Letter to Mercedes Sosa

We know that you have visited Israel before.However, the Israelyou visited then appeared as if it were about to step on the path toward peace.Those hopes for a positive change that you may remember from your last visithave been dashed. Israel istoday more than ever an apartheid state, a state committed to the continuedviolent colonization and ethnic cleansing of the indigenous people of Palestine.

In 2006, virtually all leading Palestinianartists and intellectuals called for a world-wide cultural boycott of Israel, similar to that imposed on apartheid South Africa.To date, many prominent international artists, including Ken Loach, John Bergerand Jean-Luc Godard and a few artists’ unions, like the Irish Aosdana, haveheeded the Palestinian Call and refused to perform of participate in culturalevents in Israel.

If you sing in Israelyou will be lending your public image and the moral authority of your art to Israel’s effortto whitewash its increasingly tarnished image as a state that ignores andbreaches every principle of international law and tramples upon every humanright. You will also violate the Palestinian civil society’s Call for Boycott,Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) that demands artists shun Israel until Israel fulfills its obligationsunder international law. By singing in Israel you will betray your sistersand your brothers everywhere.

As much as we try, our imagination fails us. Howwill you sing "cuando tenga la tierra" for a state devoted to the expropriationof the land’s peasants, its indigenous communities? Will you let that songbecome the anthem of the expropriator? How will you sing "honrar la vida" forthe pleasure of an audience that sends its young men to destroy the lives ofthe indigenous communities of Palestine,to demolish their homes, to uproot their olive trees and to expel them fromtheir land?

How will you sing "Hermano dame tu mano" in astate that makes not only different laws for Jews and Palestinians, but alsodifferent roads, a state that keeps four million Palestinians effectively cagedbehind walls and checkpoints, and millions more expelled and not allowed toreturn. How will you sing "sobreviviendo" in a safe concert hall, half an hourdrive from communities laid waste, communities whose thousands of resistingsons and daughters are languishing in military prisons.

How will you sing "Alfonsina y el mar" in a placewhere Palestinian children are not allowed to see the sea?

Don’t let your voice be sullied withcollaboration with this oppression! Don’t sing in Israel! Don’t fail the struggle forfreedom and equality in Palestine!Don’t betray the people whose struggle echoes so closely the struggles of thepeople of Latin America!

We undersign this letter as Jews from all overthe world. We sign as Jews because we are worried that you might think thatthrough your visit to Israel you stand in solidarity with us Jews, on accountof the terrible history of Jewish persecution in Europe. If this is so, weappreciate the intention, but we cannot appreciate the gesture. We want andwelcome being free of fear and free of persecution. But we do not believe inliberation through the oppression of others, nor in salvation by finding anotherscapegoat. We do not believe in a solidarity that asks that we hate those lessprivileged. We wish to live in freedom, but together with all humanity, withall people, of all backgrounds, faiths, color and origin, not by becomingourselves usurpers and persecutors. The colonization and ethnic cleansing of Palestine does notliberate us. On the contrary, it seeks to lock us in a cycle of continuingdomination and repression. In performing in Israel, you will not be standingwith us, you will be betraying us as well. Please cancel your visit.

 

InternationalJewish Solidarity Network

http://www.ijsn.net/

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *