Israelis to John Cleese: Please don't normalise Israel's war crimes

February 2019

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To John Cleese


We are citizens of Israel, opposed to our government’s policies of military occupation, apartheid, and ethnic cleansing against the indigenous Palestinian people [1]. We write to ask you to respect the Palestinian civil society call to boycott Israel [2], especially its cultural aspect [3]. Please hear us out.


We must admit that your performance in a militaristic advertisement for an Israeli chocolate company, six years ago, has taken us aback. However we hope that in the time that has elapsed since then, you've had an opportunity to learn more deeply about Israel's systematic and daily war crimes, and the calls to end their normalisation.


Since late March, Israel has been committing an ongoing massacre in the Gaza strip, of unarmed protesters who are calling for an end to the 11-year-long siege that Israel has imposed on them. This siege renders them prisoners of the biggest open-air prison in the world. In the past six months, in Gaza alone, Israel killed over 250 Palestinians and injured over 31,000, including children, medics, and journalists [4].

In the West Bank, Israel has been employing a brutal, belligerent military regime for the past 50 years, 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”, further listing numerous violations such as "restrictions on freedom of religion, movement and education; their rights to land and water; access to livelihoods and their right to an adequate standard of living; their rights to family life; and many other fundamental human rights." [5].

Within Israel itself, Palestinian citizens - 21% of the population - are subjected to over 65 laws denying them basic equality, and civil and human rights [6], culminating in the 'Nation-State Law', which enshrines apartheid into Israel's equivalent of a constitution [7].


This is just the tip of the iceberg, and doesn’t even begin to describe what life is like for the millions of children, women and men who have been living under these ever-deteriorating policies for the past seven decades.


Mr. Cleese, the Palestinian people ask for one thing- that the people of the world won't normalise Israel's violations of their most basic human rights. It is in solidarity with them, and with a moral obligation to them that we ask you to respect their call. Please cancel your show in Israel.


Boycott! Supporting the Palestinian BDS call from within
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