For Immediate Release:
4 July 2013 – Washington, D.C.- Despite more than a month of global appeals to cancel, music artist Alicia Keys is performing in Israel today. After it became known that Keys, an international celebrity and a lead supporter of the NGO “Keep a Child Alive,” would be performing in Tel Aviv, thousands of individuals and public figures the world over have asked Keys to hold Israel accountable for its crimes. Highlights of the campaign include a petition signed by nearly 16,000 individuals, and a statement by dozens of prominent African-American figures, including authors, academics, artists and clergy comparing Israel’s treatment of Palestinians to the Jim Crow system of discrimination in the United States. Keys has also received letters from Pulitzer Prize-winning author Alice Walker and Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters, as well as dozens of video pleas from around the world.
Activists, public figures and civil society groups globally have followed the lead of the 171 Palestinian civil society organizations that issued a call in 2005 for a global campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel. Israel has been repeatedly condemned for its Apartheid policies against Palestinians, including by South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who has stated that the only way to hold Israel accountable for its systematic human rights violations is a concerted, non-violent campaign of BDS modeled on the South African experience.
Keys’ performance comes after persistent efforts to draw comparisons between the struggles of African Americans and South Africans with the present-day experiences of Palestinians. A columnist at NBC’s African-African news hub, The Grio, heavily criticized Keys’ decision to play in Israel, calling into question her right to portray the socially conscious musician Lena Horne in a film. The statement of African Americans, which included Angela Davis, actress LisaGay Hamilton, Robin Kelley, Reverend Jeremiah Wright, and Bill Fletcher Jr., took vocal support of Palestinians by African-Americans to a new level. ”It was important to us to highlight the similarities we witnessed, and read about, between Israel’s treatment of Palestinians and the experience of African-Americans in the United States under Jim Crow,” said Fletcher Jr., who co-founded the group African Americans for Justice in the Middle East and North Africa.
- Despite Alicia Keys performance in Israel, BDS movement continues to grow (mondoweiss.net)
- Pro-Palestinian organization, petition call on Alicia Keys to cancel Israel concert (thegrio.com)
- As Keys performs in Israel despite boycott, campaigners say new precedent set (ramyabdeljabbar.wordpress.com)
- YouTube removes video calling on Keys to cancel Israel concert (jta.org)
- Action Alert: Tell Alicia Keys to Boycott Apartheid and Cancel Her Concert! (windowintopalestine.blogspot.com)
- YouTube pulls clip calling on Keys to cancel Israel gig (timesofisrael.com)
- 10 Reasons for an Academic Boycott of Israel (pulsemedia.org)
- Muslims in UK boycott dates produced in illegal Israeli settlements (occupiedpalestine.wordpress.com)