Amanda Palmer, Please Don’t Normalize with Apartheid

Don't Play Apartheid Israel, Amanda PalmerDear Amanda Palmer,

We appreciate your engagement with the cultural boycott in your statement on your blog [1], and would like to clarify to you that while your kickstarter house party does not fall within the ambit of the Palestinian-led boycott, because of its private nature and the absence of institutional backing, the gig at which you plan to play at the Barby would cross the boycott picket line.

To use a fact-finding tour with the Israeli organisation, Breaking the Silence “to see the areas they’re talking about”, as a kind of whitewashing of a contravention of the boycott is unacceptable.

We would hope you instead do make the effort, as did Jello Biafra [2], to view the results of Israel’s oppression of Palestinians, and then decide against breaching the boycott by playing at a public venue in Israel.

Would you have countenanced a tour of the apartheid South African bantustans with a white organisation and still played Sun City? We encourage you to listen to Palestinian voices who ask artists to respect the boycott and to realise that voices from the community of the Israeli oppressors do not represent Palestinians, and indeed often serve to silence and obscure the Palestinian message using deceptive words of ‘peace’ and ‘co-existence’. Palestinian people, in contrast, are asking you to co-resist with them in solidarity by respecting their boycott call.

As the PACBI (the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel) has explained:

‘we simply ask that they do the sensible thing and stay away from Israel until they are knowledgeable enough about the “situation.” Artists are not being asked by one or two local individuals to boycott Israel, which could be dismissed as uninformed or unrepresentative of the common interest. In the Palestinian case, artists are being asked to respect the cultural boycott of Israel and its complicit institutions by a majority of Palestinian civil society, over 170 organizations from across the political and social spectrum, and especially by a great majority of Palestinian artists and cultural figures. If the Palestinian near-consensus is not sufficient to convince them, then they can at least refrain from performing, accepting prizes, or exhibiting art in Israel until they have visited the occupied Palestinian territory and spoken with exiled Palestinian refugees’.[3]

Some artists who played and then became aware of Israel’s oppression and the legitimacy of the boycott, like Macy Gray [4], Roger Waters [5] and Denise Jannah [6], later regretted their performances and would not have played had they known then what they later discovered.

Please refrain from playing at the Barby, please don’t breach the Palestinian-led boycott, divestment and sanctions call and do make the effort also to find out more for yourself about Israel’s occupation, settler colonialism and apartheid.

DPAI (Don’t Play Apartheid Israel)
We are a group, of over 1300 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] http://amandapalmer.net/blog/20130912/
[2] Jello Biafra cancels his Tel Aviv gig http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/nora/jello-biafra-cancels-his-tel-aviv-gig
[3] Artists Violating Cultural Boycott of Israel: Moral Inconsistency and Logical Incoherence http://pacbi.org/etemplate.php?id=1582
[4] Macy Gray Regrets Feb Concert in Tel Aviv Israel
[5] BDS Roundup: Alice Walker, Roger Waters call on Alicia Keys to cancel Tel Aviv show
[6] Denise Jannah Expresses Support for BDS

See also:

Open Letter to Amanda Palmer: There is a profound ethical obligation to refuse to play in Israel http://refrainplayingisrael.blogspot.com.au/2013/09/open-letter-to-amanda-palmer-there-is.html

Amanda Palmer, Please Respect the Boycott

Dear Amanda Palmer,

We recently became aware that you plan to breach the call by Palestinian Civil Society to boycott Israel. You announced on your website you plan to perform in Tel Aviv on October 23 at the Barby.

We respectfully ask you, as a musician of conscience, not to close your mind to the oppression of the Palestinian people. There is a profound ethical obligation to refuse to play in Israel, and even though the financial rewards might be considerable, we sincerely hope you choose to respect the boycott.

Recently, the esteemed Professor of Physics, Stephen Hawking, chose to support the boycott of apartheid Israel publicly. He joins Desmond Tutu, Roger Waters, Alice Walker, Ahmed Kathrada, Naomi Klein, Judith Butler, John Berger and many others who agree that Israel’s system of oppression cannot be brought to an end without ending international complicity and intensifying global solidarity, particularly through boycott. On the growing list of artists who have joined the boycott are Faithless, Leftfield, Gorillaz, Klaxons, Massive Attack, Gil Scott Heron, Santana, Pete Seeger, Pixies, Tindersticks, Elvis Costello, Three Little Birds, Cassandra Wilson and Cat Power. They understand it takes a boycott to work for justice, and that “dialogue” or performing in Israel while also speaking out against it has failed.

Music cannot “build bridges” between Israel and the millions of Palestinians whom it oppresses. Bridges can be built through boycott, as was the case in South Africa, with the ultimate result being that the rights of all people are respected.

The purpose of the boycott is to exert pressure on Israel to respect the rights of Palestinians, by ending its occupation and blockade of the West Bank and Gaza Strip; recognising the rights of Palestinian refugees who are prevented from returning to their homes just because they are not Jewish; and abolishing institutionalised discrimination including more than 50 laws [1] preventing equal rights for Palestinian citizens of Israel.

This boycott builds on a historical tradition of popular resistance around the world: from within Palestine itself, to the Montgomery bus boycott in Alabama, to the struggle against apartheid in South Africa. Historically, boycotts have been proven to work to end injustice.

Roger Waters wrote:

Where governments refuse to act people must, with whatever peaceful means are at their disposal. For me this means declaring an intention to stand in solidarity, not only with the people of Palestine but also with the many thousands of Israelis who disagree with their government’s policies, by joining the campaign of Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions against Israel. This is [however] a plea to my colleagues in the music industry, and also to artists in other disciplines, to join this cultural boycott. Artists were right to refuse to play in South Africa’s Sun City resort until apartheid fell and white people and black people enjoyed equal rights. And we are right to refuse to play in Israel.[2]

Desmond Tutu has this view:

I have been to the Occupied Palestinian Territory, and I have witnessed the racially segregated roads and housing that reminded me so much of the conditions we experienced in South Africa under the racist system of Apartheid.[3]

“International Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions against the Apartheid regime, combined with the mass struggle inside South Africa, led to our victory … 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 … to perform in Israel“.[4]

Today, due to the boycott call and its international magnitude, it is impossible for any international artist to play in Israel in a political vacuum. If you ignore the boycott, your performance will be interpreted and used by the state of Israel and its supporters as an endorsement of, and propaganda for, Israel’s regime, whether you want it to be or not.

Billions of dollars are lavished on Israel annually by western states, particularly the United States, the UK and Germany. Taxpayers in those countries are in effect subsidising Israel’s violations of international law at a time when their own social programs are undergoing severe cuts, unemployment is rising, and the environment is being devastated.

Please join in the effort to end western complicity in Israel’s violations of international law and respect the grassroots Palestinian-led call for cultural boycott.[5] Your solidarity with the boycott would not only support Palestinians’ non-violent struggle for rights, but would also give hope to others around the world working for social justice against perpetual war.


DPAI (Don’t Play Apartheid Israel)
We are a group, of over 1300 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] http://adalah.org/eng/Israeli-Discriminatory-Law-Database
[2] http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/mar/11/cultural-boycott-west-bank-wall
[3] http://www.huffingtonpost.com/desmond-tutu/divesting-from-injustice_b_534994.html
[4] http://www.timeslive.co.za/local/article727749.ece/Tutu-urges-Cape-Town-Opera-to-call-off-Israel-tour
[5] http://www.pacbi.org/etemplate.php?id=1047


On Empire, Settler Colonialism and the Environment

The Fall

The Powell Doctrine

Don’t expect me to care about your empire
its sacrifices, its bloody flag that hides
money men from scrutiny
your capitalism, your patriarchy
your imbalances, your hatred for trees,
your intrepid ‘pioneers’, your usurpers,
your love for hard-footed soil-squandering
sheep, cattle and goats,
always the goats, eroding,
as you do, you and your greed,
enslaving us all for your short-term gains,
your pollution, your land-clearing,
your civilisation, your corrosion,
your obsession with domination,
the fire in my belly burns you to ash,
i am the thorny bush
even your goats find indigestible.

Jinjirrie, September 2013.

The Travails of the Ruling Class

Is the US still wondering why?
will twin towers
of ignorance and greed ever fall?
profits before people,
drones before homes
helter skelter before shelter
who dwells in mansions
paid for by war expansions?
endless terror
padding coffers of rich
deserving poor
are thrown in the ditch.
red raw capitalism
shrouded in religious schism
who’s jealous of freedom to bomb at will
the empire glories in spoils of the kill.

Jinjirrie, September 2013.

A Spell for Staying Well

One sip of moonlight, stirred with the tip of a dandelion,
look high up there to the right, the buddha sits and grins,
does he say it’s all an illusion when the pain walks in,
hold that choice between one delicious word and another,
even if the universe inevitably steals the last laugh.

Jinjirrie, September 2013.

Election Day 2013 – Of Privilege, Boats and Dinosaurs

Of Stoats and Boats

Abbotalypse Now
So here’s the day of voting depression
where Murdoch bigans pervert the election,
democratic choice stolen by stoats
Minime Canutes can’t stop the boats
but piss on the people to rise the tide
of ignorance, racism and bigotry inside
this greedy country that doesn’t want to share
and still bleats “Advance Australia Fair”.

Jinjirrie, September 7, 2013.

End misogyny, end the Abbottalypse

Of Privilege and Dinosaurs

Clive Palmer elected, can it be true?
There’s never been a pollie quite like you,
with dinosaur pets and refloated boats
Who could begrudge a palmeresque gloat?
Surely it can’t be as bad as it seems,
Australia ruled again by miners’ dreams,
flogging the farm, building more dams –
Abbott looks like he’s won ten Grand Slams,
Yet when into the House waddles Clive Palmer
will the members remember to don their armour,
For he’s the only Clive in the village
Protected by parliamentary privilege.

Jinjirriem September 8, 2013.

Murdoch media control

And for posterity, my interaction with Warren Mundine on twitter.

News Corp nepotism

Gina and Rupie

Related Links

Abbott’s attack of Racial Discrimination laws
Bashing the blacks on legal aid – the LNP paves the road to ‘assimilation by incarceration’
Coalition caned over claims of cash cuts
Thom Yorke Shares His Australian Election Views With ‘Abbottalypse Now’ Essay
Abbottalypse Now
Angry protest forces Abbott retreat in Sydney
Murdoch celebrates conservative victory in Australia with Twitter tirade

Abbott - Lord of the Ring

Murdoch casts public servants as a public disservice

Sign the petition to have Newscorp’s nepotistic subversion of the Australia election investigated by the Press Council


Musician Sonia Montez Speaks Out in Support of the Cultural Boycott of Israel

Boycott the Red Sea Jazz Festival in Israel
Boycott the Red Sea Jazz Festival
Inspirational singer and composer Sonia Montez advocates for boycott of apartheid Israel:

“When Mexico bleeds, and no one listens, who suffers. Would you play in a festival in Mexico that was supported by corrupt officials, the ones who feed into the violence epidemic sweeping Mexico? Do you not know that the Zapatistas have a history of supporting Palestinian human rights causes? You may think what is happening to the Palestinians is wrong but your willing nature to participate in celebration for their oppressors shows more of your character than your words offer. If music is beauty, what beauty lies in playing for a festival in which the native (like you are native to your country) population could not even attend because of humiliating checkpoints placed to break the spirit of said population. What if one day you were not allowed to return to Mexico because the government had taken over your land and placed more ideal residents there? Would you play for a government endorsed jazz festival. Do you think you’d be playing for the people then?”

Sonia continues on her Facebook wall:

Music, as I was taught, is a form of artistic expression and part of my being as an artist is an unwavering resolve to speak out against the bullshit my government supports.


music is “awesome” when the people making it behave “awesomely”

To a Zionist who attempts to smear and intimidate her, Sonia replies

I peacefully revolt for the future of mine and because I am a true mother who understand no mother should have to watch her child suffer at the hands of MY government. I will speak for the rights of your children, even if you choose to blind them in ignorant privilege. I do not want your children and my son to have to carry the burden your apathy will leave on the shoulders of future generations.

So, I hope they’re watching. I hope they see every video and link I post. You have just tried to make me fear my government, sir. I am not scared of you or they.

On Israel’s expulsion of Bedouins from the Negev under the Prawer Plan:

Right now, Israel’s Prawer Plan is displacing 70,000 Arabs from the Nagev Desert. People not allowed to enjoy your show. By playing in a government supported/endorsed cultural event, you are effectively distracting from and supporting this action.

Would you have played in apartheid South Africa? Would you have played for colonizers and settlers during Manifest Destiny? Stevie Wonder, Roger Waters, Elvis Costello, Chris “Daddy” Dave, and many others have joined the cultural boycott. What makes them over the top and you so correct?

Palestinians would not be allowed to put on such a lavish festival, just look at what they had to go through to put on a marathon. To suggest Palestine would even have enough funds to put on a music festival (because they would have to be allowed by the colonizing government to put on a music show on their own land and already live in inhumane conditions) shows mis-education on the the reality of the apartheid. I’m talking about independent and internationally recognized violations of human rights. Over 200 resolutions by the UNSC that only remind the apartheid state needs to heed the treaties they already agreed to but choose to violate at every turn.


You may play for people, but the government uses your silence to white-wash a very serious issue. You want to be a puppet? Fine, but then don’t get uppity when people call you a puppet. You could have joined Chris Daddy Dave and Palladino, the Matt Schofield Band, Salif Keita, Stanley Jordan… you could have become an educated artist. You could have done research and requested to visit Hebron, using activist escorts, so you could see for yourself how ridiculous the notion is that you are somehow lifting people up by playing the Red Sea Jazz Festival (which sounds like a pretty piece of propaganda from a brochure or something)

I am sure you are not watching these videos, why would you, confronting fact isn’t easy. But, in the event your curiosity and ethics grab hold, here is what you are really helping to “lift up” in a dire political situation (the dire situation isn’t political, it’s about basic human rights). You were saying “yes” to house demolitions, “yes” to peaceful demonstrators being pelted with uncovered and broken rubber bullets, “yes” to checkpoints, “yes” to ethnic cleansing with every hit. Your grooves translated into “yes” for kidnapping children in the middle of the night, “yes” to the illegal settlements (all settlements are illegal under international law), “yes” to the constant oppression and fear that Palestinians live through on a daily basis.

The reality you didn’t play for people, the amazing people of Judaic faith fighting the occupation that is being carried out in their name, you helped zionists. And, that, at the end of the day, is something you must live with. Every time Amnesty International finds a new study showing a more violations by the IDF, every time B’Tselem ???? has to demonstrate, every time a refusenick is jailed for not wanting to serve the oppressor, your name will be on the side of the system, not the people

Antonio Sanchez, whom Sonia Montez is addressing, replaced Chris Daddy Dave and the Drumhedz, who, along with the Matt Schofield Trio, cancelled performances at the Red Sea Jazz Festival held in Israel in August.

Related Links

Sonia Montez – Of Tears and Honey
A Bicycle Ride In The Park