Red Hot Chili Pepper fans

Dear Red Hot Chili Peppers fans...

by Nigel Parry

Nigel Parry worked at Birzeit University between 1994 and 1998. His
from the time, A Personal Diary of the Israeli Palestinian Conflict,
at, documented the post-Oslo experience of
Palestinians in the Ramallah area. He is also one of the founders of,"a resource for countering myth, distortion, and
from the Israeli media war machine."

The following e-mail was sent out on 6 July 2001 to several
Red Hot Chili Peppers mailing lists, and posted on several
bulletin boards relating to the band. The best way to raise an
issue outside of the usual audience remains... raising the
issue outside the usual audience. A protest address is
included for those who wish to write their own letters to the

Dear Red Hot Chili Peppers fans,

I understand that this message probably isn't the kind you're used to on
the list, but I
ask you consider the contents of it thoughtfully.

All of you will remember that when South Africa was still operating under
Apartheid system, bands used to refuse to play there. Sun City, the most
venue there, was the subject of at least one protest song.

Bands wouldn't play there because to do so generated income for the White
African system, and implicitly suggested that they didn't really mind
that a racist
government had stamped their entry visa. The taxes that were paid on the
venue by
the promoters went towards prolonging Apartheid, and the venue -- of
course -- was
"for whites only".

Sadly, the Red Hot Chili Peppers are turning the clock of musical
conscience back
by playing in Israel. This venue will similarly be "for Israelis only".
All 3 million
Palestinians are prevented by Israel from travelling to Tel Aviv and are
under siege in their towns.

Recent news reports said that the Chili Peppers had decided not to go
because they
were worried about the "security situation." When he heard about this,
Bill Clinton
rang them and urged them to go, and they changed their mind. They are
playing on
August 28 in Tel Aviv:

Here's the news piece:

"Clinton has the Red Hot Chili Peppers for Israel"
The Jerusalem Post, 3 June 2001

One of the biggest rock bands in the world today was about to cancel
its planned concert in Tel Aviv, until a former American president
intervened. That, at least, is according to the Hebrew daily Yediot

The paper suggests that Red Hot Chili Peppers was considering the
move because of the security situation.

Former president Bill Clinton reportedly heard of the plan and
personally called the band's lead singer Anthony Kiedis to suggest
concert go ahead.

Clinton said the performance would be a vote of confidence in the
diplomatic process and regional peace.

As a result, the band will play on.

The concert is scheduled for Tel Aviv on August 28.

I have nothing against the band but am writing to you on principle
because they are
setting an unacceptable example for the millions of people who love their
There is nothing at all wrong with asking them as fans to reconsider this
tour date on
the basis of supporting human rights for all.

Why exactly is their playing in Israel a bad idea?

The news here gives the impression that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict
is some sort of
war between equal forces, that all Palestinians are terrorists, and that
poor Israel has
done all it could to make peace with the Palestinians.

This is as far from the truth as it could be.

Palestinians have been living under a military occupation for 34 years.
If you were
Palestinian, and under 34 years of age, all you would know is the
presence of a
foreign army in and around your towns.

I had the opportunity to experience what that was like between 1994-1998,
when I
lived in the West Bank town of Ramallah and worked at Birzeit University,
Harvard or Oxford.

Life there on the ground was bad news for Joe or Jane Palestinian, who
you should
be aware are not any different from Joe or Jane American or Joe or Jane
The shocking but banal truth is that the vast majority of Palestinians
are normal
people just like you and me, living in an abnormal situation.

Just as Americans aren't responsible as a whole for the actions of people
like Timothy
McVeigh, neither are the Palestinians as a whole responsible for the
actions of the
few of them who carry out terrorist acts.

After the Oslo process began in 1993, the reality is that things got very
bad on the
ground for normal people. Very bad. Most human rights violations
continued or
worsened. And today, it's even much worse.

Since 29 September 2000, when the Second Intifada began, Israel has
killed over
500 Palestinians, crippled 1,500 more, and seriously injured another
15,000. Many
of these are children. About half of these deaths and injuries took place
out outside of
clash situations. That means it happened to people in their homes, on the
way to
school, in restaurants.

When I was living there, I regularly attended clashes as an observer and
The normal attendee at these were young Palestinians, protesting the
occupation with
stones thrown at the foreign army on their own land. The foreign army
with live ammunition and the so-called "rubber" bullets (in reality steel
balls with a
millimeter of rubber or hard plastic coating) that regularly kill and

In every single case I witnessed, at the 30 or so clashes I attended,
those Palestinians
that were killed were shot out of stone throwing range, ie. at a distance
where they
posed no threat to the Israeli soldiers. In September 1996, soldiers
danced as they
shot people dead, giving each other high fives.

It really was that bad and things are not as they seem on the TV. There's
a lot of
reasons for that, and some of the following links will give you an idea

Here's another short intro to what really goes on at clashes, a photo
story from just
one day in March 1997:

For more about this, see my online photo diary from the time, A Personal
Diary of
the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, found at

If you want the short version of what's going on now, here's a Flash

Today, since the May 22 "unilateral cease-fire" was announced (for which
the Israelis
have been unjustifiably commended by countries around the world for
"keeping") it's
mind-blowing what's going on on the ground:
is a day-by-day account of Israeli actions against Palestinians since the

As you read it, imagine living there, and being able to do nothing except
Israeli activist Jeff Halper, sent out a report yesterday that was
similarly shocking, a
report about ethnic cleansing going on away from the camera lenses:

Finally, here is a recent report from Human Rights Watch (a US
organisation) for
those that want a broader overview:

Back to the Peppers. The letter that follows below is written to the
Peppers from
another fan concerned about the Palestinian people, from his heart.


If any of this makes you think that it's a bad idea for the Peppers to
play Israel as
long as Israel continues its repressive military occupation against the
people, then write and let them know you're a fan and that this bothers
you. We used
to support bands like U2 and Peter Gabriel for taking stands against
South Africa.
This should be no different.

Keep it simple, be polite, ask them to take a stand for human rights
worldwide, and
ask them not to support the Israeli state by playing there.

Correspondence can be sent to Starla Angel, the news director of the
Peppers website. Her address is starla@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx.

Please ask the Chili Peppers to do the right thing. Any concert in a
country that is
brutally repressing a civilian population is not just another tour date.
It's a statement
that what's going on doesn't really matter that much. And the fates of
people like you
and me -- even if they speak a different language and live in another
part of the world
-- should matter very much.

Nigel Parry

From: Raja Swamy
Date: Thu Jul 5, 2001 8:14 pm
Subject: Please do not Play in Israel!!!

Dear Red Hot Chili Peppers band,

You are scheduled to play in Israel on August 28, 2001. It was
revealed that you reconsidered your earlier decision to desist after
former U.S. President, Bill Clinton intervened on behalf of Israel.

Consider this:

You live in a country where you are the minority group. Now the vast
numbers of the minority group happens to be 'IN' "your country" on
account of your government having militarily attacked, and
occupied their land and lives.

Imagine this: for 33 years, the minority group faces tanks,
soldiers with machine guns, as they walk to school everyday, plant
crops, go to work, drink a cup of tea with friends, sing a song in
sunset, play soccer with friends, mourn the loss of relatives,
attend each
others' weddings, and so on: military occupation that is accompanied
constant abuse, physical, and mental abuse, irregardless of whether
are a 4 year old boy innocently playing in your home or an 80 year
retired farmer, watching the sunset in his backyard.

Abuse at the hands of soldiers, abuse at the hands of new European
people who have suddenly appeared in your backyard, in your
frontyard, in your homes, everywhere, ready to take what is yours
generations and generations. The newcomers are spiteful, and covet
your land; they want to see you and your people dead or gone. The
soldiers are their buddies; the 'settlers' attack, the soldiers
'defend' and
you and your community is reduced, reduced, reduced from homes to
camps, from smiles to tears, from peace to continuous nightmares,
seeing the young tender plants grow in the ancient farms to being
drowned in seas of blood; 500 Palestinians have been killed by the
Israeli armed forces since October 2000.

Palestinians have no army, nothing comparable even in the remotest
sense to the armed forces of Israel. They use stones, as did little
against the giant Goliath; is that violence, or is it violence to
launch a
missile from a helicopter against three unarmed elderly ladies
for vegetables in the marketplace? The latter happened, and what did
Israel do? They blamed the Palestinians! Is this for real man?

You, dear band, represent the culture of youth, rebellious,
innocent, and
yet daring; daring to challenge the arbitrary norms and values
by the cultures of older generations; it is tyhe rebelliousness that
show today, that inspired your parents' generations to overthrow the
of segragation. Today, Israel practices the worst form of
against Palestinians, whose land it ocupies illegally.

Did you know, if you are a Palestinian, you have to drive a car with
license plates? Did you know, if you are a Palestinian, and get
killed or abused by an Israeli, your attacker will get away scot
free, with
perhaps a scolding from a judge? On the other hand, did you know
if you were an Israeli, and accused a Palestinian of anything, most
that Palestinian would be dealt with as if he or she were guilty?

Did you know, Israel sanctions torture while most countries reject
Did you know Israel has young children, (among whom could be many
of your young fans!), in prison, who are locked up with adult
subject to horrendous torture and sexual abuse? For what? For
throwing stones on an Israeli tank? FOr being Palestinian? For being
alive? Is this something your conscience can overlook? I doubt it!

Dear, Red Hot Chili Peppers. What would you have sung about if you
were Palestinian? Could you hold true to your conscience and still
perform to entertain a nation that engages in such brutality? Could
look into the face of a Palestinian child after doing this and feel
about yourselves?

I think not, dear band. Please reconsider your decision. It will be
a great
sign of support for human rights, democracy and the equality of all
human beings, as you will help bring Israel to account for its
cruelty against the Palestinian people.

If you would like more information on this issue, I would be more
happy to point resources to you and share with you facts and

I urge you to reconsider your decision to play in Israel. If your
insist, then you should insist in playing a solidarity peace concert
occpuied Palestinian to a Palestinian audience too! That would be
something eh!? If not, just imagine, how would it have been if the
Beatles were made to play in a country where six million people were
being massacred while German officers and their wives were drinking
and dancing to 'Its been a hard day's night...' Just imagine!

P.S. If you want to know of other artists who have boycotted Israel
an act of outrage against Israel's human rights violations of
Palestinians, I
will be happy to send you the info.


Raja Harish Swamy
Manchester, CT
Get Your Private, Free E-mail from MSN Hotmail at

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