Leonard Cohen, Amnesty International: Don't Break to Boycott Call

An effort to get Leonard Cohen to cancel his shows in Israel and Amnesty International to not support the creation of a fund, using profits from his shows, supporting normalization.

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August 5, 2009

The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) and groups around the world have been calling for months for musician Leonard Cohen to cancel his planned September concert in Israel. With the international community failing to take action to stop Israeli oppression of the Palestinian people, and inspired by the international boycott movement that helped bring an end to apartheid in South Africa, Palestinian civil society has launched calls for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel, including an academic and cultural boycott of Israel. Ninety-three artists, writers and other cultural workers have signed onto the Palestinian cultural boycott call. Many dignitaries signed the "No Reason to Celebrate" pledge and refused to participate in any artistic or literary event during Israel's year-long 60th anniversary celebrations.

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Press Release

PALESTINIAN CAMPAIGN FOR THE ACADEMIC AND CULTURAL BOYCOTT OF ISRAEL (PACBI) & NEW YORK CAMPAIGN FOR THE BOYCOTT OF ISRAEL (NYCBI)

New York, NY – Amnesty International has announced today that it will abstain from any involvement in the Leonard Cohen concert in Tel Aviv and will not be party to any fund that benefits from the concert's proceeds. A number of media accounts had reported that Amnesty International was to manage or otherwise partner in a fund created from the proceeds of Cohen’s concert in Israel that would be used to benefit Israeli and Palestinian groups. Amnesty International’s announcement today followed an international outcry over the human rights organization’s reported involvement in the Leonard Cohen concert fund, and an earlier international call for Cohen to boycott apartheid Israel.

Press Release

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New York, NY - New York activists gathered in front of Radio City Music Hall Sunday night during a Leonard Cohen concert to call upon the singer/songwriter to cancel his scheduled September concert in Israel. The protesters sang songs, chanted, handed out leaflets to concert attendees and produced sidewalk art. The call comes in support of earlier calls by Jews, Palestinians, Israeli citizens and residents of the UK, and coincides with the publication of an open letter by the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) calling for protests throughout the cities Cohen is touring.

“With the construction of the Apartheid Wall and Israeli settlements on Palestinian lands, and on the heels of the brutal Israeli attack on Gaza that killed over 1,400 Palestinians and injured 5,000 more, the Palestinian Catastrophe continues and we demand that artists start taking a courageous and principled stand by refusing to entertain occupiers and oppressors,” said Riham Barghouti, Palestinian-American activist with Adalah-NY. This week Palestinians around the world commemorate the 61st Anniversary of the Nakba of 1948, when Israeli forces expelled 800,000 Palestinians and destroyed 531 villages.

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Document

Open Letter to Amnesty International

July 30, 2009

In May, the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) called on singer/songwriter Leonard Cohen to heed the Palestinian call for a cultural boycott of Israel and avoid complicity with Israel’s violations of international law by cancelling his planned September concert in Israel, particularly in view of Israel’s war crimes in Gaza earlier this year. Sadly, according to a July 28 article in the Jerusalem Post, Amnesty International USA has agreed to cooperate with Cohen in dealing with Israel on the basis of business as usual. Amnesty International USA will serve as sponsor of a new fund that will whitewash the money raised at Cohen’s concert in Israel by using it to finance programs for “peace.” Being one of the world’s strongest proponents of human rights and international law, you shall thus be subverting a non-violent, effective effort by Palestinian and international civil society to end Israel's violations of international law and human rights principles. We call on you to be true to your values and immediately withdraw support for Leonard Cohen’s ill-conceived concert in Israel.

Document

(to the tune of "Democracy")

It's comin’ through the tears and angry shouts
From Palestinians on the ground without a house
It's comin’ from the just who realize they must
If peace shall ever come for anyone
From the victims losing homes
and white phosphorus still burning
From those children's broken bones
Hopes of refugees returning
The Boycott Call is comin'... to the USA

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Tell Leonard Cohen to CANCEL HIS PERFORMANCE IN ISRAEL, following the lead of cultural figures like Bono, Bjork, Roger Waters, Jean Luc Dugard, Adrienne Rich, and others.

Place: Meet at Southeast Corner of 50th and 6th Avenue
(Across from Radio City Music Hall)

Time: 7:00 to 8:30 PM, Sunday, May 17th
 

This week marks the 61st anniversary of the founding of the State of Israel.

For Palestinians, this is the Nakba, or catastrophe. The Nakba is not just a historical event, but an ongoing process. What began with the destruction of more than 530 Palestinian villages and the displacement of more than 800,000 Palestinians, continues today as ongoing occupation and oppression.

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Jerusalem Post

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"Amnesty International has decided to discontinue its support for Leonard Cohen's peace concert in Ramat Gan next month, following pressure from Palestinian solidarity groups for the artist to boycott Israel. . . ."

 

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