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

Sing Up the Struggle for Justice of Palestinian People & Rachel Corrie

Rachel Corrie's family at the trial verdict
Rachel Corrie’s family at the trial verdict (Courtesy The Rachel Corrie Foundation @RCFoundation)
UPDATE 29/8/12

Unsurprisingly, the criminal zionist entity court-washed Rachel’s murder with the Corrie family’s lawyer indicating an appeal may be pursued. This high profile civil suit has not and will not work in Israel’s favour since the facts clearly reveal the truth which the court has covered up, along with Israel’s reprehensible posturing justifications for murdering innocents at whim including Palestinian children. Chris McGreal’s account is blood-curdling and disturbing. Can a state which remorselessly kills children and unarmed peace activists as deliberate policy claim any justification for existing?

The Israeli military commander in southern Gaza at the time was Colonel Pinhas “Pinky” Zuaretz. A few weeks after Corrie’s death, I (as the Guardian’s correspondent in Israel) spoke to him about how it was that so many children were shot by Israeli soldiers at times when there was no combat. His explanation was chilling.

At that point, three years into the second intifada, more than 400 children had been killed by the Israeli army. Nearly half were in Rafah and neighbouring Khan Yunis. One in four were under the age of 12.

I focussed on the deaths of six children in a 10-week period, all in circumstances far from combat. The dead included a 12-year-old girl, Haneen Abu Sitta, killed in Rafah as she walked home from school near a security fence around one of the fortified Jewish settlements in Gaza at the time. The army made up an explanation by falsely claiming Haneen was killed during a gun battle between Israeli forces and Palestinians.

Zuaretz conceded to me that there was no battle and that the girl was shot by a soldier who had no business opening fire. It was the same with the killings of some of the other children. The colonel was fleetingly remorseful.

“Every name of a child here, it makes me feel bad because it’s the fault of my soldiers. I need to learn and see the mistakes of my troops,” he said. But Zuaretz was not going to do anything about it; and by the end of the interview, he was casting the killings as an unfortunate part of the struggle for Israel’s very survival.

“I remember the Holocaust. We have a choice, to fight the terrorists or to face being consumed by the flames again,” he said.

In court, Zuaretz said the whole of southern Gaza was a combat zone and anyone who entered parts of it had made themselves a target. But those parts included houses where Palestinians built walls within walls in their homes to protect themselves from Israeli bullets.

In that context, covering up the truth about the killings of innocents, including Corrie, became an important part of the survival strategy because of the damage the truth could do to the military’s standing, not only in the rest of the world but also among Israelis.

It is impossible to watch the jubilant wave of the bulldozer driver after he killed Rachel Corrie without longing that the murderous, racist state of Israel collapses under the weight of its contradictions and is transformed as soon as possible into a state with equality for all its citizens, its hideous Occupation of Indigenous Palestinians ended, and rights of Palestinians to return to their lands recognised. A state which grants impunity for such a war crime, let alone the manifold other war crimes and crimes against humanity of which the apartheid zionist entity is guilty, invites its own demise.

To bring about the end of Israel’s vile oppression and lawlessness as soon as possible, ISM’s response to the Rachel Corrie verdict is logical:

By disregarding international law and granting Israeli war criminals impunity Judge Gershon’s verdict exemplifies the fact that Israel’s legal system cannot be trusted to administer justice according to international standards.The ISM calls on the international community to hold Israel accountable by supporting the Palestinian call for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) and continuing to join the Palestinian struggle in the occupied Palestinian territories.

Omar Barghouti comments on the significance of Israel’s impunity for its murder of Rachel Corrie:

“This latest Israeli mockery of justice underlines what the Golds
tone Report had proven after the Israeli massacre in Gaza in 2008-09. Referring to “structural flaws” in the so-called Israeli justice system, the report concluded that Israel cannot be trusted to administer justice according to international standards”.

“This should also convince anyone who still needed to be convinced that without effective BDS against Israel it will never comply with international law. This is the lesson of South Africa”.

If you’re a performer, cultural worker, writer or academic, please contact PACBI with a statement about why you support boycott, divestment and sanctions of Israel, if you haven’t already done so. Do it for the Palestinian Nasrullah family whom Rachel Corrie protected, do it for justice, do it for Rachel, just do it and help end Israel’s impunity.

Related Links

The Technion – Israel Institute of Technology has developed an unmanned version for the D9 bulldozer to be used in Gaza.

At the US State Dept Daily Briefing, Nuland obfuscates:

QUESTION: Thank you. Now that an Israeli court has —

MS. NULAND: It takes two of you to cover for Matt and for – (laughter) – anyway, sorry.

QUESTION: No problem.

MS. NULAND: I couldn’t resist.

QUESTION: An Israeli court today ruled against the family of Rachel Corrie, the American who was killed by a bulldozer in Gaza. Is the U.S. satisfied with that investigation, and is the U.S. disappointed that the Israeli military hasn’t taken responsibility for her death?

MS. NULAND: Well, first of all, we reiterate our condolences to the Corrie family on the tragic death of their daughter, Rachel. As you know, we’ve worked with the family all through this process, and we will continue to provide consular support. We understand the family’s disappointment with the outcome of the trial. Under Israeli law, the family has the right to appeal the verdict, and we’ve seen reports that they are considering doing that. So we will see how this proceeds going forward.

Please.

QUESTION: Can I follow up on that?

MS. NULAND: Yeah.

QUESTION: There are reports that her family at a press conference said that Ambassador Dan Shapiro told them that he found the – he was finding the investigation not to be transparent. Do you have any comment on that?

MS. NULAND: I was asked this question earlier this week. Beyond saying that we have met with the family regularly, that we have provided consular support, I’m not going to get into our private discussions with the family.

Please.

Witness to Rachel Corrie’s Death Responds to Israeli Court Ruling Absolving Soldier

Jeff Halper:

‘Palestinians and Israel human rights activists have learned that justice cannot be obtained through the Israeli judicial system. The Haifa District Court, in which the trial was held, could not have ruled other than how the state wanted. For the past 45 years of Israeli occupation, the Supreme Court has excluded from its rulings all reference to international humanitarian law and to the Fourth Geneva Convention in particular, which protects civilians living in conflict situations and under occupation. Only Israeli law applies in the Occupied Palestinian Territories – military law and orders – and the courts have restricted even that form of law by declaring that in instances of “security,” they defer to the military. As in Rachel’s case, the IDF thus has carte blanche to commit war crimes with impunity, with no fear of accountability or punishment.’

Ramzy Baroud, on vicious zionist attitudes to the murder of peace activists:

Writing in The Jewish Chronicle, historian Geoffrey Alderman stated: “Few events – not even the execution of Osama bin Laden – have caused me greater pleasure in recent weeks than news of the death of the Italian so-called ‘peace activist’ Vittorio Arrigoni” (as quoted in The Guardian blog “View from Jerusalem with Harriet Sherwood” on May 18, 2011). While Sherwood found the comments “shocking”, pleasure at the killing of a peace activist is fully consistent with Israel’s ceaseless efforts at “discouraging” international activists from showing solidarity to Palestinians.

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The Israeli courts are to announce the verdict of the civil lawsuit against the Israeli Ministry of Defence initiated by Rachel Corrie’s parents this Tuesday, August 28th. Around the world, humanitarians will protest in solidarity with the Corrie family and with all Palestinian families who have had their homes demolished by Caterpillar bulldozers as part of apartheid Israel’s ongoing collective punishment of Palestinian people.

Rachel Corrie, a 23-year-old American from Olympia, Washington, was crushed to death March 16, 2003, by an Israeli military Caterpillar D9-R bulldozer while nonviolently protesting demolition of Palestinian civilian homes in Rafah, Gaza.

Rachel’s parents, Cindy and Craig, are hoping for justice for their murdered daughter.

They hope Tuesday’s court decision will conclude a case that’s turned their daughter into a rallying cry for pro-Palestinian activists, taken years of their life and drained their savings.

“We are here with a great deal of anticipation for Tuesday,” said Corrie’s mother, Cindy, 64, a homemaker and musician from Olympia, Washington. “We are hoping for some accountability here for what happened to Rachel.”

Corrie, a pro-Palestinian activist, was 23 when she was killed in March 2003 while she and other activists sought to block an Israeli military bulldozer they believed was about to demolish Palestinian homes in the Gaza border town of Rafah. The driver has said he didn’t see Corrie, and the death was accidental.

The Israeli army had been undertaking systematic house demotions in the densely populated border area, trying to halt shooting and mortar attacks against soldiers and Jewish settlers who used the route. The house destruction sparked international condemnation at the time.

They hope the court will apportion blame to the bulldozer driver and his superiors, who have all been cleared of wrongdoing in a military court.

The Corries are seeking a symbolic $1 in damages, along with compensation for the money they’ve spent bringing the case to trial.

The Corries said their case underscored how difficult it was for families to pursue justice for loved ones killed by Israeli forces.

Criminal convictions of soldiers, who are tried in military courts, are rare. In one case, an Israeli military court in 2005 convicted a former soldier of manslaughter in the shooting of a British activist, Tom Hurndall.

Israeli rights group B’Tselem said in 304 cases where soldiers killed Palestinians, only nine indictments were filed. Another 27 cases were awaiting a decision of the military advocate general and 14 cases were under investigation.

The US ambassador to Israel, Dan Shapiro, has communicated the dissatisfaction of the US government with the Israeli military’s investigation of Rachel’s death.

While the US government’s position on the investigation was not news to the Corrie family, attorneys said that hearing the ambassador’s statement shortly before the verdict was “important and encouraging.”

“This trial is an attempt to hold accountable not only those who failed to protect Rachel’s life but also the flawed system of military investigations which is neither impartial nor thorough,” the family’s attorney said. “Under international law, Israel is obliged to take all feasible precautions to spare civilians from the dangers of military operations. The Israeli military flagrantly violated this principle in the killing of Rachel Corrie.”

Corrie’s father called the lawsuit “a small step in our family’s nearly decade-long search for truth and justice.”

Regardless of how the judge rules, the US government will demand a full account from Israel about Corrie’s death.

To help demand justice for Rachel Corrie and her parents online and to highlight Israel’s horrendous collective punishment of Palestinian people, tweet #RememberRachel and follow @RCFoundation for updates.

Support oppressed Palestinian people and their struggle for justice, support Rachel Corrie’s parents and her cause, support boycott, divestment and sanctions against apartheid Israel!

Related Links

The Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace and Justice
Rachel Corrie’s family in Jerusalem, Aug. 26, 2012
US slams Israel for failed investigation of Rachel Corrie’s death
Rachel Corrie death: struggle for justice culminates in Israeli court
Friday protest in West Bank remembers activist Rachel Corrie
Demolishing Houses, Demolishing Lives
Rachel Corrie’s mother: ‘I know this won’t be the end’

Palestine / Israel Links

Up in salt: Israeli firm omits woman from kosher for Passover products

Israel Shoots Palestinian Children

Tomer Rot, former Israeli soldier: “I understood the reality we are creating … because there’s an entire population, that’s stepped on, pissed on, trampled on … and it’s sad.

How the Israeli army treats Palestinian children

Israeli soldiers tell how they routinely harass Palestinian families and sometimes shoot children involved in protests. Their testimony was given to campaigning group Breaking the Silence. Video by Ruth Pollard.

The Israel Defence Forces’ arbitrary use of violence against Palestinian children, including forcing them to act as human shields in military operations, has been exposed by veteran soldiers in detailed statements chronicling dozens of brutal incidents.

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/world/children-on-front-line-in-the-west-bank-20120826-24uhw.html

Breaking the Silence is limited in its discourse. As illustrated in the video below, Breaking the Silence’s activity is based on the ABSOLUTE REFUSAL TO BREAK THE SILENCE as well as PROTECT those who perpetrated crimes, sometimes as serious as war-crimes.

Related Links

Defence for Children International – Palestine
Israel breaks silence over army abuses

Samah Sabawi – Keynote Address at the Byron Bay BDS Conference

Although 70& of Australians supported Abbas’ unilateral bid for Palestinian statehood in 2011, including Jewish organisations, the Australian government voted no. This is despite Australia voting positively for partition in UN General Assembly Resolution 181 in 1947.

Samah Sabawi describes the history of zionist political injustice toward and theft from Palestinian people from 1947 to the present day, accentuating the duplicity of Israel’s settlement expansion. Israel wants all the resources and most Palestinian land, and deliberately avoids a just peace. 570 checkpoints hinder Palestinian life and growth.

Recognition of Israel without Israel declaring its borders is illogical and unacceptable. Israel has so far annexed more than 50% of the West Bank, rendering a Palestinian state unviable. Delaying tactics to just settlement with Palestinians have been used by Israel since its inception.

As Samah says, “Retaining the status quo works really well for them”.

The Australian government accepts Israel’s falsehoods even as the remainder of Palestinian land is stolen by Israel year after year.

To counteract Israel’s crimes, Samah and a growing number of people from Palestinian civil society advocate global BDS in order to put “a moral and economic cost on Israel’s human rights violations” as “there is no sense in pinning hopes on a state that may never be”.

Australia Links

The UNHCR rightly distances itself from Australia’s xenophobic offshore processing scheme
New law to control cyber data: Greens communications spokesman Scott Ludlam said the laws went further than the European convention, and that the government had failed to explain why the far-reaching powers were necessary

Don’t Bring Your Blues to Apartheid Israel, Robert Belfour

Robert BelfourDear Robert Belfour,

We have discovered you are scheduled to play in Israel on 23 August at the Barby in Tel Aviv.

The fact that there is a cultural boycott of Israel is not something of which all musical artists are aware when they schedule to play Israel. After becoming aware, many cancel. (See http://www.pacbi.org/etemplate.php?id=1788)

We are writing to let you know more about this global movement, and we hope you will decide to be a part of it.

Israel has claimed authority over the lives and land of millions of Palestinian people. What began in 1948 in Palestine has now escalated into what South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu and many others call apartheid. Racism runs deep in the streets of Tel Aviv, Africans seeking asylum and living as refugees are filled with fear as Israelis demonstrate on the streets against their presence. Last May brought fear to Africans in Israel as a series of fire bombings of apartments and a day nursery were set off in an area where African migrants live. Shops run by or serving migrants were smashed up and looted in violent demonstrations in which several Africans were attacked. Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu stated

“We’ll start by ejecting the infiltrators from South Sudan…and then move on to other groups.”

Israel’s Minister of the Interior, Eli Yishai said chillingly:

“The infiltrators [African immigrants] along with the Palestinians will quickly bring us to the end of the Zionist dream…we don’t need to import more problems from Africa…[they] think the country doesn’t belong to us, the white man”.

A heinous series of walls, checkpoints, and sniper towers dot the landscape for millions of Palestinians. Brutal military might is flaunted daily and children in Gaza are regularly targeted to demonstrate the “effectiveness” of new weapons. Armed soldiers raid homes, fire into schoolyards, maiming and killing children.

While some liberal “peacenik” Israelis will tell you they want you to play because they will be your audience, please know that the most effective tool to end the oppression is an unequivocal stand against the injustice by saying no. Instead listen to the brave Israelis from “Boycott From Within” who have asked many artists to stay away from the failing Zionist state. (See http://boycottisrael.info/ )

Artists who do play for apartheid are being used to promote Israel as a false democracy. The Israeli government has an official twitter and uses its position to let the world know which artists lend their name to promote Israel’s false image. Just three of many examples are Bobby McFerrin, Gun N Roses and Sister Bliss.

Israeli Hasbara Bobby McFerrinIsraeli hasbara Guns n RosesIsraeli hasbara Sister Bliss

Please don’t allow your name to be used to whitewash racism, apartheid, and the horrible illegal annexation wall (pictured here in this recent video). http://youtu.be/pxZrUIctF5A

Join the boycott for justice, equality, freedom and human rights.

Yours truly,

DPAI

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 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 & other artists to heed the call of the PACBI, and join in the boycott of Israel.

For more information:
http://972mag.com/israeli-coalition-members-speak-about-refugees/47455/

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SOURCE

Robert Belfour on Facebook
Robert Belfour on Myspace