VIDEO - R&B singing sensation Alicia Keys is sticking to her guns and will move ahead with her plans to perform a concert in Tel Aviv this July, despite having recently received a personal plea from Alice Walker, author of "The Color Purple."
Walker sent a letter to Keys, urging her to join the anti-Israel Boycott, Sanctions and Divestment (BDS) movement.
Video courtesy of jn1.tv
In her letter, Walker tried to convince Keys to cancel her upcoming concert in Tel Aviv, and even went as far as warning that if she didn't – she would be putting her "soul in danger."
Walker also compared Israel to racist American institutions in the south that were boycotted to end American apartheid, which she called "less lethal than Israel’s against the Palestinian people."
But refusing to take the bait, Keys told the New York Times: "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.”
Walker’s full letter
Dear Alicia Keys,
I have learned today that you are due to perform in Israel very soon. We have never met, though I believe we are mutually respectful of each other’s path and work. It would grieve me to know you are putting yourself in danger (soul danger) by performing in an apartheid country that is being boycotted by many global conscious artists.
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 non-violent option and, as we learned from our own struggle in America, nonviolence is the only path to a peaceful future.
If you go to my website and blog alicewalkersgarden.com, you can quickly find many articles I have written over the years that explain why a cultural boycott of Israel and Israeli institutions (not individuals) is the only option left to artists who cannot bear the unconscionable harm Israel inflicts every day on the people of Palestine, whose major 'crime' is that they exist in their own land, land that Israel wants to control as its own.
Under a campaign named 'Brand Israel,' Israeli officials have stated specifically their intent to downplay the Palestinian conflict by using culture and arts to showcase Israel as a modern, welcoming place.
This is actually a wonderful opportunity for you to learn about something sorrowful, and amazing: That our government (Obama in particular) supports a system that is cruel, unjust, and unbelievably evil. You can spend months, and years, as I have, pondering this situation. Layer upon layer of lies, misinformation, fear, cowardice and complicity. Greed. It is a vast eye-opener into the causes of much of the affliction in our suffering world.
I have kept you in my awareness as someone of conscience and caring, especially about the children of the world. Please, if you can manage it, go to visit the children in Gaza, and sing to them of our mutual love of all children, and of their right not to be harmed simply because they exist.
With love, younger sister, beloved daughter and friend,
Reprinted with permission from Shalom Life