A group of British academics have called on singer Elton John to cancel his scheduled performance in Israel this June.
“Political or not political, when you stand up on that stage in Tel Aviv, you line yourself up with a racist state,” the British Committee for Universities of Palestine wrote in an open letter to John on Monday. “Do you want to give them the satisfaction? Please don’t go.”
In the letter, the group urged John to read the Goldstone Commission’s report on Israel’s conduct during the war in Gaza last year in order to understand why his performance carried an inherently political undertone.
“You may say you’re not a political person, but does an army dropping white phosphorus on a school building full of children demand a political response? Does walling a million and a half people up in a ghetto and then pounding that ghetto to rubble require a political response from us, or a human one?
“You’re behaving as if playing in Israel is morally neutral – but how can it be? How can the cruelties Israel practices against the Palestinians – fundamentally because the Palestinians are there, on Palestinian land, and Israel wants them to go – be morally neutral?”
“Okay, you turn up in Ramat Gan, and it gets to that ‘Candle in the Wind? moment, and thousands of lighters flicker – but there won’t be any Palestinians from the Occupied Territories swaying along with the Israelis – the army won’t let them leave their ghettoes.
“Please read what Judge Goldstone said about the onslaught on Gaza; what Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have been saying for decades about the crimes committed against the Palestinians. Of course the Israeli state denies it has a case to answer, though it’s knee-deep in ethnic cleansing and land-theft and the endless daily suffocating of Palestinian lives and hopes.”
Israel boycotters succeeded just weeks ago in convincing Santana to cancel his own performance. Similar attempts to get Leonard Cohen and Paul McCartney to stay away, however, failed.