Songsters Call On Leonard Cohen and Fans to Honor Nakba, Boycott Israel

WHAT: Free Palestine Guitar Band Sing-In at Leonard Cohen Concert
WHERE: Radio City Music Hall, 1260 Sixth Avenue, New York (btw 50th and 51st)
WHEN: Sunday, May 17, 7:00 – 8:30 PM
Media Contact: info [at]

New York, NY, May 17 – New York activists armed with acoustic guitars and drawings of guitars turning into barbed-wire fences will sing and pass out flyers outside singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen’s Radio City Music Hall concert Sunday night. The activists are asking Cohen to cancel his September concert in Israel, supporting earlier calls by Jews, Palestinians and Israeli citizens, and by residents of the UK.

The flyers ask concert-goers to hold up the drawings during the concert to visually call on Cohen to join the growing cultural and academic boycott of Israel by canceling his upcoming concert in Tel Aviv on September 24, 2009. Palestinian civil society has identified cultural events as a key mechanism that the Israeli government uses to whitewash its ongoing occupation and oppression of Palestinian people.

Applying the lessons of the struggle against Apartheid South Africa, in 2005 over 170 Palestinian civil society organizations launched a call for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel until it recognizes the Palestinian people’s inalienable right to self-determination and fully complies with international law by ending occupation, ensuring full equality for Palestinian citizens of Israel, and respecting and promoting Palestinian refugees’ right to return to their homes.

“The Israeli government has been quite explicit that it uses culture as a propaganda tool in its war against the Palestinian people,” said Riham Barghouti, a Palestinian-American activist from Adalah-NY, which is sponsoring the sing-in. “By refusing to normalize Israel while it continues to violate international law and inflict massive harm on civilian populations, Leonard Cohen can join many other brave musicians, actors and artists who have spoken out against Israeli apartheid.”

The sing-in will occur during the week of the 61st anniversary of the Nakba, when, with the founding of the State of Israel, Israeli forces expelled 800,000 Palestinians from their homes and destroyed over 500 villages.

“We are here to commemorate the Nakba but also to remember that the Nakba is ongoing. After killing 1400 people in Gaza, Israel continues to deny basic food or building supplies to the survivors. Palestinian land is confiscated every day in the West Bank and peaceful protesters are shot and killed,” said Ethan Heitner, a Jewish member of Adalah-NY. “As fans o f Leonard Cohen, we are asking our fellow fans to reach out to him to support a people under siege.”

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