From Israeli citizens to Celine Byrne

December 2017
Dear Celine Byrne,
We are citizens of Israel, opposed to our government’s policies of oppression, occupation, apartheid, and ethnic cleansing against the indigenous Palestinian people. Our long years of anti-racist activism have brought us to the understanding that the most effective way to stop the apartheid system in Israel is to boycott it. Therefore, we strongly support the indigenous Palestinian call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS), aimed at ending the apartheid regime through a nonviolent strategy.


We write to you, asking that you respect the Palestinian call and cancel your concerts in Israel.


We would like to note the continuous human rights violations perpetrated by Israel in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem, many of which amount to war crimes under international law:


In the past two years, Israel has executed over 400 Palestinians in the streets of Israeli cities or the West Bank, a fourth of them children, the majority of them youth. There are over 6000 Palestinian prisoners in Israel's prisons at any given time. It is estimated that in the past two years 14,000 Palestinians have been imprisoned (that's 20 new prisoners every day on average). The average number of child prisoners is between 250-300 at any given time, while the number of prisoners interned without charge, trial, or release date, is currently approximately 450. All Palestinian prisoners- children, women, the sick and the elderly included- in Israel's prisons are subjected to systemic ill-treatment, arbitrary fines, medical neglect, beatings and torture. 

Israel's demolitions of Palestinian homes have doubled in 2016, leaving over a thousand people homeless, over half of them children. Meanwhile, Israel has green-lighted thousands more settler housing projects. There are currently almost half a million Israelis colonizing larges parts of the West Bank, and carving it up into Palestinian enclaves. It has been reported that approximately a half of the settlers are fairly new immigrants with foreign nationality, while almost 3 million indigenous Palestinians are under Israel's tight military control.


Gaza is under its 11th year of debilitating siege. Two million people- over 50% of them children- crammed into less than 365 square kilometers, with power outages for up to several days at a time in some areas. 96% of the water is undrinkable. Civilian infrastructure- including hospitals (which often run on emergency generators, leaving hundreds under the threat of immediate death), schools, places of worship, businesses, and institutions- has been devastated. Over 40% of the population are unemployed (60% unemployed youth, 17 being the average age in the strip). Over 80% of the population rely on humanitarian aid to cover their very basic needs, including food (which in June 2017, the UN reported it significantly decreased for lack of funds), basic education, basic health care, shelter, blankets, mattresses, and cooking stoves. 

The UN has declared in July 2017 that despite its public predictions that Gaza will be 'unliveable' (meaning that there will effectively not be enough resources for people to survive) by 2020, it has in fact been unliveable for years. 

Israel's restrictions on movement trap the population inside this unliveable area, without recourse to search for better living conditions than it is providing, while Israel militarily attacks civilians and civilian infrastructure on a daily basis.


There are over 1.7 million indigenous Palestinian citizens of Israel (within Israel). Massive displacement of whole communities is fast becoming a legal norm, while the individual-based separation of families remains the fundamental method of displacement, along with decades-long processes of systematic impoverishment, de-development, gentrification, and ghettoisation. Israel continues to pass new discriminatory laws at a dizzying pace, and restructure the over-60 existing ones. Persecution of Palestinian political parties, parliamentarians, civil servants and human rights defenders escalates, while Israeli-Jewish politicians and public figures continue their unabated incitement to genocide against the indigenous Palestinian minority, with brutal results often meted out by Israeli civilians as well as armed forces.


We are aware this is a lot of information to take in, so we invite you to continue the conversation with us. You can also take a look at the list of resources. As lives of millions hang on decisions of artists such as yourself, we hope you give these words serious consideration.   



Boycott! Supporting the Palestinian BDS Call from Within