From Israeli citizens to musicians scheduled to perform at the Jerusalem Oud Festival: Please do not contribute to the normalization of daily apartheid policies

October 2018




To: Oud Festival Participants,


We are a group of citizens of Israel who support the Palestinian call for Boycott, Divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israeli institutions until Israel complies with international law and universal principles of human-rights [1]. We are opposed to our government’s policies of oppression, occupation, apartheid, and ethnic cleansing against the indigenous Palestinian people. We are asking you to reconsider your planned performances in Jerusalem.


As we speak, Israel commits an ongoing massacre against unarmed civilian protesters in Gaza [2], while attempting to mask systematic human-rights abuses and decades-long oppression against the Palestinians.


We find it grotesquely ironic that the Ministry of Culture, that's hard at work shutting down indigenous Palestinian culture [3], is the sponsor of a festival so central to traditional Palestinian culture, while never addressing the indigenous Palestinian identity.

We also find it grotesque that in the invitation for the Jerusalem Oud Festival [4], the Mayor of Jerusalem, refers to Jerusalem as Israel's "eternal capital", which isn't only a colonialist erasure of its indigenous Palestinian heritage [5], but also an de-facto annexation of a territory where Israel's sovereignty is unrecognised internationally [6].

It behooves us to also mention here that Nir Barkat is personally responsible for systematic and discriminatory policies of gross underfunding of social services for Palestinians under his mayoral jurisdiction, restrictions on their movement, militarized hostility towards them, house demolitions, and settlement construction on indigenous property. All of which amount to forced transfer according to Human Rights Watch [7].


In the West Bank, Israel has been employing a brutal, belligerent military regime, and expanding its colonial settlement project, which a recent report of The office of the United Nations High Commissioner of Human Rights has described as “pervasive and devastating [violations of human rights], reaching every facet of Palestinian life” [8]. In fact, just 15 minutes away from the festival venue, a brutal war crime, the demolition of the Palestinian village of Khan Al Ahmar and the forcible expulsion of its inhabitants is about to take place [9].


Within Israel itself, Palestinian citizens are subjected to over 65 laws denying them basic equality, civil, and human rights [10], culminating in its most recent act of legislation: the 'Nation-State Law', which enshrines Israel’s discrimination into its equivalent of a constitution [11].


Along with the ongoing colonization of the West Bank, Israel is Judaizing parts of Israel that have large Palestinian populations in them, Jerusalem being at the forefront of that effort in a prolonged process [12].


Back in 1968, Teddy Kollek, former mayor of Jerusalem said: "The object is to ensure that all of Jerusalem remains forever a part of Israel. If this city is to be our capital, then we have to make it an integral part of our country, and we need Jewish inhabitants to do that” [13], showing that Israel’s attempts to Judaize Jerusalem have been ongoing for years.


Lastly, Israel denies Palestinian refugees their right to return to their homeland, in contravention of  international law and resolutions [14], while continuing to seize their land, and expel them from their homes.


It is for all this that we ask you to stand in solidarity with the indigenous Palestinian people, stand on the right side of history, and say ׳no׳ to the whitewashing of apartheid through music, and to Israel’s cultural appropriation of indigenous Arab and Palestinian music. We hope you will join a rising wave [15] of international artists who are refusing to lend their art to Israel's occupation, apartheid and war crimes. Please do not contribute to the normalization of daily apartheid policies.



BOYCOTT! Supporting the Palestinian BDS Call from Within