Friday, April 26, 2013

Sergei Babkin Сергей Бабкин will not play apartheid Israel 26 April

by DPAI (UK, Australia, Ireland, USA)

We are delighted that Ukrainian musician Sergei Babkin (Сергей Бабкин) cancelled his performance in Tel Aviv, Israel without any commitment to reschedule. 

His booked performance at the Barby for 26 April was cancelled without a plausible explanation. We hope once he is made fully informed of the boycott he would continue refraining from rescheduling.  

Increasingly, musicians of conscience from all over the world are choosing to respect the cultural boycott of Israel.  Rolling Stones magazine published an article last month citing Roger Waters of Pink Floyd's decision to advocate vocally for the boycott.  Since 2005, Palestinian civil society has called for a boycott.  The BDS movement has made incredible advancements in just eight years.  

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Israel & Crime of Apartheid & Pet Shop Boys

by DPAI (UK, Australia, Ireland, USA)
If the Pet Shop Boys go ahead with their 23 June gig in Tel Aviv, Israel, they'll be playing to a privileged  segregated audience.  
Millions of Palestinians under Israeli occupation in the West Bank and under siege in Gaza will find it impossible to attend their concert.  
Recently, the EI published an article that explained that, in all of Israel, there was only one young man so far this year who was a convicted conscientious objector to the military service that Israel requires.  It is a fallacy to assume that many Israelis are against the occupation.  Natan Blanc, Israeli citizen and conscientious objector 19, stated:

There are not many cases like mine in prison. I was the only prisoner who got convicted for service refusal this year. Our percentage is very small.

The Pet Shop Boys are well aware of colleague Dusty Springfield's  courageous stand against South African apartheid in 1964.   Springfield walked out of a South African tour when she found out she was playing to segregated audiences.  She was the first performer to engineer an anti-apartheid clause in her professional contract. 

In the 1960s, the Anti-Apartheid Movement began to campaign for a cultural boycott of apartheid South Africa.  Pet Shop Boys' colleague Springfield was a part of this significant movement.  Artists were requested not to present or let their works be hosted in South Africa. In 1963, 45 British writers put their signatures to an affirmation approving of the boycott, and, in 1964, American actor Marlon Brando called for a similar affirmation for films. 

In 1965, the Writers' Guild of Great Britain called for a proscription on the sending of films to South Africa. Over sixty American artists signed a statement against apartheid and against professional links with the state. 

Are the Pet Shop Boys behind the times nearly half a century later?  
The boycott of Israel is in its infancy now, the call made only in 2005.  But with today's technology, we're much more aware and much more connected.  Roger Waters has taken a bold stand against Israeli apartheid, many other artists turn down invitations to Israel or vocally support the boycott.  There are still some musicians,  it seems, that are either unaware, or misled into thinking that Israelis are mostly against the occupation.  
Pet Shop Boys play in the UK before their proposed Tel Aviv gig.   A facebook page is set up asking the band to cancel,  "Pet Shop Boys, Apartheid's a Sin - Don't Play Israel"  


Thursday, April 18, 2013

OPEN LETTER from BDS France to Alicia Keys: If you play in Tel Aviv, it will be before a segregated audience ...

Based in Paris, BDS France asks multi-platinum star
Alicia Keys to cancel her gig in Israel.

Alicia Keys
c/o Jeff Robinson
MBK Entertainment
240 West 35th Street, 18th Floor
New York, NY 10001
April 8, 2013
Dear Alicia Keys,
All your fans here in France are excited that you're coming to Paris in June. But we’re dismayed to learn that the organizers of your tour have included in your schedule a performance on July 4th in Tel Aviv.
Maybe you don't know that the Palestinians have appealed to international artists not to play in Israel while it continues to ignore all United Nations resolutionsflout international law, and deprive the Palestinian people of their most elementary human rights.
Maybe you don't know that in the past three years many prominent artists have responded to the appeal by refusing to appear in Israel, and others who had initially accepted to play there have cancelled their performances, preferring to show their support for the struggle of the Palestinian people against Israeli oppression.
They include Elvis Costello, Cat Power, Roger Waters, Cassandra Wilson, Stanley Jordan, Carlos Santana, Devendra Banhart, Annie Lennox, Eric Clapton, Brian Eno, U2, Coldplay, Bruce Springsteen, Massive Attack, Gorillaz Sound System, The Pixies, Tuba Skinny, Pete Seeger, the late Gil Scott-Heron, Jello Biafra… Macy Gray is one artist who did perform there in 2011, but she regretted it and won’t be going back. She stated publicly: “I had a reality check and I definitely would not have played there if I had known even the little that I know now.”
Israel's occupation has endured now for decades, and makes the Palestinians’ life a hell on earth. It’s an occupation that gobbles up Palestinian land to build vast illegal settlements and settlers-only roads. It’s an occupation that steals water - 80% of the West Bank's water is taken by Israel so that the settlers on their hilltops can have green lawns and fill their swimming pools, while in the villages below Palestinians have no running water. It’s an occupation that kills, tortures, humiliates, that imprisons men, women and children without charge or trial, bulldozes houses, herds Palestinians into walled ghettos and, through the checkpoints, roadblocks, and an apartheid-like pass system, prevents Palestinians from going to work, children from going to school, farmers from harvesting their crops, pregnant women and the critically ill from reaching hospital.
Israeli violence spares no one. Just last week, Hasan Barhoush, a frail 80-year old farmer, was brutally attacked by a group of Israeli settlers and now lies in hospital in Tulkarem. A different group of settlers hurled rocks at a school bus near Nablus, shattering windows and wounding young children, seven of whom had to be hospitalized. No Israeli will be punished for such savagery. That was just another ordinary day in occupied Palestine.
We think you're too smart not to realize that performing in Israel today is like making a political statement.   Israel openly admits to using cultural events as a propaganda tool, and it will use your image in an attempt to camouflage something very systematic and very ugly. However much you believe that you can go there simply as an artist, your presence will be spun to paint this ruthless colonial society as being normal, and the unrelenting atrocities against the Palestinian people as something to be ignored. We sincerely hope you will think again.

It goes without saying that if you play in Tel Aviv, it will be before a segregated audience, because none of your Palestinian fans either in Gaza or in the West Bank just a short drive away, will be allowed to come and hear you. Is it conceivable that, during the long struggle against apartheid South Africa, you would have travelled there to perform for the white supremacists? If your answer is No, then you’re already willing to boycott a cruel and unjust system.
There’s a wave, Alicia – a whole international wave of people supporting justice for the Palestinians via consumer boycotts, academic boycotts, cultural boycotts.   Cancel your gig and ride that wave – Please don’t go.
Yours truly,
BDS French Campaign
CICP - 21 ter rue Voltaire
75011 Paris, France

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Alexandra Burke Refrains from Performing for Israel Independence Day Gala in London

(LONDON) Award winning singer Alexandra Burke, British pop sensation at age 24, has chosen to refrain from headlining the Zionist Federation Gala to celebrate Israel's 65th birthday at Wembley Arena tonight.  Wembley has a capacity of 12,500, though it is unknown how many people planned to attend the event in order to hear Burke sing. The Times of Israel reported that 10,000 people were expected.
Anti-apartheid supporters had contacted Burke, and there have been protests outside of Wembley Arena in support of Palestinian rights. In the Jewish Chronicle online, it was reported that an email was sent to supporters saying:

"We would like to inform you that unfortunately Alexandra Burke will no longer be able to join us on the night."

The establishment of the State of Israel in 1948 is directly linked to several massacres, deliberate expulsions, the destruction of over 400 Palestinian villages and the systematic dispossession of the indigenous Palestinian people. More than 700 000 Palestinians became refugees in neighboring countries due to Israel's violent establishment in 1948 in Palestine. Palestinian refugees and their descendants are the largest population of refugees in the world, who have for the last 65 years been denied the "right to return" to their homes by the State of Israel. While Israeli supporters "celebrate" Israeli Independence Day, Palestinians, progressive Israelis, supporters of justice and peace-loving peoples of the world mark the day as Al-Nakba (meaning the "catastrophe").

If you would like to learn more about Israeli Independence Day and the Nakba, view the YouTube lecture by Israeli historian, Professor Ilan Pappe:

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Iain Banks, Acclaimed Scottish Novelist and Science Fiction Author Reaffirms Unwavering Support for the Boycott of Israel

Award winning author Iain Banks (The Wasp Factory, Consider Phlebas, and many more.) was named one of the 50 greatest writers since 1945 by The Times.  He writes in the Guardian:

I support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign because, especially in our instantly connected world, an injustice committed against one, or against one group of people, is an injustice against all, against every one of us; a collective injury.
My particular reason for participating in the cultural boycott of Israel is that, first of all, I can; I'm a writer, a novelist, and I produce works that are, as a rule, presented to the international market. This gives me a small extra degree of power over that which I possess as a (UK) citizen and a consumer. Secondly, where possible when trying to make a point, one ought to be precise, and hit where it hurts. The sports boycott of South Africa when it was still run by the racist apartheid regime helped to bring the country to its senses because the ruling Afrikaaner minority put so much store in their sporting prowess. Rugby and cricket in particular mattered to them profoundly, and their teams' generally elevated position in the international league tables was a matter of considerable pride. When they were eventually isolated by the sporting boycott – as part of the wider cultural and trade boycott – they were forced that much more persuasively to confront their own outlaw status in the world.
A sporting boycott of Israel would make relatively little difference to the self-esteem of Israelis in comparison to South Africa; an intellectual and cultural one might help make all the difference, especially now that the events of the Arab spring and the continuing repercussions of the attack on the Gaza-bound flotilla peace convoy have threatened both Israel's ability to rely on Egypt's collusion in the containment of Gaza, andTurkey's willingness to engage sympathetically with the Israeli regime at all. Feeling increasingly isolated, Israel is all the more vulnerable to further evidence that it, in turn, like the racist South African regime it once supported and collaborated with, is increasingly regarded as an outlaw state.

Friday, April 12, 2013

OPEN LETTER to Barbra Streisand: Don't Play in Apartheid Israel

Dear Barbra Streisand,
We are citizens of Israel who oppose Israel’s continuing displacement of
the Palestinian people via military occupation and apartheid policies
(  It's important that you be fully aware of the political role you take, when you choose to participate in official state events such as Shimon Peres' birthday. The national celebrations of the president's birthday are essentially a celebration of decades of oppression, racism and discrimination, in which Mr, Peres has played a leading role.  Mr. Peres is not a man of peace, and he does not speak in our names!

According to international law, Palestinians under Israel's military
occupation are protected persons, which means that Israel's government is
accountable for their lives and safety. Shimon Peres has been a member of,
and a senior propagandist for, successive Israeli governments which have
used cluster munitions ( flechette artillery shells (, and white phosphorus bombs ( against civilians in densely populated areas in Gaza (or Lebanon). As Prime Minister, in April 1996, and as part of Israel’s “Operation Grapes of Wrath”, Mr. Peres authorized the mass bombing of villages in Southern
Lebanon, aimed at creating a wave of refugees flooding Beirut  (
The aforementioned governments have also increased the number of Israeli
settlers inside occupied Palestinian territories, and imposed separate
legal systems for Israeli settlers in the OPT and the indigenous
Palestinian population ( As the
Minister of Defense in Yitzhak Rabin’s first government, Mr. Peres sided
with the settlers of Sebastya, some of the first settlers in the West Bank,
in 1975. Later on that year, he planted the first tree in the new
settlement of Ofra, and was on the governmental committee which oversaw the
establishment of the settlement of Ariel (Hebrew:
In his role as Minister of Defence, in September 1986, Mr. Peres authorized
the kidnapping and torture of an Israeli citizen in Rome, whistle blower
Mordechai Va'anunu ( The
reasons for Mr. Va'anunu's 18 year incarceration (most of which was served
in solitary confinement, once more an act amounting to torture) are clear
to anyone who is aware of Shimon Peres' role in Israel's nuclear history.
Mr. Peres founded Israel’s military Nuclear Centre in Dimona (, a project which has instigated a dangerous non-conventional  arms race in the Middle East.
 There is also substantial evidence of his involvement in the destabilization of other regions, such as his moral and military support of South Africa’s brutal apartheid regime, and its nuclear project ( Mr. Peres is engaged in warmongering to this day, through his public statements (
Shimon Peres is not a man of peace, and his political life is not to be
celebrated. He is directly responsible for war crimes, which have cost the
lives of thousands and have inflicted misery on millions on others.
Ms. Streisand, Please do not legitimize Israel's architect of militarism,
occupation and apartheid and. Please cancel your performance in Israel.
BOYCOTT! Supporting the Palestinian Call for BDS from Within
Please contact us for any inquiry on the matter

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Award winning American artist Raymond Pettibon Stands with Cultural Boycott of apartheid Israel

Award winning American artist Raymond Pettibon, whose work is included in the collection of numerous museums and institutions worldwide has shown support for Palestinians through his apparent support for the cultural boycott of apartheid Israel.  He tweets on April 5:
During the early days of punk music, the late 1970s and early 1980s, Pettibon produced artwork on fliers, promotional posters, stickers, and album covers. His most notable work from this period was for his brother's band, Black Flag. He also worked with other bands, including the Dead Kennedys, the Ramones, Meat Puppets, and the Minutemen. Pettibon’s work from this period was mainly done with India ink on paper in black-and-white, although he would add color using acrylic or watercolor paints or colored pencils. He began exhibiting his work in the 1980s. In 1991, the artist won the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Award in Painting, Sculpture, Print-making, Photography, and Craft Media. He released an anthology of his work, Raymond Pettibon: A Reader, in 1998. Pettibon won the Wolfgang Hahn Prize from the Ludwig Museum in Cologne, Germany, in 2001. In 2004, the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York gave him the Bucksbaum Award. In 2010, Pettibon won the Oskar Kokoschka Prize in Vienna, Austria.   more at

An OPEN LETTER to Morgan Freeman: Don’t accept an award tarnished with apartheid and colonialism

The PACBI has written to Morgan Freeman, he is being asked by several groups now, to refuse to be a part of the Israeli establishment of apartheid today.  Thus far, there has been no known response from the well known actor who played the role of Nelson Mandela in the film Invictus.
26 March 2013
Morgan Freeman: Don’t accept an award tarnished with apartheid and colonialism
Morgan Freeman, being asked to
join boycott of Israel
Dear Mr. Freeman,
It is with great disappointment that the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) has learned that you will be accepting the Canadian Friends of the Hebrew University Award 'the Key of Knowledge Award’ on May 6, 2013 [1].  We hope that a personal appeal from us, a campaign that enjoys overwhelming consensus amongst Palestinian civil society, will convince you otherwise [2].   
The intention of the award is to honor your work in 'combating racism and promoting knowledge and education worldwide’ [3]. Given that Israel practices forms of racism through its system of colonialism, occupation and apartheid, and violates the rights of Palestinians to education and life, it is cynical, and nothing short of a dishonor to your lifelong achievements to be accepting an award from a group that is in deep support of an Israeli University complicit in Israel’s systematic violations of human rights and international law. The Hebrew University is specifically implicated in serious violations in a number of ways.  The University illegally acquired a significant portion of the land on which its Mount Scopus campus and dormitories are built. On 1 September 1968, about one year after Israel's military occupation of Gaza and the West Bank, the Israeli authorities confiscated 3345 dunums of Palestinian land [4].  Part of this land was then used to build the Mount Scopus campus of Hebrew University.
The basis for the illegality of the Hebrew University land confiscation deal is that this land is part of East Jerusalem, which is occupied territory according to international law. Israel's unilateral annexation of occupied East Jerusalem into the State of Israel, and the application of Israeli domestic law to it, are violations of the Fourth Geneva Convention, and have been repeatedly denounced as null and void by the international community, including by the UN Security Council in its Resolution 252 (21 May 1968). By moving Israelis (staff and students) to work and live on occupied Palestinian land, the Hebrew University is, therefore, in grave violation of those same Geneva conventions.  To accept an award from such an institution would send a message that the Hebrew University can continue its complicity, and still receive international acclaim and publicity by honoring respected moral figures such as you.
Prominent actors who accept awards from the friends of Israel around the world, in fact, unwittingly lend their names to the state’s propaganda effort, which is part and parcel of the “Brand Israel” campaign [5].  Brand Israel initiatives, partially plagiarized from apartheid South Africa [6], are designed to whitewash Israel’s multi-tiered system of oppression against the Palestinian people, including: its ongoing occupation of Palestinian lands; its 223 Jewish-only settlements and “outposts” built on Palestinian land in violation of international law; its apartheid wall that further appropriates Palestinian land, also in violation of international law according to the International Court of Justice; its demolition of over 24,000 Palestinian homes since 1967; and its 2008-2009 war on Gaza, which killed over 1,400 Palestinians, prompting allegations of war crimes by a United Nations Fact Finding Mission, as well as Israel’s recent onslaught on Gaza, where more than 150 Palestinian civilians were killed, including 34 children [7].  In addition, Israel has enacted over 20 laws that discriminate against Palestinian citizens of Israel and enshrines their status as second-class citizens based on their identity.
At a time when fellow artists are taking a stand against Israel’s crimes against Palestinians, it would be a travesty for you to do anything less. Musicians like Roger Waters, Elvis Costello, the Pixies and the late Gil Scott-Heron have eloquently explained their principled stand, cultural figures such as Alice Walker, Angela Davis, Judith Butler and Naomi Klein have given their support for BDS, and others like director Ken Loach and art critic John Berger have worked tirelessly in support of our boycott. In addition, support for BDS has grown tremendously through its endorsement by groups that include the international alliance of Artists Against Apartheid [8], South-African Artists Against Apartheid [9], Creative Workers Union of South Africa, 500 Montreal artists [10], and 200 Irish artists [11]. With this kind of international support, our movement is growing and can no longer be ignored.
Conscientious artists and humanitarians have acted to condemn Israel’s continued disregard for international law and the basic rights of the Palestinian people; We hope and expect a similar kind of solidarity from people of conscience such as yourself, just as people stood with the oppressed in the struggle against apartheid in South Africa. South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu had this to say about dealing with apartheid and its supporters:
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. [12]
In refusing to publish her book with an Israeli publisher, Alice Walker recently invoked her own brave boycott of apartheid South Africa.  She wrote of how she decided to wait to bring her works to the people of South Africa, believing “deeply in non-violent methods of social change though they sometimes seem to take forever.”  Her waiting paid off, and she was so happy that after the downfall of that regime she was able to share her work.  In relation to Israel, she concluded:
I would so like knowing my books are read by the people of your country, especially by the young, and by the brave Israeli activists (Jewish and Palestinian) for justice and peace I have had the joy of working beside.  I am hopeful that one day, maybe soon, this may happen.  But now is not the time. [13]
Just as in the anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa, where international solidarity played a central role in bringing down apartheid, we believe that the global BDS movement is the most effective, non-violent and morally consistent way to pressure Israel to comply with international law and recognize the Palestinian people’s inalienable rights. For this reason we hope you will decline to be honored by supporters of the Hebrew University, a complicit Israeli institution. We urge you not to cross our picket line, to honor the fight against racism, to promote knowledge and education worldwide by standing in support of the struggle for freedom, justice and equality through declining this award until such time that Israel respects these principles.
In 2004, inspired by the triumphant cultural boycott of apartheid South Africa, and supported by key Palestinian unions and cultural groups, PACBI [14] issued a call for the academic and cultural boycott of institutions involved in Israel's violations of international law and Palestinian human rights.  The 2004 Palestinian call appealed to the international academic community to, among other things, “refrain from participation in any form of academic and cultural cooperation, collaboration or joint projects with Israeli institutions.”  Following this, in 2005, an overwhelming majority in Palestinian civil society called for an all-encompassing BDS campaign [15] based on the principles of human rights, justice, freedom and equality.  The BDS movement adopts a nonviolent, morally consistent strategy to hold Israel accountable to the same human rights standards as other nations. It is asking the international academic community to heed the boycott call, as it did in the struggle against South African apartheid, until “Israel withdraws from all the lands occupied in 1967, including East Jerusalem; removes all its colonies in those lands; agrees to United Nations resolutions relevant to the restitution of Palestinian refugees rights; and dismantles its system of apartheid."
[4] The decision was published in the official Israeli Gazette -- the Hebrew edition -- number 1425. It was therefore "legalized" by Israel. This land, for the most part, was (still is) privately owned by Palestinians living in that area. A large part of the confiscated land was then given to the Hebrew University to expand its campus (mainly its dormitories). The Palestinian landowners refused to leave their lands and homes arguing that the confiscation order of 1968 was illegal.  Consequently, the case was taken to the Jerusalem District Court in 1972 (file no. 1531/72). In 1973, as expected, the Israeli court ruled in favor of the University and the state. The court decided that the Palestinian families must evacuate their homes and be offered alternative housing.

Posted on 26-03-2013

Thursday, April 4, 2013

OPEN LETTER to Morgan Freeman: Hebrew university not morally qualified to give awards for combating prejudice.

Dear Morgan Freeman,
We are a group of Israeli citizens who are working to move our government
Morgan Freeman as Nelson Mandela
in "Invictus"

to recognize the full rights of Palestinians. We have recently learned that
the Canadian chapter of the friends of the Hebrew university intends to
award you with the Key of Knowledge award. You might have heard that the
Hebrew University, like other Israeli institutions which are complicit in
the the policies of their government, is the object of an international
boycott campaign. As Omar Barghouti, one of the founders of that movement,
put it recently "They asked international civil society organizations and
people of conscience to 'impose broad boycotts and implement divestment
initiatives against Israel similar to those applied to South Africa in the
apartheid era.' ”[1]
Barghouti also quotes the state department, which finds "institutional,
legal and societal discrimination” against Palestinian citizens of Israel.
Amnesty International [2], Human Rights Watch [3], and the United Nations
[4] all report Israeli war crimes committed repeatedly. The Israeli
government's response to this critique has been the same as responses
issued by South Africa in the late 80's. Both apartheid South Africa and
the Israeli government have invested much money and effort in attempts to
obscure their crimes by 'rebranding' themselves [5]. Such an effort is
greatly assisted by respected figures who would lend their prestige to
Israeli institutions.
As for the Hebrew university itself, not only is part of it built on
confiscated Palestinian land and some of its student housing are in an
Illegal Israeli settlement, it also practices racial profiling as many
other Israeli institutions [6]. For this and other reasons we believe that
the Hebrew university is not morally qualified to give awards for combating
prejudice. We are asking that you decline the award and join the growing
list of artists, leaders and academics who have refused to lend their
credibility to hiding Israel's indefensible policies.
 Nelson Mandela 
As Desmond Tutu put it: "...this harsh reality endured by millions of
Palestinians requires people and organizations of conscience to divest from
those companies — in this instance, from Caterpillar, Motorola Solutions
and Hewlett Packard — profiting from the occupation and subjugation of
Palestinians. Such action made an enormous difference in apartheid South
Africa. It can make an enormous difference in creating a future of justice
and equality for Palestinians and Jews in the Holy Land."[7].
We would be interested in any question or comment you may have.
Boycott! Supporting the Palestinian BDS Call from Within