Dear Kanye West,
We most urgently ask you to respect the growing international movement for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) by canceling your September 30 concert in Israel, a racist regime that Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu and other veteran freedom fighters have described as worse than apartheid South Africa.
BDS demands an end to the occupation of Palestinian land, full equality for Palestinian citizens of Israel, and right of return for refugees throughout historic Palestine.
Roger Waters, Lauryn Hill, Snoop Dogg, Stevie Wonder, Sting, Elvis Costello, Sinead O’Connor, Brian Eno, Carlos Santana, Gil Scott-Heron, Yasiin Bey, and many other artists have honored BDS by refusing to perform for apartheid Israel. Hundreds of other cultural workers have endorsed the U.S. Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel.
The need is more urgent than ever. In 2014, 2,200 people (including 551 children) were murdered in Israel’s 51-day assault on Gaza. This past July, Ali Dawabsheh, 18-months old, was burnt alive in an arson attack on his home in Douma in the occupied West Bank. Hours later, 14-year-old Laith Khalidi died when Israeli occupation forces shot at civilians protesting baby Ali’s death.
Such injustice is but the latest chapter in more than a century of Zionist colonialism, dispossession, ethnic cleaning, and genocide—including Israel’s very establishment through the uprooting and displacement of over 750,000 Palestinians during the 1947-1948 Nakba (Catastrophe). Indeed, eighty percent of the 1.8 million people sealed into Gaza are refugees.
For these reasons, more than 1,000 Black activists, artists, and scholars—including Angela Davis, Cornel West, Mumia Abu-Jamal, Talib Kweli, The Dream Defenders, Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, and the Organization for Black Struggle-St. Louis—have signed 2015 Black Solidarity Statement with Palestine, which embraces BDS and “urge[s] people of conscience to recognize the struggle for Palestinian liberation as a key matter of our time.”
You spoke truth to power in 2005 by declaring, “George Bush doesn’t care about black people.” Won’t you stand up for justice today by showing you care about the Palestinian people?