Dear Armando Pérez - Pitbull

Dear Armando Pérez - Pitbull,

We heard that you are planning to perform in Israel, and we urge you to cancel your gig. As musicians of conscience, we ask you not to be complicit in the oppression of the Palestinian people. Its is not a heroic deed to refuse to play in Israel, its a profound moral obligation.

This month, the esteemed Professor of Physics Stephen Hawking chose to publically support the boycott of Israel. 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 in the form of the boycott. They understand that it takes a boycott, and that “dialogue” or performing in Israel while also speaking out against it has failed to bring justice. Music does not build bridges between Israel and the millions of Palestinians that it oppresses. Bridges can be built through the boycott, when the result is that all people’s rights are respected, as was the case in South Africa.

The purpose of the boycott is to build pressure on Israel to respect the rights of Palestinians by ending its occupation and blockade of the West Bank and Gaza Strip; respecting the rights of Palestinian refugees who are prevented from returning to their homes just because they are not Jews; and abolishing the numerous forms of discrimination against Palestinian citizens of Israel.

The 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 work.

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.[1]

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.[2]
“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“.[3]

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. Your performance will be interpreted and used to full advantage, especially by supporters of Israel, as an endorsement.

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

Please join in striving to end western complicity in Israel's violations of international law, this is not only good for Palestinians, but its also good for those around the world struggling for social justice and against perpetual war.

Sincerely,
The Global Movement for Boycott, Divest & Sanctions of Israel

[1]http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/mar/11/cultural-boycott-west-bank-wall
[2] http://www.huffingtonpost.com/desmond-tutu/divesting-from-injustice_b_534994.html
[3] http://www.timeslive.co.za/local/article727749.ece/Tutu-urges-Cape-Town-Opera-to-call-off-Israel-tour

Posted by Gaelic Neilson