LONDON – ”Political or not political, when you stand up on that stage in Tel Aviv, you line yourself up with a racist state," wrote a group of British academics in an open letter to Elton John on Monday. The group, the British Committee for Universities of Palestine (BRICUP), seek to convince the singer to cancel his upcoming performance in Israel this June.
"Dear Elton John: Like much of the world, we think you’re a good bloke. You came out when it was difficult; you admitted your addictions were stronger than you were; you’ve poured money into AIDS research. Oh, and then there’s the music – not bad at all.
"But we’re struggling to understand why you’re playing in Israel on June 17. You may say you’re not a political person, but does an army dropping white phosphorus on a school building full of children demand a political response? Does walling a million and a half people up in a ghetto and then pounding that ghetto to rubble require a political response from us, or a human one?" they quipped.
"You’re behaving as if playing in Israel is morally neutral – but how can it be? How can the cruelties Israel practices against the Palestinians – fundamentally because the Palestinians are there, on Palestinian land, and Israel wants them to go – be morally neutral?" claimed the authors of the letter.
The pro-Palestinian British academics continued on to say: "Okay, you turn up in Ramat Gan, and it gets to that ‘Candle in the Wind’ moment, and thousands of lighters flicker – but there won’t be any Palestinians from the Occupied Territories swaying along with the Israelis – the army won’t let them leave their ghettoes.
The organization, which includes Israeli and Jewish members among its ranks, called upon Elton John to read the Goldstone Report as well as reports from human rights groups regarding the decades of what they labeled "crimes committed against the Palestinians."
According to Bresheeth, a similar initiative resulted in the cancellation of guitarist Santana's Israel show about two weeks ago.
Prof. Bresheeth, who spearheaded the demand to place an academic boycott on Israel more than two years ago, added, "Unfortunately, we did not succeed in convincing Paul McCartney from canceling his concert, but we will continue to take similar action in order to prevent these respectable artists from arriving in an occupying country that breaks international law. The decision ultimate is in the hands of the artists themselves."