WEST BANK (Dispatches) – Hundreds of musicians have signed on to an open letter that asks other artists in the world to boycott performances in the occupied territories until the Zionist regime ends its occupation of Palestine.
“As musicians, we cannot be silent. Today it is essential that we stand with Palestine. We are calling on our peers to publicly assert their solidarity with the Palestinian people. Complicity with Israeli war crimes is found in silence, and today silence is not an option,” the letter states.
“Today, we speak together and demand justice, dignity and the right to self-determination for the Palestinian people and all who are fighting colonial dispossession and violence across the planet,” it continues.
Iraqi-Canadian rapper, Yassin Alsalman, who is better known by his stage name Narcy of The Narcicyst, helped organize the open letter, calling on others to join.
In a post to Twitter on Thursday, Alsalman said that an updated list with more musicians is set to be released next week.
Members of American rock band Rage Against the Machine, Julian Casablancas – the lead singer and primary songwriter of rock band The Strokes, members of Cypress Hill, Patti Smith and Serj Tankian are some of the musicians who have pledged their support to the boycott call.
The campaign has been organized under the banner “Musicians for Palestine” and has obtained 600 signatures so far.
The open letter urges fellow artists to refuse “to perform at Israel’s complicit cultural institutions, and by standing firm in your support of the Palestinian people and their human right to sovereignty and freedom.”
“We believe this is crucial to one day live in a world without segregation and apartheid,” it points out.
Cultural and academic boycotts are tenets of the international anti-Zionist movement of Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS).
The BDS movement, which is modeled after the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa, was initiated in 2005 by over 170 Palestinian organizations that were pushing for “various forms of boycott against Israel until it meets its obligations under international law.”
Thousands of volunteers worldwide have since then joined the BDS movement, which calls for people and groups across the world to cut economic, cultural, and academic ties to the Zionist regime, to help promote the Palestinian cause.
The regime occupied East al-Quds, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip – the territories the Palestinians want for their future state – in 1967. Currently, about 700,000 Zionists live in over 230 illegal settlements built in the West Bank and East al-Quds.