Dear Ringo Starr,
We are citizens of Israel, opposed to our government’s policies of oppression, occupation, apartheid, and ethnic cleansing against the indigenous Palestinian people . Many of us are veteran human rights activists who have long worked against these policies. Our long years of activism have brought us to the understanding that the most effective way to stop the apartheid system is to deny it 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 . We write to you to ask that you respect this call and cancel your concert in Israel, in solidarity with millions of oppressed people who are also asking for your support.
We would like to start off by saying that much like Sun City in South Africa under the apartheid regime, the city of Tel Aviv, where you are about to perform, is used as a tool for marketing the State of Israel as a "cool" and "cultured" democracy , while hiding a brutal history of colonization, even that of the city itself. Tel Aviv sits atop the ruins of the Palestinian villages Al Mas’udyia, al-Jammasin al-Gharbi, al-Shaykh Muwannis, Salama, and what was known as The Fisherman's Village . The inhabitants of these communities were killed or expelled during the Nakba, the ethnic cleansing that Zionist militias (later to become Israel's army) committed in 1948 .
This is just the tip of the iceberg of the “Tel Aviv-Jaffa” story , in itself an emblem of the rest of Israel's apartheid regime. While Tel Aviv flourishes as Israel’s “beautiful face”, Jaffa suffers double the infant mortality rate , gentrification, with over 500 families facing forced eviction, discriminatory building permit and social funding policies, heightened policing based on the racial profiling of Palestinians, and an erasure of Palestinian culture.
In the West Bank, just in the past year and a half, over 380 Palestinian children, women, and men 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 campaigns 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 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.
In addition, we would like to inform you that Israel is engaging in a belligerent Apartheid regime, where there are over 1.7 million indigenous Palestinians citizens of Israel, who make up over 20% of the population, and are subject to a system of over 60 discriminatory laws . Individual-based separation of families is a fundamental method of displacement , along with decades-long processes of systematic impoverishment, de-development, gentrification, and ghettoisation .
We are available for any questions you may have.
Boycott! Supporting the Palestinian BDS call from within