To the Red Hot Chili Peppers: You can’t ‘play for a better day’ in Israel

Sent by Stephanie Westbrook
Guest Writer
Dandelion Salad
27 May 2012

Israel - Boycott, divest, sanction

Image by Takver via Flickr

An open letter from BDS Italy

Sign the international petition calling on the Red Hot Chili Peppers to cancel their concert in Israel!

Dear Flea, Anthony, Chad and Josh,

After learning of your planned concert in Tel Aviv, we felt compelled to add our voices to the international chorus of calls to cancel that gig. As a band with a conscience, we can’t see you performing in a privileged bubble, surrounded by millions of Palestinians forced to live under Israeli oppression, apartheid and occupation.

The lyrics of your music stand in stark contrast to the policies of Israel, imposing a brutal occupation to drive people off their native land [1], racist laws that rip families apart [2] and violent repression to quell nonviolent resistance [3].

As you must now be aware, having received similar letters from the US, France, Israel, India, Lebanon, South Africa, as well as international collectives “Don’t Play Apartheid Israel” and “Artists Against Apartheid,” [4] a global movement led by Palestinian civil society is calling on artists to refuse to perform in Israel as part of a campaign for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel [5], a non-violent response to end Israeli policies that bear striking similarities with those under Apartheid South Africa. They are the reason Tel Aviv is considered today’s Sun City.

Your concert in Milan this July falls just days before the 8 th anniversary of the historic ruling of the International Court of Justice declaring Israel’s Apartheid Wall and settlement enterprise in violation of international law. [6] Inaction has allowed Israel to continue its human rights violations, and it will continue to do so as long as it enjoys impunity and its self-proclaimed status of a normal, civilized, democratic State goes unchallenged.

Like it or not, your concert will be part of the efforts to promote that image. In fact, it already is. News of your concert is up on the Israeli Ministry of Tourism web site, presented as “yet another example of the world-class music available in Israel,” whitewashing the daily atrocities of Israel’s crimes. [7] By the way, if you consult the maps provided by that very same ministry, you’ll be hard-pressed to find the occupied Palestinian Territories. [8] Just last year, during a 10-day Israeli government sponsored kermesse in Milan, video clips of international stars performing in Tel Aviv featured prominently in the multimedia installation on the city’s main square, illustrating there is no separating music and politics where Israel is concerned.

Many of us are longtime fans of your music and we want you to continue “playing for a better day,” but that can’t happen if you choose to cross the picket line, ignoring what is going on around you and lending your music to drown out the sound of bulldozers demolishing houses [9], shots fired on farmers [10] and the Palestinian cries for freedom, justice and equality.

It can only begin to happen if you instead join figures such as Archbishop Desmond Tutu as well as the many artists, musicians, directors and writers who choose to stand with the oppressed and refuse to allow their talents to be used to mask human rights violations. [11]

Only then can “the power of equality” start to become “what it ought to be.” Please cancel your concert in Tel Aviv.


BDS Italia

BDS Italia is a movement supporting boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel, comprised of associations and groups throughout Italy who endorse the 2005 call from Palestinian civil society and promote BDS campaigns and initiatives locally and nationally.





[4] Don’t Play Apartheid Israel

BDS France


Boycott from Within – Israel

Artists Against Apartheid

Indian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel

US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel

South Africa Artists Against Apartheid









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3 thoughts on “To the Red Hot Chili Peppers: You can’t ‘play for a better day’ in Israel

  1. Pingback: “Join the Stream”: Sodastream´s phony commitment to the environment and real violations of international law « Dandelion Salad

  2. I’m sick of the people writing against Israel without actually knowing what’s going on here.
    All you do is hear about us. You know nothing about how we suffer from the same Palestinians saying they’re under oppression.
    Besides, music and politics have nothing to do with each other. Even if our politicians did something wrong, you shouldn’t make the citizens suffer as well. It’s damn stupid to prevent us to just listen to a band we love cause of a damn political situation.

  3. i agree. the problem is is that the Peppers have no political consciousness . They never have. i saw them in a little club before they made it . they did not care then and they don’t care now .

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