, is to support the Palestinian civil society call for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS), aimed at ending this injustice . That’s why we’re asking you to heed the call and cancel your concert in Israel.
We note that in the besieged Gaza strip, Israel is committing an ongoing massacre, and has conducted several vicious mass bombing campaigns in the past 9 years. The latest, in 2014, resulted in over 2200 Palestinians killed by Israel's use of enormous fire-power, over 500 of them children. Eighty nine families were completely wiped out and 18,000 homes were destroyed or severely damaged . Currently, Israel is committing massacres against unarmed Palestinian protesters every week, Palestinian refugees who are leading a heroic struggle for liberation and historic justice . Israel is depriving Palestinian children, in Gaza and elsewhere of their childhood and of their future . Israel is not only putting the Palestinians under siege, but also detains them without charge or trial .
We also note that Tel Aviv, where you surely will be invited to spend your time, is used as a facade for branding Israel as a ‘cool’ and ‘cultured’ democracy, just like Sun City in South Africa under the apartheid regime . Tel Aviv’s flagship role in the campaign is an attempt to hide a brutal history of colonization and ethnic cleansing. Tel Aviv sits atop the ruins of several Palestinian villages, whose inhabitants were killed or expelled during the Nakba— the ethnic cleansing that Zionist-Israeli militias committed in 1948 .
There is a clear link between Tel Aviv’s history and the ongoing Israeli violations of human rights and international law. The Gaza strip is just a one-hour drive away. And less than an hour away in the other direction - the occupied West Bank - hundreds of Palestinian children, women, and men have been killed by Israeli armed forces and armed Israeli settlers in the past three years, raising well-founded allegations of a policy of extrajudicial executions, by NGOs such as Amnesty International as well as global political figures . In addition, Israel is demolishing Palestinian homes en-masse, and the imminent demolition of the whole village of Khan El-Ahmar and the expulsion of its residents is a glaring example of a systematic policy of ethnic cleansing .
Within Israel itself, Palestinian citizens are subjected to a growing system of discrimination, with over 60 laws denying them basic equality and civil rights . Persecution of Palestinian political parties is also escalating , and Israeli public officials' blood libels against the Palestinian population are a matter of course . Furthermore, similarly to the situation in the West Bank, the State of Israel is committing systematic house demolitions of Palestinian Bedouin communities inside Israel .
Furthermore, as to Israel’s horrific violation of Palestinian children’s rights , we note that the UN Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict had recommended adding Israel to an official list of grave offenders against children’s rights, including imprisonment, torture, sexual abuse, injury, and murder, .
Last year you held a charity auction in honor of Chris Cornell and Chester Bennington, to raise awareness to suicide. We’d like to point out that Palestinians in Gaza live in constant despair, depression and loss, and a local NGO, We Are Not Numbers, noted as many 80 suicides a month, an increase of 160 per cent compared to previous years. In some neighbourhoods, suicides have become a weekly occurrence, attributing the dramatically increasing rate to the effects of Israel’s siege and its repercussions .
In view of Israel's horrific policies against the Palestinian people, which more and more scholars believe amount to a genocide , we ask you to take the path of justice! We ask you to stand against Israel’s crimes and its attempts to whitewash them exploiting distinguished musicians such as yourselves. Please cancel your concert in Apartheid Israel!
We will gladly address any questions or comments you may have.
Boycott! Supporting the Palestinian BDS Call from Within (aka Boycott from Within)