[Boycott - Cultural]
Beatles, don't let it be! Palestinian Dispossession and Israeli Apartheid are no Cause for Celebration
2 February 2008
Open Letter to the Beatles
Forty-three years ago, the government of Israel banned your performance in the country for fear you would corrupt the minds of Israeli youth. Now, Israel is extending an apology and an invitation to you, hoping you will forget the past and agree to help celebrate its 60th "birthday." The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) urges you to say no to Israel, particularly since the creation of this state 60 years ago dispossessed and uprooted hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from their homes and lands, condemning them to a life of exile and destitution.
There is no reason to celebrate! Israel at 60 is a state that is still denying Palestinian refugees their UN-sanctioned rights, simply because they are "non-Jews." It is still illegally occupying Palestinian and other Arab lands, in violation of numerous UN resolutions. It is still persistently and grossly breaching international law and infringing fundamental human rights with impunity afforded to it through munificent US and European economic, diplomatic and political support. It is still treating its own Palestinian citizens with institutionalized discrimination.
Now, more than ever, Israel is committing horrific war crimes, especially in the occupied Gaza Strip, where its illegal and immoral policy of collective punishment -- through a hermetic military siege and an almost complete blockage of fuel, electric power, and even food and medicine -- is pushing 1.5 million Palestinian civilians to the brink of starvation. Without electricity, incubators are shutting down; hospitals are fast coming to a standstill; water is not being properly purified nor separated from raw sewage; whatever is left from the local economy is undergoing a meltdown; and the most vulnerable sectors of the population, the children, the elderly, and the acutely ill, are languishing under unspeakable hardships. Do you see any reason to celebrate?
Israel's military occupation -- the longest in modern history -- is not an abstract notion to us. It manifests itself in wilful killings of civilians, particularly children; wanton demolition of homes and property; uprooting of more than a million fruitful trees; incessant theft of land and water resources; denial of freedom of movement to millions; and cutting up the occupied Palestinian territory into Bantustans, some entirely caged by walls, fences and hundreds of roadblocks.
In light of the above, performing in Israel at this time is morally equivalent to performing in South Africa at the height of the apartheid era. Indeed, Israel has created a worse system of apartheid than anything that ever existed in South Africa, according to Archbishop Desmond Tutu, UN Special Rapporteur on human rights Prof. John Dugard, and South African government minister Ronnie Kasrils, among others.
In 2005, inspired by the anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa, Palestinian civil society called for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel until it fully complies with international law and recognizes the fundamental human rights of the people of Palestine. A specific call for cultural boycott of Israel was issued a year later, garnering wide support. Among the many groups and institutions that have heeded the Palestinian boycott calls and started to consider or apply diverse forms of effective pressure on Israel are the British University and College Union (UCU); the two largest trade unions in the UK; the Church of England; the Presbyterian Church (USA); prominent British architects; the British National Union of Journalists (NUJ); the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU); the South African Council of Churches; the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) in Ontario; Aosdana, the Irish state-sponsored academy of artists; celebrated authors, artists and intellectuals led by John Berger; and Palme d'Or winner director Ken Loach.
We strongly urge you to uphold the values of freedom, equality and just peace for all by joining this growing boycott against Israeli apartheid. Nothing less would do justice to the legendary legacy of the Beatles.
Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI)
The Beatles' Israel invite
30 January 2008
The Beatles have been invited to perform in Israel to celebrate the country's 60th birthday.
Israeli ambassadors have invited the band's remaining members, Sir Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, to take part in the celebratory concert, but refuse to apologise for banning them from performing 40 years ago.
The band were scheduled to appear in 1965, but after claiming their music might corrupt the country's morals, the government refused to grant them permits.
Israeli ambassador Ron Prosor wrote in a letter to McCartney: "Israel missed a chance to learn from the most influential musicians of the decade, and the Beatles missed an opportunity to reach out to one of the most passionate audiences in the world. On our 60th anniversary, we would like to take the opportunity to offer you a second chance to play in Israel."
Prosor presented the letter to Jerry Goldman, head of 'The Beatles Story' exhibition in the group's hometown of Liverpool, and also sent a copy to McCartney and Richard Starkey, aka Ringo Starr.
Beatle John Lennon was assassinated in 1980, while George Harrison died in 2001 following his ongoing battle with cancer.
Source: http://www.itv.com/Entertainment/celebrity/Articles/ CrowbarcopsraidAmy-sgaff/The-Beatles_-Israel-invite.html
Israel lets it be Ė with apology for banning Beatles 43 years ago
Andy McSmith, The Independent
29 January 2008
t has been a long and winding road, but Israel has at last apologised to the surviving Beatles for banning them from the country in the 1960s as a supposed threat to the morals of the nation's youth.
Visiting the Beatles museum in Liverpool yesterday, the Israeli ambassador to Britain, Ron Prosor, handed a letter of apology to Julia Baird, sister of the late John Lennon, expressing regret over the snub of 1965. Mr Prosor, one of Israel's most senior and long-serving diplomats, was seven years old when the "misunderstanding" took place.
The two surviving Beatles, Sir Paul McCartney, 65, and Ringo Starr, 67, are now expected to join celebrations in May of the 60th anniversary of the founding of the state of Israel.
Israel will also write to them and to the family of the late George Harrison in an attempt to smooth over any lingering embarrassment caused by the decision, made in the tense period before the Six-Day War. The letter says: "Unfortunately, the State of Israel cancelled your performance in the country due to lack of budget and because several politicians in the Knesset had believed at the time that your performance might corrupt the minds of the Israeli youth. There is no doubt that it was a great missed opportunity to prevent people like you, who shaped the minds of the generation, to come to Israel and perform."
The news, announced yesterday in the Israeli newspaper Yediot Ahronot, has left students of the 1960s rock scene bemused as to what on earth could have caused the ban in the first place.
In 1965, the Beatles were still in the first flush of international celebrity, when it seemed that they could do no wrong. Even the Daily Mail described them as the sort of boys you would like to have living next door. In that year, they were awarded MBEs and were received by the Queen; they toured the US, appearing on The Ed Sullivan Show, and had a string of chart-topping hits. (The revelation that they smoked dope in the lavatories at Buckingham Palace came later.) An Israeli entrepreneur named Yacov Ori learnt that they had a Jewish manager, Brian Epstein, and thought it would be a good idea to stage a Beatles concert in Tel Aviv. A deal was struck through Epstein's mother, Queenie, who had relatives in Israel. But the Beatles management in the UK took a hard-headed business line, demanding a fee deemed adequate for the new golden boys of world music.
According to Yarden Uriel, the Israeli author of two books about the Beatles, Israel was slow to realise the full force of the group's popularity. "When Beatlemania swept the world, Israel was like a side observer that didn't take part in the actual game," he said, adding that, because the country was short of foreign currency, Mr Ori couldn't get the foreign money to pay the Beatles.
He made an official application to a government committee, which was turned down on the basis, said Uriel, that "too many artists were invited to Israel anyway, and since they felt the band didn't stand on a high cultural and artistic level and had a bad influence over youth, the decision was made: no money should be given to the Beatles".
The committee that blocked the Beatles tour was answerable to the Israeli Ministry for Education, then headed by General Yaakov Schneider. His son, Yossi Sarid, a former member of the Knesset, said: "There is some kind of fable that my father prevented the Beatles from entering Israel. I tried to look into it and didn't find any evidence to support this. I decided, however, that it's a nice legend, so who am I to destroy it?
"I assume they told my father that the band members have long hair and take drugs, and will surely corrupt Israeli youth."
Source: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/ israel-lets-it-be-ndash-with-apology-for-banning-beatles-43-years-ago-775174.html
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