Rage Against the Machine, Serj Tankian, Roger Waters + More Sign Letter of Solidarity for Palestine in Israeli Conflict
Earlier this month, Rage Against the Machine expressed their support for the Palestinian people in the ongoing conflict with Israel. Now they've joined with a large group of musicians drafting a letter sharing their solidarity with the people of Palestine and asking for public support and government action in order to hopefully help the Palestinians "live in a world without segregation and apartheid."
The open letter in question is credited to #MusiciansForPalestine and was signed not only by Rage Against the Machine, but also Serj Tankian, Pink Floyd's Roger Waters, The Strokes' Julian Casablancas, Run the Jewels, Cypress Hill, Patti Smith, Godspeed! You Black Emperor, Ozomatli, Propagandhi and a wealth of other musicians. You can see the full list of those backing the open letter statement here.
The letter reads in full as follows:
In solidarity and empathy,
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.
Silence is not an option as the brutal Israeli bombardment of besieged Gaza claimed more than 245 lives in the last weeks. Silence is not an option as residents of Sheik Jarrah in occupied Jerusalem are continuously forced out of their homes. Silence is not an option as millions of Palestinian refugees are denied their collective right of return.
The Israeli government operates a Settler-Colonial project committed to the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian population. The legacies of systemic violence, racism and dispossession shaped by colonialism must stop. We call on all governments to stop funding all resources and technologies that back the Israeli state and their war games.
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.
We call for you to join us with your name in refusing 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.
The letter, while asking for justice, does come with an action as the 600 musicians documented in the signing are calling for a boycott from performing in Israel until the Palestinian people are "free."
Violence erupted in Gaza back on May 10 after tensions started to rise over the previous month with an Israeli move to block some Palestinian gatherings at the beginning of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. The already strained relationship between the two sides then became more fraught when an attempt to evict six Arab families from their homes in Sheikh Jarrah, East Jerusalem, led to more confrontations.
The offensive on the Gaza Strip has killed at least 253 Palestinians, including 66 children, and wounded more than 1,900 people, according to the health ministry in Gaza. In addition, at least 12 people, including three foreign workers and two children, were killed in Israel by rockets fired by Hamas and other armed groups from Gaza during the same period.
According to Al Jazeera, United Nations human rights chief Michelle Bachelet has said Israel’s recent attacks on the besieged Gaza Strip that killed more than 200 Palestinians may constitute “war crimes” if they are shown to be disproportionate. She made the comments during a Thursday (May 27) special session of the UN Human Rights Council.
“If found disproportionate, such attacks might constitute war crimes,” Bachelet told the 47-member Geneva forum. She also urged Hamas, which runs Gaza, to refrain from firing rockets indiscriminately on Israeli territory."
“Although reportedly targeting members of armed groups and their military infrastructure, the Israeli attacks resulted in extensive civilian deaths and injuries, as well as large-scale destruction and damage to civilian objects,” she added.
“Despite Israel’s claims that many of these buildings were hosting armed groups or being used for military purposes, we have not seen evidence in this regard,” said Bachelet."There is no doubt that Israel has the right to defend its citizens and residents. However, Palestinians have rights, too. The same rights.”