Editor’s Note: The following is an open letter from Boycott! Supporting the Palestinian BDS call from within. Mondoweiss occasionally publishes press releases and statements from organizations in an effort to draw attention to overlooked issues.
Dear Jennifer Lopez,
We are Israeli citizens, opposed to our government’s policies of oppression, occupation, apartheid and ethnic cleansing against the indigenous Palestinian people. We have learned of your upcoming gig in Israel in August. We, therefore, write to ask you to respect the Palestinian call to boycott Israel and cancel your show here.
Please note that our colleagues at Code Pink have come up with a petition, and more than 3,000 conscientious people have signed it.
To understand why we are writing you, we would like to start off by saying that, much like Sun City in South Africa under the apartheid regime, the city of Tel Aviv, where you are about to perform, is used as a tool for marketing the State of Israel as a “cool” and “cultured” democracy, while hiding a brutal history of colonization, even that of the city itself. Tel Aviv sits atop the ruins of the Palestinian villages Al Mas’udyia, al-Jammasin al-Gharbi, al-Shaykh Muwannis, Salama and what was known as The Fisherman’s Village. The inhabitants of these communities were killed or expelled during the Nakba, the ethnic cleansing that Zionist militias (later to become Israel’s army) committed in 1948.
As we speak, since March 2018, Israel is committing an ongoing massacre in Gaza, of unarmed protesters who are calling for an end to the 11-year-long siege that Israel has imposed on them. This siege renders them prisoners of the biggest open-air prison in the world. In the past 15 months alone, Israel killed over 200 Palestinians and injured over 28,000, including children, medics and journalists.
In the West Bank, Israel has been employing a brutal, belligerent military regime for the past 50 years, while expanding its colonial settlement project. A recent report of the office of the United Nations High Commissioner of Human Rights has described this colonial project as “pervasive and devastating [violations of human rights], reaching every facet of Palestinian life”, thereby further listing a plethora of violations such as “restrictions on freedom of religion, movement and education; their rights to land and water; access to livelihoods and their right to an adequate standard of living; their rights to family life; and many other fundamental human rights.”
In a statement for ABC News, you called for the people of Puerto Rico to be “treated equally”, but Palestinians, both citizens of Israel and disenfranchised subjects of the Israeli occupation, are not treated equally. In fact, within Israel itself, Palestinian citizens are subjected to over 65 laws denying them basic equality and civil and human rights, culminating in its most recent act of legislation called the ‘Nation-State Law‘, which enshrines Israel’s discrimination into its equivalent of a constitution.
Unfortunately, whatever your intention is, Israel has already enlisted you in its service. When Elvis Costello cancelled his concert in Tel Aviv, he strikingly stated: “There are occasions when merely having your name added to a concert schedule may be interpreted as a political act that resonates more than anything that might be sung and it may be assumed that one has no mind for the suffering of the innocent”.
Jennifer, we see you as a conscientious artist. Palestinians suffer from heinous, unabated violations to their rights, freedom, and dignity. Please support them. Please Boycott Israel!
Boycott! Supporting the Palestinian BDS call from within