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 theÂ Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI)Â 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,Â scheduledÂ 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 suppressÂ overwhelmingly peacefulÂ 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 aÂ 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 UNÂ has called for an independent investigation into Israelâs âunlawful, calculated killingsâ in Gaza.
As aÂ UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, does it concern you thatÂ at least 12 Palestinian children have been slaughteredÂ by Israelâs military in these peaceful demonstrations, including theÂ 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 someÂ 60 kilometers away 2 million Palestinians are caged by Israel in Gaza which, the UN says, could becomeÂ uninhabitableÂ by 2020, mainly due to Israelâs ongoingÂ illegal blockade?
Does it bother you that a recent World Health OrganisationÂ reportÂ 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 TutuÂ stated: âJust 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.â
While Israeli leaders will welcome your show, it will contribute to covering up Israelâs brutal and systematicÂ attacksÂ 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 haveÂ repeatedlyÂ forced young musicians to âperformâ at military checkpoints that dot the occupied West Bank denying Palestinians their right to freedom of movement.
Can you really sing âHips donât lieâ 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.Â We call on you to join theÂ world-renowned artistsÂ who have refused to lend their names to art-washing Israelâs regime of oppressionÂ 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 namedÂ Ahed Al-TamimiÂ (17-year-old) who danced to the tune of your hit song âla 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 âla la laâ 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 05/20/18Â âKilling Gazaâ: A New Documentary on Palestinians Under Siege
Chris Carlson is a student of religion at Mount Mercy University, United States, and has been a regular volunteer with the IMEMC since 2013. He assisted in providing extensive coverage of the 2014 Israeli military offensive on the Gaza Strip and continues, into the present day, with the issues at hand. He can be reached via email at c h r i s @ i m e m c . o r g.