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PACBI-Appeal to Carlos Santana: do not entertain apartheid, cancel your show in Tel Aviv

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PACBI | 2016/05/02

Appeal to Carlos Santana: do not entertain apartheid, cancel your show in Tel Aviv

Please sign this petition calling on Carlos Santana to cancel his upcoming concert in Tel Aviv, click here.


"Just as we said during apartheid that it was inappropriate for international artists to perform in South Africa in a society founded on discriminatory laws and racial exclusivity, so it would be wrong for Cape Town Opera to perform in Israel.”

— Desmond Tutu, 26 October 2010 

Dear Carlos Santana,

Occupied Jerusalem, April 12, 2016 -- The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) calls on you to cancel your concert in Tel Aviv scheduled for July 30, 2016. We ask you to respect our picket line and join hundreds of artists from around the world who have refused to perform in Israel as long as it continues to deny human rights to Palestinians in defiance of international law. [1]

Palestinian society has called on international artists to support the cultural boycott of Israel, like they refused to entertain apartheid in South Africa in solidarity with the struggle of the oppressed for freedom, justice and equality. [2] With Israel’s growing isolation around the world, fewer artists are willing to associate themselves with its regime of occupation, colonialism and apartheid. [3]

As a public figure, you have used your influence to work towards promoting social causes and civil rights, including the rights of children. Your fans worldwide not only appreciate you as a distinguished virtuoso in the music world; they also deeply admire your commitment to social agendas, such as your role in 1998 in establishing the Milagro Foundation, an organization that “benefits underserved and vulnerable children around the world.” How can this commendable commitment to human rights be reconciled with performing in a state that is persistently violating those rights?

Israel uses performances by international artists as a stamp of approval for its crimes and to distract the world’s attention from the plight of Palestinians. [4] Irrespective of your intentions, your performance in Tel Aviv would be used by Israel’s propaganda machine to cover up its crimes against the Palestinian people in general and children in particular, including the denial of their basic rights to unimpeded access to education, proper healthcare, freedom of movement and, often, the right to life itself.

The Palestine section of Defense for Children International (DCI) has documented Israel’s long record of crimes against Palestinian children including the rampant ill-treatment and torture of child prisoners. [5]

During 2014 alone, including a brutal assault on Gaza, Israeli military forces killed hundreds of Palestinian children, according to UN figures, prompting Leila Zerrougui, UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, to recommend including Israel’s military in the list of armed forces that are responsible for killing and maiming children.

The levels of incitement by officials and illegal settlers against Palestinians have reached unprecedented levels in Israeli society. Almost daily, young Palestinians are killed in extrajudicial executions condemned by Amnesty International and other Human Rights groups.[6] Israel’s military courts currently hold 406 children in prison, and 670 administrative detainees, held without trial or due process and subjected to torture and ill-treatment. [7]

According to a recent poll, 48 percent of Israelis support the expulsion of Palestinians and 79 percent agree that Israelis deserve more rights than Palestinians. [8] These statistics are not inconsequential as Palestinians are the prime target of Israel’s rising fanaticism instigated from the top levels of government. [9]

On your Facebook page, you mention that your concert is “for anyone who wishes to attend”. [10] The overwhelming majority of Palestinians are refugees who are, to this day, denied their right to return to their homes. Just minutes from your concert venue, almost 2 million Palestinians are under an illegal and inhumane siege in the Gaza strip, denied even the right to rebuild their homes Israel destroyed during its latest massacre in 2014. [11]

Palestinians in the West Bank also live behind a wall, declared illegal in 2004 by the International Court of Justice, used to isolate their communities and appropriate their lands for Israel. [12] Hundreds of checkpoints and obstacles to movement deny Palestinians their freedom of movement even inside the West Bank. [13] Palestinian citizens of Israel are subjected to over 50 laws that directly discriminate against them on the basis of race. [14]

The donation of your concert’s proceeds to Doctors Without Borders does not make it less problematic. It is equivalent to performing in apartheid South Africa in the 1980s, against the will of the overwhelming majority of the oppressed there, and donating the proceeds to some charity. While we support donations to this commendable organization, it cannot be at the expense of contributing to the cover-up of Israel’s blatant violations of Palestinian rights.   

We ask for your principled solidarity by not undermining our non-violent resistance to Israel’s oppression. We urge you to stand on the right side of history as you had done during apartheid in South Africa.



13 April 2016

[1] See here, here and here for examples of cultural boycott pledges signed by hundreds of artists, some leading voices in their fields. 


[5]  See also 2016 HRW brief “Israeli police abusing detained children” 


Posted on 02-05-2016

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