Dear Arch Enemy,
I am writing to you as a fan to ask that you please cancel your scheduled show in Israel for January 24th 2012.
I am a longtime fan of Arch Enemy (as well as Carcass I should mention, Heartwork was one of the first records I bought after getting into death/grind back in the early 90s). I was at your last show in Vancouver, Canada just a couple of months ago in September, and it was seriously the best show I attended all year.
Aside from of course being a fan of your music, I have also always enjoyed the messages in your lyrics, drawing attention to oppression, injustice, religious hypocrisy, and people struggling for their rights. It was very nice to see the Amnesty International table as well, thus providing an avenue for your fans that have been inspired by your music and want to know what they can do to help make the change that this world so badly needs.
I have to say though, given the messaging in your songs and your work supporting Amnesty International, I was saddened to see that you have scheduled a show in Israel. This show is taking place at a time when musicians and artists of conscience all around the world are beginning to heed the call for a cultural boycott of Israel until it complies with international law, a call originally made in 2004 (http://pacbi.org/etemplate.php?id=869). This call was further affirmed by a 2005 statement that was endorsed by over 170 Palestinian civil society organizations, and was modeled on the call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions that targeted the apartheid regime of South Africa. The call can be accessed online athttp://www.bdsmovement.net/call.
Since this call was made many musicians and artists of conscience have refused to play in Israel and/or canceled their scheduled performances. This includes, among others:
o The Pixies
o Roger Waters
o Carlos Santana
o Annie Lennox
o The Klaxons
o Elvis Costello
o Gil Scott-Heron
o Jello Biafra and the Guantanamo School of Medicine
o August Burns Red
There is also a call specifically to metal acts from an Israeli organization called ‘Boycott From Within, which is (as their name suggests) a group of jewish Israelis that supports the boycott call. You can access the statement at http://boycottisrael.info/content/letter-all-metal-bands, I’m also including it at the bottom of this email for your convenience.
The human rights violations that Israel has committed, and continues to commit on a daily basis, are two vast to list here, but it’s worth mentioning at least a few so you are aware of why the call for a boycott was made (many of which have been condemned by Amnesty International over the years):
o The unlawful military occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. Israel
restricts Palestinian’ freedom of movement and of speech, and their
right to an education. Access to their own property, to health care,
to their schools, are blocked. Leaders and human rights activists are
imprisoned without a charge or a trial. Over 600 military checkpoints
and roadblocks divide and strangle the West Bank. The atrocious
“Wall” that Roger Waters has condemned continues to be built, even
though it has been declared illegal by the International Court of
Justice at the Hague. The “Wall” supports the huge network of
illegal, exclusively Jewish settlements that separate the West Bank
into isolated ghettos.
o Palestinian citizens of Israel are subject to a two-tiered system of
segregation within Israel’s borders. They are denied rights that
their Jewish neighbors are guaranteed. Inequalities are most striking
in issues such as education, land ownership, housing, employment, and
marriage. The Israeli system has been compared to former South
African apartheid, and to the former “Jim Crowe” laws of the American
o Palestinians in Gaza are subjected to a criminal and immoral siege
that began in 2006. Over 1.5 million people live in the open-air
prison camp that is the Gaza Strip, one of the most densely populated
places on Earth. As part of the siege, Israel has prevented many
items from reaching Gaza. Examples of items refused entry include
various types of medicines, candles, light bulbs, books, clothing,
shoes, blankets, pasta, tea, coffee, and musical instruments.
o In 1948, Israel dispossessed over 750,000 Palestinian people in
order to form a nation that was intended to be exclusively for Jews.
These refugees and their children have an internationally recognized
right to return to their homes and lands, yet Israel continues to
expel people from their homes in Jerusalem and in the Negev. As a
result, today Palestinians comprise the largest group of refugees on
earth today, at over 6 million. Like all refugees, they still struggle
for the right to return to their homes, and leave the squalor and
poverty of the refugee camps in Lebanon, Jordan, the West Bank, and
I am appealing to all of you in Arch Enemy, as a fan and supporter of Palestinian human rights, to ask that you do the right thing and respect the ‘picket line’ put forth by the Palestinians who are asking the world to make a stand in solidarity with the oppression that they have been forced to endure, day in and day out for decades, at the hands of Israel. In this regard I think musicians and other artists have a responsibility to take a stand, and to not contribute to the efforts of the Israeli government and its supporters to normalize its
I thank you in advance for taking the time to read this, and I urge you to check out the following links if you desire more information about the situation that Palestinians are facing and what can be done about it:
Activist with Boycott Israeli Apartheid Campaign (Vancouver)