The US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel has been at the core of social media campaigns directed towards the Red Hot Chili Peppers, on Twitter (directing activists to tweet their boycott support to the @chilipeppers account) and on the RCHP’s facebook page. Israeli activists with Boycott From Within! have drafted a letter to the band, telling them not to cross the international picket line.
There is also an online letter by Israeli activist Tali Shapiro that is quickly gathering signatures of support, encouraging the RHCP to reject playing for an audience segregated by Israeli apartheid policies. “I and my friends, who are prohibited from from attending your show by military law and force, will be happy to rock out, once equality is practiced in this region,” the letter states.
Open letter by BDS activists in Lebanon
And the campaign continues to gather momentum. Today, BDS activists in Lebanon put out an open letter encouraging the band to cancel their Israel performance and “not to allow your music and talent to be used to whitewash the crimes of this outlaw state.”
If RHCP cancel their gig and respect the 2005 Palestinian-led call for boycott until Israel abides by international law, it would be huge — and the band would join the growing list of artists and musicians who have decided not to cross the boycott line, including U2, the Pixies, Cat Power and Elvis Costello.
Online daily Al-Akhbar English reported today that RCHP performed at a fundraiser last year for the London-based Hoping Foundation, which supports projects for Palestinian refugee children. The report stated that the band helped raise more than $500,000.
In their open letter, printed in full in the Al-Akhbar article, the Campaign to Boycott Supporters of Israel in Lebanon said:
Your decision to support Palestinian refugees must have come from an understanding that for 64 years Palestinians have been denied the right to return to their land and to be compensated for loss incurred by the Zionist colonization of their land. … As a result, we find it strange that less than a month after your benefit concert you announced your decision to play in Israel.
As we reported back in November, the Lebanese BDS campaign had been attacked and litigated against by a concert promoter who was unhappy when BDS activists had protested a concert by a musician who had performed in Israel prior to the Beirut gig. But despite intimidation, Lebanese BDS activists remain a powerful and influential group. Their letter continues:
Artists were right to refuse to play in South Africa’s Sun City resort until apartheid fell and whites and blacks enjoyed equal rights.
And we are right to refuse to play in Israel until the day comes — and it surely will come — when “The Wall” of occupation falls…
It is not only the Palestinians who have been victimized by Israel. We, in Lebanon, have suffered a great deal. Israeli aggressions against Lebanon began in 1948, with the occupation and annexation of 30 Lebanese villages, and have continued regularly since then.
… We urge you to stand with Palestinian refugees in Lebanon and globally by supporting our people’s struggle for equality in our land and on our terms.