Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel 16 September 2008
The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) regrets Paul McCartney’s insistence on going ahead with his planned gig in Israel despite many appeals to him to cancel it due to Israel’s crimes against the Palestinians, particularly its current brutally devastating siege of 1.5 million in Gaza. Not only will such a concert violate the Palestinian cultural boycott against Israel, it will convey a message that McCartney either condones or apathetically ignores Israel’s reality as a colonial power and an apartheid state that oppresses the indigenous Palestinians and occupies Arab land. Just as in the struggle against apartheid in South Africa, Palestinians are asking international artists to exercise their moral responsibility by staying away from Israel until freedom, justice, equality and human rights are respected for all.
In a recent media interview McCartney confessed, “I was approached by different groups and political bodies who asked me not to come here. I refused. I do what I think, and I have many friends who support Israel.” Public opinion in the UK, however, does not support Israel’s occupation and violation of international law. Media reports revealed, furthermore, that many in Liverpool itself are apprehensive towards McCartney’s gig in Israel. Now McCartney will have far fewer friends across the world, those who still uphold human rights and abhor apartheid.
Adding insult to injury, McCartney told the media, “I’ve heard so many great things about Tel Aviv and Israel, but hearing is one thing and experiencing it for yourself is another.” Hadn’t he heard even greater things about Sun City in South Africa, too? Would that have been enough for him to ignore the South African anti-apartheid movement’s call for boycott?
Israel is recognized by the United Nations and the overwhelming majority of nations across the world as a repressive occupying power that maintains illegal colonies in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and persistently violates international law.
Despite our denunciation of Paul McCartney’s effective complicity in covering up Israel’s occupation and system of racial oppression, PACBI strongly and unequivocally condemns any violent threats made against him or, for that matter, against any other cultural or academic figure who decides to visit Israel in violation of the Palestinian boycott of Israel. As a civil resistance movement whose message is anchored in an unwavering commitment to universal human rights and ethical responsibility, we strive to persuade people, to appeal to their minds and hearts to boycott Israel — through campaigns of public awareness raising and non-violent pressure — due to its occupation, racist oppression and unique system of apartheid.