BRICUP’s Open Letter to Elton John

BRICUP‘s excellent letter is worth posting. You can send your own messages to Elton John at

Playing for the prison wardens?

Dear Elton John

Like much of the world, we think you’re a good bloke. You came out when it was difficult; you admitted your addictions were stronger than you were; you’ve poured money into AIDS research. Oh, and then there’s the music – not bad at all.

But we’re struggling to understand why you’re playing in Israel on June 17. You may say you’re not a political person, but does an army dropping white phosphorus on a school building full of children demand a political response? Does walling a million and a half people up in a ghetto and then pounding that ghetto to rubble require a political response from us, or a human one?

We think it needs a human response, and we think that by choosing to play in Tel Aviv you’re denying this. You’re behaving as if playing in Israel is morally neutral – but how can it be? How can the cruelties Israel practises against the Palestinians – fundamentally because the Palestinians are there, on Palestinian land, and Israel wants them to go – be morally neutral?

Okay, you turn up in Ramat Gan, and it gets to that ‘Candle in the Wind’ moment, and thousands of lighters flicker – but there won’t be any Palestinians from the Occupied Territories swaying along with the Israelis – the army won’t let them leave their ghettoes. Please read what Judge Goldstone said about the onslaught on Gaza; what Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have been saying for decades about the crimes committed against the Palestinians. Of course the Israeli state denies it has a case to answer, though it’s knee-deep in ethnic cleansing and land-theft and the endless daily suffocating of Palestinian lives and hopes.

Political or not political, when you stand up on that stage in Tel Aviv, you line yourself up with a racist state. Do you want to give them the satisfaction?

Please don’t go.

Yours sincerely,

Professor Haim Bresheeth
Mike Cushman
Professor Steven Rose
Professor Jonathan Rosenhead
London, February 2010

7 thoughts on “BRICUP’s Open Letter to Elton John”

  1. elton john is an artist not a politician.he is bringing joy and happiness to a part of the world that is a living hell. thank god for that entertainment in which they can forget about there troubles for a few short hours. everybody needs an escape from reality once in a while. GOD BLESS.

    1. a living hell? Actually that’s next door in the occupied territories. He is playing to those who are making it a living hell. How big a moron does one have to be to not understand that politics is not something that only politicians do?

  2. Sir Elton, Please understand that playing Israel these days is morally equivalent to musicians who played in Sun City during apartheid rule in S. Africa. I understand your desire to avoid politics, but please realize that you cannot be morally neutral as a cultural ambassador during any visit to Israel. Playing in Israel implies you have chosen the side of the oppressor over those, esp. in Gaza but also in the West Bank, who are suffering a “slow-motion genocide.” I ask you sincerely to compare the Jews of the Warsaw Ghetto to the 1.5 million Palestinians (half of them under 17) huddled in the Gaza Strip and tell me: what, at the end of the day, is the difference?

    If you disagree with any or all of this, then here is a nice compromise: tell the Israelis you will only play in Ramat Gan on condition that you are allowed to play Gaza City, or Ramallah as well.

    Best wishes. The world will be watching how you deal with this dilemma. May you choose wisely, and compassionately.

  3. Just my 2 cents, but —

    Playing Israel now is WORSE than playing Sun City back in the Apartheid days because S. Afrika was OPEN about their bigotry to the point of codifying it. Israel still wants it both ways: Let’s be the light unto nations and get hate crimes laws on the books worldwide, and blah-blah, at the SAME TIME Israel is committing atrocities that would have gagged Hitler.

    But anyway it’s about time the world caught up to the double-deal, and good that good people want it to end.

    And Elton, give a listen. Smart people are giving you good advice here.

  4. Sun City became a fashionable cause because the media got (was placed?) behind the anti-apartheid movement. Will the media get behind the anti-Zionist movement? Lets see…Who owns the global media??

  5. I have no doubt Sir Elton John will make the wrong decision. Like other self important politically naive twits like him, Madonna, Bono, Oprah, et al he will act in a morally repugnant fashion. Who knows I could be wrong. Doubt it though.

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