Open letter to Interpol, Jane’s Addiction and Blonde Redhead: Don’t play apartheid Israel!

As Israel continues to pound the daylights out of the Gaza Strip, several US bands remain committed to entertaining audiences in Tel Aviv.

On 30 August, New York-based post-punk/indie rocks band Interpol and Blonde Redhead, along with southern California’s punk-psychedelic rockers Jane’s Addiction, are scheduled to play the “Pic.Nic Festival” in Tel Aviv, thus ignoring the Palestinian-led call for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS).

The Israeli solidarity group Boycott! Supporting the Palestinian BDS Call From Within (BFW) recently issued an open letter to the bands urging them to refuse to collaborate with Israel’s apartheid, occupation and racism. The letter states, in part:

Israeli propaganda will gladly announce that you are coming to perform in “the only Democracy in the Middle East”, but your Palestinian fans in the Occupied Territories will not even be allowed to come to Tel Aviv and enjoy your performance. Furthermore, the Pic.Nic festival is produced by Shuki Weiss, who has a special relationship with the Israeli establishment. Mr. Weiss attended Knesset meetings which have led to draconian anti-democratic legislation to outlaw boycotts, and he sends Israeli politicians VIP tickets to concerts which he produces. This is not just corruption within the system, but corruption that serves to whitewash Israel’s war crimes against the Palestinian people, using international artists such as you.

You have an opportunity to stand with the oppressed. Please don’t play in apartheid Israel, until it complies with international law and ends the occupation over the occupied territories, recognizes full equality for its Palestinian citizens and respects and protects the Palestinian refugee’s right of return to their homes and properties.

In addition to the open letter, a campaign is underway on Facebook to educate the bands about the political reality behind playing a show in Tel Aviv. Activists are encouraging fans of Interpol in particular to write directly to the band’s management, and have drafted a sample letter, while campaigners with the US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (USACBI) have authored some sample tweets to help solidarity activists publicize the call. 




100% agree.

Keep up the good work


Musicians, singers and those who purport to explore and reflect the beauty of what humans are capable of , and are capable of recognizing in this world the beauty and ugly and other contrasts and contradictions, should not grace Israel with their works at this time in the history of our planet. (I have played and sung in bands since age 16, and one of our groups toured in the late 60's, between college and law school, playing w/ Ike and Tina, w/ Elvis in the next room, in Vegas). The gov't of Israel is not worthy of your efforts to see truth through your music. Every effort/action helps the truth to be seen, provided your heart is in the right place, guided by the truth.


Is there a way in which musicians would like to be better and more widely educated about this Cultural boycott? (before the plane tickets are purchased, etc.) How can the BDS orgs, including PACBI help? It seems that Israel is offering enticements and more education needs to happen so that musicians/bands refuse the offer.


Any word on whether any of the bands canceled? If not, we will keep up the pressure on others. The movement is growing, and the number of bands who have already supported the BDS call is an inspiration.


Israel has hundreds of thousands of dollars to fund its whitewashing programs, and getting bands to "normalize" apartheid is well-funded.
In contrast, human rights activists are limited in money and time, and in number.
If you like music, if you like and agree with BDS, you can write to any band, blog as much as you wish, and create any letter you want, asking any band to respect the call of the PACBI. See this link for bands who plan to play for Israel, (one link of many)

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).