On 18 October, One Million Voices, an organization led by Israelis and international figures with the support of some Palestinians, is organizing a public event in Jericho and Tel Aviv, simultaneously. The event will include performances by renowned artists Bryan Adams and Ilham Madfa’i. As stated on the organization’s English webpage, the objective of the event is to “mark the first time that massive numbers of Israelis and Palestinians gather simultaneously to unite against violent extremism.”
According to the widely accepted boycott criteria advocated by the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI), the event falls under the category of normalization projects and violates the call for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS), endorsed by over 170 Palestinian civil society organizations, trade unions, political parties, and grassroots movements, for the following reasons:
1. Participants are required to join the One Voice Movement and sign a mandate — ostensibly based on a “two-state solution,” but without any commitment to international parameters — which assumes equal responsibility of “both sides” for the “conflict,” and suspiciously fails to call for Israel’s full compliance with its obligations under international law through ending its illegal military occupation, its denial of Palestinian refugee rights (particularly the right of return), and its system of racial discrimination against its own Palestinian citizens.
2. The event is sponsored by Israeli institutions (mostly from the private sector) and endorsed by mainstream Israeli political figures from parties including the Likud, Labour and Shas. These Israeli “partners” are unquestionably complicit in maintaining Israel ‘s occupation and other forms of oppression.
We believe this event is being organized to promote a “peace” agreement that is devoid of the minimal requirements of justice, and that will leave the Palestinian people as disenfranchised as previous agreements have. The unfortunate and harmful support of Palestinian businessmen, religious and political figures, among others, for this event indicates either ignorance of the hidden agenda inherent in the whole initiative, deceptively camouflaged as a collective call for peace, or willingness to forfeit the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people in return for advancing selfish interests.
We call on the Palestinian public and international supporters of a just peace in Palestine not to take part in this public relations charade that conceals a misleading political program that falls significantly short of international law tenets and the Palestinian national program.
We call on Arab and Palestinian artists, in particular, not to participate in this or any similar event whose real objectives have nothing to do with genuine peace.
We call on Palestinian board members of the One Million Voices to withdraw their support for this movement that only serves to blind the Palestinian public and sidetrack it from struggling, with the solidarity of its international supporters, for its UN-sanctioned rights, for justice, equality and freedom.
This call has been endorsed by tens of cultural and other civil society organizations in Palestine and the Arab World.