Open Letter to Roxette : Don’t Play Apartheid Israel

Dear Marie Fredriksson and Per Gessle of Roxette,

It came to our attention recently that you had recorded a video, for Israeli press “Ynet” stating that you “just want to say ‘hi’ to all your fans in Israel, see you very soon in Tel Aviv.”

We know that you are aware that Shuki Weiss works tirelessly to promote musical events in Israel. Shuki has also persuaded Marianne Faithfull to record a video similar to yours. In fact, there are at least seven artists who appear to have been willing to vocalize, in videos, that they indeed WILL play in Israel.[1]

In one sense, we are pleased to see that cultural boycott campaigns are recognized as potentially effective in getting artists such as yourself to cancel. We have never seen any other nation except Israel, persuade artists to record videos such as these, and for good reason. No other nation has seen so many artists cancel their concerts, as a response to the rational and humanitarian call for a cultural boycott.

But, on the other hand, we want to remind you both, Marie and Per, that you each still possess the right to refrain playing in Israel. If even one of your duo feels that playing in Israel is indeed the wrong thing, then we urge that one to have the courage to refrain.

Please know that you are planning to play in Israel in violation of a boycott called for in 2005. This boycott was further intensified in 2009, after Israel’s many violations of international law and documented war crimes in Gaza. [2]

IDF Attack
19-year old Swedish human rights worker Tove Johansson had her cheekbone broken by a Jewish extremist in Hebron today. Earlier the same day at least five Palestinians, including a 3-year-old child, were injured by the settler-supporting extremists, who rampaged through Tel Rumeida hurling stones and bottles at local residents. Palestinian schoolchildren on their way home were also attacked. The Israeli army, which was intensively deployed in the area, did not intervene to stop the attacks.

Israel’s illegal and violent actions on humanitarian aid volunteers in the summer of 2010 led to nine deaths on the Freedom Flotilla. Executions took place at close range, and multiple bullets were fired directly at the heads of these unarmed civilians, whose aim was solely humanitarian in nature, all by well-trained and armed Israeli commandos.

Did you know that the Israeli Navy acted as pirates, in international waters? Perhaps you have read the Kurt Wallander detective books. Did you know Swedish author Mankell fearlessly joined the flotilla in 2010? Afterwards he said “Israel has never before been so condemned. Israel has painted itself into a corner. The world does not look the same as it did a week ago.” Upon his return to Sweden, Mankell charged that “all the ships (in the flotilla) were hijacked, and this was really piracy.” [3]

Have you heard of Tove Johansson from Stockholm? Tove could very well be one of your fans. In November of 2006, Tove was brutally attacked by Israeli colonists resulting in a broken cheekbone, a fractured skull and damage to her eye muscles. Tove knows that Palestinians undergo this violence on a daily basis. She was attempting to walk small children to their homes from their school. She was spit at, then kicked, then attacked with a glass bottle. In a statement from the Swedish government :

“The Swedish government is dissatisfied with Israel’s investigation of an attack in the contentious West Bank city of Hebron that left a Swedish activist with a broken cheekbone, the Swedish Foreign Ministry said Tuesday. “We’re concerned that this hasn’t been followed up, and we intend to speak to the relevant authorities and ask for more information about the incident,” said Petra Hansson, a spokeswoman for the Swedish Foreign Ministry. ” [4]

Shuki wants you to think you are “playing for people, not for governments.” It would be utterly ridiculous for you to agree to play a concert for colonists in Ariel, and invite Tzipi Livni and Ehud Olmert.

Some Israelis are boycotting products made in the settlements. Some of your Israeli fans may disagree with their own government. Some of your Israeli fans may have even attended protests against the wall.

The small sacrifice your Israeli fans would have to make by not hearing you perform live is equivalent to nothing compared to the aims and goals of the boycott. Musicians who refrain from playing Israel are very humanitarian focused, and they usually agree that:

  • Racial discrimination and segregation against the Palestinian citizens of Israel is wrong, and it resembles the defunct apartheid system in South Africa.
  • Military occupation and colonization of the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) and Gaza is wrong and it violates international law and multiple UN resolutions.
  • The Palestinian Nakba is a fact. Israel is responsible for the Nakba — in particular the waves of ethnic cleansing and dispossession that created the Palestinian refugee problem — and Israel continues to refuse to accept the inalienable rights of the refugees and displaced. International law stipulates that they have a right to reparations or to return to their homes.

Marie Fredriksson and Per Gessle, don’t you also agree that international law should be upheld and that the Palestinian people’s rights are as valid as any other people’s?

We hope you will refrain, as you put it so well, “Listen to your heart,” not to pressure from musical contracts.

Don’t Play Apartheid Israel

We are a group, of over 760 members, representing 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.

[1] After a months long BDS campaign, the group August Burns Red, decided to cancel their concert in Israel. Their video still remains on Shuki Weiss’s youtube channel at the time of this publishing.

[2] See the Goldstone Report

[3] See Wallander – writer may bar Hebrew Version of books

[4] ISM Report: Swedish Human Rights Worker Viciously Attacked by Jewish Extremists in Hebron.