The pop-singer partner of Hollywood star Johnny Depp has cancelled a performance in Israel after she was targeted by pro-Palestinian campaigners calling on her to boycott.
Vanessa Paradis and Johnny Depp
French star Vanessa Paradis, who shot to fame as a 14-year-old with the hit “Joe Le Taxi,” was set to sing at the Tel Aviv Performing Arts Centre next month and meet President Shimon Peres while in the country.
However Ms Paradis has now said that she cannot play the February 10 show because of a commitment in Los Angeles on the same date relating to her film career.
Her decision also means that Mr Depp and their two children will not visit Israel.
The concert was part of a wider tour but is the only date to have been cancelled, leading to speculation that political pressure influenced her decision.
After the event was announced the Boycott Israel campaign wrote to Ms Paradis demanding that she cancelled, and suggesting Mr Peres was guilty of war-crimes.
The same group has launched a campaign to discourage American singer Macy Gray appearing in Israel on February 11 and 12.
original title: Vanessa Paradis and Johnny Depp not going to Israel
CAPJPO EuroPalestine demonstration outside the Simone Signoret Theatre
www.europalestine.com 16 January 2011
The video of our performance in front of the Simone Signoret theatre yesterday, just before the singer announced her decision. On this occasion we distributed the call by Israelis in favor of the boycott (Boycott from within). We warmly thank her for answering the call for justice and peace.
Slogans included: "Vanessa have you heard of Palestine?", "Vanessa don't encourage the walls and ghettos", "Vanessa what will you sing to children in Gaza?".
Source: http://www.europalestine.com/spip.php?article5793 Source: Also http://www.europalestine.com/spip.php?article5792
Vanessa Paradis and Johnny Depp, Please do not allow the state of Israel to use your reputation to whitewash its crimes!
Dear Vanessa Paradis and Johnny Depp,
We are Israeli citizens. It has come to our attention that Ms. Paradis is planning on performing in Israel in March 2011, and that you are both expected to meet Israeli President Shimon Peres. You may not be aware, but there is an ongoing Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel, due to its policies of apartheid and occupation. We, as Israeli citizens endorse this boycott, and we are urging you to take this opportunity to take a stand on an issue crucial to human rights and as such, to human lives as well.
You may be asking yourself what all this means and what it has to do with you. Indeed, you may feel you are being thrust into a situation which you had no interest in entering in the first place. However, we hope that we can help the both of you overcome your feelings of disconnect, outline the realities of the grim world you have entered, and give you the opportunity to choose to make a difference. Make no mistake; Because of your celebrity status, the choice you make will have an instant effect on the lives of millions of children, women and men.
Palestinians are living under a brutal military regime which practices policies of apartheid in what is known as Israel and the Occupied Territories. The army that controls everyday Palestinian life, at the barrel of a gun, is Israel's army. This means that Palestinians depend on the mercy of this army, controlled by the Israeli government, which for over 60 years, has been murdering, maiming, arresting civilians, all the while stealing their lands by extreme and brutal force. While illegal Israeli settlements in occupied Palestinian Territories flourish, under the guise of "natural growth" (http://www.jewcy.com/uncategorized/unnatural_growth), Palestinian land is being robbed, homes are being demolished, whole communities left homeless, in the occupied territories as well as inside Israel. (background: http://www.kibush.co.il/show_file.asp?num=42702).
The system of the Israeli occupation is far too complex for such a short letter to cover (we will gladly answer any question that arises, as a result of its complexity), but it is important for us to convey to you the second half of the story:
In 2005, Palestinian civil society (students, worker's unions, women's groups, children's rights advocacy groups and many others) united in one voice, asking that people, institutions, states and corporations stop cooperating with Israel. Thus the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement was born (http://bdsmovement.net/?q=node/52). We stress: If Palestinians had equal rights in Israel and in the occupied territories, under the law of Israel, they would have no reason to appeal to the international court and communities.
How is this relevant to you? Much like the appeal made to artists in the 80's, who considered performing in Sun City, South Africa (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OjWENNe29qc), we are appealing to you now. In the asymmetry of relations between the growing state of Israel and the shrinking lands of Palestinians, performing in Tel Aviv and socializing with senior Israeli politicians is a deeply partisan act. The appeal to you, Ms. Paradis and Mr. Depp- as individuals, as artists-creators of culture, as influential celebrities- is this: Please do not entertain apartheid! Please do not legitimize the senior figures responsible for this apartheid at the expense of its victims. Please remember that a Palestinian girl who is a fan of your music and lives in the occupied West Bank village of Bil'in will not be allowed by Israel to come and see you in Tel Aviv.
Furthermore, in light of the eagerness you have expressed to meet Israeli President, Shimon Peres, (so reports our local media: http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3976246,00.html) we feel we must address the issue specifically. Consider the following:
Shimon Peres is notorious for a long list of alleged war crimes, as well as being the architect of various Israeli policies founded in grave violation of international law and in blatant disrespect of universally recognized human rights. These include:
- Shimon Peres initiated or supported several wars of aggression in which civil infrastructure was targeted and numerous innocent civilians were either killed or maimed, including many children (notably "operation Grapes of Wrath" in 1996).
- Shimon Peres master-minded Israel's weapons of mass destruction (WMD) program, making it the 4th largest nuclear superpower in the world today.
- Shimon Peres Ordered the kidnapping and mistreatment of Mordechai Vanunu, an Israeli nuclear whistle-blower who was illegally drugged and kidnapped by Mossad in September 1986 and kept in absolute solitary confinement for 11.5 years. Even after completing his 18 year prison term, he is still being persecuted.
- Shimon Peres vehemently opposed the rule of International Law, as demonstrated in his refusal to let Spanish courts apply universal jurisdiction against Israeli war criminals, as well as his attack on the legitimacy and the findings of the UN report led by Judge Goldstone.
- Shimon Peres has dealt most of his life with the procurement and the manufacturing of weapons, including WMDs.
- Shimon Peres was a driving force in the illegal settlement development in the Occupied Palestinian West Bank.
This list is far from exhaustive, but we believe our point has been made in that respect. It is also important for us to make it clear that your meeting with Shimon Peres is already being used for propaganda purposes, as you can see from the article we brought forth. As one of the talkbackers on this article expresses: “I'm not a fan..but if they like Israel.. I will LOVE them and will be their biggest fans.”
There is no way your presence here can escape being interpreted as a political act. It will therefore not be about the sheer joy of your music and films. Instead, it will have the effect of contributing to Israel’s image of normality, to its government as well as to the rest of the world. We, therefore, ask you to reconsider.
Please do not allow the state of Israel to use your reputation to whitewash its crimes!
We encourage you to inquire further and follow your conscience,
Ofra Ben Artzi
On behalf of BOYCOTT! Supporting the Palestinian BDS Call from Within
Did pop star Paradis cancel Israel concert over politics?
City Mouse Online and Matan Abramovitch, Haaretz 16 January 2011
French singer Vanessa Paradis claims her visit to Israel with partner Johnny Depp was cancelled for professional reasons, but insiders say anti-Israel boycott campaign played a role.
French pop star Vanessa Paradis has cancelled her upcoming concert in Israel only a month before she was supposed to arrive in the country with her partner, Hollywood actor Johnny Depp, leaving fans and pundits speculating as to the reasons for the cancellation.
Paradis' agent David Stern announced the change of plans in the French media, claiming that the cancellation was due to professional reasons, but insiders who organized the concert claim that the singer acceded to calls to cancel the show made by Palestinian solidarity groups.
Depp Paradis AP LA 2005
Johnny Depp and Vanessa Paradis
According to the same sources, it was apparently the planned visit of Paradis' partner Johnny Depp that drew the attention of the groups that advocate boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel because of its treatment of the Palestinians.
Depp, who had intended to accompany Paradis along with their two young children, had excitedly informed various media outlets of the planned trip to Israel during interviews he gave to promote his new film "The Tourist." It is thought that these interviews alerted BDS organizers to Paradis' intentions to perform in Israel.
Although Paradis' agent David Stern maintains that the concert was cancelled strictly for professional reasons, there have been reports that in the last few weeks, BDS organizers have asked Paradis to cancel the show, sending her letters and waiting outside her performances, threatening to boycott her too.
After successful ticket sales for the Paradis show, concert promoters announced with regret that they will refund the money of ticket purchasers.
The concert was initially supposed to be held on February 10 in Tel Aviv. Other celebrities that had intended to accompany that singer were French actress Isabelle Adjani and German fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld.
One group that will be arriving in Israel despite the efforts of boycott campaigners who protested at their concerts throughout the United Kingdom is the British post-punk group The Fall, scheduled to perform at the Barby club in Tel Aviv on Thursday.
Israeli BDS Group Takes Credit for Vanessa Paradis Cancellation
Ramona M., IMEMC and Agencies 18 January 2011
Boycott From Within, Israeli based Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) group, is taking credit for the recent Tel Aviv appearance cancellation of the French pop star, Vanessa Paradis.
The group, made up of Israeli citizens who advocate the Palestinian international call for boycott, divestment and sanction (BDS) of Israel, believes that their efforts helped persuade Paradis to cancel her March performance in Tel Aviv. Officially, her concert was cancelled for ‘professional reasons’ but those close to the singer believe that she was driven by calls for boycott.
Boycott From Within sent Paradis a letter as well as individual letters urging her to cancel her visit.
Boycott From Within is now targeting British Telecom for its business dealings with the Israeli telecommunications company Bezeq. According to their open letter to British Telecom, “by partnering with Bezeq, BT is supporting the infrastructure which enables illegal Israeli settlements, built in violation of international law in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, to exist.”
At the same time, politicians in the Knesset are aware of the danger that BDS poses to the maintenance of the occupation. As a result, bills in the parliament are currently being designed to punish Israelis openly engaged in any BDS activity.
"Its important to choose a strategy that doesn't end up diverting attention from the issue.. the other side wants nothing more than to divert attention from what the record shows, what the human rights record shows, what the UN record and so forth - they don't want to talk about that because once they start talking about that they loose. They'd rather talk about anti-Semitism, the Nazi holocaust - anything accept Israel and Palestine. With that in mind you have to be careful that you don't embark on a tactic which is going to end up diverting people from Israel-Palestine.. You don't' want to choose grey areas, you always want to choose black and white areas where there is no room for discussion, where there is no room for debate. This is black and white: World Court decision [wall and settlements illegal] 14 to 1. Human rights issues - Amnesty says Israel tortures, Human Rights Watch says Israel tortures, B'Tselem says Israel tortures, everyone says it - its black and white. And the other side has to end up with some ridiculous proposition as Professor Dershowitz put it 'they're all lying'."