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Hundreds of musicians sign letter pledging to boycott Israel over Palestinian lands occupation

In this file picture, Israeli forces arrest a Palestinian man in the occupied West Bank. (Photo by Anadolu news agency)

Hundreds of international musicians have signed on to an open letter that calls upon other artists to boycott performances in Israel until the Tel Aviv regime puts an end to its occupation of Palestinian territories, which have been under Israeli military control since 1967.

Members of American rock band Rage Against the Machine, Julian Casablancas – the lead singer and primary songwriter of rock band The Strokes, members of Cypress Hill, Patti Smith and Serj Tankian are some of the musicians who have pledged their support to the boycott call.

The campaign has been organized under the banner “Musicians for Palestine” and has obtained 600 signatures so far. 

"As musicians, we cannot be silent. Today it is essential that we stand with Palestine. We are calling on our peers to publicly assert their solidarity with the Palestinian people. Complicity with Israeli war crimes is found in silence, and today silence is not an option,” the letter reads."

“Today, we speak together and demand justice, dignity and the right to self-determination for the Palestinian people and all who are fighting colonial dispossession and violence across the planet,” it continues.

The open letter urges fellow artists to refuse “to perform at Israel's complicit cultural institutions, and by standing firm in your support of the Palestinian people and their human right to sovereignty and freedom.” 

“We believe this is crucial to one day live in a world without segregation and apartheid,” it points out.

Cultural and academic boycotts are tenets of the international anti-Israel movement of Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS).

The BDS movement, which is modeled after the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa, was initiated in 2005 by over 170 Palestinian organizations that were pushing for “various forms of boycott against Israel until it meets its obligations under international law.”

Thousands of volunteers worldwide have since then joined the BDS movement, which calls for people and groups across the world to cut economic, cultural, and academic ties to Tel Aviv, to help promote the Palestinian cause.

Israel occupied East Jerusalem al-Quds, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip – the territories the Palestinians want for their future state – in 1967. Currently, about 700,000 Israelis live in over 230 illegal settlements built in the West Bank and East Jerusalem al-Quds.

Hundreds of employees from Amazon, Google and Apple have also called on the giant technology companies to support Palestinian rights and sever ties with Israel's military and intelligence agencies. 

Earlier this week, a group of more than a thousand Canadian artists put out an open statement and asked the Ottawa government to impose military and economic sanctions on Israel and “to end its complicity in the oppression of Palestinians". 

Rehab Nazzal, one of the organizers of the statement and a long-time pro-Palestine activist, said Palestine has received unprecedented support in Canada in recent weeks.

“I haven't seen such support before,” Nazzal said, adding that more were still joining the movement.

“Signatures are coming from across Canada: curators; media and visual artists; filmmakers; workers in art organizations and artist-run centers; independent artists; musicians; researchers and art scholars; and other cultural workers,” she noted.

Brussels regional parliament adopts a resolution against Israeli occupation  

Separately, the Parliament of the Brussels–Capital Region has adopted a resolution that calls for the denunciation of the Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands and recognizes an independent and sovereign State of Palestine, established on the pre-1967 borders, with East Jerusalem al-Quds as its capital.

The resolution also calls for removal of the crippling Israeli-imposed siege of the Gaza Strip, and provision of support to Palestinians in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.

It further urges the government to slap economic sanctions on the Israeli regime and to suspend all Belgian economic missions to the occupied territories.

Forty-four lawmakers voted in favor of the resolution and 25 against, while 15 representatives abstained.

Facebook under fire for advertising illegal Israeli settlements on Instagram

Furthermore, Facebook is being criticized for letting companies advertise the sale of property in illegal Israeli settlements on Instagram.

The London-based online news outlet Middle East Eye reported that images posted online showed an Israeli company advertising properties in the northern occupied West Bank settlement of Beit Aryeh-Ofarim on Instagram.

This comes as Facebook, Twitter, TikTok and Instagram have faced mounting pressure in recent weeks over their policing of pro-Palestinian content in the wake of the recent deadly Israeli onslaught on the Gaza Strip.

At least 253 Palestinians, including 66 children, were killed in the Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip in 11 days of conflict that began on May 10. Israel’s airstrikes also brought widespread devastation to the already impoverished territory.

The Gaza-based resistance movements responded by launching over 4,000 rockets into the occupied territories, some reaching as far as Tel Aviv and even Haifa and Nazareth to the north.

The Israeli regime was eventually forced to announce a ceasefire, brokered by Egypt, which came into force in the early hours of May 21.

The social networks have also been accused of restricting posts that included the words or hashtags “Palestine”, “resistance”, “Israel”, “Hamas”, and “al-Aqsa.”

Pro-Palestine activists and social media users have opted, in return, not to write the words “Israeli" or "Palestinian", or to use an alternative Arabic font in a bid to circumvent the algorithms and to avoid their posts from getting suppressed.

Much of the international community regards the Israeli settler units in the occupied lands as illegal.

More than 600,000 Israelis live in over 230 settlements built since the 1967 Israeli occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem al-Quds.

All Israeli settlements are illegal under international law. The UN Security Council has condemned Israel’s settlement activities in the occupied territories in several resolutions.

Palestinians want the West Bank as part of a future independent state with East Jerusalem al-Quds as its capital.

The last round of Israeli-Palestinian talks collapsed in 2014. Among the major sticking points in those negotiations was Israel’s continued illegal settlement expansion.

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