As Ebrahim said, Israel is indeed “an occupying power and is doing all sorts of things in the Palestine occupied territory which has been condemned by the entire international community.”
The Russell Commission and South African Human Sciences Research Council have affirmed Israel perpetrates systematic apartheid and colonialism, both crimes against humanity, on the Palestinian people. Rather than meet its obligations under international law, Israel continues to expand its illegal settlements in the West Bank, torture Palestinian detainees held without charge or trial, deny Palestinian Israelis equal rights and Palestinians in the Occupied Territories even basic human rights, collectively punish through closure the entire population of Gaza and many other war crimes and human rights abuses.
Thus, we deplore the scurrilous attack by the South African Zionist Federation on the South African government for its principled policy. We encourage the South African government to remain firm and expand its support to embrace fully the principles of the Palestinian-led call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions, in order that Palestinians gain justice and freedom, despite predictable international pressure brought to bear on Israel’s behalf.
The Israeli ambassador, Dov Segev-Steinberg, demonstrates a flawed understanding of history and the process of liberation when he refers to ‘the South African way of dialogue to promote peace’, as, without justice, there can be no reconciliation. The South African government is acting in a way that will facilitate justice.
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 there 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 and other artists to heed the call of the PACBI, and join in the boycott of Israel.
RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS
c/o Warner Music
75 Rockefeller Plaza
New York, NY 10019
23 May 2012
Dear Red Hot Chili Peppers,
South African Artists to Red Hot Chili Peppers: Don’t Entertain Apartheid, Choose the Right Side of History!
We are South Africans artists who have recently learned that in the course of your upcoming international tour (which will include Bulgaria, Greece, Lebanon and Turkey) the Red Hot Chili Peppers are also planning to perform in Israel in September.
We appeal to you to heed the Palestinian call for a cultural boycott of Israel. As you may know, the boycott enjoys the support of the overwhelming amount of Palestinian civil society (including artists and artist groups) and an increasing number of progressive Israelis.
You 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 South Africa, the world’s eyes turned to the injustices that were happening here. This then created a wave of pressure on politicians and world leaders representing their constituencies, to insist on a regime-change – this contributed to a free, democratic and non-racial South Africa. The same is not only possible for Palestine-Israel, but inevitable. The question is: on which side of history do you want to be? Performing in Apartheid South Africa during the 80s, or in Israel today, is choosing to be on the wrong side of history.
As South Africans, we recognise the role that internationally-recognised artists like yourselves played in helping us to end apartheid in our country. It is this recognition, along with our belief in you, that leads us to join the many others around the world who are calling on you to cancel this part of your tour.
We understand how difficult it would be for you to reject an opportunity to share your enthusiasm and skills with others. Bands like you are the reason 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. Art does not simply take place in a vacuum. The belief that cultural activities are “apolitical” (or that you are simply performing music, not getting involved in politics) is a myth. You performing in Israel will be a slap in the face of Palestinians (who have, since 2005, asked international artists not to perform there) but it will also be tacit support for the Israeli regime and its practices of apartheid.
The audiences before whom you would perform at Haryakon Park in Tel Aviv will not include your Palestinian fans from Gaza or the West Bank – they are barred from traveling to Tel Aviv. They are excluded, like how Blacks were excluded under Apartheid in South Africa, by laws which shut them out of places in a land which, historically, is as much their own as those who are permitted to attend.
These are laws which the International Court of Justice (the highest court on this earth) has declared to be illegal and in violation of international human rights law, just as apartheid was declared to be illegal in our country. The Court found that the fundamental rights of people who would otherwise be enjoying your performances have been violated and their rights to a cultural life and to self-determination denied. By agreeing to perform before segregated audiences – whether in Israel, Gaza, or the West Bank – the Red Hot Chili Peppers would be used by those responsible to claim legitimacy (with or without your consent) for the injustices and humiliations they are inflicting on Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza as well as those living anywhere else in Israel.
From our own experience of the cultural boycott of South Africa which we ourselves called for, we had no sense of being its unwilling victims and isolated from the rest of the world. In fact, our experience was precisely to the contrary – we were strengthened by a powerful sense of world-wide solidarity with us and support in our struggle for freedom.
As Palestinians (and an increasing numbers of progressive Israelis) have themselves called for the boycott, we have no doubt that they will feel as heartened and encouraged in their struggle as we were.
We urge to you to stand by them, to exclude Israel from your tour, and be on the right side of history.
Joni Barnard, Mpho Madi, Aslam Bulbulia and the rest of the SA Artists Against Apartheid collective
‘Tragically for Palestinians, Zionism requires the state to empower and maintain a Jewish majority even at the expense of its non-Jewish citizens, and the occupation of the West Bank is only one part of it. What exists today between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea is therefore essentially one state, under Israeli control, where Palestinians have varying degrees of limited rights: 1.5 million are second-class citizens, and four million more are not citizens at all. If this is not apartheid, then whatever it is, it’s certainly not democracy. ‘
Secretary of State Hilary Clinton presented on Thursday the State Department’s 2011 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices that criticizes Israel for its treatment of African migrants, an issue vigorously debated in Israeli public discourse lately.
The report states that Sudanese and Eritrean asylum seekers, which are about 85 percent of African migrants in Israel “were not allowed access to asylum procedures but were given renewable ‘conditional release’ documents that deferred deportation and had to be renewed every few months.”
The report quotes statistics provided by the UNHCR, showing that during the year out of 4,603 new asylum applications 3,692 were rejected. Only one was approved. 6,412 cases remained pending at year’s end.
The report also critically mentioned that the Israeli government officials “often negatively referred to asylum seekers as ‘infiltrators’ and periodically characterized asylum seekers as directly associated with rises in crime, disease, and terrorism.”
The report specifically mentions December 2011 interview of the Minister of Interior Eli Yishai with the IDF radio, in which he promised to “ensure that the last of the Sudanese, and the Eritreans, and all of the infiltrators, to the last of them, will return to their countries.”
Members of the Irish media absorbed in pillorying human rights activists who called on Irish band Dervish to boycott apartheid Israel might instead consider the declaration of South African Artists Against Apartheid below. It appears these Irish ‘journalists’ are incapable of reading the threads on Dervish’s facebook wall in order to ascertain the facts about where the ‘avalanche of negativity’ referred to by singer Cathy Jordan actually emanated from – in fact, it oozed from fanatical defenders of Israeli apartheid after the band announced its respect for boycott.
Cathy Jordan of Dervish said “I abhor all violence for whatever reason. I loathe any violations of people’s human rights and dignity, and I believe that all citizens have the right to live in peace, free from persecution. I’m an idealist, a pacifist, a humanitarian.” Her words resonate well with the principled boycott of Israel which addresses non-violently the apartheid state’s crimes against humanity. The BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement is inspired by the successful boycott of apartheid South Africa, and the call to the international community by Palestinian people to boycott is grounded solidly in international human rights law, affirmative of justice, freedom and equality. It was in this positive humanist spirit that Dervish was encouraged by human rights activists to cancel its date with apartheid Israel.
As South African Artists and Cultural Workers who have lived under, survived, and in many cases resisted apartheid, we acknowledge the value of international solidarity in our own struggle. It is in this context that we respond to the call by Palestinians, and their Israeli allies, for such solidarity.
As artists of conscience we say no to apartheid – anywhere. We respond to the call for international solidarity and undertake not to avail any invitation to perform or exhibit in Israel. Nor will we accept funding from institutions linked to the government of Israel. This is our position until such time as Israel, in the least, complies with international law and universal principles of human rights. Until then, we too unite with international colleagues under the banner of “Artists Against Apartheid.”
Apartheid and Collaborating with it
Collaborating with institutions linked to the state of Israel cannot be regarded as a neutral act in the name of cultural exchange.
In an official report commissioned by the South African government in 2009, the Human Sciences Research Council confirmed that Israel, by its policies and practices, is guilty of the crime of apartheid. Numerous others, including South Africans who have a deep familiarity with racial oppression (and resistance to it), have spoken of life in the shadow of Israeli repression as akin to or worse to that under apartheid in South Africa.
Artistic performances in Israel promote a “business as usual” attitude that normalizes and “whitewashes” a state that is guilty of daily forms of exclusion, violence and war crimes. Operation Cast Lead in Gaza saw over 400 children killed by the Israeli military; and the unconscionable attack by Israel in international waters aboard the Freedom Flotilla resulted in the death of nine humanitarian aid workers. (Both have been described as crimes in violation of international law – the former by the 2009 Goldstone report and the latter by the UN Human Rights Council.)
As artists of conscience we can act to resist the normalization of Israel’s apartheid policies. Some may hide behind the excuse that art is apolitical. However, artists have not been hesitant in taking a position against racism and inequality. As South Africans we benefited from such a position of conscience. For example, members of the British Musicians’ Union, pledged not to perform in South Africa as long as apartheid was in effect. Numerous organizations and artists in film, television, theatre and other arts fell in line against the South African regime and contributed to the denormalisation of South African apartheid which eventually led to that regime’s demise – and to the birth of a free and democratic country, for all.
Joining the International Momentum
Inspired by the boycott of Apartheid South Africa, Palestinians have made a call for a Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign of Israel. This call has been actively supported by Israelis as well.
British writer John Berger, Indian novelist Arundhati Roy, US poet Adrienne Rich, British film director Ken Loach and screenwriter Paul Laverty are just some of the prominent voices that have joined this call. In a movement that continues to gain momentum, a string of artists have recently either cancelled shows or pledged their refusal to be complicit in Israeli Apartheid. Some names include: Carlos Santana, Elvis Costello, Gil Scott-Heron, Dustin Hoffman, Meg Ryan, Faithless and Massive Attack. For futher details, refer to the attached Record Sheet.
“Just as we said during apartheid that it was inappropriate for international artists to perform in South Africa in a society founded on discriminatory laws and racial exclusivity, so it would be wrong for Cape Town Opera to perform in Israel.”
“Cape Town Opera should postpone its proposed tour next month until both Israeli and Palestinian opera lovers of the region have equal opportunity and unfettered access to attend performances.”
“the thickest-skinned South Africans would be comfortable performing before an audience that excluded residents living, for example, in an occupied West Bank village 30 minutes from Tel Aviv, who would not be allowed to travel to Tel Aviv, while including his Jewish neighbours from an illegal settlement on occupied Palestinian territory.”
“The Tel Aviv Opera House is state sponsored. By luring international artists to perform there, it advances Israel’s fallacious claim to being a ‘civilized democracy’. Yet, every day, millions of citizens are denied the right to educational and cultural opportunities in Israel and the Palestinian territories it occupies.”
“Please, fine singers of the Cape Town Opera: Much as it offers you opportunities to travel abroad and show the world what we can do, listen to your conscience. God loves Jews and Muslims equally. To perform Porgy and Bess, with its universal message of non-discrimination, in the present state of Israel, is unconscionable.”
Israel uses culture shamelessly and deliberately to promote its political branding, to obscure its crimes against humanity given impunity by the failure by governments to enforce international law. Soon after the Palestinian boycott was called in 2005, Nissim Ben-Sheetrit, a deputy director general from the Israeli Foreign Ministry said: “We are seeing culture as a hasbara tool of the first rank, and I do not differentiate between hasbara and culture”.
‘Professor Ayee’s announcement came after the university was called on by students and staff to cancel the hosting of Finkelstein as it would have violated the “academic boycott” of Israel. Palestinians issued a call to the international community in 2005 for a program of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel until Israel abides by international law and basic human rights.
Early last year, another SA University, the University of Johannesburg, became the world’s first university to impose an academic boycott on Israel by ending its institutional relation with Israel’s Ben-Gurion University. In addition several student movements, including the South African Students Congress (SA’s largest and oldest studdent body), have publicly backed the academic boycott and BDS call.
UKZN School of Social Sciences senior lecturer, Dr Lubna Nadvi commented:”This is a positive and encouraging move by UKZN. Israel is fast becoming a pariah state, like Apartheid South Africa did, that no one really wants to be associated with – including academics and students. It can be safe to assume that UKZN’s cancellation represents the general sentiment among students and staff”.’
In the wake of BDS Maroc’s successful campaign against the orientalist Mediterranean Delight Belly Dance Festival in Marrakech, more anti-normalisation initiatives are in train. BDS Maroc is calling for cancellation of an Israeli company [HP Indigo] printing industry exhibition and associated sales activities, while Moroccan Palestinian solidarity organisations are demanding the Moroccan government criminalise normalisation with Israel.
Google translation of the BDS Maroc press release follows:
Moroccan activists critical of the high pace of normalization with the Jewish state under the Islamic government ‘Quds Al-Arabi’:
by BDS Maroc on Monday, 23 April 2012 at 08:07 ·
Rabat ‘Quds Al-Arabi’: embracing Hotel in Casablanca, Morocco’s special exhibition to produce an Israeli company in the industry of printing machines, to be held on the sidelines of the exhibition for the meetings with the actors, trade and economic specialists in the marketing of these products, and introduce them to Bmostagdadtha and urged them to market their goods advanced.
The law enforcement Moroccan activist Sion Osadon that the exhibition due to open next Monday ‘a big scandal, but a stab in the back of our Palestinian brothers who are in dire need of at this exact time to support and do what is necessary for a boycott of the Zionist entity’.
In a time of escalating protests of Morocco on the activities of normalization with the Jewish state, it is noted that there are points of deliberately raising the pace of normalization fields of multi-which explains Baharj government led by the ruling Justice and Development with reference Islamic and adopt a hard-line positions and participate Kiedjoh in the bodies of anti-normalization with the Jewish state.
Received Abdelilah Benkirane the prime minister and leader of the party last Wednesday, both of Khaled Sufiani coordinator of the work of national support Iraq, Palestine, Mohammad Alandlosa Ben Jelloun Secretary General of the Moroccan Association to support the Palestinian struggle and handed them a memorandum calling for the criminalization of normalization with the Jewish state legally and to issue instructions to all government institutions and sub- government of not doing any activity Ttabiei.
Although the company incubator of the exhibition Israel, has said that it deals with the ‘Belgian company and the other Spanish’, it recorded a web page allocated by the Moroccan company incubator of the show Israel that within the officials of the four representatives of the Israeli company HP Indigo, Vice President and General Manager of ‘Alon Barchana’, Israeli incumbent control of the Headquarters Central to the company in ‘Rehovot’, near Tel Aviv.
The newspaper ‘News Today’ Moroccan official source at the Ministry of Industry and Commerce and modern technologies it is not responsible for such events and not have the power to license or deny that the ‘ministry did not organize this meeting was not called for by any one, and since it is organized by the contractor Morocco, the the ministry does not intervene in the partnerships and relationships Moroccan businesses and imports of products’.
He considered that any official source product coming directly from Israel will not be able to enter the Moroccan market, ‘but if they have other ways to import the product factory in another country for example, there is no authority for us to prevent it from entering the Moroccan market.’
The ‘news of the day’ that the Israeli company’s products bear the stamp of ‘Made in Israel’, and that the first breakthrough achieved by the Israeli company was the Arab markets through the sale of one of the printers of the National Office of Airports of Morocco during the reign of former general manager.
The newspaper added that ‘serious in the policy of this company, it draws its marketing to the public procurements to provide ministries and public administrations Btabatha advanced, and turn in to the different methods to get those deals, knowing that the public administrations of Morocco does not need high-tech which is characterized by the HP Indigo ‘.
The date of the establishment of the Israeli company to the year 1977, by ‘Penny Wanda’, the slope of the Israeli parents for Jia to Poland during World War II, specializing in imaging and printing since his childhood, he joined through the studio of his father. He then continued his postgraduate studies in London before heading to Israel, and establishes the company ‘Indigo’ that after the success achieved over the years, attracted the attention of company ‘HP’ world famous in 2000, and invested $ 100 million to become the HP Indigo. The ‘Alon Barchana’, the mastermind of the company in the past two decades, and the man who took over planning for its partnership with HP and seeks to achieve a wider spread her world, armed with university Bashhadath obtained from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.
The move comes in the context of initiatives normalization of sync, where he attended the Israelis in the parliamentary conference Mediterranean held in the Moroccan capital of the end of March last and the station broadcast the Moroccan second anniversary of the massacre of Deir Yassin, a documentary entitled Tinghir Gerazlem about the Jews in Palestine Mahtaatlh and the establishment of four officials Moroccans visit to Israel this week the past, and the Declaration of human rights Moroccan Sion Osadon that a delegation from the Moroccan farmers Moroccans will pay a visit to occupied Palestine to participate in the exhibition peasants of Israel, in the month of May next also organizes dancer Israel in the middle of May next in the city of Marrakech Festival of Dance-east.
The Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories is maintained and preserved by daily practices of surveillance and control. In recent years, these practices have increasingly relied on technological mechanisms provided by international and local corporations. Hewlett-Packard (HP) is one of the companies that unable this technological supervision and oppression.
Through its subsidiary EDS Israel, HP is the prime contractor of the Basel System, an automated biometric access control system installed and maintained by HP in checkpoints throughout the occupied Palestinian territories (oPt).
Another control mechanism with which HP is involved, is Israel’s ID card system, which reflects and reinforces the state’s political and economic asymmetries as well as its tiered citizenship structure. HP was charged by the Ministry of Interior with the manufacturing of biometric ID cards for the citizens and residents of Israel (Jewish and Palestinians). In addition, HP also provides services and technologies to the Israeli army.
Furthermore, two of HP’s technological service providers in Israel are Matrix and its subsidiary, Tact Testware, which are located in the illegal West Bank settlement of Modi’in Illit. HP further participates in the “Smart City” project, implemented in the illegal West Bank settlement of Ariel, providing a storage system for the settlement’s municipality.
BDS Maroc also is urging exclusion from an Agriculture Exhibition at Meknes for products of companies with Zionist origins from stolen Palestinian land, and also the participation of a Moroccan delegation in the gallery of Agriculture Tel spring (on land 1948 ) between 15 and 17 May 2012.
A Google translation of this press release follows:
Marrakech, organized by the dancer from the Zionist entity brazenly defending the positions of Zionism,
– Expresses its satisfaction with the retreat of those responsible and salutes all those who contributed from near or far in the pressure on these bodies expose in its attempts to deepen relations with the Zionist racist regime at all levels, this time under the banner of art.
– Reflect the initiative of my DS Morocco in particular, has expressed its condemnation to display some brokers and unscrupulous merchants – the exhibition of international of Agriculture to be held in Meknes during this week – for the products produced by companies Zionist origins of Palestinian land stolen, and also the participation of a Moroccan delegation in the gallery of Agriculture Tel spring (land 1948 ) between 15 and 17 May 2012,
– Condemning the initiative my DS Morocco multiplicity of events that welcome the Moroccan authorities Bmanla the land of Palestine, another example is to accept the post player coming from the Zionist entity league tennis Fes …
– Calls on all national forces and created the Moroccan civil society to respond to the call of Palestinian civil society organizations to boycott 2005 “Israel”, divestment and sanctions (known as the call BDS)
To form a bulwark against the Zionist apartheid regime.
April 24, 2012
In the streets of Marrakech, a youth protest on bicycles and foot to launch anti-normalisation with and boycott of Israel was held last Sunday, presaging the spread of the BDS campaign to other centres in Morocco to coincide with Nakba (the zionist genocide of Palestinians in 1948) remembrance on May 15.
Launching campaigns against the normalization of youth from the streets of Marrakech
Was launched last Sunday in Marrakech youth campaign to educate public opinion, the local issue of normalization with the Zionist entity and which carried also calls for a boycott of products that support for “Israel.”
According to the campaign, Samir al-Rawi A young activists in the fight against normalization with Israel Palmdnah red, was in the form of tours bicycle and on foot with raised Palestinian flags and distributing awareness leaflets in Marrakech.
And began following tours in front of the Royal Theatre at 11 am and roamed the street Mohammed VI the Great that ended in the morning a tour inside the lighthouse, to be followed round the evening off at five o’clock pm from Square Alharta in the direction of Djemaa el Fna famous, where over there carrying a Palestinian flag large and chanting slogans against the normalization of the next episodes of the popular Djemaa el Fna.
He says Samir al-Rawi that the bodies involved, a coalition Moroccans Palestinian Intifada and the renewal student and bds maroc, played a crucial role in the abolition of Oriental Dance Festival in Marrakech, who will know the post dancers Israeli soldiers, prompting them to resume their activities of anti-normalization of the city center in a more creative and communicative with the citizens.
Activist Marrakech shows in connection with the “Hespress” that a group of Tenseekiet “coalition of the Moroccans, the Palestinian uprising” will organize the campaign in several towns within the Moroccan territory Karabat, Tangier, Oujda, and the following Altenseekiet is preparing to commemorate the first anniversary will be held on May 15, which coincides with the anniversary of Nakba, the celebration will be allocated where this subject is the organization of festivals and anniversary marches in support of the Palestinian people, pro-Aqsa Mosque and Jerusalem.
Tunisian BDS is also actively promoting anti-normalisation, holding a mass protest at the end of March.
Author and blogger As’ad AbuKhalil discusses the role of the US in supporting dictatorial regimes in the Middle East and North Africa both before and after the uprisings that swept the region in the spring of 2011. This presentation was part of the Building Solidarity with the Arab Spring Teach-In held on November 12, 2011 in Berkeley, CA.
Davutoglu said, “Syrian regime’s duty is not to accuse others but to listen and pay attention to its own people and meet its own responsibilities. The regime cannot survive by putting pressure on the people. Their not meeting the demands of the people increasingly shakes the confidence of the people. Syrian regime should understand that they cannot continue with status quo, the same system, one party regime, an order which pressurizes its own citizens.
Syrian regime should listen to its people instead of massacring them. As far as they do not stop massacring, they cannot get the support of the people by making epic speeches in every 3-4 months. They constantly make new promises and then postpone the reform dates they gave before.”
It is clear the Bush Administration was committed to bringing about regime change. Under President Barack Obama, it appears the US has not fully committed to the same of kind of destabilization efforts. The Obama Administration appears to have instead adopted a policy that is indicative of the sort of American exceptionalism rife within the Washington establishment.