Writer Alice Walker and Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters both recently reached out to Alicia Keys in effort to stop the Grammy winning artist from performing in Israel as a part of a large cultural boycott of the nation for its policies toward the Palestinians.
Walker, the author of The Color Purple, compared the movement to the struggle of Black Americans during Civil Rights era in the United States:
“You were not born when we, your elders who love you, boycotted institutions in the US South to end an American apartheid less lethal than Israel’s against the Palestinian people.
Google Montgomery Bus Boycott, if you don’t know about this civil rights history already. We changed our country fundamentally and the various boycotts of Israeli institutions and products will do the same there. It is our only nonviolent option and, as we learned from our own struggle in America, nonviolence is the only path to a peaceful future.”
“We are all part of the same old story, nothing has changed since the bad old days of apartheid South Africa and Segregated America. We must stand united with all our brothers and sisters against racism, colonialism, segregation and apartheid.
Please, Alicia, do not lend your name to give legitimacy to the Israeli government policies of illegal, apartheid, occupation of the homelands of the indigenous people of Palestine.
Others may try to persuade you that by playing in Israel you may magically effect some change; we know that this is not true, appeasement didn’t work with South Africa and it has not worked in Israel. I know I tried it ten years ago, things have only got worse.”
Despite the appeals, Alicia will proceed with her July 4 performance in Tel Aviv, telling The New York Times on Friday:
“I look forward to my first visit to Israel. Music is a universal language that is meant to unify audiences in peace and love, and that is the spirit of our show.”
Her decision has fans split, with many disappointed and others feeling that if people oppose her performance in Israel, they should also be against her performing in the United States. Thoughts?