From Israeli Citizens: Dear Oud Festival Performers, Palestinian Music Lovers Will Not Be Allowed to See Your Concert in Apartheid Israel!

An appeal from Israeli citizens to musicians scheduled to perform at the Jerusalem Oud Festival, November 2012

Dear Oud Festival Performers,

We are a group of Israeli citizens 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 sure that you are talented musicians, and we would love the opportunity to attend your show, but at this time we are asking you to reconsider your planned performances in Jerusalem.

Israel's attempts to mask systematic human-rights abuses and decades-long oppression against the Palestinians largely rely on its ability to maintain a progressive and democratic image in the eyes of the international community. Israel often promotes itself as "the only Democracy in the Middle East". However, Israel's apartheid policies are inherent even to something as seemingly light-hearted and joyous as a music show: Palestinian fans of your music living in the West Bank, in a land governed by Israel, are under martial-law and will not be permitted to come to Jerusalem and enjoy your performance, and the same goes for Palestinians living in Gaza under Israeli siege.

The Palestinian people are denied some of the most elementary freedoms: the freedom of movement, the freedom to access their stolen agricultural land and the freedom to protest without facing life threatening violence: When they demonstrate against the Israeli government, they face brutal treatment[2]. Their relatives in the Gaza strip (44% of which are children under the age of 14) live under a brutal siege restricting the needed amount of food, medical supplies, and materials for construction [3]. In the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan, 10 minutes away from where you are scheduled to perform, kids are abducted from their houses in violation of international law and taken to violent police interrogations. [4]

The Palestinian call for boycott was issued by over 170 Palestinian civil society organizations of diaspora refugees, citizens of Israel and Palestinians under occupation and siege. It is not a boycott of individuals, but rather of institutions. Musicians and artists who have decided to comply with the call of the oppressed, are responding to an indigenous call from the oppressed people living under Israeli control.

You have an opportunity to stand with the oppressed. Please do not cross the picket line of a non-violent struggle for human-rights and liberation. Please do not contribute to the normalization of daily apartheid policies.

We are asking you not to play in apartheid Israel, until it complies with international law, ends its brutal occupation, recognizes full equality for its Palestinian citizens and respects the rights of Palestinian refugees, according to international law and UN resolutions.



BOYCOTT! Supporting the Palestinian BDS Call from Within

[1] BOYCOTT! Supporting the Palestinian BDS Call from Within,

[2] Let’s stand with Shireen Al-Araj and the courageous people of Al-Walaja :

[3] Guardian reporters experience first-hand Israeli efforts to intimidate Gaza fishermen and keep their fishing trips ever closer to shore :     

[4] Child Arrest in Silwan :