From Israeli Citizens - Mariza, please don’t sing for Israeli Apartheid
We are citizens of Israel, opposed to our government’s policies of oppression, occupation, apartheid, and ethnic cleansing against the indigenous Palestinian people . We write to ask you to respect the Palestinian civil society call , especially its cultural aspect , and to cancel your concert in Israel.
2021 was a turning point in the way the international community regards Israel’s repressive policies against the Palestinian people. This policy has been recognized as apartheid by leading global human rights groups, including the US-based Human Rights Watch , and Israeli human rights organization B'Tselem . As Israeli citizens, we witness this apartheid reality and its devastating consequences firsthand.
In recent years, Israel has been committing an ongoing massacre in the Gaza strip, with this year's seeing its onslaught in May 2021, killing hundreds of civilians, many of them children . This siege renders them prisoners of the biggest open-air prison in the world, which the United Nations has warned has become "unliveable" .
In the West Bank, Israel has been employing a brutal, belligerent military regime for the past 54 years, and expanding its colonial settlement project, which a recent report of The office of the United Nations High Commissioner of Human Rights has described as “pervasive and devastating [violations of human rights], reaching every facet of Palestinian life”, further listing numerous violations such as "restrictions on freedom of religion, movement and education; their rights to land and water; access to livelihoods and their right to an adequate standard of living; their rights to family life; and many other fundamental human rights." .
Within Israel itself, indigenous Palestinian citizens - 21% of the population - are subjected to over 65 laws denying them basic equality, civil, and human rights , culminating in its most recent act of legislation: the 'Nation-State Law', which enshrines apartheid into Israel's equivalent of a constitution .
This is just the tip of the iceberg, a short description of life for the millions of children, women, and men, who have been living under these ever-deteriorating policies for the past seven decades.
You may be asking yourself what this has to do with your concert. The Israeli government , including the Tel Aviv Municipality, is using performances by International artists to fend off criticism of Israel’s horrific violations of human rights and international law. Concerts such as yours are co-opted by Israel and used for distraction from these crimes. .
We note that precisely for this reason, an institutional cultural boycott was launched decades ago against apartheid South Africa. This campaign helped bring about freedom to millions of people. Moreover, artists who refused to cross the line and perform in South Africa have been recognized by history as major contributors in the struggle for a just world.
Numerous international artists who have realized this have pledged to not perform in Israel until it ends its illegal policies . This year, Palestinian artists and allies have issued a call addressed directly to fellow artists such as yourself They tell you, us and the whole world:
“We, the undersigned Palestinian artists, writers and our listed allies in the arts ask you to join us. Please don’t let this moment pass. If Palestinian voices are silenced again, it may take generations for another chance for freedom and justice to arise
We ask you to be brave. We ask you to come forward, speak up and take a clear public stand against this ongoing injustice in Palestine. Apartheid must be dismantled. No one is free until we are all free.
Mariza, Please do not ignore the growing global call to hold Israel accountable and to bring about full equality in human rights to all inhabitants of this land. Please cancel your concert in apartheid Israel!
We will gladly address any questions or comments you may have.
Boycott! Supporting the Palestinian BDS call from within