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PACBI-An OPEN LETTER to Jay Leno: Support the Boycott of Israel for Palestinian Human Rights

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Refrain Playing Israel | 9 May 2014

An OPEN LETTER to Jay Leno: Support the Boycott of Israel for Palestinian Human Rights

Dear Jay Leno,


We, at DPAI (Don’t Play Apartheid Israel), along with the undersigned organizations, both in the USA and in Europe, have heard you are to visit Israel for the first time, and that you will be combining a tourist trip with a gig on May 22 as an emcee for the Genesis Award ceremony in Jerusalem.

We urge you to please reconsider your plans to accept this invitation.  

When you take your PR tour of Israel, Jerusalem and the Dead Sea, the ugly side of Israel will be well hidden from your eyes.  Part of your tour will not include a stop to talk to the wives and children of the many political prisoners that Israel holds in illegal administrative detention without charges.  These men are imprisoned for years and many of them, as well as some women,  have undertaken hunger strikes in a bid for justice  (A)


Your agenda won’t include a visit to the university students who have had to endure checkpoints within the West Bank by the IOF (Israeli Occupation Forces), often during exams, and up to 2 km long, where up to 8000 Palestinians have to walk in the ditch every day on their way to school or work. (B)  


While being hosted by the state you will not be told about the over 30,000 Sudanese and Eritrean African asylum seekers who are in holding camps in the Negev.  Netanyahu, with whom you will shake hands at the award ceremony, has determined that these people be kept in prison-like holding facilities in the Negev. (C)


Jay Leno, you have been described as a rare celebrity who is in touch with the working person,  would you let photographers snap shots of you chumming around with Netanyahu on stage?  That image would be used in the press to normalize the apartheid state of Israel.  

Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa said:  “I was bishop of Johannesburg when police would stop our car and want to body-search my wife and children … and I go and I visit the Holy Land and I see things that are a mirror image of the sort of things I experienced under the apartheid.”


Jay Leno, we urge you to consider that your gig as an emcee for the Genesis Award ceremony could be construed as a political act in support of the ethnic cleansing of Jerusalem.  Would you wine and dine with the elite of the Israeli state while, just minutes away in occupied East Jerusalem, Palestinians are being deprived by Israel of their right to education, work, and housing?  Could you close your eyes to their call for a boycott of Israel when their very homes are being bulldozed down in East Jerusalem?  (E)

Would you take your wife Mavis to the church of the Holy Sepulchre, the Dome of the Rock and Al Aqsa Mosque while they are all under military occupation by Israel?  Would Mavis take the time to enquire about Israel’s inhumane treatment of woman?  Please take the time to hear the story of

. Nibal lives in Gaza, only 80 miles away from her family in Jenin, but Israel refuses to allow her to visit her family.  She missed family weddings and, tragically, the chance to see her youngest sister before she was to die of a serious illness last November.  A recent special report by B’Tselem illustrates how Israel’s illegal and inhumane policy affects Palestinian women:  


“who are denied such basic daily experiences such as getting together with one’s mother, inviting a sister for tea, or having a tête-a- tête with one’s father. This, even when there is no claim the individual women pose a security risk.  The policy results in a forced separation between families in cases when a West Bank woman marries a Gaza resident or a woman from Gaza marries a West Bank man. Women are torn between their life with their husband and children and their longing to see the family into which they were born, whom they are rarely allowed to meet.”  (F)


Palestinian women in labor are often delayed at Israeli checkpoints as they try to get to hospitals to give birth. Between 2000 and 2005, 67 Palestinian mothers were forced to give birth at Israeli checkpoints, thirty-six babies died. (G)


In a similar study, at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, it was found that there has been a dramatic increase in the number of home births, with women preferring to avoid road trips while in labor for fear of not being able to reach the hospital in time.  The study found that 69 babies were born at checkpoints during those seven years (from 2000-2007). Thirty-five babies and five of the mothers died, an outcome (which she) considered to amount to a crime against humanity.(H)  


Jay Leno, please take the time to learn about the Palestinian-led movement for a boycott of Israel.  Have the courage to think of a humorous joke (we know how capable you are of that) when you decline your invitation to Israel.










(A) Palestinian prisoner’s health worsens after 210 days of refusing food


also see

for more information.

(B)  Checkpoints and Dignity:  Daily Life in Occupied Territories by Mira Dabit

(C) Netanyahoo Orders Swift Deportation


(D) Asked about Kerry, Tutu says Israel “mirror image” of apartheid



(E)  Palestinians Protest Home Demolitions In Occupied Jerusalem


(F)  Special B’Tselem project: Women illustrators depict stories of Palestinian women in split Gaza-West Bank families and Nibal’s story on youtube at

Posted on 11-05-2014

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