BDS news: Europeans, Moroccans urge Jane Birkin to respect boycott call

Activists across Europe and North Africa with the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement are urging Jane Birkin — British-born French singer, actress and proponent of human rights in Burma, Chechnya, Haiti and Japan — to respect the Palestinian-led call for the cultural boycott against Israel and not perform in Tel Aviv in January. 

In addition to a public statement to Birkin on 13 December by the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI), BDS France/Belgium and BDS Maroc (Morocco) have posted a joint letter to Birkin, encouraging her “not to be indifferent to the Palestinian call for cultural boycott.”

This week, BDS Catalunya drafted a letter, entitled “No balance with apartheid,” and posted it to their Facebook page. The letter, translated into English, Spanish, Catalan and French, states in part:

Dear Jane Birkin,
 We have heard that you intend to give two concerts in Tel Aviv on January 13 and 14, 2012 in spite of the fact that in 2004 the Palestinians made a call to international artists asking them not to perform in Israel … We are aware that you intended to sing both in Israel and in the Occupied Palestinian Territories as you did in your 2003 tour but that your attempts to rent a hall in Ramallah have been unsuccessful because the local cultural organizations refuse to cooperate with your policy of equating the occupied and the occupier.

Seven years after the 2004 Palestinian call for a cultural boycott of Israel, it is no longer acceptable to maintain this position. Your only remaining option is to sing in Israel but giving these concerts in Tel Aviv would mean normalizing the occupation, colonialism and apartheid that is causing so much suffering to the Palestinian people.
… BDS Catalunya are writing to you because we know that just three days before your first concert in Tel Aviv you will be performing in our capital city, Barcelona. The concert will be held on January 10, 2012 at 9 pm in the emblematic Palau de la Música, one of the gems of Catalan modernist architecture. While we are pleased and proud that an artist of your calibre is coming to our city, it shocks us to think that only three days after singing in Palaude la Música a person like you, who is committed to defending human rights – as they know in Burma, Haiti and Chechnya – may be used by Israel to cover up the terrible crimes committed against the Palestinian population. We hope this letter will help to change your mind.
The BDS Catalunya group wishes you a pleasant stay in Barcelona but feels obliged to inform the people here in Catalonia about the negative implications that your two concerts in Israel may have for the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people. We will be at Palau dela Música on January 10 to inform your audience of these implications and to ask you once again to cancel your concerts in Israel.


Nora Barrows-Friedman

Nora Barrows-Friedman's picture

Nora Barrows-Friedman is a staff writer and associate editor at The Electronic Intifada, and is the author of In Our Power: US Students Organize for Justice in Palestine (Just World Books, 2014).