Cultural Boycott: Efforts and Rationale: Students Unite!

Join in asking musicians (some campaigns are listed below) to refrain from playing in Israel.  This was an effective method used in the 80’s when South African apartheid was opposed.  We need students to carry on the momentum against apartheid now, seen to an even harsher degree in Israel.

The cultural boycott of Israel is focused on the PACBI’s statements.  They are seen here: http://www.pacbi.org/etemplate.php?id=1610

The highlights of those guidelines that we focus on when we ask musicians to cancel their appearances in Israel include:

Even while many artists, musicians and cultural workers refuse to entertain apartheid Israel, there continues to be those who try to find currency to circumvent the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement.
Since no such sanctions exist, they (musicians)  feel they can perform in Israel, and have no obligation to respond to the Palestinian people’s calls for boycott as a non-violent means to redress Israel’s grave violations of human rights and international law.
The fact is that the UN and world governments have failed to act to bring about an end to the Israeli occupation, to hold Israel accountable for denying Palestinian refugees their UN-sanctioned right to return to their lands from which they were ethnically cleansed, or to ensure Palestinian citizens of Israel equal rights.  Neither the UN nor most governments feel compelled to change their policies without pressure from grassroots movements and people of conscience around the world.

In such moments, artists and cultural workers are asked to play a role in standing with people’s movements and lend their social capital – their prestige, name, and position in society – to speak to power rather than take orders from it.  Many have done exactly that. Most recently, Roger Waters endorsed BDS saying:
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. [1]
When the BDS movement calls on artists and cultural workers to take a position so that this might pressure governments and the UN, the movement is essentially asking people to take a lead so that governments may follow.  Imagine if artists and musicians had waited for their governments before taking a stand in other situations of entrenched oppression; where would South African freedom be today?  During the South African apartheid-era boycotts, world governments — and to a lesser extent the UN — were considerably slower in declaring apartheid to be a crime, and to institute comprehensive boycotts.  It was only decades after a grassroots movement had been formed, whereby many artists refused to perform for the apartheid regime, that world bodies joined the boycott call.

…musicians… should be listening to moral leaders like Archbishop Desmond Tutu who has been consistent on why a boycott of Israel is necessary [2].  Richard Falk, UN Special Rapporteur for human rights in the Palestinian Territories occupied since 1967, had this to recommend during a presentation to the UN General Assembly in October 2010:
The other recommendation that seems responsive to recent developments is to encourage UN support for both efforts to send humanitarian assistance direct to the people of Gaza in defiance of the persistence of the unlawful blockade and the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign that seeks to respond to the failure of Israel to uphold its obligations under international law with respect to the Palestinian people. The BDS campaign represents a recognition that neither governments nor the United Nations are prepared or able to uphold Palestinian rights. In this respect, it should be recalled that the anti-apartheid campaign of the late 1980s was strongly endorsed by the United Nations. [3]

[1] http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/mar/11/cultural-boycott-west-bank-wall
[2] http://www.timeslive.co.za/world/article675369.ece/Israeli-ties–a-chance-to-do-the-right-thing
[3] http://electronicintifada.net/content/un-will-be-judged-whether-it-upholds-palestinian-rights/9099
Posted on 31-05-2011

Currently, we are asking your support to ask artists to cancel their gigs in Israel.  Short letters to their management are great.  Simple notes on facebook campaign walls are welcome and do help.  We are hoping for a response now from Neil Young, and would love your help on that campaign.  Please consider the great significance and timely importance of educating musicians and asking them to cancel.  Many of them just are simply not aware of the boycott.  They are booked without even knowing that their concerts in Israel are used to promote normalization of Israel’s war crimes and repression of Palestinians.  Links to the FB campaigns are below, and one link to an Israeli booking site (there are many, this is just one  www.aurismedia.com)

 

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Israel commits crime of apartheid: "Inhumane acts of a character similar to other crimes against humanity "committed in the context of an institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group over any other racial group or groups and committed with the intention of maintaining that regime."

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