Folk music legend PETE SEEGER has been asked to abandon an upcoming concert in Israel and show his support for a Palestinian-led cultural boycott of the nation.
The singer/songwriter is billed to perform at the With Earth and Each Other: A Virtual Rally for a Better Middle East – an event organised by the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies and the Jewish National Fund in November (10) and his involvement has upset activists calling on all musicians to scrap Israeli shows.
Officials at steering human rights group Adalah New York insist they are among 40 organisations urging Seeger to change his mind about the show, and join the likes of the Pixies, Elvis Costello and Carlos Santana in boycotting concerts in Israel.
A spokesman says, “The organisations have called on Seeger to support the Palestinian-led movement for a cultural boycott of Israel, modelled on the artists” boycott that helped end Apartheid in South Africa.
“The event is presented as a support effort for Arava, which claims to carry out environmental projects in the Negev desert in Israel. Arava has said and done nothing about the destruction of the Bedouin village Al-Araqib in the Negev by Israeli forces this summer to make way for a forest to be planted by the Jewish National Fund.
“The destruction of Al-Araqib is part of a larger Israeli government strategy of dislocating Palestinian Bedouin citizens of Israel, to facilitate the expansion of communities for Israeli Jews.
“And the Jewish National Fund promotes Jewish land ownership and settlement on land from which Palestinians have been displaced, according to our reports.
“We have called on Pete Seeger to join the growing list of artists who have respected the Palestinian boycott call.”
Seeger has also been asked to call off the gig by Israeli activist Jeff Halper, chairman of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions – an organisation to which Seeger has been a donor for over 10 years.
He writes, “I hope that you will decide to join these artists of conscience and once again make a bold stand for justice.”
And New-York based Artists Against Apartheid have also asked Seeger to reconsider performing in Israel in a letter to the folk star.