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PACBI-Dear Salif Keita, Dear Amadou and Mariam, Dear Malian artists: Boycott Israel

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BDS France | 18 June 2013

Dear Salif Keita, Dear Amadou and Mariam, Dear Malian artists: Boycott Israel

Dear Salif Keita, Dear Amadou and Mariam, Dear Malian artists,


You have been invited to go and perform soon in Israel.


Israel is not a country like others. Its government has for many years been trampling on international law. In Jerusalem, for example, 2,000 Palestinian homes have been destroyed, 14,000 Palestinians have had their residence permits withdrawn and 5,300 Palestinian children are not being schooled. In Gaza, which has been kept under blockade for 7 years, a whole population is perishing, with no access to their most elementary rights. In the West Bank, the Wall and the check-points deprive Palestinians of freedom of movement and will prevent them from coming to attend your concerts, which will therefore be segregated. Even within Israel's borders, Palestinian citizens, be they Christian or Muslim, live under a system akin to the apartheid which formerly existed in South Africa: they do not have equal rights and have only limited access to the services enjoyed by Israel's Jewish citizens. And Israel still refuses to recognize the right to return of millions of Palestinian refugees around the world, thus mocking numerous United Nations resolutions. One may use many words to describe such a situation, but one word is essential: the colonisation of Palestinian land by the State of Israel.


For all of these reasons, Palestinian civil society appealed in 2005 to international civil society to launch the BDS campaign (Boycott-Divestment-Sanctions). Inspired by the South African struggle against apartheid, the Palestinians ask that all collaboration with Israeli governmental institutions cease until Israel respects international law. In line with the Palestinian appeal, we do not boycott individuals but we call for the boycott of cultural eventswhen these are organised by bodies linked to the Israeli government.


Faced with Israel's impunity, activists and conscientious citizens are spreading the BDS appeal all over the world. International artists, of all musical styles, have heard and responded positively to the appeal: they include Cassandra Wilson, Natacha Atlas, Annie Lennox, Cat Power, Andy Kasrils, Ewok, Lhasa, Vanessa Paradis, Gilles Vigneault, Roger Waters, Elvis Costello, Carlos Santana, Gil Scott-Heron, Jello Biafra, The Pixies and Massive Attack, as well as Peter Brook, Susan Sarandon, and numerous other directors and actors around the world.


Dear Malian artists, the invitations you have received follow those extended by Israel to other artists from your country. Whereas Oumou Sangaré declined the invitation, Vieux Farka Touré and Fatoumata Diawara accepted. It is not surprising that you be invited, given your great talent and that of many of your compatriots. What is surprising is that these invitations should all arrive so suddenly, at a time when the Israeli government is exploiting a dangerous division in Africa between “Blacks” and “Arabs”. Dear artists, don't become hostages of such cynical and murderous politics.


Dear African artists, the Israeli government is notorious for its extremely brutal policy towards its immigrants (labelled as “infiltrators”), particularly those from Africa and the Philippines. They are forbidden from sending money to their countries, they are arrested and confined in camps, before being summarily deported. Racist riots against the Blacks recently took place on the streets of Tel Aviv, where a member of parliament described African immigration as “a cancer in Israeli society”. Your presence in Israel will no doubt distract from these deplorable incidents, but is this really what you want?


Dear artists, colonisation and its trail of injustice, suffering and crimes are no strangers to you, they are also part of the history of Mali. Make no mistake: whether you like it or not, your concerts will be interpreted as support for the Israeli colonial regime, and not as mere cultural events.


We hope to be able to count you among the artists of conscience who have joined the boycott. We are of course ready to provide you with any further information on this issue.



Linda, for the BDS French Campaign


Campagne BDS France

21 ter rue Voltaire

75011 Paris

Posted on 29-07-2013

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