Saturday, December 29, 2012

OPEN LETTER to Yuri Honing: Boycott the Red Sea Jazz Festival in Apartheid Israel

Dutch musician Yuri Honing is scheduled to play at the Red Sea Jazz festival. in Eilat, Israel, on 17-18-29-1-2013. Dutch citizens, with the support of Israeli citizens, have launched this petition to ask Mr Honing to cancel his performance, in solidarity with the Palestinian civil society cultural boycott call. This call is aimed at Israeli government-sponsored events, whose aim is masking Israeli human rights violations by art and culture. The Portico Quartet [UK] have already cancelled their participation in the festival due to moral-political reasons, namely their opposition to Israel's ongoing human rights violations against the Palestinian people.
Utrecht,  27-12-2012
Dear Yuri Honing,
We are a group of Dutch and Israeli citizens, loving music and we have the utmost respect for your musical contributions to our world. However, we are quite shocked to learn of your upcoming performances on 18 and 19 of January 2013 at the Eilat Red Sea Jazz festival in Israel. We would like to share our concerns with you, and urge you to reconsider your performance there.
We support the Palestinian call for Boycott, Divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israeli institutions until Israel complies with international law and universal principles of human-rights, in line with the Israeli organization Boycott! Supporting the Palestinian BDS Call from Within, [1] and The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel.[2] As you may know, the Palestinian civil society call for BDS was issued in 2005 by over 170 Palestinian organizations. This world-wide boycott has been endorsed by numerous international figures, such as Bishop Desmond Tutu, and was endorsed by the African National Congress (ANC) last week.[3]
Many world-famous western musicians, artists and writers have answered the BDS call and have taken a stand against injustice, in solidarity with the oppressed: U2 , Stevie Wonder, Faithless, Massive Attack, writer Alice Walker, the late Gil Scott Heron, the Pixies, Gorillaz Sound System, Elvis Costello,Roger Waters and many more. We ask you to follow their example and cancel your planned performances in Israel.
Israel's attempts to mask systematic human-rights abuses and decades-long oppression against the Palestinians largely rely on its ability to maintain a progressive and democratic image in the eyes of the international community. Israel promotes itself as "the only Democracy in the Middle East". However, the Palestinian people are denied some of the most elementary freedoms: the freedom of movement [4],the freedom to access their stolen agricultural land and the freedom to protest without facing life threatening violence: When they demonstrate against the Israeli government, they face brutal treatment. Their relatives in the Gaza strip (44% of which are children under the age of 14) live under a brutal siege restricting the needed amount of food, medical supplies, and materials for construction [5].
Israel's apartheid policies are inherent even to the Red Sea Jazz festival: Palestinian fans of your music living in the West Bank, in a land governed by Israel, are under martial-law and will not be permitted to come to Eilat and enjoy your performance, and the same goes for Palestinians living in Gaza under Israeli siege.
The Red Sea Jazz festival, where you are scheduled to play, is sponsored and organized by the Israeli government, through its ministries of culture, sports and tourism, along with the municipality of Eilat. [] This festival is part of the Israeli campaign to mask illegal acts of the state of Israel, by inviting well-known foreign artists as its guests, maintaining a façade of a “normal, democratic“ state. This (ab)use of art and culture to “launder” Israel's crimes for the international stage, has been stated publicly by Nissim Ben-Sheetrit of Israel’s Foreign Ministry “We see culture as a propaganda tool of the first rank, and I do not differentiate between propaganda and culture.” [6] Israel is not a democracy, but a apartheid state, as stated in the findings of the theRussel Tribunal on Palestine in  2011. [7]
We know you are a talented world-famous musician, and we are sure that people always enjoy your music. Nevertheless we urgently ask you to cancel the planned performances of the Yuri Honing Acoustic Quartet in Eilat, in favour of a stand against injustice and violation of human rights! So did your colleagues, the Portico Quartet due to moral-political reasons.[8]  By canceling, you have an opportunity to stand with the oppressed. Please  endorse the non-violent struggle for human-rights and justice in Israel/Palestine. Please do not contribute to the normalization of daily apartheid policies!
We will gladly address any question or comment you may have!
Stichting Diensten en Onderzoek Centrum Palestina, docP

[5] Guardian reporters experience first-hand Israeli efforts to intimidate Gaza fishermen and keep their fishing trips ever closer to shore :