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Letter to CUT/COPY – Please don’t sing for Apartheid

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Today we sent a letter to Melbourne based indie electropop band CUT/COPY, asking them to reconsider their scheduled performance in Tel Aviv, Israel.  We hope to hear from them soon. Here is a copy of the letter.  Please feel free to sign and re-send it if you like.

Dear Cut/Copy,

We are Artists Against Apartheid, a collective of Australian artists who are part of an international alliance committed to human rights and Justice and the elimination of Apartheid systems in the world.  We are fellow artists, and some of us are big fans of your work.  We are however deeply saddened to hear of your planned concerts tour in Israel and urge you to cancel for the reasons stated in this letter.We are visual artists, performers, singers, song writers, actors and art educators who have answered a call to stand in solidarity with the call from Palestinian civil society for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions of Israeli apartheid.  Performing in Israel contributes to normalising its Apartheid policies of occupation of Palestinian lands and of discrimination against the indigenous Palestinian population.   Please read our plea for you to reconsider your decision and join us in solidarity for a just and peaceful world.We realise that 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 the human rights violations:

  • 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, women, and particularly children, 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. ‘The idea is to put the Palestinians on a diet, but not to make them die of hunger,’ said the advisor to the Prime Minister. 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. 800 were children.
  • The  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

Dear Cut/Copy Band members, You may think that your songs should reach all corners of the world, 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. While unable to directly affect the oppressive situation on the ground, as conscious artists you can act to resist the normalization of Israel’s colonial and apartheid policies by heeding the call of the Palestinian People for the Cultural and Academic boycott of Israeli Apartheid.More than 170 Palestinian civil society organisations have called for a campaignof 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 Palestinian lands and dismantling the Wall
  • Recognizing the fundamental rights of the  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.

Cut/copy is an outstanding and respected band in the world of music. You can contribute to obtaining freedom, justice and a just peace in Palestine by joining us, Artists Against Apartheid in this Palestinian led campaign and withdraw your concert tour to Israel.

You will not be alone, 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.

Roger Waters from Pink Floyd said, ‘Where governments refuse to act, people must, with whatever peaceful means are at their disposal. In 1980, a song I wrote, “Another Brick in the Wall Part 2,” was banned by the government of South Africa because it was being used by Black South African children to advocate their right to equal education. Twenty-five years later, in 2005, Palestinian children used the song to protest Israel’s apartheid wall.  They sang “We don’t need no occupation! We don’t need no racist wall!” I learned something of what it means to live under occupation, imprisoned behind a Wall.  It means that a Palestinian farmer must watch olive groves centuries old, uprooted.  It means that a Palestinian student cannot get to school because the checkpoint is closed.  It means a woman may give birth in a car, because the soldier won’t let her pass to the hospital that’s a ten minute drive away.  It means a Palestinian artist cannot travel abroad to exhibit work, or to show a film in an international film festival.’

Please don’t sing for Apartheid Israel.

Regards,

Artists Against Apartheid – Australia.