From Israeli Citizens to Steven Patrick Morrissey: Please Cancel Your Concert in Apartheid Israel


July 2016


From Israeli Citizens to Steven Patrick Morrissey: Please Cancel Your Concert in Apartheid Israel


We are Israeli citizens, opposed to the Israeli government’s policies of oppression, occupation, apartheid and ethnic cleansing against the indigenous Palestinian people [1]. Many of us are veteran human rights activists who have long worked against these policies. It's our long years of anti-racism advocacy that brought us to the understanding that the most effective way to stop the apartheid system is to deny its economic fuel and political legitimacy. Therefore, we strongly support the Palestinian civil society call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS), aimed at ending these actions [2]. We write to you to ask you to heed the call and cancel your concert in Israel in solidarity with millions of oppressed people who are asking for your support.


We are well aware that this is not your first concert in Israel, and that you've taken part in a Tel-Aviv display of glitz, receiving the keys to the city [3]. It seems appropriate, therefore, to mention that - much like Sun City in South Africa under the apartheid regime - the city of Tel Aviv is a tool for marketing the State of Israel as a "cool" and "cultured" democracy [4], while hiding a brutal history of colonization, even that of the city itself. Tel Aviv sits atop the ruins of several Palestinian villages, whose inhabitants had been killed or expelled during the Nakba, the ethnic cleansing that Zionist militias (later to become Israel's army) committed in 1948 [5].


This is just the tip of the iceberg of the Tel Aviv-Yafa story, in itself an emblem of the rest of Israel's apartheid regime. In Yafa Israel is employing gentrification, discriminatory funding and policing, treating Palestinians as second class citizens, as if economic and judicial discrimination were not destructive enough (50 laws discriminating against Palestinian citizens of Israel [6]). In the West Bank and Gaza, Israel is employing no less than a belligerent military regime, employing daily, systematic lethal force.


In the West Bank, just in the past year, over 230 Palestinians have been killed by Israel's armed forces and armed civilians, raising well-founded allegations of extrajudicial executions, by NGOs such as Amnesty International as well as global political figures. A fourth of those killed were children and minors. In addition, Israel is demolishing Palestinian homes en-masse (this also applies to the Palestinian Bedouin communities inside Israel). Military raids for the mass arrests of Palestinians are a daily routine, as well as the strangulating reality of checkpoints, closures, and curfews.


In the besieged Gaza strip, Israel has conducted several vicious mass bombing campaign, in the past 7 years. The latest, in 2014, resulted in over 2200 Palestinians massacred under Israel's use of enormous fire-power, over 500 of them children. 89 families were completely wiped out and 18,000 homes were destroyed or severely damaged. The fear of yet another onslaught is a constant in the lives of the residents of the besieged strip, exacerbated by Israel's routine firing at Palestinian farmers and fishermen, on a daily basis, and tanks making regular incursions into farming fields. [7]


We mention all this because in your past, you stood up against apartheid in South Africa, playing a benefit for Artist Against Apartheid with The Smiths, while also saying that you "abhor racism".


We therefore ask you to once again raise your voice against racism and to stand against it, not just with words, but with actions. Please cancel your concert in Israel.



Boycott! Supporting the Palestinian BDS Call from Within