Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Titi Robin of France Honors Call for Cultural Boycott of Israel

Titi Robin, celebrated oud, guitar and buzuq artist wrote on his facebook page today, enthusiastically supporting the call for a cultural boycott of Israel.  He has cancelled his planned concert scheduled for this September 6 and 7 at the Jerusalem Sacred Music Festival, a Zionist program seeking to normalize the occupation of Jerusalem.  His act of solidarity with the Palestinian people is significant, as he has performed in the past in Israel and Palestine and was even featured, in 2005, by the Jerusalem Post in an attempt to use his music to normalize Israel.  But he states "these journeys finally made me take this decision, which appears to me, after a long term reflection, the most honest one regarding the evolution of the situation."

An English translation from google follows his full statement:

"Bonjour, je vous remercie de votre invitation qui me touche beaucoup de jouer à Jérusalem à l'occasion du Festival des Musiques Sacrées. Mais, en raison de la politique dramatique de l'état d'Israël à l'égard des Palestiniens et de la municipalité de Jérusalem à l'égard de ses habitants non juifs, je ne peux y répondre positivement.* Je soutiens tous ceux, Juifs, Musulmans, Chrétiens et de toute autre appartenance
qui luttent contre l'attitude de ce gouvernement et de l'idéologie qui la sous-tend. Cela a des répercussions dans le monde entier et nous les vivons aussi douloureusement en France. Je salue avec respect mon public de Gaza, Naplouse, Tel Aviv, Bethléem, Bir Zeit, Nazareth, Haïfa, Ramallah, des nombreux camps de réfugiés que je n'oublie jamais, ... et bien sûr de Jérusalem. J'espère qu'un beau jour proche, la justice règnera sur cette terre sainte et que nous pourrons revenir célébrer en musique notre longue histoire commune ensemble fraternellement."

Titi Robin

* Par le passé, j'ai joué à de nombreuses reprises en Palestine occupée et en Israël mais ces voyages ont fini par me faire prendre cette décision qui me semble, après mûre réflexion, la plus honnête vue l'évolution de la situation. 


Dear organizers from Sacred Music Festival in Jerusalem,

I thank you for your invitation which touches me deeply. But, due to the dramatic policy of Israël State towards Palestinian people and of the municipality of Jerusalem towards its non jewish inhabitants, I cannot answer to it positively.* I do support everyone, jewish, muslims, christians and every other
people who fight against the attitude of this government and the ideology which underlies it. There are repercussions all around the world and we although suffer from them in France.
I am respectfully greeting my audience from Gaza, Naplouse, Tel Aviv, Bethléem, Bir Zeit, Nazareth, Haïfa, Ramallah, and from all the refugees camps, which I never forget.. and of course from Jerusalem. I do hope that one day, in a very near future, justice will reign on the holy land and that we will be able to come back to celebrate with music our long common history together fraternally. 

Titi Robin

* "In the past I did play many times in occupied Palestine and in Israël, but these journeys finally made me take this decision, which appears to me, after a long term reflection, the most honest one regarding the evolution of the situation."

Thursday, February 13, 2014

OPEN LETTER to Neil Young from Trauma Surgeon and Professor Mads Gilbert of Norway

Dear Neil Young!
I am a committed Norwegian medical doctor who have my daily work at a large Norwegian University Hospital.
I have also worked for the Palestinians since 1981, trying my best to support their medical system in dire situations. Being an anesthesiologist and resuscitation specialist, I also worked in Al Shifa Hospital in Gaza City during the Israeli onslaught in Dec-08-Jan 09 (“Operation Cast Lead”) and during the last onslaught in November 2012 (“Operation Pillar of Defence”).
I so much wish you had been with me during these horrendous times and seen the brutal bloodshed caused by the Israeli governmental military forces. The overwhelming majority of those wounded, dying and DOA victims who came to Al Shifa Hospital were civilians. Hundreds of children were killed, thousands injured. During the 2008-09 Israeli attack on Gaza, around 1.400 Palestinians were killed in just three weeks. 13 – thirteen – Israelis were killed, of whom 10 were military, five of them killed by “friendly fire”. Just the brutal, repeated disproptionality of force used by Israel reflected in these numbers of killed and injured civilian, absolutely innocent Palestinians – should make you refrain from playing in Israel. Add to this the fact that Gaza is in fact a child prison: average age among the 1,7 million entrapped Palestinians is 17,6 yrs, almost 60% of the population is 18 and below. They have absolutely nowhere to run, nowhere to hide due to the total siege and blockade of Gaza. The Israeli drones, the F-16′s, Apache helicopters, the gunboats, all the might of the world’s 4th most powerful military force keeps its iron fist on occupied Palestine and its brave but so painfully tested people. Add to the bloodshed and killings the oppression, the slow and purely man-made starvation of the population, the denial of reconstruction of schools, habitat, energy & water systems – all this and more continues as I’m writing these words to you. All with the full support of your US government, for whom you will be seen as a spokesperson and a supporter if – should you – still decide to play in Israel.
I’ve always held you in the highest regards, Mr. Young, as an outstanding activist and a huge source of inspiration and strength in my own limited efforts to make a dent in the shit.
Please, Neil Young, save yourself from this huge mistake of playing in Israel. You will, regardless of your good intentions, be taken as a supporter for the occupying state of Israel if you give your concerts there. If you abstain, as the Norwegian singer Moddi just did, it will be a strong handshake and act of unforgettable solidarity to the tested, but resilient, people of occupied Palestine.
In respect and solidarity,
Mads Gilbert (professor/MD PhD), Tromsoe, Norway
PS If you want to read more on the consequences of the brutal Israeli attacks on Gaza, please read these papers I have authored with medical colleagues:
“Inside Al Shifa Hospital”: http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(09)60057-X/fulltext
and this: “Patient flow and medical consequences of the Israeli operation Pillar of Defence: a retrospective study.”: http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(13)62585-4/abstract
Or read our book “Eyes in Gaza” (Quartet Books, 2nd Edition, 2013):http://www.amazon.com/Eyes-Gaza-Mads-Gilbert/dp/0704372738/ref=sr_1_fkmr1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1392069618&sr=1-3-fkmr1&keywords=eyes+in+Gaza+2nd+edition
Sign the petition here to ask Young to respect the boycott:  http://ijvcanada.org/campaign/palestinian-civil-society-call-for-bds/neil-young-dont-play-israel/