Dear singers, musicians, other artists and staff of the Cape Town Opera,
Many of you may have heard of our protest preceding your first premiere performance in Tel Aviv. We would like to introduce ourselves and explain our action.
We know that making a living as performing artists is not easy. We know that you have families to support. Our dispute is not with you but with the administrators of the Cape Town Opera, who have chosen to ignore a fundamental lesson learned from South Africa’s Apartheid era. We are strongly opposed to the Opera's performance here because we believe that our government, with the support of many Israelis, is committing the crime of Apartheid and violating the human rights of millions of Palestinian civilians. Over a million people in the occupied Gaza Strip are trapped in an open-air prison, held hostage indefinitely; in the occupied West Bank Palestinian lands are confiscated for the construction of Jewish-only settlements and roads; and within Israel Palestinian citizens are relegated to second-class status and threatened with deportation if they refuse to swear allegiance to the Jewish state. As you may remember, in 1985 an international group of artists recorded a song with a clear message – I ain’t gonna play Sun City! As Israeli citizens in solidarity with the Palestinian people, we believe that today Tel Aviv is a kind of "Sun City" – a showcase of globalized entertainment and normalcy that serves to disguise the atrocities committed a stone's throw away.
At its best, art can serve as a critique of oppression and as a reminder that humanity can triumph over bigotry and indifference. Certainly Porgy and Bess and your rendition of it embody this aspiration (as does our little act). But in Tel Aviv, where today most Palestinians are simply not allowed to step, much less enjoy an opera, we are convinced that its performance is wrong. In this we concur with Palestinian civil society's call for an international cultural boycott on Israel. Twenty years ago the boycott on South Africa was both necessary and effective. Today Israel is the culprit. We would love to welcome you to our city when Apartheid is defeated here. For now we ask that you consider our message, and perhaps take it home and share it with others.
Please feel free to contact us by email at http://boycottisrael.info/contact or by phone at 052-8331213.
Israeli Citizens Against Israeli Apartheid