“Killing me softly with your bombs”: Activists tell Lauryn Hill to skip Israel gig

Activists have created this version of the song “Killing me Softly,” famously covered by The Fugees in the 1990s, to convince the group’s former lead vocalist Lauryn Hill to cancel an upcoming concert in Israel.

“The presence of artists is routinely used by Israel to legitimize its policies and maintain its reputation as a normal member of the international community,” the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation says in an action alert urging people to press Hill to heed the Palestinian call for boycott.

Like Sun City

The campaign, which includes an online petition and people tweeting on the hashtag #KillingMeSoftly, follows a letter to the artist from PACBI, the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel.

PACBI tells Hill it is “deeply troubled to learn that you are scheduled to perform in Rishon Lezion’s Live Park amphitheater on 7 May 2015, while Israel continues unabatedly with its settler colonial and apartheid designs to further dispossess, oppress and ethnically cleanse native Palestinians from their homeland.”

“Performing in Israel today is the equivalent of performing in Sun City, South Africa during the apartheid era,” PACBI adds.

“Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu and former South African government minister Ronnie Kasrils have repeatedly declared that Israel has created a form of racial apartheid that is far worse than anything that existed in South Africa.”

“As a woman of color and a conscientious artist, we urge you not to lend your name to cover up Israel’s crimes,” PACBI adds.

In recent years, a growing number of musicians have canceled performances in Israel after requests from Palestinians, including Sinéad O’Connor, Elvis Costello, Gil Scott-Heron, Talib Kweli, Moddi and Carlos Santana.

Others, like Alicia Keys and The Rolling Stones, have defied the boycott call.

Yet even when an artist decides to cross the Palestinian picket line, it can generate negative publicity that may make others think twice.

“Chilling indifference”

Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters has been a leading voice calling on fellow artists to boycott Israel.

This week, Waters published an open letter in Salon urging singer Robbie Wiliams to cancel a concert in Tel Aviv.

“Dear Robbie, playing this concert on 2 May would be giving your tacit support to the deaths of over 500 Palestinian children last summer in Gaza, including the four soccer players on the beach in Gaza,” Waters writes.

“Now, in 2015, there is really no excuse for musicians agreeing to play in Tel Aviv. The jury of world opinion is in; global civil society supports equal rights for all,” Waters states. “We are approaching the same tipping point as when artists lent their support to the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa.”

Waters says Williams would be showing a “chilling indifference” if he proceeds with the show.

Williams is scheduled to play at Tel Aviv’s “Hayarkon Park” built over the ruins of the ethnically cleansed Palestinian village of Jarisha.

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Ali Abunimah

Ali Abunimah's picture

Co-founder of The Electronic Intifada and author of The Battle for Justice in Palestine, now out from Haymarket Books.

Also wrote One Country: A Bold-Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse. Opinions are mine alone.