PACBI Statement

Corea: Don’t play apartheid Israel, swing towards justice

August 7, 2010

Occupied Ramallah, 7 August 2010


The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) was deeply disturbed to learn that that you are scheduled to perform in Israel on September 9th  in violation of the widely endorsed Palestinian civil society Call for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel. [1] This Call is directed particularly towards international activists, academics, and artists of conscience, such as yourself.


The Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) National Committee recently stated that “Palestine today has become the test of our indispensible morality and common humanity.” In the face of decades of unrelenting oppression, Palestinian civil society has called upon supporters of the struggle for freedom and justice throughout the world to take a stand and heed our call for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel until it recognises Palestinian rights and fully complies with international law. Many prominent international artists including Sting, Bono, Snoop Dog, Jean Luc Goddard, Joan Manuel Serrat, Gil Scott-Heron and Elvis Costello have heeded our call and cancelled their gigs or participation in festivals in Israel (see Guidelines for the International Cultural Boycott of Israel [2]).


We call upon you, as a prominent and influential musician, not to perform in Israel, a state that for the last 62 years has imposed its colonial presence on historic Palestine and for the last 43 years, militarily occupied the West Bank, including east Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip. Despite the “peace process” which began 17 years ago, Israel routinely violates Palestinians’ most fundamental human rights with impunity, as documented by local and international human rights organizations. Israel extra-judicially kills Palestinian leaders and activists; keeps over 8,000 Palestinians imprisoned, including numerous members of parliament. Israel is destroying Palestinian homes; killing Palestinian children; and uprooting hundreds of thousands of Palestinian trees. As we write, Israel continues to build illegal Jewish colonies on occupied Palestinian land and an apartheid infrastructure of Jewish-only roads, blockades and the Apartheid Wall, declared illegal by the International Court of Justice at the Hague in 2004. Israel denies millions of Palestinian refugees their internationally recognized right to return to their lands. Moreover, Israel maintains a system of racial discrimination against its own Palestinian citizens reminiscent of South African apartheid.


Your planned September performance in Tel Aviv would come a year and a half after Israel’s bloody military assault against the occupied Gaza Strip which left over 1,440 Palestinians dead, of whom 431 were children, and 5380 injured. [3] The 1.5 million Palestinians in the besieged Gaza Strip, the overwhelming majority of whom are refugees, were subjected to three weeks of relentless Israeli state terror, whereby Israeli warplanes systematically targeted civilian areas, reducing whole neighborhoods and vital civilian infrastructure to rubble and partially destroying Gaza’s leading university and scores of schools, including several run by the UN, where civilians, including children, were taking shelter. This criminal assault came after months of a crippling and ongoing Israeli siege of Gaza which has shattered all spheres of life, prompting the UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights, Richard Falk, to describe it as “a prelude to genocide.”


Your gig in Tel Aviv will also be a clear contribution to Israel’s well-oiled campaign to whitewash its persistent violations of international law and basic Palestinian rights through "re-branding" itself as an enlightened and cultured country. Last summer, following the assault on Gaza, the Israeli government announced a new effort to ‘rebrand’ Israel as a liberal nation enjoying membership in the Western club of democracies. In addition to the various forms of cultural outreach designed to highlight Israel’s achievements, this effort included inviting more artists and musicians to Israel in order to show the ‘civilised’ side of Israel and help cover up the reality of occupation and the brutal treatment of the Palestinians. Your appearance in Israel would lend itself to this well-oiled campaign to whitewash Israel’s grave violations of international law and basic human rights.

South African Nobel Laureate and celebrated anti-apartheid activist, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, remarked that “the end of apartheid stands as one of the crowning accomplishments of the past century, but we would not have succeeded without the help of international pressure-- in particular the divestment movement of the 1980s…a similar movement has taken shape, this time aiming at an end to the Israeli occupation.” He concluded that “if apartheid ended, so can this occupation, but the moral force and international pressure will have to be just as determined.” [4]

We urge you to honor the Palestinian Call, and swing away from apartheid towards freedom and justice.  








August 7, 2010


Stay updated!

Sign-up for news, campaign updates, action alerts and fundraisers from the BDS movement.

Subscribe Now