Activists call on Depeche Mode to drop Israel show



RAMALLAH: Popular 1980s new wave band Depeche Mode is to play a concert in Tel Aviv’s Ha’Yarkon Park this May. It will be the group’s first show in Israel since 2009, when it performed at the nearby Ramat Gan Stadium for an audience of some 50,000.

According to the band’s website, they “will play 34 must-see shows to an audience in 25 European countries to an audience of more than 1.5 million fans, before taking the tour to North America. The tour kicks off with an open-air stadium show in Tel Aviv.”

Palestinian solidarity activists have called for the band to drop Tel Aviv from the tour and boycott Israel. The call is part of a broader Boycott Divestment and Sanctions movement that constitutes one of the largest civil society calls for disengaging with Israel on the grounds that it continually and consistently violates the human rights of Palestinians.

Activists argue that by playing in Israel, musicians, artists, and cultural figures turn a blind eye, if not openly endorse, these crimes. According to a petition against the performance published on Change.org, “Since their last concert in Tel Aviv, Israel has engaged in further brutal oppression of the Palestinian people, including land theft, home demolition, ethnic cleansing and enacting more laws enshrining the apartheid system.”

“Meanwhile, the illegal siege of Gaza, collective punishment of a civilian population, is maintained. Israel regularly attacks civilians in Gaza, the most recent major onslaught claiming 160 Palestinian lives. Farmers and fishermen, children and mothers, Palestinians are killed and maimed as they go about their daily lives.”

BDS activists have chalked up a number of successes in recent months, including a victory over pro-Israel groups in New York that sought to cancel a lecture by Palestinian activist Omar Barghouti and American philosopher Judith Butler at Brooklyn College, and also pressuring American Jazz musician Stevie Wonder to cancel a benefit show for the Israeli military.

The full text of the petition is available below.

To:




Depeche Mode

Although you played Israel in 2009, we hope to persuade you not to play again. Since your last concert in Tel Aviv, Israel has engaged in further brutal oppression of the Palestinian people, including land theft, home demolition, ethnic cleansing and enacting more laws enshrining the apartheid system. Meanwhile the illegal siege of Gaza, collective punishment of a civilian population, is maintained. Israel regularly attacks civilians in Gaza, the most recent major onslaught claiming 160 Palestinian lives. Farmers and fishermen, children and mothers, Palestinians are killed and maimed as they go about their daily lives.

The production company that is bringing the band to Israel has actively participated in the infringements of human rights, by assisting the state of Israel in whitewashing its war crimes against the Palestinian people; co-opting human rights organizations in opaque interactions including offering bribes; adopting state propaganda rhetoric, which has a clear goal to distract attention from state violations in its communication with its business partners and clients; and willfully participating in parliamentary debates that aim to stifle the freedom of speech and prevent legitimate protest.

For more information please visit http://pulsemedia.org/2012/12/12/israel-2012-the-question-of-a-nation-what-does-culture-have-to-do-with-politics/
“Shuki Weiss Promotion and Production Ltd. in the Service of the State of Israel

Weiss and the Israeli government have a special relationship in which they include him in Knesset meetings about outlawing the protesting tool of boycotts [http://maxblumenthal.com/tag/shuki-weiss/], and he sends them VIP tickets to shows he produces [http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/tourism-minister-given-illegal-gift-of-vip-madonna-tickets-1.262006 ].

Depeche Mode, please join with other musicians of conscience who support the cultural boycott of Israel. Legendary Roger Waters is a strong advocate of the boycott. A few examples of others that have respected the boycott include Cat Power, Cassandra Wilson, Santana, Tuneyards, Snoop Dogg and many others along with scores who refuse to answer calls to play in Israel. Lollapalooza Israel was recently cancelled for this very reason. We hope you will stand against apartheid and for human rights.

Sincerely,
[Your name]


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