An open letter from the Campaign to Boycott Supporters of Israel in Lebanon welcoming Massive Attack

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Al-Akhbar Management

Robert Del Naja of Massive Attack. (Photo: AFP-Stephane de Sakutin)

Published Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Dear Robert Del Naja and Grant Marshall,

On behalf of the Campaign to Boycott Supporters of Israel in Lebanon, we are delighted to welcome you to Lebanon for your forthcoming performance on July 29 at the Byblos International Festival, and to salute Massive Attack's commitment to justice for Palestine and the Palestinian people.

Our campaign is one of solidarity with the Palestinian people, struggling against racism, dispossession, apartheid and occupation under Zionism, but it is also a form of resistance by the Lebanese people themselves. Tens of thousands of Lebanese have been killed by Israel over 66 years of multiple invasions and bombing campaigns targeting residential areas, medical facilities, and fundamental infrastructure. Hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon have been denied their right to return to their homes and lands - for which they have been struggling for over 66 years.

On far too many occasions, we write to artists to call upon them to cancel their performances in Israel before they plan to perform in Lebanon. It is, therefore, a refreshing change to instead write to you welcoming your visit to Lebanon. Through your active engagement and public support of the boycott of Israel, you are taking a stand against the bombs, the invasions, and the war machine of apartheid Israel.

We are particularly delighted to hear Robert Del Naja stating that: “If the EU and the US pressured Israel for change and forced the end of the blockade, we might get somewhere. That pressure should also come culturally...So it doesn't sit right for me to go back to Tel Aviv while there is a giant wall and an economic stranglehold on a whole nation of people.”

It is particularly important for artists and cultural workers, and for bands whose music, like yours, is heard around the world, to be heard clearly upholding Palestinian rights and refusing to engage with occupation - and Massive Attack presents an excellent example to other international cultural performers in this regard. We fully support Del Naja’s comments that “musicians have a major role to play...I find the more I get involved, the more the movement becomes something tangible. I remember going to ‘Artists Against Apartheid’ gigs, and 'Rock Against Racism' gigs around the same sort of time.” The legacy of cultural campaigns for justice in the past continues today in the cultural boycott of Israel.

We would like to invite you to meet with us during your visit to Lebanon, and arrange for you to visit Qana, the site of the 1996 and 2006 massacres of civilians by Israeli airstrikes; the detention centers in South Lebanon, where Israeli forces imprisoned Lebanese; and the Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon. We would also like to discuss your involvement in cultural boycott and support for Palestine with Lebanese campaigners.

Again, we welcome you to Lebanon and salute your ongoing commitment to keep up the needed pressure through refusing to be part of the cultural machinery of war, apartheid, and occupation and supporting the Palestinian, Arab and international "picket line" boycotting Israel.

Best regards,

Campaign to Boycott Supporters of Israel in Lebanon

The Campaign to Boycott Supporters of Israel in Lebanon started in 2002 after the massacre in the Jenin refugee camp, and they are the first country-based BDS organization that documents, exposes, and protests Lebanese companies dealing with Israel.

Comments

I Love Massive Attack and I'm very happy to know that they act and engage politically. I'm so deeply sorry for the palestinian people living like prisoners in their own Country. When will this opression and Terror find an end? When will palestinians find peace? Israel went through Holocaust and is practising it again. When will be peace in palestine?

Losers
You have a pathetic economy
You make hummus and Kibbe and terrorists
Keep quiet and focus in killing each other
It's what you do best

We will keep winning and growing

It's not about winning and growing.
Your statement is painfully sad and telling of your deep insecurities.
I hope the ignorance you displayed here is just a moment of anger on the internet and you truly don't believe the words you wrote. If you do somehow believe your own bullshit I just hope you are a tiny person with very little influence over those closest to you.

Thank you for your understanding of the political/social/economic situation in Palestine.

It is always so refreshing to encounter performers who "get it". Cultural boycott is a very powerful statement.

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