A Letter to Elton John: Don’t Play Apartheid Israel

The following letter was sent recorded delivery to Elton John via the following contacts:

Elton John’s Management: Twenty-First Artists, Ltd., 1 Blythe Road, London, W14 OHG – Phone: 44-207-348-4800

Elton John’s Agent: Howard Rose, The Howard Rose Agency, Ltd. – 9460 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 310, Beverly Hills, CA 90212 – Phone: 310-858-3838

Elton John’s Publicist: Fran Curtis, Rogers & Cowan, Pacific Design Center, 8687 Melrose Avenue, 7th Floor, Los Angeles, CA 90069 – Phone: 310-854-8100

Dear Elton John,

We write to ask you to consider canceling your forthcoming concert in Israel due to take place on 17 June 2010 in the Ramat Gan Stadium in the District of Tel Aviv. We believe that to perform in Israel is to give credence to and acceptance of a system of Apartheid no different that that which existed in South Africa where you performed in 1983 at the height of that ugly regime. At that time the ugliness of the illegal occupation by Israel of Palestinian land and the devastating effect of its military machine on the lives of 4.5 million civilians were not so apparent then as they are today. The only consistency is its aggressive continuity.

There is no doubt in our minds that you, your partner, your management, your agent and your publicist have been exposed to the horrific military onslaught which Israel launched in the name of Operation Cast Lead as a Christmas offering to Gaza, to Obama and to the rest of the world in December 2008. That crime continued uninterrupted until 17 January 2009, killing more that 1400 people including 400 children and demolished schools, educational facilities, UN compounds, mosques, and – get this – the whole Gaza Zoo and its animal population. The images of dead Palestinian babies were broadcast all over the television screens and printed on the front pages of most of the world newspapers. Now, how easy is it for you and us to forget that?

If you do go ahead with this performance in Israel, you will be ignoring, dismissing and defying the call of the Global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Movement launched in July 2005, which urges a total boycott of the State of Israel until justice and the rule of law are reinstated in historic Palestine.

If you do go ahead with this performance, you will be condoning the crimes which have been committed by Israel in Palestine since its creation in 1948 when 750,000 indigenous Palestinians were expelled from their homes starting one of the most catastrophic human disasters in modern times. This ethnic cleansing continues, albeit sometimes in very subtle ways, until this very day. So by the time you finish your performance, dozens of Palestinian homes would have been demolished and their legal occupants kicked out on the street.

If you do go ahead with this performance, you will be promoting the hypocritical campaign which Israel is presently conducting to falsely promote a humane, democratic and tolerant society including a campaign in support of the Gay Movement in Israel in the name of ‘fairness’, ‘tolerance’ and ‘equality’. The reality is just the opposite. Just Google Gays in Israel and you will get our drift.

If you do go ahead with this performance, at least stand up for peace and justice across historic Palestine which would be a fairly normal thing to do; then see the reaction you will get.

If you do go ahead with this performance, please make sure that the 41,500 solid crowd will hear you sing for an end to the military occupation of Palestinian land.

If you do go ahead with this performance, please make sure that, when you sing in that stadium, you sing loud enough for the Gazans to hear you in their open air prison only 40 miles away. This open air prison is Israel’s version of a stadium for the Gazans, except that its audience will not be applauding you, supporting you or cheering you. They may not even be able to hear you because of the deafening sound of Israeli F16s, Israeli pilot-less drones and super duper tanks. Some of the Gazans may not even hear you no matter how loud you sing, because they have been made deaf and dumb as a result of Operation Cast Lead.

If you do go ahead with this performance, please make sure that those other Palestinians living in another open air prison, called the West Bank, can hear you across the 8 meters high Prison Wall which Israel has been building to isolate one human being from another. And you would think, good God, we ought to be tearing walls down. The Berliners did.

If you do go ahead with this performance, please make sure that you light one single candle for the ‘BDS wind’ which will, no doubt, bring change to the Apartheid system Israel has built in this most beautiful land.

Finally, if you do go ahead with this performance, just think: hey, let me take a trip across to Gaza, the West Bank, or East Jerusalem to see what the hell was this protest letter all about. See for yourself and remember that you had just performed for that Apartheid system.


Antoine Raffoul

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