Sunday, July 29, 2012

Serj Tankian's Latest Brings up Awareness of Israeli Apartheid and Palestine

Occupied Tears was released on July 11 by Serj Tankian
The song features director Eric Nazarian’s images of a small child, terrorized by bombs, and running from military tanks.  The lyrics,  include the word “occupy” and show graphic images of the illegal apartheid wall.  The Israelis, with the 6th largest military on the world, and the former victims of the holocaust, have turned into the aggressors as they occupy land, build the horrendous apartheid wall, and terrorize the innocent in Gaza when they test their high tech weaponry on civilians.  

A tour of the land theft wall is something most people have never seen:



Of the song, Tankian writes “We have witnessed Harakiri on a grand scale tearing out the Occupied Tears of victims preyed on by victims turned aggressors creating a Deafening Silence through which we hear a voice plead, "Forget Me Knot, my child.”

The lyrics in the song advocate the two-state solution, a solution that many believe is impossible.  The trend now is for a one-state solution, which is gaining momentum as scholars and demographic experts prove is possible.  

The director of the video, Nazarian, has also worked closely with Palestinian directors Omar Shargawi and Hany Abu-Assad on Do Not Forget Me Istanbul.   

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Robert Belfour: Don't Bring Your Blues to Apartheid, Israel





Dear Robert Belfour,

We have discovered you are scheduled to play in Israel on 23 August at the Barby in Tel Aviv.

The fact that there is a cultural boycott of Israel is not something of which all musical artists are aware when they schedule to play Israel.  After becoming aware, many cancel.  (See http://www.pacbi.org/etemplate.php?id=1788)

We are writing to let you know more about this global movement, and we hope you will decide to be a part of it.

Israel has claimed authority over the lives and land of millions of Palestinian people.  What began in 1948 in Palestine has now escalated into what South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu and many others call apartheid.  Racism runs deep in the streets of Tel Aviv,  Africans seeking asylum and living as refugees are filled with fear as Israelis demonstrate on the streets against their presence.  Last May brought fear to Africans in Israel as a series of fire bombings of apartments and a day nursery were set off in an area where African migrants live. Shops run by or serving migrants were smashed up and looted in violent demonstrations in which several Africans were attacked.  Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu stated

"We'll start by ejecting the infiltrators from South Sudan...and then move on to other groups."

Israel’s Minister of the Interior, Eli Yishai said chillingly:

"The infiltrators [African immigrants] along with the Palestinians will quickly bring us to the end of the Zionist dream…we don't need to import more problems from Africa…[they] think the country doesn't belong to us, the white man".

A heinous series of walls, checkpoints, and sniper towers dot the landscape for millions of Palestinians.  Brutal military might is flaunted daily and children in Gaza are regularly targeted to demonstrate the “effectiveness” of new weapons.  Armed soldiers raid homes, fire into schoolyards, maiming and killing children.

While some liberal “peacenik” Israelis will tell you they want you to play because they will be your audience,  please know that the most effective tool to end the oppression is an unequivocal stand against the injustice by saying no.  Instead listen to the brave Israelis from “Boycott From Within” who have asked many artists to stay away from the failing Zionist state.  (See http://boycottisrael.info/ )

Artists who do play for apartheid are being used to promote Israel as a false democracy.  The Israeli government has an official twitter and uses its position to let the world know which artists lend their name to promote Israel’s false image.  Just three of many examples are Bobby McFerrin, Gun N Roses and Sister Bliss.
Please don’t allow your name to be used to whitewash racism, apartheid, and the horrible illegal annexation wall (pictured here in this recent video).
http://youtu.be/pxZrUIctF5A
Join the boycott for justice, equality, freedom and human rights.

Yours truly,

DPAI
Don't Play Apartheid Israel (DPAI) seeks to inform musicians of the Palestinian call to boycott Israel, and the extent to which their decision to play in the apartheid state will be instrumentalized - against their will - as propaganda for the maintenance of a horrifying status quo in Israel/Palestine: that is a brutal, decades-long occupation, ongoing ethnic cleansing, continual land theft, passing of over 20 racist laws within Israel/'48, and the crackdown on human rights groups. We represent over 900 members from around the globe who believe that it is essential for musicians & other artists to heed the call of the PACBI, and join in the boycott of Israel.  


For more information:
http://972mag.com/israeli-coalition-members-speak-about-refugees/47455/

https://mail-attachment.googleusercontent.com/attachment/u/0/?ui=2&ik=362a47d3e5&view=att&th=137bd95d71a0fdbc&attid=0.1&disp=inline&safe=1&zw&sadssc=1&authuser=0&sadnir=1&saduie=AG9B_P8cVkUPnmXGIHgt92XqIQt1&sadet=1339330262530&sads=7cvk3mQ0RmYolFD3BWgqlT07HkM

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Open Letter to Carmen Souza, Pas'cal, Melo and Zottarelli, Stand with the Boycott of Apartheid Israel



Pictured against the backdrop of the illegal apartheid wall, Jazz singer/guitarist Carmen Souza (center), bassist Theo Pas'cal (right), pianist Filipe Melo (not pictured) and percussionist Mauricio Zottarelli (left) are all being asked to take a stand for justice.

Dear Carmen Souza, Theo Pas'cal, Filipe Melo and Mauricio Zottarelli,

We are a group of over 900 members, representing many nations around the globe, who believe that musicians and other artists can play a role in ending apartheid by heeding the call of Palestinian civil society and joining in the boycott of Israel. We also believe that by playing in Israel, artists are condoning the suffering of millions of Palestinians through conducting business as usual with that state.  

All we are asking you to do is to first do no harm - to stay home, and refrain from playing.  It is up to you, and would be highly appreciated, if you would like to support and join the boycott movement by making a statement in support of universal human rights. Although some artists try to remain apolitical, surely you could not make the conscious choice to endorse the crimes of Israel’s government by playing in Israel despite the boycott, thus becoming a propaganda trophy on its shelf.

Carmen Souza, Theo Pas'cal, Filipe Melo and Mauricio Zottarelli, you are on the schedule to play on August 1 and 2 at the Kaminsky in Eilat for the 26th Red Sea Jazz Festival.   Many people are unaware of the gravity of the Israeli oppression of the Palestinian people under occupation, the suffering of Palestinians in refugee camps and the severely curtailed rights of Palestinians within Israel.  We hope you’ll do some research before you board your plane for Tel Aviv and  that you will decide that human rights are not selective, they are universal, and you will want to choose to be artists of conscience.

Two days prior to her gig headlining the Holon Women’s Festival, grammy winning jazz artist Cassandra Wilson cancelled.  Regarding Palestine, Wilson tweeted back to human rights volunteers:




Wilson’s tweets indicate that mainstream media have played a role in censoring human rights violations by Israel.  Media also is to blame for shaping a false positive view of the apartheid state.  Wilson was informed about Alice Walker’s youtube video taken in Gaza,  ‘Alice Walker - The Palestinian Spirit,’


… she was also sent Pink Floyd founder Roger Waters’ words in an article he wrote for the Guardian in the UK titled Tear down this Israeli wall: I want the music industry to support Palestinians' rights and oppose this inhumane barrier. Cassandra Wilson took the decision to be an artist of conscience, her cancellation respected Waters’ words:

Artists were right to refuse to play in South Africa's Sun City resort until apartheid fell and white people and black people enjoyed equal rights. And we are right to refuse to play in Israel until the day comes – and it surely will come – when the wall of occupation falls and Palestinians live alongside Israelis in the peace, freedom, justice and dignity that they all deserve.

In a letter to Wilson, Israeli members of Boycott From Within wrote:

Palestinian fans of your music living under the brutal military occupation of theWest Bank or the hermetic siege of the Gaza Strip will be prohibited from coming to Holon and enjoy your performance. These 4 millions who are being denied their most fundamental rights include many Palestinian women, whom the Isha festival will certainly not empower.

Wilson cancelled her performance in Holon, Israel.  The woman’s festival she was expected to headline, claimed to empower women, yet it was selective empowerment, ignoring Palestinian women.  

The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) which represents almost all of Palestinian civil society, reminds us that:

As performers congregate in Eilat to enjoy “Israel’s southern paradise getaway [that] provides a perfect setting for a unique experience of romantic beaches, fine dining and generous hospitality” [2], only a few kilometres away, the Gaza Strip faces electricity cuts and a suffocating economic siege; the West Bank remains under military occupation and intensifying colonization; occupied Jerusalem as well as the Naqab (Negev) are facing gradual ethnic cleansing, and the construction of the illegal apartheid wall is near completion.

Human rights are universal, they are not selective.   Principled boycott by leading artists such as yourself worked against South African apartheid.  As governments have failed or been unable to implement international law to end Israel’s crimes, boycotts can work today to help bring justice, rights and freedom to Palestinian people.  Carmen Souza, Theo Pas'cal, Filipe Melo and Mauricio Zottarelli, please boycott the 26th Red Sea Jazz Festival in Eilat.  

Warm Regards,
Don't Play Apartheid Israel
We are a group, of over 900 members, representing many nations around the globe, who believe that it is essential for musicians & other artists to heed the call of the PACBI, and join in the boycott of Israel. This is essential in order to work towards justice for the Palestinian people under occupation, and also in refugee camps and in the diaspora throughout the world.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Jefferson Starship, apartheid Israel, Palestine, Human Rights

The official twitter of the zionist government of apartheid Israel has the spare time to be so concerned about the grass roots volunteer based global movement called "BDS" that they have countered efforts to get Jefferson Starship to refrain from playing in Israel by tweeting about Starship's 'landing' in apartheid.  

The band, which consists of members Paul Kantner, David Freiberg, Donny Baldwin, Slick Aguilar, Chris Smith, Cathy Richardson, are being used to re-Brand Israel and improve upon Israel's grim image with people worldwide. If Jefferson Starship does business as usual with Israel, then (okay) Israel's a normal state (that's the supposition).

But Paul Kantner, David Freiberg, Donny Baldwin, Slick Aguilar, Chris Smith, and Cathy Richardson may really be in the dark. In the USA, mainstream media have played a role in censoring human rights violations by Israel.  Media also is to blame for shaping a false positive view of the apartheid state.  If the Jefferson Starship happens to listen to prize winning author Alice Walker (The Color Purple) in Gaza on the youtube video Alice Walker - The Palestinian Spirit . . .

… and then carefully read Pink Floyd founder Roger Waters’ words in an article he wrote for the Guardian in the UK titled Tear down this Israeli wall: I want the music industry to support Palestinians' rights and oppose this inhumane barrier, they may just decide they are artists of conscience. Waters wrote:

Artists were right to refuse to play in South Africa's Sun City resort until apartheid fell and white people and black people enjoyed equal rights. And we are right to refuse to play in Israel until the day comes – and it surely will come – when the wall of occupation falls and Palestinians live alongside Israelis in the peace, freedom, justice and dignity that they all deserve.


… if the Starship reads letters written to other artists, like the one written to Cassandra Wilson (Grammy winning Jazz artist) before she cancelled, they just may decide to stay home. Israeli members of Boycott From Within wrote:


Palestinian fans of your music living under the brutal military occupation of theWest Bank or the hermetic siege of the Gaza Strip will be prohibited from coming to Holon and enjoy your performance. These 4 millions who are being denied their most fundamental rights include many Palestinian women, whom the Isha festival will certainly not empower.



Human rights are universal, they are not selective.  The boycott by leading artists worked against South African apartheid.  Other artists such as Natacha Atlas, Cat Power, Jello Biafra, Lhasa, Gilles Vigneault, Elvis Costello, Carlos Santana, Annie Lennox, Maxi Jazz, Gil Scott-Heron and Massive Attack’s Del Naja, all support the boycott.  Boycotts can work today.  Jefferson Starship may just come in 'out of the dark' before September.



Sunday, July 8, 2012

Nino Katamadze Will Not Play Apartheid Israel

Katamadze released her latest album White in  Georgia,
Russia, Finland, Sweden, Ukraine, France,
Germany, UK and Italy

UPDATE from 9 July:  On a pro-apartheid Russian language website, it is reported that Katamadze may plan to reschedule her tour in apartheid Israel.  We cannot confirm if this is factual or not. (See http://www.newsru.co.il/rest/03jul2012) To contact Katamadze, and ask her not to reschedule, see:
email at  nino-katamadze@mail.ru



(Original Post) Nino Katamadze, international jazz singer from Georgia, has just cancelled her entire concert tour in apartheid Israel scheduled for 13-17 November.  She joins other artists who have also honored the call for boycott by Palestinian Civil Society.  


Katamadze was contacted by Israeli group, Boycott From Within, in 2011, in a letter stating:

We, Israeli citizens, members of Boycott![2], hereby reiterate our support and promotion of the Palestinian Call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel, until it complies with international law and universal principles of human rights[3].
. . . we urge artists scheduled to perform in Israel to send a clear message that the Israeli occupation, the institutionalized discrimination of Israel's own Palestinian citizens and Israel's denial of the right of return and compensation of the Palestinian refugees - are neither okay nor normal, as Maxi Jazz from Faithless once put it[8]. Roxette, Ziggy Marley, Dream Theater, George Benson, Nino Katamadze, Paul Simon and John Cale – we may risk persecution for saying this – heed the Palestinian call for BDS and cancel your shows in Israel!



Sunday, July 1, 2012

From Lubbock, Texas to the Red Hot Chili Peppers: Don't Be Puppets for Apartheid

Craig Higgins, a PhD Candidate in Physics, writes from Lubbock, Texas.  His letter captures the emotion of being a RHCP fan, and the grim disappointment he now feels that the band has not really reached higher ground.   See "If You See The Red Hot Chili Peppers Getting High, Knock Them Down" at http://epsilonisepsilon.blogspot.ie/2012/06/if-you-see-red-hot-chili-peppers.html

If You See The Red Hot Chili Peppers Getting High, Knock Them Down

Craig Higgins speaks for many RHCP fans in this article.

            When I was a kid, I wanted very much to be a rock star. As I hit my teens I bought lots of music and read lots of rock journalism.  I watched MTV.  And when I was about 20, in 1989, I picked up the bass because a friend of mine and I wanted to record some stuff and both of us played guitar.  Hit this place called Albert’s Pawn, off S. Carrolton in New Orleans, and as I sat there with this unbalanced, blonde wood-colored four-string Gibson Grabber bass in my lap I’ll never forget the words of the guy behind the counter: “You sound like you got a feel for that thing. Maybe you should get it.”  This man’s smooth salesmanship and people skills got the Grabber in my hands and my feet out the door.
            Of course, when you start with a new instrument, you have to have a role model.  Someone to look up to, and who can provide a starting point on this amazing journey you’re undertaking.  At the time, you see, the baddest cat playing bass on the planet was Flea Balzary of the Red Hot Chili Peppers.  One of the songs they had out then was this cover of Stevie Wonder’s ‘Higher Ground’.  The bass line was this slappy thing that sounded so simple to my na├»ve ears.  ‘Wow,’ I thought, ‘I can do that.’  So I sat there one afternoon with the bass and tried to figure out ‘Higher Ground’.  I tried to coordinate the thumb and the finger for the alternating slapping- and popping motion.  Sadly I must confess, even after nearly a quarter century I still can’t play it.  It’s actually kind of tricky.
            So, I think it’s safe to say I’m a fan of the Red Hot Chili Peppers.  I saw them play in New Orleans, that same year I picked up the bass.  Flea was this shirtless, sweaty, green-mohawked ball of fury on the stage, the band tore it up song after song after song, and when a bunch of people nearly toppled a pipe organ security cut the power.  Everyone had to leave, but it was a hell of a show. These guys played with a lot of passion, like they really cared about entertaining people and giving them a good experience.  Many early Chili Peppers songs in fact are full of these odes to brotherhood, or to peace and understanding.  You really get the impression from the first four or five recordings they did that they really did want everyone to go to the higher ground, and they were willing to help us get there.  There’s some real positive energy in those early days.
            I know it’s not just me that feels this.  Israeli activist Tali Shapiro was also inspired by the Red Hot Chili Peppers.  I know that she was, because she said so in the letter she sent to the band asking them not to play Tel Aviv this September.  She gave some very good reasons why they shouldn’t be doing this, and I agree with her.  Now, the original guitar player in the band, Hillel Slovak, was born in Israel.  For those who don’t know, Slovak died in the mid-1980s due to a heroin overdose.  Like Flea, Hillel Slovak too was an inspired player and the architect of many of their early ideas.  When you have a friend that dies, particularly someone you’ve played with, you have strong memories of that person.  I’ve had it happen to me.  So, I can respect that in their recent video announcement confirming the Tel Aviv gig they would mention their fallen band-mate and friend, inferring that this was one of the things that motivated them to do it.  Of course, I’m sure the bigger motivation was the check they’re picking up from Shuki Weiss, the Israeli promoter, but let’s not be cynical for a minute here.
            There’s this other Red Hot Chili Peppers song from that same recording as ‘Higher Ground’, written by the band after Hillel Slovak’s death, called ‘Knock Me Down’.  Doing an interview at the time Anthony Kiedis talked about his motivations for writing the lyrics, and he said he wished that someone had knocked Slovak off his self-absorbed, self-destructive perch of heroin addiction.  And that’s some useful advice for anyone, really.  It’s possible that Kiedis and Flea Balzary don’t really know that much about Israel, or what happens in the Occupied Territories.  And, maybe they know but don’t care.  They must surely know by now this was a controversial decision on their part, though.  Somewhere in the West Bank or Gaza there’s a kid who would probably love to get a chance to play bass in a band, inspired as I was by watching Flea do it, but of course that’s not going to happen as there’s no way he’ll be able to attend the show.  But hey, if the band doesn’t care to learn why so many people are upset with them for picking up this gig why worry about what happens in the corners of the region that aren’t the nightclubs and the bright lights of the White City?
            I doubt that Flea or Anthony Kiedis or anyone else associated with the Chili Peppers is going to read this, and at this point it does seem like they’ve made up their minds on Tel Aviv. But personally, I think they’re wrong in acting as unpaid corporate spokesmen for Israel’s white-washing campaign.  The band has a reputation that goes back decades for being one that people of all races, creeds, colors, genders, and just every other group that you can think of that ends with an ‘s’ can find a space to get into.  But, somehow in all those songs about friendship and goodwill they forgot to find room for Palestinians, and learned to turn a blind eye to racism and exclusionary state policies when it suits their purposes. 
So, I’m going to knock the Red Hot Chili Peppers down. They’re not bigger than life, and apparently can’t see the hypocrisy in what they’re doing here.  There’s still time to tell Shuki Weiss to go find some puppet shows to spend his money on instead of making themselves into the puppets, willing or no.  My hope is that they will change their minds and cancel the Tel Aviv gig.  Then, maybe we can all sail on to the higher ground.