Dear Catherine Ringer,
We are a group of Israeli citizens, active against Israel's policies of racism, occupation and apartheid practiced by successive Israeli governments with the support of Israeli institutions (1). Many of us are the descendants of Holocaust survivors, and our lesson from our own history is one of universal human rights.
One of the institutions complicit in Israel's occupation and apartheid is the Barby Club in Tel Aviv, at which you are scheduled to perform on December 19. We appeal to you to stand on the right side of history, reject apartheid and cancel your performance.
As noted by our Palestinians partners, during Israel’s 2014 attack on Gaza, in which more than 2,200 Palestinians were killed, including more than 500 children, the Barby club produced and distributed free t-shirts to armed, uniformed Israeli forces with the club’s logo and the words “Fuck you, we’re from Israel”. (2)
In general, Israeli uses international performances by artists such as yourself for propaganda and whitewashing purposes. We note the words of a former Israeli government official who said: "We are seeing culture as a hasbara tool of the first rank, and I do not differentiate between hasbara and culture". (3)
Israel's cruel siege and relentless attack continue in the Gaza enclave, the world's largest open-air prison, where two million Palestinians, mostly refugees, suffer under Israel’s 12-year siege. 34 Palestinians, including an entire family of eight, were killed in last month's Israeli onslaught, just a short drive from Barby club. Barby’s shameless celebration of ongoing Israeli war crimes is only the one in many glaring example of its complicity in Israel’s politics of apartheid and military occupation.
Though Israel’s oppression against Palestinians is by now decades old, today Palestinians face an emergency. Emboldened by unprecedented levels of support from the Trump administration, Israel has entrenched apartheid against Palestinians with Israeli citizenship, shot thousands of unarmed protesters in the Gaza Strip, and pledged to annex the occupied West Bank.
The institutional cultural boycott of Israel is a nonviolent and anti-racist, initiated by the Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. It is now supported by numerous artists all over the world, and by more than one thousand Israeli citizens.
We believe that a performance in Tel Aviv by Les Rita Mitsouko would be morally equivalent to a performance in apartheid South Africa. As far as we kniw, you did not play in South Africa at the time. We urge you to cancel your shows in apartheid Israel. We ask you to cancel your Tel Aviv perfoormance
Boycott! Supporting the Palestinian BDS Call from Within (Israeli citizens for BDS)