Press release: Open Letter to Noa from the Barcelona anti war and Palestinian solidarity movement
On Tuesday, 24 February, the Israeli singer, Achinoam Nini, known in Europe as Noa, performs at the Palau de la Música in Barcelona, as part of a tour of Spain.1
Despite her reputation as a promoter of peace in the Middle East, the singer has provoked a lot of criticism for her “Open letter to Gazans”, published on 8/01/09, in which she expresses support for the Israeli attack on Gaza.2
For this reason, the organisers of a fundraising concert in Tel Aviv for Gazans injured in the attack, asked her to take back the statements made in open letter, or to withdraw from the event. Noa finally cancelled her participation in the concert.3
So, given that she will be coming to Barcelona, the Catalan Palestine Solidarity Campaign —backed by the Plataforma Aturem la Guerra, the broad based anti war movement in Catalunya— has sent this Open letter to the singer, giving her another opportunity to express her opposition to the massacre that Israel has carried out in Gaza.
In the event that she does not answer, or maintains her support for the Israeli attack, we will call a peaceful action in front of the Palau de la Música on the night of the concert, in which we will distribute copies of the letter to the audience.
This action is part of the campaign of cultural boycott which the Palestinian cultural, intellectual and trade union organisations are calling for.4 It also forms part of a series of protests against the tour, by the different groups across the Spanish state which make up the Solidarity Network Against the Occupation of Palestine.5
For more information:
David Karvala +34 687 662 037 (in English, Spanish and Catalan)
Alex Hinno +34 671 869 616 (in Catalan, Spanish and English)
Fidaa Hammoud +34 663 753 464 (in Arabic, Hebrew, English and Spanish)
Catalan Palestine Solidarity Campaign
Plataforma Aturem la Guerra6
Barcelona, 17 February 2009
Open letter to Achinoam Nini (Noa), from the Palestine solidarity movement in Barcelona
We wish we didn’t have to write you this letter, but the terrible recent actions of your country force us to do so.
As you well know, the Israeli armed forces (IDF) have just killed more than 1,300 people in Gaza, more than 400 of them children. More than 50,000 have been left homeless, in the middle of winter. Gaza, which was already the biggest open air prison in the world, has ended up in even worse conditions.
We know that a small but brave sector of the Jewish population of Israel opposes the aggressive actions of their country. Many people counted you as part of this minority.
That is why we were shocked to read your “Open letter to Gazans”.
You wrote: “I can only wish for you that Israel will do the job we all know needs to be done, and finally RID YOU of this cancer, this virus, this monster called fanaticism, today, called Hamas.”
In the middle of the bombing, these words could only be interpreted as support for the IDF attack: support for the murder of 400 children, for the destruction of hospitals and UN schools; support for the cluster bombs and the white phosphorus.
How can you do that? You, that so many times have declared your support for peace?
We don’t ask you to agree with Hamas. Among us there are very diverse opinions about this organisation. But it is not up to us or to you to decide who should represent the Palestinians. The people of Palestine voted democratically for Hamas in January 2006. Hamas has repeatedly offered a truce, demanding only that Israel fulfils UN resolution 242 and withdraws from Gaza and the West Bank. But Israel doesn’t listen to them. Gaza was subjected to the siege, and then to the mass bombing.
Today, opinion polls show that Hamas has the support of the Palestinians of the West Bank. Does that mean that the IDF has to bomb Ramallah and Bethlehem, to rid them too of Hamas?
You say: “I am privileged to live in a democracy where women are not objects but presidents.”
The truth is that women are oppressed in every country in the world, including Israel. As you know, in Israel many issues of the family and marriage are decided by religious courts, which, for example, prohibit a Jew from marrying a Muslim. You should know that the Israeli Transport Ministry has authorised the segregation of women on Jerusalem buses, forcing them to sit at the back, as Afro-Americans were in southern USA in the 1950s. And what type of women’s liberation includes ordering the murder of hundreds of Palestinian women?
And democracy… Is it democracy for Israel to imprison 700 of its citizens for protesting against the bombing of Gaza? Was it democracy when, during the attack on Gaza, the Knesset tried to ban Arab parties? And what type of democracy gives a parliamentary majority to extreme right wing parties, including a fascist party?
As the Israeli film director, Udi Aloni, already commented, according to your argument, the Palestinians should send bomber planes, missiles and tanks to Tel Aviv to “rid you” of the government which you now have in store.
This leads us nowhere.
The situation in the Middle East is complex, but one thing is very simple.
When the Israeli government carries out a massacre against the Palestinian people, there are only two sides.
On one side, those who are in favour of this war crime, like the US government and —despite their ambiguous statements— the EU.
On the other, those of us who are against the massacre.
So it’s up to you to decide. The Israeli artists and intellectuals who support the wars and the bombs are on the other side, however much they talk about peace. In response to the call of many Palestinian cultural, intellectual and trade union organisations, we are promoting the cultural boycott of Israeli artists and bodies that support the oppression of the Palestinian people.
Your letter seems to place you with these false pro war “pacifists”.
If we have misunderstood you, please tell us. Say clearly that you do not support the Israeli attack on Gaza and that you defend the rights of the Palestinian people: the rights of refugees, the right to equality of Palestinian citizens of Israel, the right of the Palestinians of the West Bank and Gaza not to live under military occupation… and their right to take their own democratic decisions.
Inshallah we can agree on that. Then all the other differences, all the problems of how to move towards a peaceful, just and negotiated solution, we can resolve together through dialogue, while listening to music, sharing some tea…
For peace and justice.
Plataforma Aturem la Guerra
Campanya catalana de solidaritat amb Palestina
Barcelona, 17 February 2009