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[Boycott - Cultural]

Gil Scott Heron - Don't play in Tel Aviv


inminds & Sarah Cobham (indymedia)
18 April 2010

Musician Gil Scott Heron, having previously been an outspoken critic of apartheid South Africa has apparently sold out his principles and is to support racism by performing for apartheid Israel in Tel Aviv on 25th May 2010.

Artists United Against Apartheid - Sun City


Sun City was a grotesque Vegas like gambling resort located in a bantustan at the core of apartheid South Africa - top artists were bribed by huge salaries to come and perform there and thereby help legitimise apartheid South Africa in the international community.



Musician Gil Scott-Heron


Leading performer Steven van Zandt, who parted with Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band at the height of their success, became interested in writing a song about Sun City to make parallels with the plight of native Americans. The rounding up of blacks in to bantustans - ethnically cleansing the land of blacks to make way for white colonisation - can be seen to be modeled on America's system of Indian reservations. Of course the parallels with what is happening in Palestine today are also all too obvious for all to see - imprisoning Palestinians in to small bantustans by an apartheid wall which is built to separate Palestinains from their land - the land is then stolen for zionist colonisation - illegal "settlements" are expanded, and new ones built to absorb the stolen land.

With the help of journalist Danny Schechter, the idea was to turning the song into a different kind of "We Are the World", or as Schechter explains, "a song about change not charity, freedom not famine." It would educate people about the evils of apartheid and at the same time raise money for the anti-apartheid movement.

"Let Me See Your I.D." - Gil Scott Heron
Sun City Album - Artists United Against Apartheid


With little persuasion around 50 artists including Bruce Springsteen, Miles Davis, Bob Dylan, Herbie Hancock, Ringo Starr, Lou Reed, Run DMC, Peter Gabriel, Darlene Love, Afrika Bambaataa, Kurtis Blow, Jackson Browne, U2, George Clinton, Rolling Stones members Keith Richards and Ron Wood, Bonnie Raitt, Hall & Oates, Jimmy Cliff, Big Youth, Grandmaster Melle Mel, Michael Monroe, Peter Garrett, Joey Ramone and Gil Scott-Heron agreed to participate and "Artists United Against Apartheid" was formed in 1985, they recorded the song "Sun City" and a number of other songs together making up the album Sun City. Scott-Heron helped compose and sing one of those songs - "Let Me See Your I.D.". The artists called for a cultural boycott of South Africa - they vowed never to perform at Sun City, to do so would be an acceptance of apartheid.

The project was hugely successful on several levels - it raised over a million U.S. dollars for anti-apartheid projects and brought awareness about the cultural boycott of apartheid South Africa making it more difficult for other artists to sell out to apartheid.

Gil Scott-Heron - Sold out to apartheid



Gil Scott-Heron's website lists his booking right up to September,
including locations in the UK, Ireland, US and France but none in Israel.
There is gap between May 2 and May 29 but no mention of his Tel Aviv
booking for 25th May. Something to be ashamed about..
or having second thoughts?
src:http://gilscottheron.net/live/ (accessed 17 April 2010)

Having been such an outspoken critic of racism and apartheid it's truly shocking to hear that 25 years on, Gil Scott-Heron has apparently sold out his principles and is to support racism by performing for apartheid Israel - in Tel Aviv on 25th May 2010!

Its interesting that whilst the Israeli press are all jubilantly advertising the concert, after all its a major coup for them, Gil Scott-Heron's own website whilst meticulously listing all his other upcoming performances around the world right up to and including September does not mention the performance in Tel Aviv in May. Clearly it's causing a problem, either he's having second thoughts or is ashamed of it. Either way his fans have picked up on it and are condemning his decision, with dozens of comments left on his website - not a single one supporting the Tel Aviv booking.

Action Points


Activists need to take action to convince Gil Scott-Heron to cancel his Tel Aviv booking.

Before the performance in Israel he has several booking in the UK:

20th April : Royal Festival Hall, London
21st April : HMV Picture House, Edinburgh
22nd April : The Warehouse, Aberdeen
24th April : Royal Festival Hall, London
25th April : The Manchester Opera House, Manchester

Watch the events lists for details of protests outside. The performances are all sold out, but several people who have tickets are planning to go in with banners and Palestinian Flags.

You can email Gil Scott-Heron via his publishers at joanna.dingley@canongate.co.uk

And send him messages via his website comments pages (several):

Latest Albumn: http://gilscottheron.net/video/14/me-and-the-devil#comment

Latest Press: http://gilscottheron.net/press/58/fader-feature-no-matter-how-far-you-go-you-can-always-turn-around-#comment

And on his MySpace page: http://www.myspace.com/gilscottheron

If Gil Scott-Heron still refuses to cancel his performance in Israel, this will become his legacy - someone who betrayed the oppressed to profit from racism, it will hang around his neck for eternity.

Sample of fan comments left on Gil Scott-Heron's website


No Matter how far you’ve gone, Gil, you can always turn round. Please cancel your concert in Tel Aviv. Show solidarity with the Palestinian people.
Comment left by Jenny Hardacre · Saturday April 17, 2010



Visit Israel and help to promote Israel as a modern, cosmopolitan and democratic state. With your active participation Gil, Israel will be able to deny Palestinians human rights for even longer.
Comment left by Janet Green · Saturday April 17, 2010



Please join Carlos Santana and others who have decided not to perform in Israel and show your support for the growing Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign for justice for Palestinians.
Comment left by Christina MacDonald · Saturday April 17, 2010



As you say “Don’t matter how far wrong you’ve gone, you can always turn around” you still have time to turn – cancel your gig in Israel.
Israel is in breach of human rights and international law and you cannot be neutral in a moving train Gill. Playing Israel is like playing in Sun City back during South Africa’s Apartheid (good research from the Human Sciences Research Council of South Africa: http://www.hsrc.ac.za/Media_Release-378.phtml).

Silence is not an option, if you play in Israel you send the message that what the Israeli government is doing to the Palestinian people is okay. You know that unless we put pressure on Israel they would keep doing what they have done for the last 60 years.

Palestinians are asking for a boycott of Israel until Israel complies with international law and we should listen to those oppressed, if we don’t, we have to ask ourselves what we have left of our humanity. http://bdsmovement.net/
Even the UN General Assembly president considers following boycott: http://www.un.org/ga/president/63/statements/agendaitem16241108.shtml

All that it takes for evil to prevail is for good people to do nothing.
Reconsidered – don’t play in Israel. Millions of people will admire you for that and will follow your steps – when Israel’s Apartheid, Occupation and Oppression of the Palestinian people ends you would have played a part by not playing there!
Comment left by Vanesa · Saturday April 17, 2010



Hard to believe that you are thinking of going, Gil. Your principles and your good name are worth so much more than the money. No matter how far you have gone you can always turn round. Would you have performed in apartheid Sun City or Johannesburg? Please cancel Tel Aviv
Comment left by Jonathan Rosenhead · Saturday April 17, 2010



Gil

I was so saddened to hear that you plan to play in Tel Aviv. You have always been the most courageous and outspoken of artists against injustice.

Now you decide to play for the pleasure of the occupiers and depress the victimised.

Why? I just don’t understand
Comment left by Mike Cushman · Saturday April 17, 2010



Gil,

How can you, hitherto an outspoken critic of racism and apartheid,give comfort and support to the racist, apartheid state of Israel by performing there?

Are you really unaware of the crimes against humanity that Israel committs on a daily basis? Where were you when Israel was committing genocidal outrages in Gaza at the beginning of last year? If you really don’t about any of this, check out www.ifamericansknew.org

Please, please in the name of justice and decency cancel your gig in Tel Aviv

Safiya O’Donnell
Comment left by Safiya O'Donnell · Saturday April 17, 2010



I want to enjoy your music… I was so delighted when you were booked to perform in London! But the ticket to the show is going to be thrown away or used so I will come inside with a banner. It is distressing and shocking that of all artists, you choose to perform in Tel Aviv, where a stone throw away from the venue 5 million Palestinians live a life like and worse than the blacks were in Apartheid South Africa or KKK US…If you dont boycott colonialism and apartheid than I never understood your legacy. The revolution will not be Telavivised
Comment left by Miriyam · Friday April 16, 2010



How can you turn your back on all that you stood for and play in Tel Aviv?
Comment left by Martin · Saturday April 17, 2010



Gil,

I’m coming to see you in Edinburgh next week but I’m so sad to learn that you’ve included a gig in Tel Aviv on your tour. The Israeli government is violating human rights daily both within its borders and the Palestinian territories. It’s continued expansion into East Jerusalem and the destruction of Palestinian homes in the process has outraged the international community.

By playing in Tel Aviv you become part of the racist falsehood that says that the Israeli government’s behaviour is ok and can be allowed to continue as if it is a normal process. It is in fact nothing less than ethnic cleansing. You are going against every notion of human equality and resistance to oppression that you have so brilliant conveyed through your music throughout the US Black Power and South African anti-Apartheid movements.

Please reconsider your plans to play in Tel Aviv, in the name of human decency and solidarity with those in suffering.
Comment left by Jesse · Saturday April 17, 2010



After all of your past work against apartide how can you even consider playing in the racist state of Israel?
Comment left by kev Moore · Saturday April 17, 2010



all that work against apartheid and now you’re playing tel aviv? do you not appreciate the irony? maybe sun city was fine after all then
Comment left by Dave · Saturday April 17, 2010



loved your music all my life man, thank you. please say no to Tel Aviv.

you dont need that kind of blood money from a racist state.

solidarity with those in suffering.
Comment left by chris brogan · Saturday April 17, 2010



Is it true? Gil Scot-Heron, the legendary anti-Apartheid artist, is selling his good name to the Masters in Tel Aviv? Don’t you understand why they are bringing you there? What a prize you are for them! They will USE your legend to deflect criticism of their racist atrocities. Please, please, consider the irreparable damage you are about cause.
Comment left by Tom Suarez · Saturday April 17, 2010



If you do not support the subjugation of one group of people by another, you should not be performing in Israel, which practices apartheid, house demolitions, and ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians, and other gross human rights violations simply because they are not Jewish. This should be unaccptable to the world community, and of course to you. Richard
Comment left by Richard · Saturday April 17, 2010



I was dismayed to read today that Gil Scott Heron will be playing concerts in the racist State of Israel!

Besides his incredible musical talents, Mr. Heron’s reputation is based on his sincere stand for justice and progressive ideals. This tour of Israel is destroying those very ideals!!! How can this be possible, who gave him such ill advice!

We will be watching the events of this Israel tour very closely, and sincerely hope that at the very least, Mr. Heron uses the venues to advance the cause of the desperate citizens of Palestine, as well as the Arab-Israeli citizens who are faced daily with brutal racist oppression of a right-wing Israeli government.

yours truly,
N. Makavejev
Comment left by Nigal Makavejev · Saturday April 17, 2010



I cannot believe you will be playing in Apartheid Israel. Israel is in breach of human rights and international law and you cannot be neutral in a moving train (it is like playing in Sun City back during South Africa’s Apartheid).

Silence is not an option, if you play in Israel you send the message that what the Israeli government is doing to the Palestinian people is okay. You know that unless we put pressure on Israel they would keep doing what they have done for the last 60 years.

The Palestinians are asking for a boycott of Israel until Israel complies with international law and we should listen to those oppressed, if we don’t, we have to ask ourselves what is left of our humanity. http://bdsmovement.net/
Even the UN General Assembly president asks for boycott: http://www.un.org/ga/president/63/statements/agendaitem16241108.shtml

All that it takes for evil to prevail is for good people to do nothing.
Reconsidered – don’t play in Israel. Millions of people will admire you for that and will follow your steps – once Israel’s Apartheid and Occupation ends you would have played a part by not playing there!
Comment left by Vanesa · Saturday April 17, 2010



I became a die hard fan of yours during the 70s truly mesmerised inspired and pushed by all your music.
I’m attending the London concert but will spent time outside leaf-fletting it too.
Others on this message board have already given most of the background re:Israel colonisation and human rigths abuse in Palestine; and I hope you/your advisers will look into it.
I just want to ask you: DON’T PLAY TEL AVIV/ for love or money! It flies on the face of your previous stances within the Black Movement and the South Africa apartheid struggle.
You will disapoint scores of fans like me. Worse, you will be playing into the hands of the Zionists who claim Israel to be a modern young “democarcy”, and use all their economic+media power to hidde the reality of the situation in Palestine, the reports of massacres and abuses, and the extent of the last year massacre of civilians in Gaza.
PLEASE, DON’T PLAY IN APARTHEID ISRAEL
Comment left by A'Charles · Saturday April 17, 2010



YOUR aeemingly betrayal of your ideas your lyrics your fight for social justice in TEL AVIV WILL BE TELEVISED!
Comment left by A'Charles · Saturday April 17, 2010



Perhaps GSHeron could have a look at this recent and trenchant video of Alice Walker talking about her feelings and experiences in Gaza.

Title: Poet and Author Alice Walker Speaking in Gaza (Democracy Now)
Link: http://www.gilad.co.uk/writings/poet-and-author-alice-walker-speaking-in-gaza-democracy-now.html
Comment left by A.Charles · Saturday April 17, 2010



Gil don’t do it. You will break the hearts of practically everyone who loves you. Play anywhere – but NOT THERE.


Source: www.inminds.co.uk (also http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2010/04/449275.html)


Gil Scott-Heron to make Israel debut


By David Brinn, Jerusalem Post
17 April 2010


Visionary jazz, blues and soul musician to visit Israel next month.

Called “the black Bob Dylan,” African-American poet, musician and author Gil Scott-Heron will be making his performing debut in Israel on May 25 at Tel Aviv’s Barby club.

Rising to prominence in the 1970s with a fusion of spoken word, jazz, blues and soul focusing social and political issues, the 62-year-old Scott-Heron’s proto-rap style was a forerunner of the hip hop revolution.

In addition to galvanizing a generation of young black Americans with albums like The Revolution Will Not Be Televised, Scott-Heron also reached a mainstream audience, performing the anti-nuclear “We Almost Lost Detroit” at the 1979 No Nukes concert in New York with Bruce Springsteen and Crosby, Stills and Nash.

Scott-Heron’s career has been sidetracked for many years due to drug addiction and prison sentences, but he’s pushing forward with a new album, I’m New Here, and hoping to recapture some of the energy that made him such a visionary artist.

Source: http://www.jpost.com/ArtsAndCulture/Music/Article.aspx?id=173372


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