The following letter to Tiesto — a Dutch musician scheduled to perform in Eilat, Israel next month — was issued on 18 June by the Palestinian Students’ Campaign for the Academic Boycott of Israel (PSCABI):
Nietzsche once said that life without music would be a mistake. The greater mistake against humanity would be to deny one the ability to express themselves in music, in poetry, in dance, in literature, in pleasure and in love.
Dear Tiesto, as you must be aware, we, in Gaza, have been denied the ability to express ourselves. We are denied a voice, denied a smile, to live in safety and security, denied the right to express love, denied sleep, denied the right to express pain, denied the right to read, to write, denied to be human, and what is left? This is life under Israeli medieval siege. Even the people who feel with us are punished for their freedom of expression. They were attacked, shot at, terrorized and butchered as the world stood in horror to the acts of state terrorism that could only be compared to 1930s Germany and Italy, to the Stalinist era, and to the crimes of the rogue state of apartheid South Africa.
Dear Tiesto, you must have been, like us, shocked at the video of an Israeli occupation soldier executing a courageous, conscientious activist Furkan Dogan’s head with four bullets from a close range. Furkan was 19 and a student like us. When the Israeli occupation soldiers shoot, they shoot to kill. When they tell you stop and obey their commands, they expect you to obey most slavishly with no resistance. Their arrogance, and superiority are not to be challenged and you must be taught to lower your head. That will never happen.
The latest Israeli massacre against international peace activists on board of the Turkish aid boat to Gaza is just a miniature picture of what happens every day in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, not to mention the third class citizenry of Israel implementing racist laws and a continuous process of ethnic cleansing against the Palestinians of 1948.
Dear Tiesto, the farmer is killed on the spot as she waters her blossoming lemon tree, or what is left of her lemon orchids after Israeli bulldozers uproot them. The poor fisherman is shot as he lingers in one mile of water, a limitless sea transformed to a cage, because a soldier had a whim. And 78 students who finished their high schools and who won scholarships to pursue their education abroad are prevented every year from traveling, which violates the right of movement guaranteed under the human rights universal jurisdiction.
We write to you from Gaza, where we can no longer sing, and where no international singer and DJs are allowed to play and sing for us. We are choked now after four years of a stifling, deadly Israeli siege. The amputated bodies of more than 440 children failed to move leaders of the world towards this human made catastrophe. Dear Tiesto, a child of four in the poorest neighborhood of Jabalya’s refugee camp in Gaza does not know what chocolate tastes like because Israel says so!
Dear Tiesto, we write to you to appeal to you to be on the just side of history, to have your voice with the oppressed. Like many other internationally renowned musicians and singers who decided not to entertain apartheid Israel such as Elvis Costello, Gil Scott-Heron, the Klaxons and Gorillaz Sound System, the Pixies, Carlos Santana and David Banhart, we expect you to follow suit and refrain from doing so. We expect you to sing against apartheid, against ethnic cleansing, for freedom, justice and accountability.
We are traumatized, but hopeful; angry, but full of love; devastated, but strong. Echoing the boycott, divestment and sanctions call of our Black South African comrades against apartheid, we ask you to boycott Apartheid Israel. Dear Tiesto, please don’t play for Israel.
Palestinian Students’ Campaign for the Academic Boycott of Israel (PSCABI) Besieged Gaza, Palestine