Natalie Imbruglia, Please Don’t Make a Big Mistake

Natalie Imbruglia, Playing Apartheid is a Big MistakeDear Natalie,

We are writing to you to ask you to please reconsider your performance in Israel, scheduled for the 1st March, 2017. We understand this will be your first appearance in Israel and would like to inform you that playing there will be in breach of the Palestinian call for artists to respect the cultural boycott of Israel until it adheres to international law and Palestinians have their civil and political rights which they are currently denied by the apartheid Israeli government. [1]

Like Aboriginal people in Australia before 1966, indigenous Palestinians who live in Israel are prevented from enjoying full citizenship in that state. Full citizenship is available only on theocratic grounds, to people who are defined as Jewish by the State. Furthermore, Palestinians in Israel are subject to more than 50 laws discriminating against them – de facto apartheid.  Palestinians who reside in the Occupied Territories of East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza which Israel seized and occupied in 1967 cannot vote at all in Israeli elections. These Palestinian people subsist in segregated bantustans isolated from each other by apartheid walls and fences with their movement controlled by over 500 checkpoints, preventing them from attending universities and hospitals, and seeing friends and relatives – many families have been separated for years due to this system of apartheid. Indeed the International Court of Justice declared Israel’s apartheid wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory illegal in 2004 – further international law that it ignores.

Palestinians persecuted by military occupation naturally wish to live freely with rights in their own ancestral lands. However, illegal Israeli settlements continually expand and encroach upon those lands, despite several United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions. Most recently, on 23 December 2016, the UNSC passed another resolution unanimously against expansion of the illegal settlements, and again affirmed their illegality under international law, yet Israel refuses to recognise these resolutions.  Israel has now declared de facto war on the resolution’s sponsors, including New Zealand [2] and also intends to withhold UN dues [3]. Since the resolution Israel has accelerated its demolition of Palestinian homes to four times its 2016 weekly average, making hundreds of people homeless.

Nearly 800,000 Jewish people now reside illegally on Palestinian lands, enjoying full political rights while Palestinians languish, brutalised by military occupation and without rights. Palestinian refugees driven out in the 1948 Nakba from the areas which Israel claimed comprise the second largest refugee population in the world and again, despite the requirements of international law, Israel refuses to permit these Indigenous people to return to their homes. In many countries Palestinians are stateless, living in squalid refugee camps for decades, never giving up hope that their right of return will be realised and they can return to their Indigenous home and heritage which has been usurped and colonised.

Zionist colonisation of Palestine follows a similar trajectory to British colonisation of Australia, where Indigenous Australians were forced into isolating missions and reserves, slaughtered and dispossessed of their land and culture, while Palestinians too are subjected to extreme violence and forced into refugee camps and bantustans  We understand you have experienced the end results of these genocidal colonial crimes during your participation in the First Contact SBS programme and are sympathetic to the plight of Aboriginal people in Australia consequent to white colonisation. We ask you to consider also the distressing situation for Palestinian people and the importance of support for their struggle for liberation and justice. Because the international political community has refused to act to support their rights, Palestinians called in 2005 for cultural boycott and asked people of conscience like yourself for solidarity with their movement by refraining from performing in Israel.

By respecting their call, you will also be supporting the women of Gaza who suffer from breast cancer, another area where you have shown empathy. Israel prevents breast cancer sufferers, and indeed most cancer sufferers from obtaining appropriate treatment, due to its collective punishment of two million civilians which it has incarcerated in the largest prison in the world – Gaza – since 2006.

Dozens of female cancer patients in the Gaza Strip have launched a protest against Israel’s refusal to allow them to cross into Israel to seek medical treatments in hospitals in Israel, East Jerusalem and the West Bank. The women say the ban or delay of their treatments is a “premeditated death sentence.” [4]

Due to Israel’s military attacks on Gaza and its illegal, immoral siege which prevents the import of fuel supply and parts, sickness is common there since the water supply is contaminated by dysfunctional sewerage treatment plants and electricity supply is currently down to a mere four hours per day [5]. Physicians for Human Rights comments on Israel’s deprivation of medical equipment:

There are no syringes, no bandages and no tubes. When one of our surgeons asks for a specific scalpel or bandage during surgery he’s told that there aren’t any available. When we train a local doctor and teach him techniques and procedures he has nothing to work with.” [Ibid.]

The UN has estimated that without major reconstruction, Gaza will be uninhabitable by 2020. [Ibid.] Should you play your concert in Israel, be aware that this crime against humanity is being perpetrated just miles from you.

Certainly, Israel will continue to carry out its injustices against the Palestinian people if we are silent and do not act. We implore you to recognise your performance in Israel cannot create bridges over apartheid, oppression and suffering, merely obscure it so Israel can continue to pretend that its crimes are “normal” and blame Palestinians for their own plight. This is clearly not the case any more than the myth proliferated by white supremacists that Aboriginal people in Australia are responsible for their own immiseration.

The reality is that for Israel any show that isn’t cancelled because of boycott appeals is considered a political victory over the Palestinian struggle and international solidarity with it. Performing in Tel Aviv means playing for a segregated audience, on ethnically cleansed land. We really hope you can’t see yourself doing this and you join Lauryn Hill, Cassandra Wilson, Sinead O’Connor, Cat Power, Massive Attack and thousands of other artists who have refused to play in Israel – in Ireland over 540 artists have pledged to boycott the state, as have over 1,190 in the UK, and many more all over the world.

Please respect the Palestinian call to boycott Israel – you can make a real difference here and help tip the moral scales toward justice.

DPAI

We are a group, of over 2000 members from many nations 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.

Palestine Support Network Australia (PSNA)
Australian Friends of Palestine Association (AFOPA)
Australian Boycott, Divestments and Sanctions Campaign for Palestine (BDS)
Coalition for Justice and Peace in Palestine (CJPP)
Sydney Staff for BDS
The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI)

Samah Sabawi, Palestinian Australian playwright and Al Shabaka policy adviser
Kollaps, Melbourne band
Candy Royalle, Writer, Performer, Activist, Educator
Amy McQuire, Indigenous Writer
Penelope Swales, Musician
Sara Dowse, Writer
Trish Nacey, Videographer and Musician
Walbira Murray, Indigenous Research Officer
Ken Canning, Indigenous Playwright
Jeff Sparrow, Writer, Editor and Broadcaster
Marcelo Svirsky, Writer

Notes:

  1. https://bdsmovement.net/pacbi/cultural-boycott-guidelines
  2. https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/why-israel-should-fear-new-zealand
  3. http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/01/israel-halts-6m-protest-unsc-settlements-vote-170106205417524.html
  4. http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-1.763355
  5. http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-1.763280

The Dictator Quadrille

Whtie Saviours of Arabia

The Dictator Quadrille

Did you cheer when NATO boots smashed into the face of Afghanistan?
those evil Taliban, hate hate hate, such primitives, more sanctions
and the wall came down, Brzezsinski crowed.
Did you party when US bombs destroyed the Koranic library in Baghdad,
because democracy is messy? So Cheney gloated.
Saddam is gone, pushed off the long drop.
Aren’t they better off now? history is a sweet crude encumbrance.
Did you share a joke or two when Gaddafi was clubbed in a culvert,
raped with a knife – all hail NATO, such zealot humanitarians,
AFRICOM, civilised pointy ends over means,
millions of liquidated lives afri-forgotten beyond trothawk triumph at chaos.
Great white saviours! power vacuum cleaners armed with fake incubator Saudi sat pics
sarin barrel WMDs chemical Putin Niger uranium Lockerbie Russian attacks.
Empire gives notice to the latest demon of infinite malevolence, Assad,
usurps the right to protect us all from remembering,
betrays landlocked Kurds again already.
Do you recall Halabja, Amiriyah, Fallujah?
The price, Madeline snarled, was worth it, and who paid?
not nationalist PR agents in their recliner rockers, hunched over lethal keyboards.
Your pillars of wisdom are mirages of multi-imperialism,
Syriabara buttressed by indifference to brown people squatting on our oil,
may they buy our weapons as penance.
Once venerated as obedient dancers, dictatorships topple dramatically when they stand on imperial toes.
Like Alice, the last thing you remember is the cat’s grin above the chess board,
then repeat after me, “I don’t care, I don’t care, I don’t care” as you disappear.

October 2015

Related Links

“For the last year-and-a-half we have said Assad has to go, but how long and what the modality is … that’s a decision that has to be made in the context of the Geneva process and negotiation,” Mr Kerry said.’ http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-09-20/kerry-calls-for-renwed-effort-on-syria-conflict/6789582
Assad ‘part of solution in Syria’ — Julie Bishop signals policy change  http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/foreign-affairs/assad-part-of-solution-in-syria-julie-bishop-signals-policy-change/story-fn59nm2j-1227544502722?sv=73a358828d8d737433cc8b39f524c09f
The Red Line and the Rat Line http://www.lrb.co.uk/v36/n08/seymour-m-hersh/the-red-line-and-the-rat-line
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/saddam/kurds/cron.html
A Great Analysis of the Neocon BS the Guardian Has Been Selling Lately

“You can really have no notion how delightful it will be
When they take us up and throw us, with the lobsters, out to sea!”
http://www.authorama.com/alice-in-wonderland-10.html

“Brzezinski: It isn’t quite that. We didn’t push the Russians to intervene, but we knowingly increased the probability that they would.

Q: When the Soviets justified their intervention by asserting that they intended to fight against a secret involvement of the United States in Afghanistan, people didn’t believe them. However, there was a basis of truth. You don’t regret anything today?

Brzezinski: Regret what? That secret operation was an excellent idea. It had the effect of drawing the Russians into the Afghan trap and you want me to regret it? The day that the Soviets officially crossed the border, I wrote to President Carter: We now have the opportunity of giving to the USSR its Vietnam war. Indeed, for almost 10 years, Moscow had to carry on a war unsupportable by the government, a conflict that brought about the demoralization and finally the breakup of the Soviet empire.

Q: And neither do you regret having supported the Islamic [integrisme], having given arms and advice to future terrorists?

Brzezinski: What is most important to the history of the world? The Taliban or the collapse of the Soviet empire? Some stirred-up Moslems or the liberation of Central Europe and the end of the cold war?

Q: Some stirred-up Moslems? But it has been said and repeated: Islamic fundamentalism represents a world menace today.

Brzezinski: Nonsense! It is said that the West had a global policy in regard to Islam. That is stupid. There isn’t a global Islam. Look at Islam in a rational manner and without demagoguery or emotion. It is the leading religion of the world with 1.5 billion followers. But what is there in common among Saudi Arabian fundamentalism, moderate Morocco, Pakistan militarism, Egyptian pro-Western or Central Asian secularism? Nothing more than what unites the Christian countries.”

http://www.counterpunch.org/1998/01/15/how-jimmy-carter-and-i-started-the-mujahideen/

Ali Abunimah On Gaza and BDS, 1 Year After Israel’s Last Massacre

At present, Ali Abunimah is in France, speaking in Paris, Bordeaux, Montpellier and Lyon, marking 10 years since the advent of the 2005 BDS call and “the first anniversary of the beginning of Israel’s 51-day assault on Gaza that killed more than 2,200 people and devastated the territory”.

Ali Abunimah speaks on why there has been no reconstruction in Gaza, about the total impunity Israel enjoys, highlighting that there are no consequences for Israel’s continued blockade because of almost no pressure from outside world.

Here’s some points which Ali made in the interview.

“It’s very easy to criticise the inmates of a prison for their behaviour within the cell.”

“As there has been no reconstruction, many Palestinians have died in the Mediterranean trying to flee the devastation in Gaza.”

“Israel with total impunity continues to take land, build illegal settlements.”

“Palestinians have a right to resist military occupation, whether they are from Hamas or other as the French resisted in World War 2, as others have resisted, Palestinians have a right to resist.”

“People say “you should not launch rockets” …the point is that particularly Europe, is treating Palestinian resistance as if it’s illegal.”

“The point I’m making is that when you talk about a people living under occupation as ‘terrorists’, and you greet the occupiers, the oppressors, at the Elysees Palace or in Buckingham Palace, you are sending a moral message that occupation and apartheid is OK.”

“I don’t recognise that any state, whether it’s Israel or France or a future Palestine, has a right to discriminate against people based on their religion or ethnicity, so I don’t recognise any legitimate Israeli claim Israel has a right to exist as a Jewish state because that is by definition discriminatory against Palestinians.”

“The reason Israel is talking about the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement as a strategic threat is because Israel recognises that the movement pushing for equality, for a fundamental change, is going mainstream.”

Video first posted at Electronic Intifada