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22 January 2013

Ky-Mani Marley: Get Up Stand Up Against Israeli Apartheid!

We at the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) are deeply troubled to learn that you are scheduled to perform in Tel Aviv on February 20, 2013. [1] We are writing to urge you to refrain from playing in apartheid Israel and not to condone Israel’s violations of international law and human rights against the Palestinian people. 
 
As a reggae artist, and son of the legendary singer Bob Marley who’s “Songs of Freedom” continue to inspire millions of people struggling against the inhuman forces of racist oppression, we ask you not to turn a blind eye to Israel’s brutal colonial and apartheid system. You may not know this but for over 60 years Palestinians have faced one of the most pernicious systems of radicalized oppression. The state of Israel was created in 1948 by systematically dispossessing and ethnically cleansing more than 750,000 Palestinian people in order to form a supremacist Jewish state; Israel has denied Palestinian refugees their internationally recognized right to return to their homes and their lands. Israel also continues to expel people from their homes in Jerusalem and the Naqab (Negev). Today, there are more than 7 million Palestinian refugees still struggling for their right to return to their homes, like all refugees around the world.
 
Palestinians in the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) and Gaza Strip live under a repressive and increasingly violent military occupation. Gaza has been turned by Israel into the world’s largest open-air prison, denying basic access to construction materials, education, healthcare, basic foodstuffs and other basic rights. Through its siege on Gaza, Israel has enforced a “caloric diet” that allows “for subsistence without the development of malnutrition,” essentially limiting the amount of food permitted into the occupied strip of land, and strangling and starving an entire people in a policy of collective punishment.[2] Meanwhile in the West Bank, the Israeli occupation regime continues to construct its apartheid wall – declared illegal by the international court of justice in 2004 – and to encircle Palestinians through a network of Jewish-only colonies and a system of Jewish-only roads that confine Palestinians to Bantustans and ghettos.
 
Your plans to perform in apartheid Israel come at a time when international support for the Palestinian call for boycotts, divestments and sanctions (BDS) against Israel has been growing. Stevie Wonder has recently cancelled a performance at a fundraiser for the Israeli army after he came under intense pressure from people of conscience throughout the world, including our allies in the African American community, for his ill-conceived plans to support an army that is an instrument of colonial terror and has perpetrated numerous massacres against the Palestinians. [3] We hope that you will follow Stevie Wonder’s example and cancel your performance.  
 
Te overwhelming majority of Palestinian civil society has endorsed the BDS Call of 2005. Brave and principled Israeli partners in Boycott from Within [4] have supported BDS as well, calling on the world to boycott their state until it complies with its obligations under international law. We are asking international artists to heed our call for a cultural boycott until “Israel withdraws from all the lands occupied in 1967, including East Jerusalem; removes all its colonies in those lands; agrees to United Nations resolutions relevant to the restitution of Palestinian refugees rights; and dismantles its system of apartheid." [5]
 
As the Artists Against Apartheid campaign against apartheid in South Africa showed, artists have a moral responsibility to refrain from conducting business as usual with a regime that systematically violates human rights. If you still have any doubts over the nature of Israel’s colonial oppression then consider the words of Archbishop Desmond Tutu who said:
 
I have been to the Occupied Palestinian Territory, and I have witnessed the racially segregated roads and housing that reminded me so much of the conditions we experienced in South Africa under the racist system of Apartheid. [6]
 
Just as in the anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa, where international solidarity played a central role in bringing down apartheid, we believe that the global BDS movement is the most effective, non-violent and morally consistent way to pressure Israel to comply with international law and recognize the Palestinian people’s inalienable rights. Prominent international cultural figures like Alice Walker, Angela Davis, Judith Butler and Naomi Klein have given their support for BDS. Musicians and bands like Roger Waters, the late Gil Scott Heron, the Pixies, Elvis Costello, Snoop Dogg and many others have heeded our call and cancelled performances in Israel.
 
We hope that you will do the same. We urge you not to cross our picket line, and to take a stand in support of the struggle for freedom, justice and equality.
 
 
Respectfully,
PACBI
 
 
[4] http://boycottisrael.info/

[6] http://www.huffingtonpost.com/desmond-tutu/divesting-from-injustice_b_534994.html 

 

Posted on 22-01-2013


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