Israelis call on musician Leonard Cohen to cancel concert

29 April 2009

Dear Leonard Cohen,

We are Jews, Palestinians, Israeli citizens, who hold your poetry and music in high esteem, and it is because of this respect for your artistic contributions and your moral Buddhist commitment to “save all beings” that we hope that our appeal to you to cancel your planned performance in Israel will not fall on deaf ears.

Israel is facing one of its most immoral historical moments. Its ruthless, criminal bashing of the Palestinians has been met with little international criticism or curbing. The silence of most of the world’s governments continues to embolden successive Israeli governments to commit more violent acts. Israel has violated numerous international laws, but so far for Israeli Jews life in Israel goes on as if nothing happened. Indeed, your people, Cohen, have built “a new Dachau, And call it love, Security, Jewish culture,” as you have so perceptively put it yourself in “Questions for Shomrim,” but only a few voices have been raised against these injustices.

It is left for us, citizens of the world, to condemn Israeli atrocities and crimes against humanity. Dissociating ourselves from Israel’s brutal policies is the only nonviolent way now to avoid becoming complicit in the killing, the wounding and the maiming, and the robbing of Palestinians. Faced with all this and more, Palestinians are calling on all people to support their struggle for their basic rights. Unfortunately, recognizing Palestinian rights will require a fundamental shift in Israeli society. We suspect that this change will be achieved only via external pressure. The least that one can do in such a situation is not act as if it is business as usual. We see our society becoming more and more calloused and racist and given your longstanding, vocal commitment to justice, we cannot envision you cooperating with continued Israeli defiance of justice and morality; we cannot envision you playing a part in the Israeli charade of self-righteousness. We appeal to you to add your voice to those brave people the world over who boycott Israel. We urge you to cancel your planned performance in Israel.

Undersigned:

Noa Abend, Adv. Ahmad M. Amara, Iris Bar, Yoav Barak, Ronnie Barkan, Smadar Carmon, Adi Dagan, Dr. Aim Deuelle Luski, Yvonne Deutsch, Diana Dolev, Shai Efrati, Prof. Nomi Erteschik-Shir, Naama Farjoun, Eva Ferrero, Racheli Gai, Prof. Rachel Giora, Angela Godfrey-Goldstein, Amos Gvirtz, Tal Haran, Iris Hefets, Ruth Hiller, Tikva Honig-Parnass, Dr. Irit Katriel, Gal Katz, Adam Keller, Yael Lerer, Yossef Lubovsky, Olivia Magnan, Ya’acov Manor, Eilat Maoz
Dr. Ruchama Marton, Dr. Anat Matar, Haggai Matar, Rela Mazali, Dorothy Naor, Dr. David Nir, Dr. Nurit Peled, Leiser Peles, Jonathan Pollak, Yonatan Shapira, Dr. Kobi Snitz, Kerstin Sodergren, Amir Terkel, Adi Winter, Beate Zilversmidt

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