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15.02.2011 Open Letter to Jose Carreras

15.02.2011 Open Letter to Jose Carreras

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Published by BDS-Kampagne
Dear Mr Carreras, We were saddened to hear that you will be giving a concert in Israel in March. You may not be aware of the serious violations of International Law and Human Rights that have been carried out against the Palestinian population by Israel over the last 60-odd years. One of the most recent violations was the brutal attack made on the Gaza Strip in 2008-2009, during which Israel committed war crimes and crimes against humanity as detailed in the report that the South African judge R
Dear Mr Carreras, We were saddened to hear that you will be giving a concert in Israel in March. You may not be aware of the serious violations of International Law and Human Rights that have been carried out against the Palestinian population by Israel over the last 60-odd years. One of the most recent violations was the brutal attack made on the Gaza Strip in 2008-2009, during which Israel committed war crimes and crimes against humanity as detailed in the report that the South African judge R

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Published by: BDS-Kampagne on Feb 17, 2011
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02/18/2011

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Dear Mr Carreras,We were saddened to hear that you will be giving aconcertin Israel in March. You may not be aware of the serious violations of International Law and HumanRights that have been carried out against the Palestinian population by Israelover the last 60-odd years. One of the most recent violations was the brutalattack made on the Gaza Strip in 2008-2009, during which Israel committed warcrimes and crimes against humanity as detailed in thereportt
 
hat the SouthAfrican judge Richard Goldstone drew up for the United Nations in 2009.In 1948-1949 the budding Jewish State implemented a policy of ethnic cleansingthat converted more than 750,000 Palestinians into refugees. From then on, theIsraeli regime has denied basic rights and freedoms to the whole of thePalestinian population, whether resident in Israel, in the territories occupied byIsrael in 1967 or in other countries as refugees. Since then the indigenouspopulation of Palestine –made up of Christian, Druze and Moslem Arabs– hassuffered occupation, colonisation of their lands andapartheidmeasures
 
. Since2002, the Jewish State has been building a separation Wall in the occupiedterritories (East Jerusalem and the West Bank). This was declared illegal on 9 July2004 in arulingb
 
y the International Court of Justice.Another of the tragedies affecting the Palestinian people is the economicblockade imposed by Israel on the 1.5 million inhabitants of the Gaza Strip,especially since 2007. The NGO Amnesty International has declared oninnumerable occasions that the blockade on Gaza is illegal and that it has"pushed its population into unemployment, poverty and dependency on aidagencies for survival". According to astudypublished in 2010 by variousinternational NGOs 80% of the population of Gaza depends on international aidand 61% suffers from food insecurity. According to the same report at least 33sick people have died since 2009 on being denied the permits needed forreceiving medical treatment in Israel by the occupying authorities. It is estimatedthat since the start of the blockade hundreds of sick people have died in Gazawhile waiting for a permit that never arrived. As someone who has suffered andrecovered from a serious illness like leukaemia, you know better than anyonethat receiving medical treatment in time can make the difference between lifeand death; Israel denies the sick men and women of Gaza access to such medicaltreatment.
 
After the criminal offensive against Gaza in 2008-2009 and the attack on theFreedom Flotillain 2010, in which 9 Turkish citizens were assassinated by theIsraeli army in international waters, Israel has redoubled its efforts to presentitself to the world as a liberal and open democracy. Art, sport and culture play akey role in this image campaign. The real cultural ambassadors of the JewishState –be they the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra or the Maccabi Tel Aviv sportsclub– cannot be thought of as "innocent" entities separate from what theyrepresent; they sustain the apartheid regime just as much as the army does. Inthe same way artists and musicians who are "invited" to perform in Israel –ascould be your case in March– help to "normalise" relations with the offendingstate.In 2004, inspired by the cultural boycott of South Africa during the apartheidregime, the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel
 
(PACBI) called for a boycott on all the institutions that participate in and sustainthe Israeli apartheid regime. We would like to stress the importance of this call,made by Palestinian artists, musicians and academics, and to underline theincreasingly favourable response it is obtaining in the world of culture at aninternational level, especially from musicians and film-makers. The boycottcampaign is supported by universities, institutions, churches, writers, artists andmusicians from countries all over the world, including Israel.In 1985, a group of musicians including Steve Van Zand, Ruben Blades, BobDylan, Herbie Hancock, Ringo Starr, Gil Scott Heron and Miles Davis refused toperform at the Sun City festival in South Africa because to do so would havemeant endorsing the South African apartheid regime and its institutionalisedform of racism. Similarly, in recent years various internationally well-knownpersonalities have expressed their support for the boycott on Israel. They includeRoger Waters, Desmond Tutu, John Berger, Ken Loach, Eduardo Galeano, IlanPappe, Antoni Muntadas, John Greyson, Cornelia Parker, Naomi Klein, ArundhatiRoy, Jean-Luc Godard and Brian Eno. The following artists have recently cancelled their performances in Israel:Devendra Banhart, Elvis Costello, Carlos Santana, Gil Scott Heron, the Pixies,Vanessa Paradis and La Carrau. In February 2011, the German baritone and bass-baritone Thomas Quasthoff also announced the cancellation of his tour roundIsrael, after being asked to join the boycott by
,
andinternational activists. The Academic and Cultural Boycott is an effective way of putting pressure onIsrael and has a real chance of obtaining a change in the policies that contraveneInternational Law; this was made clear in the case of South Africa. Israel clearlyneeds political legitimacy and moral recognition and the world of culture shouldnot satisfy this need.For all of the reasons given in this letter
we urge you to cancel your concertin Israel
. As an outstanding and respected international figure in the world of music you can contribute to obtaining freedom, justice and a just peace inPalestine.
Please, do not go to Israel.
 Best regards,  This letter is endorsed by the following groups
:
Grup pel BDS - Catalonia
Aturem la Guerra- Catalonia
Comissió Universitària Catalana per Palestina (CUNCAP) - Catalonia
RESCOP (Red Solidaria Contra la Ocupación de Palestina) - Spain

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