OPEN LETTER asking Érik Truffaz to refrain playing in Israel
BDS France was written to Érik Truffaz, asking the Swiss-born French-nationality jazz trumpeter to respect the boycott of Israel.
Dear Erik Truffaz,
You have been invited to play at the jazz festival being held in Eilat, Israel from 17 to 19 January next.
You, as a great trumpeter who loves the fusion of musical genres and the mix of sounds, did you know that the country where you plan to perform rejects the ethnic mix within its population, and still doesn't grant equal rights to its citizens who are of Palestinian origin?
Did you know that while you’ll be playing in Eilat, a whole swathe of the population will be unable to come and enjoy the mellow sounds of your trumpet? Because, in spite of UN Conventions, the Palestinian people have been confined for years behind an illegal separation Wall.
Since the recent admission of Palestine as an Observer State at the United Nations, the Israeli government has retaliated by announcing the illegal construction of over 2,600 homes in the colonies of East Jerusalem.
The Eilat jazz festival is organised with the aid of the Israeli Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Tourism. Far from being merely a cultural event, it is thus directly associated with the government and with its propaganda, which attempts to pass Israel off as a State like others.
Dear Erik Truffaz, Israel is not a State like others, it violates international law daily. It maintains its illegal blockade of Gaza, depriving the population of basic supplies and medical equipment. Every day it continues its colonisation, expulsions, and the demolition of Palestinian families’ homes in the West Bank. Over 600 checkpoints block Palestinians’ free movement and hinder their access to water, to schooling, to health care.
In the face of such injustice, and the impunity of the Israeli government, in 2005 Palestinian civil society, supported by the most progressive fringe of Israeli citizens, launched the BDS campaign: boycott, divestment and sanctions as long as Israel does not respect international law. This struggle, inspired by the non-violence of Gandhi and by the South Africans’ struggle against apartheid, has taken on an international dimension and, six years on, campaigns to boycott the State of Israel have developed worldwide. We, French citizens belonging to different associations, formed the BDS French Campaign in order to pursue this struggle at all levels of French society. .
Numerous international artists have now chosen not to play in Israel until that State changes its politics. The Portico Quartet, also invited to the jazz festival in Eilat, recently announced that it would not take part due to the on-going Israeli occupation, and that it was joining the BDS campaign.
Among other artists having cancelled their appearance in different Israeli cities are film directors Ken Loach, Jean-Luc Godard and Mike Leigh; film stars Dustin Hoffman and Meg Ryan; and musicians such as Roger Waters, Brian Eno, Annie Lennox, Carlos Santana, Elvis Costello, Gil Scott-Heron, Gorillaz, The Pixies, Massive Attack, Gilles Vigneault, Lhasa and Vanessa Paradis.
Dear Erik Truffaz, the title of your latest album leads us to believe that you are a politically aware artist. When in ‘Yabous’ you promote equal rights for Jews and Muslims, and when the words of ‘Let Me Go’ could have been written for the Palestinians, surely you cannot, today, stand on the side of the oppressor.
We therefore ask you to join your fellow artists who are boycotting Israel as long as that State doesn’t respect international law, and to cancel your participation in the jazz festival in Eilat.
We are at your full disposal for any further information.