Tell the World Music Institute that presenting Idan Raichel is not in line with your values or theirs.
This letter was emailed to the World Music Institute on October 2, 2014. After WMI failed to respond it was made public here on October 9.
To the staff and board of the World Music Institute:
As organizations and individuals who support the struggle for justice, human rights, equality and democracy in the Middle East, we are contacting you because we do not feel that Idan Raichel’s presence on the Symphony Space stage (scheduled for November 18, 2014) for a concert presented by the World Music Institute is in keeping with our values or yours. Idan Raichel has publicly endorsed torture and explicitly describes his role as an artist in terms of uncritical support for the Israeli military and government. He wrote in the Jerusalem Post in June 2014 that “In creating this musical project we feel as if we are cultural ambassadors for Israel.” He added, “When I look back over the past few years, I see an Israel I am happy with.”
October 27, New York, NY – Over 30 New York human rights advocates protested outside the performance of Israeli musician Idan Raichel at the Beacon Theatre this evening, calling Raichel “a self-proclaimed propagandist for the Israeli government” and its brutal, apartheid policies towards the Palestinian people. The peaceful, spirited protest of chanting and singing was met by hostility and racism from many concert-goers.
A number of Raichel’s fans began shouting obscenities and making vulgar gestures at the protesters, in two cases mocking the religious garb (video) some Muslim women wear (the headscarf, or hijab). One aggressive male fan repeatedly told a female protest chant leader, “You should die!” Another went out of his way to walk up to two female protesters and toss a lit cigarette between them. In contrast, one passer-by read an explanatory flier and then joined the protesters, adding her voice to chants such as, “Voice of peace? That’s a lie! Idan plays while people die,” and “Musicians must take a stand, no excuse for stealing land.”