Letter to Ibeyi: Don’t Play in Tel Aviv!
Dear Lisa-Kainde and Naomi,
We are writing to you as a group of different organisations in the Netherlands that are fighting in a non-violent way for human rights for the Palestinians. We are extremely disturbed that you are booked to perform in Tel Aviv on February 22 and 23.
The Palestinian people are severely suffering under the Israeli apartheid system in Israel and the military occupation of the West Bank and the Medieval siege of Gaza.
If you perform in Tel Aviv you will be entertaining your fans just 70 kilometres away from Gaza where 1,8 million Palestinians are existing in the ruins of their former homes, imprisoned there by Israel without adequate food, water or electricity. Their children are traumatised by the Israeli bombing raids: if they are eight years or older they have endured three terrible wars. The last most devastating war in 2014 killed over 2000 persons including 500 children. More than 10.000 were injured and 1000 kids are permanently disabled.
In Tel Aviv you will be playing in a country that has over 50 laws discriminating against Israel’s Palestinian citizens. Desmond Tutu and former South African government minister Ronnie Kasrils have repeatedly declared that Israel is a far worse version of apartheid than even South Africa was. As a result of the apartheid system, most Palestinians will not be able to come to your concert.
In the West Bank, Palestinians are living in misery under a full Israeli military occupation by a merciless army that has adopted the “shoot to kill” policy. During the last 72 days 118 Palestinians have been murdered by the army, including 27 children.
The number of arrests of Palestinian children has increased by 80% in October. At this moment 307 children are imprisoned under very harsh conditions, sometimes amounting to torture.
On a daily basis the West Bank population faces: imprisonment without charges or trial, house demolitions, checkpoints, theft of water resources and confiscation of Palestinian farmlands, destruction of the economic resources of the Palestinians and diminishing their access to education and healthcare.
This is the reality that the Israeli Government is trying to cover up. It is spending huge resources and efforts for a ‘re-branding’ exercise to portray Israel as a vibrant, cultured and civilised society. It aims to burnish its image by attracting popular artists to perform there.
If you play in Tel Aviv you may think you are just going to play lovely music to your fans, but the reality is that Israel will use your music to improve its image to the outside world.
Do you really want to be part of their cover-up campaign?
We urge you not to allow yourselves to be used in Israel’s effort to cover up its crimes by performing there. The call to impose a cultural boycott on Israel has come from Palestinians, some Jewish Israelis, and many respected international artists of integrity.
Please read and act on the following appeal from the Palestinian Performing Arts Network to cultural workers around the world:
We, organizations and individuals that make up the majority of the Palestinian cultural sector; musicians, circus artists, actors, and dancers, call upon our fellow cultural workers and organizations around the world to condemn Israel’s deliberate and systematic policies of occupation, settler colonialism and apartheid against the Palestinian people.
Despite all the hardships, Palestinian arts and cultural institutions continue to work in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem, using the arts to mobilize and educate. In recent weeks, the occupying Israeli military and armed Israeli settlers have deliberately killed and targeted innocent children and youth, burned farmlands, homes, mosques and churches….
These premeditated policies of provocation, collective punishment and deep rooted racism against the Palestinian people requires now more than ever a voice of support, courage and humanity to be heard in Palestine and across the world, let it be your voice too: please cancel Tel Aviv.
Benji de Levie
Stichting Diensten en Onderzoek Centrum Palestina (docP)