Friday, March 22, 2013

Appeals to Morgan Freeman to Refuse Israel Apartheid Key

Appeals are being made to Morgan Freeman to join the boycott of Israel and refuse to be a part of supporting apartheid Israel.  A growing petition and a facebook page urge him to take an anti-apartheid stance.  Morgan Freeman has not yet responded to either private or public calls yet.  
Text of the petition (has gathered over 250 signatures in less than a day):

Dear Morgan Freeman,

We urge you to DECLINE the Key of Knowledge award from the Canadian Friends of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem on May 6, 2013.  

Please be aware that there are sound bases in international and human rights law on which you should refuse this key.

“The Hebrew University in Jerusalem is deeply complicit in Israel’s occupation and systematic racial oppression of the Palestinian people. The Hebrew University represents part of the academic establishment in Israel.  As such, it is implicated in the institutional structures that maintain and uphold the system of illegal colonial control and apartheid over Palestinians in the occupied Palestinian territory and over those who are citizens of Israel, and which denies Palestinian refugees their internationally recognized right to return to their homes and their lands.

The Hebrew University is itself implicated in serious violations of international law. Specifically, the University illegally acquired a significant portion of the land on which its Mount Scopus campus and dormitories are built. On 1 September 1968, about one year after Israel's military occupation of Gaza and the West Bank (which includes East Jerusalem, according to UN Security Council resolutions), the Israeli authorities confiscated 3345 dunums of Palestinian land. Part of this land was then used to build the Mount Scopus campus of Hebrew University.
The basis for the illegality of the Hebrew University land confiscation deal is that this land is part of East Jerusalem, which is an occupied territory according to international law. Israel's unilateral annexation of occupied East Jerusalem into the State of Israel, and the application of Israeli domestic law to it, are violations of the Fourth Geneva Convention, and have been repeatedly denounced as null and void by the international community, including by the UN Security Council in its Resolution 252 (21 May 1968). By moving Israelis (staff and students) to work and live on occupied Palestinian land, the Hebrew University is, therefore, in grave violation of the Fourth Geneva Conventions.” [1]

Furthermore, land was illegally confiscated from Palestinian families for the expansion of Hebrew University dormitories on 21 Nov 2004. [2]

Israeli police brutally attacked Palestinian students at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem on 20 Nov 2012. The students were holding a peaceful demonstration against the assault on Gaza at the campus’ entrance. Four of them were arrested.[3] The repression of the Palestinian student movement at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem has intensified since Israel’s attacks on Gaza last November, as four Palestinian students were arrested in the past month.

On 6 March, 2013, Israeli police violently attacked and arrested three Palestinian students shortly after a peaceful demonstration in support of the Palestinian prisoners’ hunger strikes which was held at the campus’ entrance.

Palestinian students at the university have been organizing weekly demonstrations in support of Palestinian political prisoners on, and just outside, campus. The 6 March protest was larger than previous demonstrations, with a turnout of more than 70 students. The arrests occurred 20 minutes after the end of the demonstration, when the students were near the entrance of the dorms. Two days later, another politically active student was called for interrogation by the Israeli police. [4]

The fight for equality and accessibility in education is central to every struggle for a just and democratic society. Palestinian students and teachers trying to access education face unlawful detention, armed harassment, curfews, checkpoints, closed schools, dorm raids, an apartheid wall, separated roads, illegal arrest, and bombed schools and universities.[5] [6] [7]  Israel institutes a travel ban preventing students from Gaza attending educational institutions in the West Bank which “violates Israeli obligations under international law as an occupying power, and Israel’s commitment under the Oslo accords to treat Gaza and the West Bank as a unified territory”. [8]

From Dec 2008- Jan 2009 Israel bombed the ministry of education, the Islamic University of Gaza, and tens of schools, including at least four UNRWA [the United Nations agency for Palestine refugees] schools, after having largely destroyed the infrastructure of teaching throughout the year and a half of its illegal and criminal siege of the densely populated Gaza Strip.[9]

The announcement on the Hebrew University’s website states:

“The Canadian Friends of the Hebrew University’s (CFHU) Toronto Chapter will present the esteemed Key of Knowledge award to Morgan Freeman in recognition of his work in combating segregation and prejudice, and promoting knowledge, learning and education throughout the world.”

Morgan Freeman, we ask you not to lend your name to this attempt to whitewash Israel’s violation of the educational rights of Palestinian students. Could you possibly accept such an award with a clear conscience? Please decline the Key of Knowledge award from the Canadian Friends of the Hebrew University.


Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Tinariwen of Mali asked to Unplug Apartheid Israel Plugfest

Tinariwen of Mali is being asked in an OPEN LETTER to boycott the upcoming Plugfest in Israel:

Dear Tinariwen,

You have been invited to perform at a desert location in the Negev in Israel.  Please watch this short documentary made in cooperation with two artists who fully support the cultural boycott of Israel:  Roger Waters (Pink Floyd) and Alice Walker (Pulitzer prize winning author of the Color Purple)  In the film, Jahalin Bedouin community members explain how the Israeli government plans to forcibly displace them yet again — the community was originally displaced to the periphery of Jerusalem from their historic lands in the Naqab (Negev) desert during the 1948 ethnic cleansing of Palestine.

Last May, the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination stated:

The Committee is particularly appalled at the hermetic character of the separation of two groups, who live on the same territory but do not enjoy either equal use of roads and infrastructure or equal access to basic services and water resources. Such separation is concretized by the implementation of a complex combination of movement restrictions consisting of the Wall, roadblocks, the obligation to use separate roads and a permit regime that only impacts the Palestinian population (Article 3 of the Convention).[1]

Sadly, organizations such as the United Nations have done nothing to stop the fast pace of Israel’s aggression against the Palestinian people, prompting the legendary Roger Waters of Pink Floyd to say:
Where governments refuse to act people must, with whatever peaceful means are at their disposal. For me this means declaring an intention to stand in solidarity, not only with the people of Palestine but also with the many thousands of Israelis who disagree with their government's policies, by joining the campaign of Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions against Israel.

A Bedouin woman looks on 

as Israeli soldiers demolish 

her village of Al Arakib 13/9/2010.

Members of Tinariwen: Ibrahim, Hassan, Abdallah A., Eyadou, Said, Abdallah L., Elaga and Wonou, no international musician thus far has been able to bridge apartheid walls with their artistic talent, no matter how beautiful your music is, it  won’t help stop the injustice. We can hope that you do not support the Israeli government's policies, however if you play for the Plugfest, it will send the message that you are either unaware of the boycott or that you chose to ignore the boycott call made by Palestinian civil society in their struggle against apartheid.

The Palestinian people are denied elementary freedoms: the freedom of movement, the freedom to access their stolen lands and the freedom to protest injustice without facing brutal repression.[2] Those living in the Gaza strip (56% of whom are children) live under a debilitating siege, limiting their access to water, medical supplies, and construction material.[3] This unimaginable situation takes place only an hour away from your scheduled performance. In the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan, 40 minutes away from the scheduled venue, children are being abducted from their homes, in violation of international law, and taken into violent police interrogations with no access to their parents or a lawyer.[4]

Tens of thousands of Bedouin people have been forced off their land in the Negev where you plan to play to a celebratory audience.  Even the grains of sand in the desert speak out with the sorrow the indigenous Palestinian Bedouin people have faced.  Can you really participate in a celebratory festival there?  We have included references [5] on how these desert people are struggling and fighting for survival below, we hope you will check them out even during your busy touring schedule.

Representatives of Palestinian civil society, including over 170 different organizations such as women, academic and worker groups, have called for a boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel’s policies. International artists are asked not to perform in Israel until it abides by its obligations under international law and reverses these policies.[6]

Until the siege on over 1.7 million people in Gaza is lifted, until Palestinian lands are returned to their rightful owners, until the millions of refugees’ lives are restored with the opportunity for a future, the global boycott of Israel is going to continue.  Please just decline to play Israel, don’t breach the boycott.

DPAI (Don’t Play Apartheid Israel)
We are a group, of over 1000 members, representing many countries 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.

[1] UN Committee 2012 Session Concludes Israeli System Tantamount to Apartheid
[5] Israel takes pride in the ethnic cleansing of Palestinian Bedouin villages Jillian Kestler-D'Amours  Negev 9 October 2012
Israel plans to forcibly transfer 40,000 Bedouin citizens Jillian Kestler-D'Amours  16 June 2011
Israel finds new "home" for Bedouins: a garbage dump Jillian Kestler-D'Amours  28 October 2011
Israeli government approves plans to transfer 30,000 Palestinian Bedouin Mansour Nsasra  1 October 2011

letter also appears at

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Israel State Twitter Seizes Upon Opportunity to use Alicia Keys' name

The Official twitter of the state of Israel  has seized upon the opportunity to use Alicia Keys' name in an deceiving effort to promote Israel as a center of entertainment and welcome tourist destination.

The immensely popular singer-songwriter and actress who has won many Grammys, is being asked to decline the invitation to sing in Israel to a segregated audience.  
Macy Gray tweeted her regret in agreeing to play Tel Aviv, Israel in 2011.  

Grammy-winning jazz singer Cassandra Wilson was scheduled to be the featured performer at the Holon International Women's Festival in 2012.  Just days before her sold out performances, she politely bowed out, saying “As a human rights activist I identify with the cultural boycott of Israel.”

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Unplug the Apartheid Israel Plugfest

Aptly named "Plugfest" has been put together to possibly make amends for the cancellation of Lollapalooza Israel, which was cancelled because there were not enough big name bands willing to breach the boycott and play in Israel.

On May 9-11, 2013 the same group that promotes Lollapalooza are helping stage a festival featuring the below international artists and "many more."
Bands scheduled to play at this festival in the Negav Desert, just minutes away from Gaza.

JOIN the public twitter list to ask all these artists who are invited to Israel to decline. 

Tweet to Azealia Banks 

Tweet to !!! Chk Chk Chk

Tweet to 2ManyDJs

Tweet to Tinariwen

Tweet to CSS

Tweet to John Talabot

Tiger Love They are also planning to play in Tel Aviv on May 17th at the Reading 3. Their public email is Tweet the manager.

Tweet Water Knot

Tweet to Jessie Ware,

Lee Scratch Perry (Still researching Perry's contact information)

Join efforts to let artists know about the reasons for the boycott, on the facebook page Unplug Apartheid Plugfest.