Enrique Iglesias, don’t sing for the Israeli apartheid!
Dear Enrique Iglesias,
This letter has been signed by civil society groups and organisations from different parts of the world that support the campaign for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel. We were saddened to hear that you plan to give a concert in Israel on 30 May.
You may not be aware of the serious breaches of International Law and violations of Human Rights made by Israel against the Palestinian population over the last 63 years. The following are just a few of them:
• In 1948-1949 the budding Jewish state implemented a policy of ethnic cleansing that converted more than 750,000 Palestinians into refugees. There are now almost 5 million refugees surviving in difficult conditions in refugee camps all over the Middle East. In spite of the stipulations of International Law, Israel does not recognise their right to return to their lands.
• Since 1967, Israel has illegally installed more than 500,000 Jewish settlers in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, on land stolen from the Palestinian population. These settlers are protected by the powerful Israeli army and benefit from the same apartheid system that imposes extremely harsh living conditions on the Palestinian population in all aspects of their life
• Since 2002, Israel has been building a separation Wall in the occupied Palestinian Territory (in the West Bank and East Jerusalem). The Wall was declared illegal in 2004 in a report by the International Court of Justice. It has a disastrous impact on the daily life of thousands of Palestinian men and women, because it impedes access to health care, housing, education and work, all of which are basic Human Rights.
• Since 2007, Israel has imposed a cruel economic blockade on the 1.6 million inhabitants of the Gaza Strip. Amnesty International has declared on countless occasions that the blockade of Gaza is illegal and has pushed its population into unemployment, poverty and dependency on aid agencies for survival.
• In 2008-2009, Israel attacked the Gaza strip committing war crimes and crimes against humanity. More than 1,400 inhabitants of Gaza died during the attack. Most of them were civilians. The details of the attack can be found in the report drawn up by the South African judge Richard Goldstone in 2009 for the UN.
• The Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel have the misfortune to be non-Jewish citizens in a Jewish state. They suffer from structural legal discrimination; more than 30 laws discriminate against them in favour of the Jewish citizens of Israel.
In 2005, more than 170 Palestinian civil society organisations called for a campaign of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel to be maintained until Israel meets its obligation to recognize the Palestinian people’s inalienable right to self-determination and fully complies with the precepts of international law by:
•Ending its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantling the Wall.
•Recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and,
•Respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN resolution 194
You may think that your songs, which convey peace and love, should reach all corners of the world, including Israel, and should not be mixed up with politics. Unfortunately, giving a concert in Israel is not a neutral act; it will be used by the Israeli government to legitimise the illegal policies implemented against the Palestinian population and will be understood in this way by millions of citizens across the world. Last April, when the young singer Justin Bieber gave a concert in Israel, President Benyamin Netanyahu tried desperately to use his presence to improve the image of the decadent Israeli government. When Bieber refused to attend a meeting with children living in areas targeted by Qassam rockets, Netanyahu cancelled his own meeting with the singer. Bieber only wanted to sing, and had intended to avoid any involvement in politics but this turned out to be impossible. The same thing will happen to you if you give a concert in Israel.
The following artists have recently cancelled their performances in Israel in response to the call for a BDS campaign: Devendra Banhart, Tommy Sands, Elvis Costello, Carlos Santana, Gil Scott Heron, the Pixies, Gorillaz Sound System, Vanessa Paradis, La Carrau and Ladysmith Black Mambazo.
An academic and cultural boycott is an effective way of putting pressure on Israel and has a real chance of obtaining a change in the policies that contravene International Law. This was made clear in the case of the South-African apartheid.
For all of the reasons given in this letter we urge you to cancel your concert in Israel. As an outstanding and respected international figure in the world of music you can contribute to obtaining freedom, justice and a just peace in Palestine.
Please don’t sing for the Israeli apartheid!
Grup BDS Catalunya
Comunitat Palestina de Catalunya
Associació Catalana de Jueus i Palestins - JUNTS
Comissió Universitària Catalana per Palestina (CUNCAP)
Xarxa d'Enllaç amb Palestina
Intersindical Alternativa de Catalunya
Euskal Herria Palestina Sarea
Red Solidaria contra la Ocupación de Palestina (RESCOP) - Spain
Plataforma para el Boicot Académico a Israel (PBAI) - Spain
IJAN-Red de Judíos Antisionistas en España - Spain
Artefacto Cultural - Brazil/Spain
European Platform for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (EPACBI) - Europe
Comité de Solidariedade com a Palestina - Portugal
Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign - Scotland
British Committee for the Universities of Palestine (BRICUP) - United Kingdom
Boycott Israel Network (BIN) - United Kingdom
Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods (J-BIG) - United Kingdom
Artists Against Apartheid UK - United Kingdom
Women in Black (Vienna) - Austria
Critical Jewish Voice - Austria
Utrecht for Palestine - Netherlands
Dutch Bathrobes Brigades - Netherlands
Dutch network "Samenwerken voor Palestina" (29 organizations) - Netherlands
EuroPalestine - France
Association des Universitaires pour le Respect du Droit International en Palestine (AURDIP) - France
BDS Switzerland - Switzerland
Belgium Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (BACBI) - Belgium
Génération Palestine - Belgium
Berlin Academic Boycott - Germany
BDS Group Berlin - Germany
Middle East and Asia
Palestinian Academic and Cultural Boycott against Israel (PACBI) - Palestine
BOYCOTT! Supporting the Palestinian BDS Call from Within - Israel
Alternative Information Center (AIC) - Palestine/Israel
Palestinian Students' Campaign for the Academic Boycott of Israel (PSCABI) - Palestine
Palestine Peace Solidarity at Seoul - South Korea
U.S. Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (USACBI) - United States
Artists United Against Apartheid - United States
The Canadian Arab Federation - Canada
Federación de Entidades Argentino-Palestinas - Argentina
Foro Itinerante de Participación Popular - Venezuela
Comité Solidaridad con Palestina - Costa Rica
Unión de estudiantes palestinos de Colombia - Colombia
Fundación Encuentro Colombo-Árabe Barranquilla - Colombia
Unión de Internacionalistas con Palestina - Colombia
Unión General de Estudiantes Palestinos - Chile
Coordinadora para el Boicot a Israel - Chile
Centro Cultural Mundo Árabe de Iquique - Chile
Juventud Por Palestina de Iquique - Chile
Deportivo Palestino Iquique - Chile
Dabke Infantil Al Hayat - Chile
Dabke y Danza Árabe Al Helm Al Arabi - Chile
Juventud Unión Árabe de Antofagasta - Chile
Juventud Árabe Valparaíso y Viña del Mar - Chile
Asociación de Jóvenes Unidos por Palestina (Santiago) - Chile
Juventud Árabe de Chillan - Chile
Juventud Árabe de Concepción - Chile
Juventud Árabe de Temuco - Chile
Juventud Árabe por Palestina de Valdivia - Chile
BDS Working Group - South Africa
South African Artists against Apartheid - South Africa
International Solidarity Movement (ISM)
Artists Against Apartheid, International Alliance