We are writing to you as leaders of CODEPINK Women for Peace about your planned performances in Israel this summer. As an organization which seeks to end war and militarism, we appeal to you to take a stand against the systems of violence and oppression that Palestinians live under every single day. Your music speaks to your commitment to build a better world. So, we ask you to respond to the Palestinian call for human rights, dignity and freedom by canceling your Israeli shows.
We have personally spent time with Palestinians suffering under the brutality of Israeli occupation. We have seen the checkpoints and daily humiliations, the roads divided between Jews and Muslims, and the military court system predicated on a denial of rights. Israel openly institutes two sets of laws for two groups of people -- the definition of apartheid -- and is the only country in the world with a juvenile military court system.
Right now, Palestinians in the besieged Gaza strip are peacefully protesting for their freedom. Rather than respecting their right to protest peacefully for dignity and the implementation of international law, Israel is shooting live ammunition at unarmed civilians. Already over 30 protesters have been killed and over 2,000 wounded.
This past week, among those killed by Israeli snipers at the Gaza border was 15-year-old boy Mohammed Ayoub. The week prior, Israeli snipers hit 12-year-old Abedurahman Nawfal in the leg with an expanding bullet, a form of ammunition that is banned under international law. His family spent two days appealing to Israel for permission to transfer him to a West Bank hospital. By the time his travel permit was granted, it was too late and his leg had to be amputated. The week before that saw the death of 30-year-old Palestinian journalist Yaser Murtaja, who was shot with a live bullet while wearing a navy-blue protective vest marked ‘PRESS’ in large black capital letters. He was the 29th Palestinian to be killed since the protests began on March 30. These are only a few of the stories of deaths and injury to Palestinians caused by the Israeli military.
Since 2005 Palestinians have been calling on the international community to support their struggle for freedom and equality in the same way that was effective in ending South African apartheid. Their request is for an economic, intellectual and artistic boycott to pressure the Israeli government to respect their rights and implement international law. Artists who have supported this call have included Roger Waters, Lauryn Hill, Mark Ruffalo, Lorde and more. This past week Natalie Portman cancelled her appearance at an Israeli award ceremony, stating that "the mistreatment of those suffering from today's atrocities is simply not in line with my Jewish values."
We are inspired by your lyrics: “people for peace more than people for war, and people for justice it’s never too far.” In the pursuit of peace and justice, we ask you to join the ranks of those who are supporting Palestinian freedom. Please cancel your July 31 and August 1 concerts in Israel. Just as artists’ refusal to play Sun City helped end South African apartheid, you cancelling your shows in Israel can make a significant impact towards ending Israeli oppression and violence.
Please join the artistic boycott of Israel by cancelling your Israeli concerts. Your voice will join many others and together we can and will make a difference.
Jodie Evans, Medea Benjamin and Ariel Gold
CODEPINK Women for Peace