Letter to the editor: Why Amanda Palmer should boycott Israel

Issue 

As a huge fan, I'm really disappointed to hear that, despite looking at the situation closely, Amanda Palmer has decided to cross the picket line of the Palestinian call for a cultural boycott of Israel and organise a gig in Tel Aviv.

I had the honour for the first time of rocking out with Palmer live for myself earlier this month.

The stories of friends who had attended concerts left me with high expectations for the show; even so I was blown away. It was truly one of the most amazing gigs of my life. Although there was no crowd surfing pashes for me or my friends, at one point during “Do it with a rockstar” she did thrust the microphone into my mouth. I nearly fainted!

But I'd never be able to appreciate her music in the same way if she goes ahead with this gig. Simply taking a tour with “Breaking the Silence”, which she has cited as the reason she tipped to booking a gig, doesn't neutralise performing a public show in an apartheid state.

I think Palmer should go to Tel Aviv, and play for the people who contributed to her kickstarter fundraising campaign as she promised. But I think she should take the tour with “Breaking the Silence” too.

She should visit the old city of Hebron, where a few hundred settlers terrorise the 10,000 Palestinian inhabitants in an attempt to ethnically cleanse the areas around the Ibrahim Mosque/Tomb of the Patriarchs.

Visit Nablus, go through checkpoints where Palestinians are routinely denied entry while settlers are allowed to drive right though. Visit Bethlehem's 300 checkpoint at 4am, when Palestinian workers from the territories have to line up to try and get into Israel to start their jobs at 8am.

If she is like me, then seeing these things for herself will break her heart and fill her with rage. If not, then I can respect that. Nonetheless, as someone who is totally on the right side of politics and who put on a 'Fuck Tony Abbott' T-shirt proffered by a fan during the signing after the gig, simply having that experience, documenting it, and sharing it with her fans will be a powerful thing.

But to play a public gig in Israel is to cross the picket line and say - this isn't cultural and religious apartheid, just another country with a few problems. And I would lose a lot of respect for Palmer and her amazing, challenging, uncompromising body of work if she does that.

[Read the full letter here.]

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