I’ve been a huge Red Hot Chili Peppers fan since I was 14 years old. The prospect of a live show in Israel has always been slim-to-non. I saved up some serious cash for their last slated show, way back when, needless to say I was heartbroken when they cancelled. Over a decade later things are quite different. It seems ridiculous to me that the Red Hot Chili Peppers would even consider crossing the picket line of the global Palestinian liberation movement, that’s been forming since the last time they cancelled. One thing remains the same though : It’s very hard to reach a band of their stature. I want to make sure that no artist can say they didn’t know. Not about the atrocities of the apartheid state and its brutal occupation, and not about the movement to boycott, divest and sanction it. Below is the letter I’ve sent the band via snail mail.
Dear Anthony, Flea, Chad and Josh,
My name is Tali. I’m a citizen of Israel from the privileged side of the apartheid, who supports the Palestinian call for boycott, divestment and sanctions on the state of Israel. It doesn’t take much to get me to talk about the atrocities I witness here everyday, but I’d rather make it as brief as possible, so you’ll actually take the time to read this.
I’m a long time fan and it’s no lip service. I grew up on your songs, like American Ghost Dance and Johnny Kick a Hole in the Sky, but I wouldn’t understand them until much later, when I would join the weekly demonstrations of Palestinian villages against the state’s brutal incursion and theft of their lands. You may have heard the analogy to South African apartheid, which is accurate and then some, but if Israel succeeds, it will look more similar to what the whites had done to the Native Americans.
I can’t explain to you how deeply your lyrics resonate down in these parts, and how bitter it is that you may perform here. I, of course, can’t attend your concert in clear conscience, though I would have loved to.
Your performance would be a crowning achievement for Shuki Weiss, so I’d like to tell you a bit about his role in culturewashing Israel’s war crimes. Weiss and the Israeli government have a special relationship in which they include him in Knesset meetings about outlawing the protesting tool of boycotts [http://maxblumenthal.com/tag/shuki-weiss/], and he sends them VIP tickets to shows he produces [http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/tourism-minister-given-illegal-gift-of-vip-madonna-tickets-1.262006 ]. This is not just corruption within the system, but corruption that serves to whitewash Israel’s war crimes against the Palestinian people, using international artists such as yourself. As quoted in the latter article:
“Tourism Ministry spokeswoman Shira Koa said that the ministry had agreed with the producers of the concert that the event would be used to promote Israel as a safe tourism destination. “Madonna belongs to an exclusive club of mega stars, who draws thousands of fans from abroad to her concerts. For this reason, the ministry authorized an agreement with the producers that would give the ministry video and stills footage of the singer and her entourage, both during the concerts and her visits to tourist sites in Israel, to be used in international marketing campaigns. They also agreed to have four displays at the concert with films promoting Israel, supplied by the ministry, targeting the thousands of foreign tourists… Such promotion campaigns are regular occurrences both in Israel and abroad.”
Please remember that your privilege to speak to a captive audience is not a sign of others’ freedom to do so. When Palestinians express themselves, they pay a heavy price. (This is what happened under the mainstream media’s nose, just this week http://www.awalls.org/protests_in_solidarity_with_hana_shalabi_and_against_the_wall_brutally_suppressed_across_the_west_bank) I hope that you heed the Palestinian call (http://www.bdsmovement.net/call) and choose not to perform in Israel. I and my friends, who are prohibited from from attending your show by military law and force, will be happy to rock out, once equality is practiced in this region. Until then, we’ll be kicking holes in the sky. Care to join?
Sincerely, bitterly, hopefully