August Burns Red: Stand Against That “Ocean of Apathy” Don’t Play Tel Aviv

(30 March 2011)  A Campaign has been launched on Facebook to ask the Christian metal-core band August Burns Red to cancel their scheduled concert in Tel Aviv, Israel.  The name of the group is called August Burns Red: Please Don’t Play for Apartheid Israel.

The group’s description reads: August Burns Red is scheduled to perform at Barby (Tel Aviv) on 9 Jun 2011. We are asking August Burns Red to stand for the Palestian call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions on Israel until it abides by International Law and stops its brutal occupation of the Palestinian people. Following the lead of other artists such as Pink Floyd founder Roger Waters, Pete Seeger, Massive Attack, The Klaxons and Gorillaz Sound System, Carlos Santana, Elvis Costello, Devendra Banhart, Faithless, Gil Scott-Heron, The Pixies, Snoop Dogg (Snoop was quoted as telling Palestinian-American hip hop producer Fredwreck “Why they building a wall around y’alls people’s shit. That’s fucked up, cuz.’)
Visitors to the page are asked to watch this video:
It is unknown how many actual fans August Burns Red has but at last look, the fans well exceeded 700,000 on Facebook alone.  It has been reported that their 2009 CD titled “Constellations” have sold over 90,000 hard copies.
The following is a letter for August Burns Red to read and consider:
(this letter is adapted from the letter sent to Snoop Dog, in which he cancelled his concert in Tel Aviv)
Dear August Burns Red Members (JB Brubaker, Brent Rambler, Matt Greiner, Jake Luhrs, and Dustin Davidson):
The Palestinian arts community is deeply saddened, when artists such as yourself agree to perform in Israel.  You are scheduled to play on June 9, 2011 at the Barby in Tel Aviv.  We strongly urge you to cancel your plans to perform in Israel until the time comes when Israel ends its illegal occupation of Palestinian and Arab territories and respects the relevant precepts of international law concerning Palestinian rights to freedom, self-determination and equality.

How can a band whose name is prominently associated with the religion of Christianity be apathetic to the monstrosity of Israel’s current war crimes in Gaza, its Apartheid Wall, declared illegal by the International Court of Justice at the Hague, or its continued violation of fundamental Palestinian rights? Just as conscientious artists the world over boycotted South African apartheid in the past we expect and urge them to boycott Israel’s own system of colonization and racial discrimination, compared to apartheid by former US President Jimmy Carter, as well as many leading figures in South Africa, including Archbishop Desmond Tutu and current minister, Ronnie Kasrils.

Step out of the “Ocean of Apathy” and do not come to Israel. Help eliminate the “Ocean of Apathy” and dedicate your cancellation to all the mothers who lost their children; 24 Palestinian children were killed in April 2008 alone by the Israeli occupation army; 34 were killed in the Gaza Strip in March in what the Israeli Deputy Defense Minister Matan Villnai threatened to become a “bigger Holocaust.” And 327 Palestinian children are still in prison. So far, more than 180 terminally ill people and premature babies have died within four months in Gaza as a result of the heinous, medieval siege imposed by the country you are planning to visit.  In December 2008 and January 2009 Israel waged a deadly war against the besieged people of occupied Gaza.  Almost all of the 1,400 deaths were of civilians, and hundreds of children were left dead.  This led to the United Nation’s “Goldstone Report” in which it was declared that Israel had committed war-crimes.  

It is also worth reminding you thatPalestinian Christians and Palestinian musicians in the occupied Palestinian territory, like all Palestinians under Israeli occupation, are denied their basic rights, including the “privilege” of freedom of expression which you — and all of us — so highly value. They are often denied their right to travel, sometimes even within the Occupied Palestinian Territory; many are denied access to festivals; and some are imprisoned, injured or killed by the occupation forces. Try to find out, for instance, how many Palestinian metalheads, particularly those in besieged Gaza, will be allowed to attend your concert? By performing in Tel Aviv you are helping to perpetuate this special form of apartheid that denies Palestinians their basic rights.

Palestinian civil society has almost unanimously called upon international civil society to engage in acts and campaigns of boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel until it fully complies with international law and recognizes the fundamental human rights of the people of Palestine. The Church of England, the US Presbyterian Church, a group of top British architects, major unions in Britain, South Africa, Ireland and Canada, among many other groups and institutions in the West, have all heeded the Palestinian distress call and considered applying effective pressure on Israel to promote peace and justice in our troubled land.

We sincerely hope that you shall cancel your announced performance in Israel.

~The BDS (Boycott, Divest, Sanctions) Community Worldwide

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