Red Hot Chili Peppers urged to abandon Israel gig

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The Red Hot Chili Peppers perform after being inducted into the Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio on 14 April, 2012. (Photo: Reuters – Matt Sullivan)

Published Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Red Hot Chili Peppers have been urged to abandon a planned gig in Israel, after it emerged that they performed at a pro-Palestinian gig that raised over US$500,000.

The superstar band, who have won seven Grammy Awards and sold over 65 million albums worldwide, are due to perform in Tel Aviv on September 10, days after gigs in Beirut and Istanbul.

Activists are urging them to cancel the show in the Jewish state, pointing out that the group has previously claimed to support the Palestinian cause.

In November last year the band performed at a variety show for the Hoping Foundation in London, raising £392,000 (US$630,000).

The Foundation supports projects for the children of Palestinian refugees who were displaced when Israel was violently created in 1948.

In an open letter to the band, the Campaign to Boycott Supporters of Israel (CBSI) in Lebanon urged the band to cancel the concert.

"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," the letter says.

The "Californication" stars have never played in Israel before and Asad Ghsoub, a CBSI spokesperson, called on the band to continue its support of the Palestinians.

“The fact that the Red Hot Chili Peppers have recently done a fundraiser for Palestine in London means they are aware of what is happening and are attuned to the Palestinian question. We expect more from them,” he said.

Supporters of Palestinian human rights have long urged international musicians to boycott Israel, which they accuse of being an apartheid state for its harsh occupation of the West Bank and belligerent policies towards native Palestinians.

Among those who have declared that they will not play in the country until abuses of Palestinians end are U2, Roger Waters and Gorillaz.

Ghsoub said the concert would provide legitimacy to the oppression of Palestinians and said if they were to cancel it would make a "huge" difference.

"The Israelis are using this to say everything is fine and to whitewash whatever they are doing [to the Palestinians]."

"(If they canceled) it would be a huge event. If artists saw that the Red Hot Chili Peppers did not go it could encourage others not to go."

In January Belgian singer Lara Fabian cancelled a gig in Lebanon after it emerged that she had sung at a Zionist campaign celebrating the 60th anniversary of the creation of Israel, known by Palestinians as the Nakba – the catastrophe.

French-Moroccan comedian Gad Elmaleh also pulled out of a planned trip to Lebanon in 2008 after allegations that he had been supportive of the Israeli army.

The full text of the letter can be read below.

Open letter from Lebanon to the Red Hot Chili Peppers: “Come to Lebanon, but not to Israel: Until All Palestinians Have the Right of Return"

25 April 2012

Dear Red Hot Chili Peppers,

Last November you played at a benefit for Palestinian refugee children at Cafe de Paris in London. 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. Fighting for the implementation of this right is the central tenet of the Palestinian Boycott National Committee and the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI). As a result, we find it strange that less than a month after your benefit concert you announced your decision to play in Israel.

Come to Lebanon on September 6th, but honor the 2005 call from Palestinian Civil Society, and do not go to Israel on September 10th. Come to Lebanon and learn of the oppression we have also endured at the hands of the Israeli army and its collaborators; unlearn the myths Israel propagates. The soil that Arabs have cultivated for centuries, in Palestine, Lebanon, and Syria, has been militarily occupied for decades by Israel. The Palestinians have been denied their right to return to their land solely because they are not Jewish. The essence of Israeli colonialism in the region is about control over the land using military mechanisms that also prevent refugees from returning. Your participation in last year's event supporting Palestinian refugees suggests you sympathize with Palestinian refugees' struggle for the right of return.

Numerous bands and artists have already heeded Palestinian Civil Society’s 2005 Call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel as a reaction to its occupation, apartheid and denial of Palestinian refugees inalienable right to return to their homes, as stipulated in UN resolution 194. Music cannot be isolated from politics. A visit to Israel is viewed by Israel, and internationally, as implicit support for Israeli policies and indifference to the victims of Israeli crimes. Ilan Pappe, an anti-Zionist Israeli historian and strong supporter of the BDS, recently wrote: “The cultural image in Israel feeds the political decision in the west to support unconditionally the Israeli destruction of Palestine and the Palestinians.”

We ask you to follow in the steps of Cat Power, the Pixies, Gorillaz Sound System, Elvis Costello, Gil Scott-Heron, Carlos Santana, Bono/U2, Devendra Banhart, among others, who did not perform in Israel, and to support the call for boycott that was recently embraced by Roger Waters and Pete Seeger. In the letter Roger Waters wrote announcing his support of a cultural boycott of Israel, he said:

My conviction is born in the idea that all people deserve basic human rights. My position is not anti-Semitic. This is not an attack on the people of Israel.

This is, however, a plea to my colleagues in the music industry, and also to artists in other disciplines, to join this cultural boycott.

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. Most recently:

1. 2006: More than 1000 Lebanese civilians were killed by Israel in the 33-day most aggressive onslaught by Israel. The July 2006 war was regarded as a crime against humanity and a war crime by a tribunal of international judges.

2. 2006 to present: Millions of Israeli cluster bombs (from the July 2006 war) and land mines (from the 22-year occupation) still contaminate Lebanese agricultural land. These bombs continue to kill and injure people.

3. May 15, 2011: Israeli soldiers shot and killed 11 civilians and injured more than 100. These unarmed civilians were on the Lebanese border with Israel, and had been calling for their legal and legitimate right to return to their homes in Palestine.

4. 1948 to present: Israel continues to deprive 400,000 Palestinian refugees in Lebanon from their right of return to their homes and land and villages from which they were forced to leave at gun point in 1948. The refugees are not allowed to return only because they are not Jewish!

In response to Israel's Freedom Flotilla massacre, the prominent Scottish writer, Iain Banks, wrote in the Guardian that the best way for international artists, writers and academics to “convince Israel of its moral degradation and ethical isolation” is “simply by having nothing more to do with this outlaw state.”

We urge you not to allow your music and talent to be used to whitewash the crimes of this outlaw state.

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.

Campaign to Boycott Supporters of Israel in Lebanon



Wrong or right from the eyes of the Palestines or Israelites these artists have the right to choose to perform or not to perform in Israel. I think their decision must be respected.

Why is an Arabic news website referring to Israel as a "jewish"state!!!

To those who supports the boycott, can you tell me why you "allow" the red hot to go to lebanon, where people called "palestinians" are parked in refugees camps without no ID card or passeprt, neither civil rights. What as shame !! Even their own so-called arab brothers don't want them !! Perhaps because they really don't give a shit about them and they just want to use them against Israel, the one and only land where arabs and jews have exactly the same rights. I live here in Jerusalem and I see every day arabs and jews livin' together so please comem here and see by yourself before spreading all thoses lies abouit us. And by the way : WELCOME RED HOT LET'S PARTY !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Putting pressure on artists to boycott Israel is the act of bullies and cowards. Music is an artistic expression that is free and any artist that bows to censorship would not have the respect of the public. Music has always been about peace and not war - let artists be free. This campaign waged against artists needs to stop.

THANK YOU BARRY for telling the truth to a group of ignoramuses.

The definition of a refugee is a person evicted from their homeland, but not their successors

It appears that the UN has two classes of refugees. The classification of the normal one and that of a Palestinian Arab.

Let me explain in simple words to those who seem unable to grasp the fact.

If you are, for supposition French, and are expelled from you country of birth, you are a refugee.

Your children, for supposition are born in Germany, then they are German and not refugees.

The people now living in Gaza and the West Bank of Jordan, were never refugees anyhow.
They were never evicted from anywhere.
In 1948 the Israel leadership urged the Arab population to stay and build a new home together. They fled at the insistence of their own leaders.
Look it up, it's a well documented fact, even in the Arab media.
They were told to flee and they could return when the "Zionist entity had been annihilated"

Up until the 1920s to 1930s, there were very few Arabs in what is now Israel. When the Jews started successful farms, on what was a dry barren desert, the Arabs arrived looking for work. Mainly from Egypt, hence so many people with the surname Al-Masri.

FYI the largest house in Israel is owned by an Al-Masri

Read Mark Twain's "Innocents abroad" which you can get as a free download. That will give you an accurate picture of the area .

To the person who suggested there is apartheid in Israel. I suggest you do some research on what apartheid is.

The word basically means "separation"

If that's the case, there must be something very wrong with my camera.

I have photos from all over Israel with Jews and Arabs alike enjoying the same freedoms.
Girls in hijabs at universities, doing their shopping, crossing the road, on the beach

I sat and chatted with a couple of Arab women with their children in McDonalds

Really you people are so ignorant of the truth, it is astounding.

normally you are correct with your example of refugees.
but this does not apply to the palestinians for reasons that are beyond their control. the reason they are still called refugees is because they are! they do not have the right of normal citizens in any country. they are living in camps where they are not allowed to leave, work, or be educated. the countries which have these camps do not allow them to hold their identity!! they are generation upon generation of refugees! do you think that they wish to live like this? these countries make money off them pure and simple. it still does not make it right.
even the ones that hold a different nationality have restrictions put on them like they cant run for government positions etc...
they are a people with no rights who have and still are being ethnically cleansed in israel!
just last month israel ok'd the destruction of yet another village.
The arabs living in israel do not have equal rights with Israelis at all! look it up. and just because the few arabs you saw and chatted with at mcdonalds were ignorantly happy does not make ethnic cleansing or the inhumane treatment of the palestinians ok.
calling people ignorant of the truth when you yourself are blind to it is ridiculous. do you honestly think that is the truth?
think about how israel came to be and what they are continuing.
forgetting the palestinians and the way they are treated, israelis are the most racist people. have u not seen the way they treat the african immigrants? or anyone that is not jewish for that matter?
you need to educate yourself. we are all gentiles to them. sub human. this is their religion. please read.... jewish history, jewish religion by israel shahak.

you don't see reality as i see it! you should see how many arab citizens in israel are very happy and have real freedom unlike in other countries like syria or iran when ppl are being slaughtered every day! you should boyocot them instead of talking crap about the only democracy country in the middle east!

Man iran isnt even an arab country !

You morons that just commented, RHCP are not jew haters, they're civil rights lovers, but the F******G israelian took from the palestians there lands! Those jewish israelian were as good as ur saying they are, why the HECK would they forbid the palestian to live with them on these lands and act so cruel? These lands aren't even there's they killed hundreds of people and now forbid them to go back to their home because they stole their lands
So you all shut up and YOU GET REAL
If a certain population were to take over ur country and lands, and kill half of ur population, took u away from ur parents, made u lose ur loved ones, I'm pretty sure u wld fight for your HUMAN rights for thousands of years not only 64

Barry, you're just a cooked Barry, if you're a Jewish baz that's even worse.
Nobody asked for your opinion on RHCP so ... , you are the hypocrite here

what a bunch of hypocrites. support for refugees from 64 years ago? and they are still refugees? please. if anyone is stateless, it is because Arab states have refused to do what Israel did for the Arabs in its territory: give them citizenship.
thanks for letting me know that the RHCP are Jew haters. I never liked their music but it is useful to know.

Yeah, you're one to talk... The jews are claiming Israel as their land for something that happened over 2000 years ago, and are still mind-f-ing the world with the Holocaust which happened more than 64 years ago, so please... spare us. And since when a Jew ever did anything FOR an Arab. Get real now. Thanks but no thanks...

Barry, "what Israel did for the Arabs in its territory: give them citizenship"? Where do you think these refugees come from?

You seem to have a severe lack of understanding of the conflict (or you just use a Red Herring). Just because refugees fled from inside Israel, it does not mean that Israel did not give citizenship to the ones who stayed. Arabs on the other hand, continue to discriminate against Palestinians, with Arab support. Hypocrisy at its finest.

Performing in Israel is supporting apartheid! - Peace

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