OPEN letter to Between Buried and Me: Refrain from playing in Apartheid Israel

9/6/11 OPEN letter to Tommy Giles Rogers, Paul Waggoner, Dustie Waring, Dan Briggs and Blake Richardson of Between Buried and Me

Metal  music is loved the world over, so why would it be considered inhumane to play a gig in Israel?
In the case of Israel, music takes on a very political role, because of the well-known global BDS movement.  The PACBI, (Palestinian Call for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel) has, since 2005, asked musicians to refrain from playing in Israel, and their call, representing Palestinian Civil Society, has become a global movement.
Thus, when a band, like Between Buried and Me, agrees to play in Israel, and break the picket line, it becomes very political.  Band members Tommy Giles Rogers, Paul Waggoner, Dustie Waring, Dan Briggs and Blake Richardson should cancel their planned concert for 10 September at the Barby in Israel.  Their brief performance at 9:30 pm, though financially lucrative for the band, can never be worth their effort if they have to stand on the side of injustice and oppression in order to play.
Other musicians have made very clear stands on the side of human rights, and one of the most notable is Roger Waters, founder of the UK Pink Floyd sensation.
The PACBI asks all artists, including Between Buried and Me, to refrain from playing in Israel.
Dear band members, Tommy Giles Rogers, Paul Waggoner, Dustie Waring, Dan Briggs and Blake Richardson,
The Palestinian arts community is deeply saddened, when artists such as yourself agree to perform in Israel.  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 Between Buried and Me’s band members  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 Between Buried and Me 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.
Help stop Israel’s “Circus” of using metal music to whitewash apartheid” and do not come to Israel. “Breathe in, Breathe Out,” 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 “Gold
stone Report” in which it was declared that Israel had committed war-crimes.
It is also worth reminding you that 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 metal fans, particularly those in besieged Gaza, will be allowed to attend your concert? By performing at the Barby you are helping to perpetuate this unjust 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, represented by

Don’t Play Apartheid Israel

We are a group, of over 745 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.

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