Dear Nick Cave,
When the nine of us climbed the roof of the Elbit UK drone factory, your voice helped to amplify our action. You standing up for us in 2014 gave a wider echo to our arms factory protest against the ruthless Israeli bombardment of Gaza that was happening at the time.
You signed the letter asking that all charges against us, the nine protesters, should be dropped – indeed they were. The prosecution collapsed in February 2015, when Elbit refused to provide details of its military export licences and investigations into its trade with Israel.
Now again we need your voice for justice.
As you know, we scaled the roof of the Elbit factory because of the devastation being wreaked on the Palestinian population in Gaza, the majority of whom are children. They massacred more than 2000 Palestinians in 51 days, including over 500 children – 90 entire families were wiped off the citizen registry. This wanton destruction of besieged Gaza was carried out with Elbit drones, F16s, Merkava tanks, Jeeps, snipers and a plethora of other weapons in Israel’s arsenal.
While the equivalent ammunition of an atomic bomb was unleashed on one of the most crowded places on the planet, Palestinians beneath the bombs in Gaza called for solidarity in the form of support for the Palestinian call for international Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) of Israel. The goals of the BDS movement are hardly utopian. They are asking for the freedom, justice and equality that we take for granted, yet has been denied to the Palestinians for nearly seven decades.
It is one thing to support us as we risked prison by taking action on the Israeli arms factory roof, to shine a light on the profits being made by Israel’s crimes against the Palestinians. But a real stand with the Palestinian people is not to cross the BDS picket line, to honour their call by refusing to perform in Israel, and to refuse to participate in “Brand Israel”, a Foreign Ministry project using cultural icons and sports stars to whitewash the violent and racist practices of the Israeli state.
According to British and Israeli musicians Brian Eno and Ohal Grittier, “The foreign ministry in Israel works hand in hand with show promoters in Israel, who offer skyrocketing monetary compensation for concerts. Their stated goal is to establish a “Brand Israel” associated with liberal pluralism…But the decades-long systematic, often violent and murderous oppression of the Palestinian people has led us and many others to believe that, as in South Africa, boycott is an effective measure for bringing about change and liberation to an “oppressed people.”
We are asking you to join other musicians of conscience who have honoured the call, such as, Annie Lennox, Elvis Costello, Massive Attack, Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth, Faithless, Gary Moore, Lauryn Hill, Klaxons, Cassandra Wilson, Jello Biafra, Lhasa, Roger Waters of Pink Floyd, Devendra Banhart, Vanessa Paradis, Gil Scott Heron, Pete Seeger, Cat Power, the Gorillaz and Leftfield.
South Africans who fought apartheid are now supporting the Palestinian struggle. They remember those international artists who stood by them by refusing to play Sun City, and we are asking you to stand against apartheid by refusing to perform a concert in Tel Aviv this November.
As you took a stand against Israel’s carnage in Gaza in the summer of 2014, we urge you to take a stand again now and honour the call from Palestine.
Hilary Aked, Naiara Bazin, Charlie Deas, Maya Evans, Ewa Jasiewicz, Joseph Lee, Adie Mormech, Jessica Nero and Sami Wannell