Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Campaign Widens Asking Sir Tom Jones to Heed the Call for Justice

The campaign to let Sir Tom Jones know about the cultural boycott of Israel is widening.  Media coverage, a growing Facebook page, and a petition created by Cardiff PSC add to increasing awareness amongst his loyal fans.
The British Telegraph, Star NewsWales Online, Gulf News and Tom Jones International have all written about the campaign.
The London Evening Standard covered the campaign on August 30.
In Israel: YnetHaaretzThe Jerusalem Post, and Israel National News all published articles about the boycott. The online petition has supporters from all over the world. 
Israeli embassies have also been using twitter to thank him for his planned gig in Israel, in an attempt to normalize apartheid.
Most recently, an open letter was penned to Tom Jones from Palestinian musicians, academics and students from the besieged Gaza Strip.  The letter follows here:

28/08/13
Besieged Gaza, Occupied Palestine

Dear Sir Tom Jones,

We are a group of Palestinian musicians, academics and students from the besieged Gaza Strip in Palestine. Despite Israel’s blockade of our land, air and sea borders we have continued to enjoy the soul, vibrancy and passion of your songs. Israel has deprived us of our homes, our olive groves, our families and communities, our freedom to travel and even our musical instruments. It is for this, from the crowded streets of Gaza’s refugee camps, we are calling on you to cancel your performance in Tel Aviv, the Sun City of the Middle East, this October. We ask you to honour the global call for boycott, divestment and sanctions against the Israeli apartheid regime, in the same way you and other famous, principled artists refused to entertain apartheid South Africa.

After the United Nations approved cultural boycott was imposed on apartheid-ruled South Africa in 1980, you pledged not to perform there again. It is to your credit that you were persuaded “without much difficulty not to go back to South Africa” by the Welsh anti-apartheid movement.[1].  It is in this tradition of refusing to entertain apartheid and racist subjugation that we are asking you to heed to the call to boycott Israel until they stop denying us Palestinians our most basic human rights.

What Israel is imposing on us has been described by the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination as, “tantamount to Apartheid”[2] . Israel has violated more United Nations Resolutions than any other country, and a recent report from the UN Human Rights Council recommended sanctions until Israel adheres to international law.[3]

After visiting the West Bank, Archbishop Desmond Tutu stated that Palestinians are “being oppressed more than the apartheid ide­o­logues could ever dream about in South Africa.”[4] After their long experience in the fight against inequality and racism, is it not enough that Archbishop Tutu and other anti-apartheid heroes are calling for a boycott of the Israeli apartheid system?

If you perform in Israel, be aware that most of your audience will have served or are serving in the Israeli army. For those of us in Gaza, no matter who we are, we are denied the chance to see you perform by armed Israeli soldiers, Merkava Tanks, Drones, and F16s. We are punished because we belong to this land and hold its identity. Due to these restrictions the vast majority of us have never left the Gaza Strip. The area of Gaza is fifty times smaller than your homeland Wales. Yet our population is half the size, meaning that we are trapped in one of the most densely populated areas on earth.

In the horrifically destructive bombings over eight days last November, Israeli forces killed over 170 people (including 33 children) and injured over 1700.[5] Their crime? Being born Palestinian.

Can you accept 1.7 million of us in Gaza, over half of whom are children, are being collectively punished in what major Human Rights Organizations call” the world’s largest open air prison?” Can you accept that Palestinians make up the largest community of refugees in the world, ethnically cleansed from their land but denied the legal right to return home? Can you accept thatIsraeli policy included banning the entry of musical instruments, such that so many splendid voices of our young could never be heard by the outside world?

In June this year in the agit8 concert you joined the call to end poverty, singing “lord help the poor and needy” and “go help the motherless children.”[6] These are worthy aims, and we ask you to join our call to not entertain the country that systematically inflicts abject poverty on our people in Gaza and routinely makes orphans of our children. The 2005 call for the boycott, divestment and sanctions of Israel is endorsed by the overwhelming majority of Palestinian civil society organizations,[7] and has been heeded by a large number of artists and singers around the world such as Roger Waters, Annie Lennox, Elvis Costello, Stevie Wonder, Vanessa Paradis, The Pixies and Carlos Santana.[8]

What we are asking for is based on international law, endless United Nations resolutions and an expectation to live with the same basic freedoms as anyone else in the world. We demand an end to Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestinian lands, the return of Palestinian refugees to their homes and full equality granted for Palestinian citizens living inside Israel. This is not utopia; it is a call for equality that has been denied to us since Israel was founded on the ruins of Palestinian refugees.

When asked, you drew a line on apartheid South Africa. We ask you now to maintain the pressure already set by an increasing number of musicians refusing to perform in Israel until Palestinians get the same human rights and dignity as anybody else would expect. From the Gaza Ghetto, we ask you to heed the calls for boycott, divestment and sanctions and to cancel your concert this October 26th in Tel Aviv, the Sun City of the Middle East.

Jafra of Gaza Band
Mohammed J Akkila (Singer)
Ismail Harazine  (Flute Player)
Rami Abu Shabaan (Musician)
Ahmed Irshi (Singer)
Bashor Bseiso (Musician)
Iyad Abu Lilah (Drummer)
Mohammed Said el-Susi (Rapper)
Osama Said El Susi
Iyad Zumlut (Musician)
Haidar Eid

The Palestinian Students’ Campaign for the Academic Boycott of Israel (PSCABI)
University Teachers’ Association in Palestine (UTAP)
One Democratic State Group



References

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Hours Before Boarding Plane for Tel Aviv, Salif Keita joins the Cultural Boycott of Israel

BREAKING: Israeli Ynet reported that the esteemed musician Salif Keita has joined the cultural boycott of Israel.  Just hours before he was due to board a plane for Israel he decided "to meet the demands of the cultural boycott of Israel."  

BDS France, BDS South Africa, and activists from around the world had asked Keita to refrain from playing in Israel and join the cultural boycott.  

Keita is the first artist to cancel a planned show in the apartheid state following a major letter from Pink Floyd star Roger Waters asking:
"I write to you now, my brothers and sisters in the family of Rock and Roll, to ask you to join with me, and thousands of other artists around the world, to declare a cultural boycott on Israel," 
"Please join me and all our brothers and sisters in global civil society in proclaiming our rejection of Apartheid in Israel and occupied Palestine, by pledging not to perform or exhibit in Israel or accept any award or funding from any institution linked to the government of Israel, until such time as Israel complies with international law and universal principles of human rights."
Waters wrote  in an open letter posted to his Facebook page and the Electronic Intifada.

http://www.ynet.co.il/articles/0,7340,L-4420958,00.html

http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/music/posts/la-et-ms-roger-waters-musicians-boycott-israel-20130820,0,5366365.story

Israeli musician/promoter claiming on Monday that Keita would still play for the Jerusalem Festival of Sacred Music at https://www.facebook.com/gil.r.shama/posts/10151541150485756


Monday, August 19, 2013

Matt Schofield Trio Won't Play Apartheid Israel

Matt Schofield and his band, The Matt Schofield Trio, have chosen to cancel their planned gig at the Red Sea Jazz festival, Eilat, Israel.  


Israeli press Ynet confirms that he cancelled also due to pressure from his own band mates: "ומלחצים שהופעלו מצד נגני ההרכב עמו הוא מופיע".


The Ynet article also refers to the other cancellation by Chris "Daddy" Dave [together with the Drumhedz], though it claims it was due to personal reasons: "ביטול המופע של סקופילד מצטרף לביטול המופע של המתופף האמריקני, כריס דייב, עליו הכריזו בפסטיבל לפני ימים ספורים. עם זאת, מדגישים בפסטיבל, ביטולו של דייב נובע מסיבות אישיות שאינן פוליטיות או ביטחוניות".


As was previously reported, Chris Dave confirmed his cancellation in response to BDS tweets. See http://refrainplayingisrael.blogspot.com/2013/08/chris-daddy-dave-tweets-on-israel.html


Schofield is from Manchester, England and is known for his fluid melodic style and jazzy lines.  His band, The Matt Schofield Trio, play their own material, which is a blend of blues, funk, and jazz.  His cancellation comes at the same time as Pink Floyd legend Roger Waters writes in a letter:


I write to you now, my brothers and sisters in the family of Rock and Roll, to ask you to join with me, and thousands of other artists around the world, to declare a cultural boycott on Israel, to shed light on these problems and also to support all our brothers and sisters in Palestine and Israel who are struggling to end all forms of Israeli oppression and who wish to live in peace, justice, equality and freedom.




Waters to Colleagues in Rock and Roll: Declare a Cultural Boycott of Israel

18th August 2013, Warsaw To My Colleagues in Rock and Roll
    Nigel Kennedy the virtuoso British violinist and violist, at The Recent Promenade Concerts at The Albert Hall in London, mentioned that Israel is apartheid. Nothing unusual there you might think, then one Baroness Deech, (Nee Fraenkel) disputed the fact that Israel is an apartheid state and prevailed upon the BBC to censor Kennedy’s performance by removing his statement. Baroness Deech produced not one shred of evidence to support her claim and yet the BBC, non political, supposedly, acting solely on Baroness Deech’s say so, suddenly went all 1984 on us. Well!! Time to stick my head above the parapet again, alongside my brother, Nigel Kennedy, where it belongs. And by the way, Nigel, great respect man. So here follows a letter last re-drafted in July.
    25th July 2013 To My Colleagues in Rock and Roll.
    In the wake of the tragic shooting to death of un-armed teenager Trayvon Martin and the acquittal of his killer Zimmerman, yesterday, Stevie Wonder spoke at a gig declaring that he will not perform in the State of Florida until that State repeals its “Stand your ground” Law. In effect he has declared a boycott on grounds of conscience. I applaud his position, and stand with him, it has brought back to me a statement I made in a letter I wrote last February 14th, to which I have referred but have never published.
    The time has come, so here it is.
    This letter has been simmering on the back burner of my conscience and consciousness for some time.
    It is seven years since I joined BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) a non violent movement to oppose Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and violations of international law and Palestinian human rights. The aim of BDS is to bring international attention to these Israeli policies, and hopefully, to help bring them to an end. All the people of the region deserve better than this.
    To cut to the chase, Israel has been found guilty, independently, by international human rights organizations, UN officials, and the International Court of Justice, of serious breaches of international law. These include, and I will name only two;
        The Crime of Apartheid: The systematic oppression of one ethnic group by another. On 9 March 2012, for instance, the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination called on Israel to end its racist policies and laws that contravene the prohibition against racial segregation and apartheid.
        The Crime of Ethnic Cleansing: The forcible removable of indigenous peoples from their rightful land in order to settle an occupying population. For example, in East Jerusalem non Jewish families are routinely physically evicted from their homes to make way for Jewish occupants.
    There are others.
    Given the inability or unwillingness of our governments, or the United Nations Security Council to put pressure on Israel to cease these violations, and make reparations to the victims, it falls to civil society and conscientious citizens of the world, to dust off our consciences, shoulder our responsibilities, and act. I write to you now, my brothers and sisters in the family of Rock and Roll, to ask you to join with me, and thousands of other artists around the world, to declare a cultural boycott on Israel, to shed light on these problems and also to support all our brothers and sisters in Palestine and Israel who are struggling to end all forms of Israeli oppression and who wish to live in peace, justice, equality and freedom.
    I am writing to you all now because of two recent events.
    1) Stevie Wonder. Word came to me, the first week of last December that Stevie Wonder had been booked to headline at a gala dinner for the Friends of The Israeli Defence Force in LA on 6th December 2012. An event to raise money for the Israeli armed forces, as if the $4,300,000,000 that we the US tax payers give them each year were not enough? This came right after The Israeli defence Force had concluded yet another war on Gaza, (Operation Pillar of Defence), according to human rights watch, committing war crimes against the besieged 1.6 million Palestinians there.
    Anyway, I wrote to Stevie to try to persuade him to cancel. My letter ran along these lines, “Would you have felt OK performing at the Policeman’s Ball in Johannesburg the night after the Sharpeville massacre in 1960 or in Birmingham Alabama, to raise money for the Law Enforcement officers, who clubbed, tear gassed and water cannoned those children trying to integrate in 1963?” Archbishop Desmond Tutu also wrote an impassioned plea to Stevie, and 3,000 others appended their names to a change.org petition. Stevie, to his great credit, cancelled!
    2) Earlier that week I delivered a speech at The United Nations. If you are interested you can find this speech on you tube.
    The interesting thing about these two stories is that there was NOT ONE mention of either story in the mainstream media in the United States.
    The clear inference would be that the media in the USA is not interested in the predicament of the Palestinian people, or for that matter the predicament of the Israeli people. We can only hope they may become interested as they eventually did in the politics of apartheid South Africa.
    Back in the days of Apartheid South Africa at first it was a trickle of artists that refused to play there, a trickle that exercised a cultural boycott, then it became a stream, then a river then a torrent and then a flood. (Remember Steve van Zant, Bruce and all the others? “We will not Play in Sun City?”) Why? Because, like the UN and the International Courts of Justice they understood that Apartheid is wrong.
    The sports community joined the battle, no one would go and play cricket or rugby in South Africa, and eventually the political community joined in as well. We all as a global, musical, sporting and political community raised our voices as one and the apartheid regime in South Africa fell.
    Maybe we are at the tipping point now with Israel and Palestine. These are good people both and they deserve a just solution to their predicament. Each and every one of them deserves freedom, justice and equal rights. Just recently the ANC, the ruling party of South Africa, has endorsed BDS. We are nearly there. Please join me and all our brothers and sisters in global civil society in proclaiming our rejection of Apartheid in Israel and occupied Palestine, by pledging not to perform or exhibit in Israel or accept any award or funding from any institution linked to the government of Israel, until such time as Israel complies with international law and universal principles of human rights.
    Roger Waters

BDS South Africa Chair Farid Esack to Salif Keita: Boycott Israel

DEAR MR SALIF KEITA,
"The temptation in our situation is to speak in muffled tones about an issue such as the right of the people of Palestine…we can fall into the trap of washing our hands of difficulties that others faces. Yet we would be less than human if we did so. It behoves all South Africans, themselves erstwhile beneficiaries of generous international support, to stand up and be counted among those contributing actively to the cause of freedom and justice...we know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians." - Nelson Mandela, December 4 1997 

You may not know me, nor of my work or the organization that I am part of (and am writing on behalf of), BDS South Africa (www.bdssouthafrica.com). However, I (together with millions of South Africans and Africans), of course, know of you. We know of you through your contribution to making this world a better place through, for example, the work of the Salif Keita Global Foundation, being one of our continent's best ambassadors, and of course, for sharing your "golden" music with so many. It is with this admiration and affinity that we write to you.

With that, kindly receive the warm greetings of BDS South Africa, a South African Palestine solidarity and human rights organization advancing the international Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel campaign in South Africa. We are writing to you with much concern, concern that you are scheduled to perform in Israel. But, we also write to you with hope, hope that you will heed the call from your fellow artists, Malians who have approached you, French activists, and, most importantly, the Palestinians (with their principled and progressive Israeli allies) who have all called on you in the last few weeks to respect the boycott of Israel, cancel your trip and, in essence, not to support racism and Apartheid. We respectfully offer some background to our position:

ISRAELI RACISM AND "APARTHEID":
 “I never tire of speaking about the very deep distress in my visits to the Holy Land; they remind me so much of what happened to us black people in South Africa. I have seen the humiliation of the Palestinians at checkpoints and roadblocks, suffering like we did when young white police officers prevented us from moving about. My heart aches...Palestinians have chosen, like we did, the nonviolent tools of boycott, divestment and sanctions.” Archbishop Desmond Tutu

Separate roads (see: http://tinyurl.com/kuyhdnx), separate buses (http://tinyurl.com/mdhkggw), having a law that allows one ethnic group automatic citizenship but prevents another group (millions of whom are refugees in neighboring countries) citizenship and access to their previous homes (see: http://tinyurl.com/nx7vyhp) are just some of the ways in which Israel discriminates against Palestinians. We will not go through the details of the legislation, practices and acts of racism and apartheid that Israel is enforcing against the Palestinians, those are well documented by Amnesty International (see:http://tinyurl.com/mfr77o2), Human Rights Watch (see: http://tinyurl.com/kr849pb) and, in fact, our own South African government, in 2009, commissioned our official state research body, the South African Human Sciences Research Council to answer the question whether Israel is guilty of practicing apartheid. The HSRC, in its subsequent 300-page report found Israel to be guilty of the crime of Apartheid as well as colonialism. That report can be found here: http://tinyurl.com/cc88loa

This position, that Israel practices Apartheid and racism against the indigenous Palestinians, was then confirmed by the Russell Tribunal on Palestine, which sat in Cape Town in November 2011 (http://tinyurl.com/kf3c9hs). In March 2012 the United Nations Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination made similar findings (see: http://tinyurl.com/n9552p3). Earlier this year, the United Nations Human Rights Council (UN HRC), an official structure of the UN, released a scathing report in Geneva, Switzerland, on the state of human rights in Israel, reporting that there is “institutionalised discrimination” in the occupied Palestinian territory.

Beyond the case that is being made by human rights organisations, UN structures and other bodies, there is also a comparison that has been made by senior South Africans, former anti-apartheid activists and others that what the Palestinians are experiencing is akin to (and in some respects) far worse than what we black South Africans experienced in the 1980s under Apartheid. Hendrik Verwoerd, the architect of Apartheid (in South Africa), in 1961 already, was one of the first high-profile South Africans to have compared racial supremacy in Apartheid South Africa to that in Israel. Verwoed did not mince his words: “Israel, like South Africa, is an apartheid state”. However it was really Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu who, in 1987 and then again in 2002, began to make the serious case as to why Israel is guilty of practicing racism against the indigenous Palestinian people. Tutu, in a paper delivered at a conference of Palestinian Christians said: “I've been very deeply distressed in my visit to the Holy Land; it reminded me so much of what happened to us black people in South Africa. I have seen the humiliation of the Palestinians at [Israeli] checkpoints and roadblocks, suffering like us when young white police officers prevented us from moving about.”

Since then there have been several senior --and more appropriate, than Verword-- South Africans, all veterans of our liberation struggle, who have compared Apartheid South Africa to current-day Israel, including: personal friend and fellow prisoner to Nelson Mandela, Ahmed Kathrada; Rivonia Trialist, Denis Goldberg; anti-apartheid icon, Kader Asmal; former South African Minister of Intelligence, Ronnie Kasrils; Current Minister of Higher Education, Blade Nzimande; and, Winnie Mandela. Most recently, the African National Congress (ANC) Chairperson, Baleka Mbete, at the ANC’s 2012 International Solidarity Conference, also shared this position. And, our own South African Deputy President, Kgalema Mothlante, has gone even further in stating that: "the current situation for Palestinians...[under Israel] is worse than conditions were for Blacks under the Apartheid regime". The South African Government itself has on two separate occasions (statement 1statement 2) condemned Israeli practices that are reminiscent of "Apartheid".

ISRAELI XENOPHOBIA AGAINST AFRICANS:
“The ANC abhors the recent Israeli state-sponsored xenophobic attacks and deportation of Africans and request that this matter should be escalated to the African Union” - African National Congress, Resolution 35 (j), Mangaung, 2012

As was widely reported, in June last year Israeli anti-African protests turned into full-fledged race riots . The Israeli racism and xenophobia against Africans (see: http://tinyurl.com/muf28ah) is shared and even encouraged by Israeli politicians including the Israeli Prime Minster, Benjamin Netanyahu, who has said: "If we don't stop their [African immigrants'] entry, the problem that currently stands at 60,000 could grow to 600,000, and that threatens our existence…and threatens the social fabric of society, our national security and our national identity". Israel's Minister of Interior, Eli Yishai, has said that African immigrants "think the country doesn't belong to us, the white man!" And the Israeli parliamentarian, Miri Regev, has publicly compared Sudanese people to "a cancer”.

Late last year, Israeli officials initially denied but then in January this year admitted that Ethiopian women immigrating to Israel are coerced into taking long-term contraceptive shots. Israeli activists together with human rights activists around the world condemned the practise as another form of racism, discrimination and xenophobia that Israel practices against Africans (http://tinyurl.com/n3x34dq)

BOYCOTT, DIVESTMENT AND SANCTIONS AGAINST ISRAEL (BDS):
“The abhorrent and draconian control that Israel wields over the besieged Palestinians in Gaza, and the Palestinians in the occupied West Bank coupled with its denial of the rights of refugees to return to their homes in Israel, demands that fair minded people around the world support the Palestinians in their civil, nonviolent resistance. For me it means declaring my intention to stand in solidarity, not only with the people of Palestine, but also with the many thousands of Israelis who disagree with their governments racist and colonial policies, by joining a campaign of Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel, until it satisfies three basic human rights demanded in international law.” - Roger Waters, Pink Floyd 

Israeli racism, toward indigenous Palestinians and Africans, is not a question, or matter of opinion, it is a fact. The question, then, is how does one respond. What is to be done? How do peace-loving peoples of the world not be complicit in Israeli racism and, for some of us, how do we contribute to supporting the oppressed (and their allies from within the oppressive society)?

In 2005, inspired by the successful boycott and isolation of Apartheid South Africa, Palestinians --after having engaged for years in mass protests, popular uprisings, the armed struggle as well as a seemingly endless negotiation process-- called on the international community to play a decisive role in their struggle for self-determination and an end to Israel's Apartheid policies. Palestinians called on global civil society, artists and multi national corporations to impose a program of boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel. The Palestinians laid out three demands that Israel needs to respect for the boycott to be called-off. Firstly, an end to the illegal Israeli Occupation. Secondly, allowing Palestinian refugees to return to their homes. And, thirdly, for Israel to ensure full equality for Palestinian citizens living inside Israel. The three demands –all based in international law and numerous UN resolutions - ward off fears (or false-accusations) that the BDS campaign is a malicious, blunt and punitive one which is out to punish Israelis. Its not; the BDS campaign is a practical, non-violent, goal-orientated and focused campaign that is uncompromisingly entrenched in international law and human rights – also, one that is increasingly supported by (progressive) Israelis themselves!

Just some of the artists and intellectuals who have publicly lent their support and respected the boycott include: award-winning musician, Stevie Wonder; Jazz artist, Cassandra Wilson; Roger Waters of Pink Floyd; musician, Elvis Costello, author, Alice Walker; intellectual, Stephen Hawking and most recently, the film director, Mira Nair.

We hope that you too, will join this list of artists. We, as South Africans, expected this from the international community in the 1980s and the Palestinians now expect this from us - to support their boycott and not cross the picket line.

NOT ENTERTAINING APARTHEID:
“While human beings are being wilfully denied not just their rights but their needs for their children and grandparents and themselves, I feel deeply that I should not be sending even tacit signals [to Israel] that this is either 'normal' or 'ok'. It's neither and I cannot support it.” - Maxi Jazz of Faithless on why his band cancelled on Israel

We understand how difficult it would be for you to reject an opportunity to share your music with others. People like you are the reason other artists want to exist. Your music motivates beyond concert stages, penetrating into the intimate personal spaces of individual human lives and transforming them forever, the way only true art can. Unhappily, matters are not so simple in this context (just as how they were never simple during apartheid in South Africa). Art does not simply take place in a vacuum. The belief that cultural activities are “apolitical” (or that one is simply performing music, not getting involved in politics) is a myth. Performing in Israel will be a slap in the face of Palestinians but it will also be tacit support for the Israeli regime and its practices of apartheid.

One might wonder what purpose refusing to perform in Israel might serve? As a people whose parents and grandparents suffered under (and resisted) Apartheid in South Africa, our history is testament to the value and legitimacy that the international boycott had in bringing an end to the Apartheid regime in our country.  When artists and sportspeople began refusing to perform in Apartheid South Africa, the world’s eyes turned to the injustices that were happening here.  This then created a wave of pressure, which ultimately contributed to a free, democratic and non-racial South Africa. The same is not only possible for Palestine-Israel, but also inevitable. The question is: On which side of history does one want to be? Performing in Apartheid South Africa --in violation of what us oppressed black South Africans and our white allies asked for-- during the 1980s was to be on the wrong side of history. Today, performing in Israel --in violation of what the oppressed Palestinians and their progress Israeli allies have asked for-- is choosing to be on the wrong side of history. We hope that you will choose to be on the right side of history and not entertain Apartheid.

IN CONCLUSION:
"The issue of a principled commitment to justice lies at the heart of responses to the suffering of the Palestinian people and it is the absence of such a commitment that enables many to turn a blind eye to it…. If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.” - Archbishop Desmond Tutu

We have penned this letter a mere few days before your performance. Perhaps, we should have written earlier, however, we do trust that you have read the several letters already sent to you as well as engaged with those that have tried making contact with yourself and your management.

We hope to make this letter available to media that have contacted us as well as several of your South African and international fans who made inquiries with us, particularly with your performance in Johannesburg recently for our beloved Madiba. We hope that we will receive a response before then as we would love to communicate to your fans and others here in South Africa of your decision. We look forward to hearing from you, that is, hearing the good news that you will not be entertaining (Israeli) Apartheid.

With hope,

Professor Farid Esack
Head of Religion Studies at the University of Johannesburg and Chair of BDS South Africa's Management Board

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Chris Daddy Dave Tweets on Israel Boycott: "I'm not playing that show"


Chris Daddy Dave - one of jazz's leading influential drummers from Houston, Texas - will not play for the Red Sea Jazz Festival in Eilat, Israel, and has affirmed this in on twitter.  He joins other Jazz artists of conscience such as Cassandra Wilson, Stanley Jordan, and Portico Quartet who have also chosen to boycott the apartheid state.  

Dave's name was removed from the festival's program, but remains on an official website run by the state of Israel, which seeks to whitewash Israel's policies of occupation, racial discrimination, and segregation by highlighting musicians who they claim will play in Israel.  As human rights advocates call on musicians to boycott Israel, more and more artists as well as academics refuse to conduct business as usual in Israel.