An Open Letter to Mira Awad: Do not help Israel whitewash its atrocities in the Gaza Strip!

Posted: 03/11/2009 by editormary in Culture and Heritage, Ideas and Projects, Music, Poetry, Events, Newswire, Opinions and Letters, Palestine, Resistance, War, Zionism
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The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel has this to say about Mira Awad, the Palestinian-Israeli artist performing with Noa at the Eurovision Song Contest:

PACBI — Ramallah, Occupied Palestine, March 8, 2009

Palestinian artists and intellectuals in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip are disappointed by the news of your intention to represent Israel in the Eurovision Song Contest. The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) is writing to urge you not to participate on behalf of Israel in this contest.

To represent Israel in the Eurovision Song Contest will serve to polish the international image of an aggressive occupying state that has long been engaged in ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity. It will communicate to the rest of the world that Israel’s war crimes and violations of international law are acceptable to us as Palestinians! May we remind you of some of the actions of the state you will be representing: the ethnic cleansing of more than 750,000 Palestinians in 1948; the subjugation of 3.6 million Palestinians to a system of occupation and apartheid in the West Bank and Gaza Strip since 1967; the long history of extra-judicial killing of Palestinian leaders and activists; the imprisonment of tens of thousands of Palestinians since 1948; the building of the apartheid wall; the recent vicious attack on occupied Gaza and the murder of more than 1,440 people (of whom at least 400 were children).

Your performance in this contest will be telling Palestinians that their suffering – the product of colonialism and racism – doesn‘t matter. You will be giving a slap in the face to each and every Palestinian singer, musician, artist, filmmaker, writer, poet, as well as regular Palestinians, who have to struggle to overcome Israel’s deliberate efforts to silence their voice.

You may feel that it is important for you to represent Israel to demonstrate the full spectrum of Israeli society, which includes Palestinians living in Israel. This is utterly misguided. Until Palestinians living within Israel have full rights and do not suffer systemic discrimination and violation of their human and political rights, Israel has no right to portray itself as a healthy, multicultural society. And until it ends its occupation of Palestinian lands and complies with international law, it should be boycotted by all artists. You must realise that if you participate in such a high-profile event you will be seen not only as an individual singer, but as the representative of other Palestinian artists as well as Palestinians at large. Can you not see that by representing both occupier and occupied you will shatter the Palestinian message to the rest of the world?

It is also particularly appalling to us that you plan to perform alongside the singer Achinoam Nini, who has issued a letter blaming Israel’s brutal attack on the Gaza Strip on Hamas. She wrote: “I can only wish for you that Israel will do the job we all know needs to be done, and finally RID YOU of this cancer, this virus, this monster called fanaticism, today, called Hamas.” These words demonstrate that Nini expresses the colonial attitude of the occupier; she blames the victims for trying to defend themselves and she thinks she knows what is better for the victims than they do themselves – even if this means killing 1,440 and injuring more than 5,300 people.

The small Israeli minority who truly understands the colonial nature of Israel and its actions could not remain silent. Udi Aloni, Israeli film director replied to her: “You use your loving words in the service of your conquering people and call upon the Palestinians to surrender in a tender voice. You bestow upon Israel the role of liberator. Upon Israel – that for over 60 years has been occupying and humiliating them.”

Your singing partner has justified the indiscriminate killing of Palestinians, actions which led the UN agencies and human rights organizations to call for war crimes investigations. What is worse, now you will be a partner in this justification, in front of the entire world. Whether you like it or not, your performance will be used to help Israel whitewash its atrocities in the Gaza Strip.

As you may know, virtually all Palestinian filmmakers, artists and cultural figures have called on their colleagues worldwide to boycott Israeli cultural and arts institutions due to their complicity in perpetuating Israel‘s occupation and other forms of oppression against the Palestinian people. In response, in the past months, throughout the world, groups of artists, singers, film-makers, students and academics, have consolidated their efforts to show solidarity with the occupied Palestinians, to condemn Israel‘s war crimes and its apartheid regime, and to call for effective political action such as boycotts, divestment drives, and sanctions (BDS).
We call upon you, as a Palestinian, to at least emulate the actions of artists, including Bono, Snoop Dogg, Bjork and Jean-Luc Godard, who have taken action to ensure they are not perceived to support Israel’s actions until it fulfils its obligations under international law and fully recognizes Palestinian rights.

Palestinian artists have also written to you urging you not to participate in this event. They note: ‘Israel‘s image as a ‘democratic‘, ‘enlightened‘ and ‘peace loving‘ state is what allows the international community to support it. Your participation in the Eurovision is participation in the Israeli propaganda machine. Every brick in the wall of this phony image allows the Israeli army to throw 10 more tons of explosives and more phosphorus bombs. We are sure that you also see these images and cry…. Please Mira, for the children of Gaza and for the future of every child in this land – Arabs and Jews – don‘t be an accomplice to the killing machine.”

We add our voice to theirs and are hopeful that you will decide not to take part in this contest. We trust you are able to understand that your contribution will be used to endorse and justify the actions of the colonial Israeli government and army in the Gaza Strip. We hope that a decision based on principles will override professional advancement and career considerations.

Yours truly,

PACBI
http://www.pacbi.org/etemplate.php?id=966
info@boycottisrael.ps
www.pacbi.org

 

Posted on 08-03-2009

Thanks to Artists Against Apartheid http://www.artistsagainstapartheid.org/?p=53

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Comments
  1. Hulum says:

    Good expressive letter,, go on in this and such campaigns with the goal to reveal facts and shed light on such propaganda, aiming only to destroy our cause,,
    regards

  2. Andrew says:

    thanks for the pingback mary! still working on the site to get it rolling, feel free to send any suggestions…

  3. efan says:

    Oh mary ,its the eurovision no one gives a shit about it anymore.Your and your pals taking this a little too seriously

  4. […] and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) I find that I must weigh in on the issue. I found it here at Palestine Think Tank in their newsletter. A few weeks ago I endorsed the idea without having all […]

  5. Samer says:

    it would be a huge shame to engage in such contest,i guess u should’nt do it.i mean it’s not tht necessary.
    at least not on the account of our ppl blood.

    “She wrote: “I can only wish for you that Israel will do the job we all know needs to be done, and finally RID YOU of this cancer, this virus, this monster called fanaticism, today, called Hamas.” These words demonstrate that Nini expresses the colonial attitude of the occupier; she blames the victims for trying to defend themselves and she thinks she knows what is better for the victims than they do themselves – even if this means killing 1,440 and injuring more than 5,300 people.:” seems to me she has more blood-thirst thn Israel itself.
    plz Mira don’t contribute on tht contest 4 the sake of the children who r massacred everyday by Israeli,especially not with som1 who agree on the brutal actions against our Palestinian ppl.

  6. PEACE! says:

    Mira and Noa, don’t give in! I am one of many who love your singing and admire your guts to speak out for peace in times when the word ‘peace’ has been hijacked by warmongers. Today, people who talk about ‘peace’ in the middle east usually mean that Israel or the palestinians should be destroyed, boycotted, isolated – harmed in some way or other. Of course these people will get upset when you now bring back the original meaning of the word peace, snatching it out of their warmongering hands. Please don’t cave in to pressure! GO FOR IT!

    The most important for us all is to do what you are doing, to bridge the gap in personal relationships. If we can get to trust one another on a personal level, then we can change things step by step. Without personal relations nothing can be done, all agreements will only be parts of Machiavellian schemes.

  7. gadi says:

    Well, as usual, the desire of destroying Israel overwhelms any human, artistic feature.
    This obsessivity of the Palestinian s to boycott of any Jewish thing reminds me nazi Germany.
    Well, I hope that the (very very very) small Palestinian minority who is ready to accept Jewish neighbours will not be destroyed by your fellow thinkers but will grow into a majority, eventually.

  8. ByTheWay says:

    @gadi – I used to think that it was you mendacious greedy murderous genocidal jewnazis who have been destroying Palestine, its populace and other Arab countries for nearly a century, but now thanks to your comment I of course know better…

  9. ZuZZu says:

    Mira is evil a zionist!! I am moroccan but i would never sing with an israeli because you are my brothers in islam and I think it would be wrost If you were my brothers by blood

  10. Bella says:

    Shame on Mira, shame shame shame. One day she will realize how stupid she has been and then she will feel ashamed that she participated in this zionist charade. To Zuzzu, yes she is Christian but it doesn’t matter. Look at the arab dictators, they are Muslim (by their own definition) yet traitors. I doubt Mira is in contact with her Palestinian roots, she was raised as an “israeli arab” in a zionist surrounding which supress the Palestinian culture/roots and anything Palestinian, and to add to it, her mother is Bulgarian. However there is no excuse for her starvation for fame that makes her sink this low. Shame on her.

  11. M Mermell says:

    @ByTheWay
    Is the comment, “mendacious greedy murderous genocidal jewnazis…” meant to help the Palestinian cause? I noticed that the rules of this site state among other things: “Comments containing Zionist propaganda, name calling religions (including Judaism), obscenity, and personal attacks will not be approved.” So it seems that the owners of this website believe the Palestinian cause is furthered by allowing Anti-Jewish propaganda in contradiction of this site’s own rules.

    If this site is meant to encourage a free Palestinian nation, will it be a nation that encourages peace or confrontation? It seems to me that your agenda is meant to encourage more diatribe and hatred rather than efforts like those of Mira Awad, whose song encourages Palestinians and Israelis to work together toward peace.

    The approach of this website will not lead to peace. If you truly want peace, then the Palestinian people need to look toward peace. Missiles, suicide bombers and attacks targeted toward Israelis and Jews is not the answer. The answer is to talk and find a common cause that both Palestinians and Israelis can work toward. If the owners of this website would work toward finding a venue and common cause with the Israeli public, then dialogue can take place and a workable outcome for both people can be arrived at. It will not be easy, but only talk and negotiations will lead to peace and the national aspirations of the Palestinian people.

  12. andrew says:

    um..no. while all that “talking” is going on, the dispossession an oppression continues without rebuke. What’s needed is action from the Israeli government:
    ie: removing settlements from arab lands, providing equal rights for all its citizens, allowing refugees to return to their homes…

    I agree that comment should be removed, but it certainly doesn’t discredit the awesome work done on this site.

  13. ByTheWay says:

    @M Mermell
    “Is the comment, “mendacious greedy murderous genocidal jewnazis…” meant to help the Palestinian cause?” – Typical jewnazi blather!
    You claim my comment to be “Anti-Jewish propaganda”. Of course it contains absolutely no “Anti-Jewish propaganda”. It only states the obvious, the facts everyone (except the jewnazis) can see. Do you need a proof? There are millions and millions who can testifies to it.
    I speak in my own name, not in the name of “the owners of this website”.
    “If you truly want peace, then the Palestinian people need to look toward peace. Missiles, suicide bombers and attacks targeted toward Israelis and Jews is not the answer.” – Again the typical jewnazi mendacity! Who the hell buys these old jewnazi lies of yours?

    If you really want peace then

    1) give all the land that you’ve stolen (ie over 93% of historic Palestine) back to their owners, the Palestinians,
    2) pay reparations for all the barbaric inhuman atrocities that you’ve committed against the Palestinians and other Arabs,
    3) hand over all those jewnazis who committed crimes against humanity to an international court for prosecution,
    4) ask the victims of your barbarity for forgiveness.

    You criminal barbarians have no right to tell me or your victims what I and they should do…

  14. Mary Rizzo says:

    I often myself wonder if the persons using the word “jewnazi” do it automatically either to bring the discourse to criticism of our site, or if they are pointing out that the tactics of the Jewish Israelis (not the Israeli citizens who are Palestinians) are those that are equivalent to the Nazis.

    At any rate: what counts is not talk. Talk doesn’t get anywhere. I don’t believe the Israeli govt will do anything until they feel there is not going to be normalisation if they continue as they do. In this way, the solution as we see it is to continue to contrast normalisation until Israel hurts. Then they will be forced to acting in a humane way in respect of international law and human ethics. Until that date, we will resist and put pressure on them.

  15. Muki says:

    Mira’s reply (from her website):

    I am a strong believer in co-existence among fellow human beings and all other living organisms on this planet.

  16. M Mermell says:

    Originally Posted By Mary RizzoI often myself wonder if the persons using the word “jewnazi” do it automatically either to bring the discourse to criticism of our site, or if they are pointing out that the tactics of the Jewish Israelis (not the Israeli citizens who are Palestinians) are those that are equivalent to the Nazis.

    Mary, the first arab sponsored terrorist attack upon Jews occurred in 1920, long before the establishment of Israel. In 1929 arab mobs massacred over 100 Jews, 67 of them in the 1929 Hebron massacre alone, an ancient community where Jews lived among arabs peacefully for centuries. As for who truly Is “equivalent to the Nazis” look no further than to the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem:

  17. DFleish says:

    Of course calling the Israeli attack on Gaza a response to Hamas would be a complete lie. It is much more probable that after enduring years of rockets from Hamas, Israel randomly decided to re-colonialize the land from which they forcibly removed all their citizens as a sign of peace.

    Death to Israel! Mia ought to be ashamed to collaborating with the Zionist dogs!