Dozens of Palestinian cultural organizations and local administrations are urging Grammy Award-winning pop star and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Shakira to cancel her show in Israel.
A letter released by the¬† Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI)¬†reads as follows:
Occupied Palestine, 24 May 2018
We, Palestinian cultural institutions operating in the occupied Palestinian territory and in exile and Palestinian municipalities, appeal to you to cancel your performance in Tel Aviv,¬†scheduled¬†for 9 July, 2018. Performing in an apartheid state, whether South Africa in the past or Israel today, in defiance of the voices of the oppressed always undermines the popular struggle of the oppressed to end oppression. Doing so on the heels of a full-fledged Israeli massacre against our people in Gaza is a morally reprehensible whitewash of the crime.
In its attempt to suppress¬†overwhelmingly peaceful¬†mass demonstrations by tens of thousands of Palestinians in Gaza, striving for freedom and their UN-stipulated rights, Israel has implemented what Amnesty International describes as a¬†shoot-to-kill-or-maim policy. As a result, more than 100 Palestinian civilians have been killed since March 30th and more than 10,000 injured, many by live ammunition. The UN¬†has called for an independent investigation into Israel‚Äôs ‚Äúunlawful, calculated killings‚ÄĚ in Gaza.
As a¬†UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, does it concern you that¬†at least 12 Palestinian children have been slaughtered¬†by Israel‚Äôs military in these peaceful demonstrations, including the¬†8-month-old Laila Ghandour, who was asphyxiated by Israeli tear gas dropped on her family more than 1 kilometer away from the fence?
Will you have any pangs of conscience if you perform in Tel Aviv while some¬†60 kilometers away 2 million Palestinians are caged by Israel in Gaza which, the UN says, could become¬†uninhabitable¬†by 2020, mainly due to Israel‚Äôs ongoing¬†illegal blockade?
Does it bother you that a recent World Health Organisation¬†report¬†found that 54 Palestinians died in 2017, mostly cancer patients, while waiting for Israeli permits to leave Gaza for medical treatment?
In 2010, opposing a performance by a South African group in Tel Aviv, anti-apartheid leader Archbishop Desmond Tutu¬†stated: ‚ÄúJust as we said during apartheid that it was inappropriate for international artists to perform in South Africa in a society founded on discriminatory laws and racial exclusivity, so it would be wrong for Cape Town Opera to perform in Israel.‚ÄĚ
While Israeli leaders will welcome your show, it will contribute to covering up Israel‚Äôs brutal and systematic¬†attacks¬†on Palestinian culture. Israel has shuttered Palestinian cinemas and theatres, banned cultural events, denied Palestinian artists travel permits, and detained others without charge. Israeli soldiers have¬†repeatedly¬†forced young musicians to ‚Äúperform‚ÄĚ at military checkpoints that dot the occupied West Bank denying Palestinians their right to freedom of movement.
Can you really sing ‚ÄúHips don‚Äôt lie‚ÄĚ when Israel is lying in front of the world about its war crimes?
We appeal to you to do no harm to our human rights and our struggle to achieve them.¬†We call on you to join the¬†world-renowned artists¬†who have refused to lend their names to art-washing Israel‚Äôs regime of oppression¬†including Lorde, Lauryn Hill, Elvis Costello, Brian Eno, the late Gil Scott-Heron, Faithless, Roger Waters, Bjork, Zakir Hussain, Jean-Luc Godard and Snoop Dogg.
A few kilometers from the Park Yarkon where you are scheduled to perform, thousands of Palestinian prisoners are held in Israeli jails. One of them is a brave young girl named¬†Ahed Al-Tamimi¬†(17-year-old) who danced to the tune of your hit song ‚Äúla la la” with her two relatives and dreamt of growing up to become a football player. Our children, like all other children, deserve freedom, justice and equality. We ask you not to ‚Äúla la la‚ÄĚ to the system of injustice that is denying them their human rights and very dreams.
The Association of Palestinian Local Authorities (APLA), representing over 400 Palestinian municipalities and local councils in the occupied Palestinian territory
Palestinian Performing Arts Network (PPAN)
The Freedom Theatre
El-Funoun Dance Troupe
Qafilah Movingstage Theatre
Popular Art Centre
Al Kamandjati Association
The Palestinian Institute for Cultural Development-Nawa
Naqsh Popular Art Center
The Palestinian National Theatre – Al Hakawati
Ibdaa Cultural Center
Theatre Day Productions
Palestinian Circus School
Nawa for Culture and Arts Association
Alrowwad Cultural and Arts Society
Baladi Centre for culture and Arts
Oushaq Art Centre
Al-Anqaa Palestinian Dance Troupe, Gaza
Culture and Free Thought Association, Gaza
Al-Awda Centre, Tulkarem refugee camp
Khotwa Association for Community development
Khalil Sakakini Cultural Centre
Asayel Dance Troupe
Shafaq -Jerusalem Art network
Al-Ma’mal Foundation for Contemporary Art
The Edward Said National Conservatory of Music
Palestinian Art Court-Al Hoash
Palestinian National Theatre
Yabous Cultural Center
Al Hannouneh Society for Popular Culture, Jordan
Al Quds Group for Palestinian Folklore, Jordan
Muhtaref Al Qindil Al Saghir, Ain al-Hilweh Refugee Camp, Lebanon
Jafra Dance Troupe, Palestinian Cultural Center, Lebanon
Human Interest 05/20/18¬†‚ÄėKilling Gaza‚Äô: A New Documentary on Palestinians Under Siege