OPEN LETTER Tiger Lillies in Israel? A “No-Go” is in Order

OPEN LETTER Tiger Lillies in Israel? A “No-Go” is in Order


The decadent trio composed of Martyn Jaques, Adrian Stout and Adrain Huge plan to play in the apartheid state on 26 November.  The brain behind the Tiger Lillies’ label, Misery Guts Music, has not made a public comment yet in response to pleas asking him to refrain playing in Israel.  Jaques’ own facebook wallremains open, displaying this recent comment:

“‎Martyn Jacques, performing in Israel usually pays better, but with the tag price of how useful one is to the MusicWash or Hasbara [Hebrew for propaganda].

Being an Hasbara trophy is not necessarily measured by how “successful” one is in the music industry, but could be, for example, how popular you are among people perceiving themselves as open minded.
One of the most powerful Hasbara bodies is CCFP. They have now admitted [in fact bragged] exploiting and manipulating artists considering heeding the Palestinian call for boycott.
The CCFP chose as a successful example of manipulation: Macy Gray.
In a bid to get her to ignore the calls to cancel, she was threatened that:
“If you cancel, you’ll become a poster child for the boycott movement.”
She didn’t cancel and became a poster child for the ANTI-boycott establishment [on the CCFP publicity]!
This is in spite of Macy denying affiliation with CCFP and even twitted: “@MacyGraysLife I had a reality chk & definitely would not have played there had I known even little that I know now”, referring to her performance in Israel.!/macygrayslife
Artists Against Apartheid call for boycott of CCFP for being “a complicit propaganda institution seeking to normalize Israeli apartheid and strongarm entertainers into its service” – at:

Known for their anti-establishment lyrics, and their drive to give a ‘voice’ to the under-privileged of the world, the trio cannot likely ignore this letter, recently published by a group with over 800 members, called “Don’t Play Apartheid Israel.”
Dear Martyn Jacques, Adrian Huge, and Adrian Stout of the Tiger Lillies,
We heard that you plan to perform in Tel Aviv, Israel.  We would like to ask you to carefully consider cancelling your appearance.  We are saddened to see how music is appropriated and exploited in order to mask apartheid in Israel.[1]

You may not have read the recent findings of the Russell Tribunal on Palestine.  Here is an excerpt, from 7 November.  Read the entire findings at :

The Tribunal finds that Israel subjects the Palestinian people to an institutionalised regime of domination amounting to apartheid as defined under international law. This discriminatory regime manifests in varying intensity and forms against different categories of Palestinians depending on their location. The Palestinians living under colonial military rule in the Occupied Palestinian Territory are subject to a particularly aggravated form of apartheid. Palestinian citizens of Israel, while entitled to vote, are not part of the Jewish nation as defined by Israeli law and are therefore excluded from the benefits of Jewish nationality and subject to systematic discrimination across the broad spectrum of recognised human rights. Irrespective of such differences, the Tribunal concludes that Israel’s rule over the Palestinian people, wherever they reside, collectively amounts to a single integrated regime of apartheid.

We feel that it is our duty to let you know that no matter how humanistic your personal views are, performing in Israel in the current situation would inevitably be perceived as a political act, namely of supporting or condoning one of the most ruthless and antidemocratic regimes: that which Israel imposes on the Palestinians.

Performing in Israel today means crossing an international picket line, as your performance will be construed as a vote of confidence in Israel’s oppressive policies.   It is because of these policies, and the silence about them from governments around the world, that Palestinians have called for an international boycott of Israel, asking artists to refuse to perform in Israel.  The Tiger Lillies should refuse to be used to uphold the Israeli façade of normalcy.

As we write this to you we are sure that while dealing with the logistics of your trip, your Israeli hosts failed to inform you that barely a one hour drive from where you are scheduled to perform, nearly 2.5 million Palestinians live under a ruthless occupation in the West Bank.  They are surrounded by an illegal apartheid wall and routinely harassed by armed soldiers. These people, who live under an Israeli military regime, will not be allowed to come to hear you play at the “Barby,” as they cannot leave the confines that Israel has enclosed them in. The travel restrictions imposed on the Palestinians by the Israeli occupation prevent them from traveling on roads reserved for their Israeli neighbors alone.  Hundreds of permanent and arbitrary checkpoints created solely for Palestinians dot the West Bank, and so though you might be able to visit the West Bank as a privileged foreigner, you would never be subjected to the movement control that Palestinians are on their own land.

Only 70 km South of Tel Aviv, over 1.5 million Palestinians in Gaza live in an open-air prison forced on them by Israel.  The recent International Red Cross report on the siege of Gaza demonstrates how terribly damaging it is to Palestinians. [2]  The siege most definitely constitutes human rights abuse. Also, the UN Report of 2009 finds Israel guilty of committing war crimes in its assault on Gaza in 2008/2009, including using white phosphorous on civilians and using human shields. [3]
But travel restrictions are only one aspect of repressing those who live under the Israeli occupation.  In fact, the Israeli military regime in the Occupied Territories conducts systematic land expropriation, collective punishments, house demolitions, and mass detainment and imprisonment of thousands of women, men and children, many of whom are the participants of non violent protests against Israel.

We believe that the Tiger Lillies should not be used in order to silence the oppressed (or to camouflage such a silencing), we urge you to heed the Palestinian call for boycott, and join the many artists who have already refused to lend their names to whitewashing the Israeli Apartheid policies, namely by canceling their scheduled performances in Israel.

Pink Floyd founder Roger Waters said “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.  My conviction is born in the idea that all people deserve basic human rights. This is not an attack on the people of 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 until the day comes – and it surely will come – when the wall of occupation falls and Palestinians live alongside Israelis in the peace, freedom, justice and dignity that they all deserve.”[4]

Elvis Costello, who cancelled his concert in Israel, said: “Then there are occasions when merely having your name added to a concert schedule may be interpreted as a political act that resonates more than anything that might be sung and it may be assumed that one has no mind for the suffering of the innocent.”[5]
Massive Attack’s Robert Del Naja, when talking about his joining the boycott stated “I’ve always felt that it’s the only way forward,”“I think musicians have a major role to play,” Del Naja says. “I find the more I get involved, the more the movement becomes something tangible. I remember going to ‘Artists Against Apartheid’ gigs, and ‘Rock Against Racism’ gigs around the same sort of time. Bands like the Clash and the Specials had a lot to do with influencing the minds of the youth in those days.”  “The boycott is not an action of aggression towards the Israeli people,” he says. “It’s towards the government and its policies. Everyone needs to be reminded of this because it’s very easy to be accused of being anti-Semitic, and that’s not what this is about.” [6]
We sincerely hope that you will choose to refrain from playing on November 26, in Israel, until the day comes when Israeli apartheid ends, and all people can attend your concert together with Palestinians in a just and equal society.

With Respect,

Don’t Play Apartheid Israel

We are a group, of over 800  members, representing many nations around the globe, who believe that it is essential for musicians & other artists to heed the call of the PACBI, and join in the boycott of Israel. This is essential in order to work towards justice for the Palestinian people under occupation, and also in refugee camps and in the diaspora throughout the world.

[1] See four references below for documentation on apartheid in Israel:
A.The 7 November 2012 Russell Tribunal on Palestine Report 
B. Human Sciences Research Council of South Africa (HSRC) study : Israel is practicing both colonialism and apartheid in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT).
C. Full report of the South African Human Sciences Research Council
D. Israel/Palestine, South Africa and the ‘One-State Solution’: The Case for an Apartheid Analysis
[Bakan, Abigail B. and Abu-Laban, Yasmeen(2010)
E. Do Israel’s Practices…

[2] Gaza Closure: Not Another year!

[3] UN Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict.

[4] Tear down this Israeli wall, I want the music industry to support Palestinians’ rights and oppose this inhumane barrier Roger Water, Friday 11 March 2011,

[5] It is After Considerable Contemplation…

[6] Robert Del Naja of Massive Attack tells William Parry why he is boycotting Israel.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s