On the heels of Jose Feliciano’s upcoming performance with the Raanana Symphony Orchestra in Tel Aviv, he received the following letter from Mr. Steve Schrun, representing The Creative Community For Peace:
“…Music lovers around the world applaud Jose Feliciano’s upcoming performance in Israel. However, over the next few months you may be hearing from other voices calling for you to cancel your trip in protest of actions in the West Bank and Gaza. Unfortunately, these misguided groups are trying to use the forums of music and culture to make inflammatory and incorrect political points. Their messages involve a type of dishonesty intended to trigger further hostility and dampens hope for rational discourse.
I am part of a group of like-minded people in the entertainment industry who have come together in an organization called Creative Community For Peace to encourage artists to keep their planned concert dates. Members of our advisory board include a growing list of prominent media execs, artists, attorneys and agents….
Some boycott groups have even gone as far to condemn Israel as “a colonial and apartheid state”. We are not talking about South Africa here. Israel has never practiced or enforced racial segregation of any kind. There is no imposed economic exploitation by minority rule.
In fact, Israel – the only democratic state in the entire Middle East – has always encouraged and legally enabled the integration of Arabs into all aspects of Israeli government. There are 12 Arab-Israeli Knesset members in the current Israeli Parliament. Arabs have been elected to the Knesset in every election since Israel’s founding. More than 14% of Israeli citizens are Arab Muslims, and the Israeli Supreme Court guarantees all Arabs equal rights and full protection.
Furthermore, women of all nationalities are 100% equal by law and have played vital roles in governing, developing and protecting the nation…None of these freedoms exist in Israel’s neighboring nations or states, including the Palestinians.
Cultural boycotts based on political misinformation will not solve the problem, and may even worsen an already unstable situation by serving the destructive forces of propaganda. Ultimately, boycotts are an affront to Palestinian and Israeli moderates alike who are seeking to reach peace through compromise, exchange, and mutual recognition.
Music can – and should – reflect politics, but must not respond blindly to it. “Musicians spread love and peace, and bring people together,” Elton John proclaimed this past summer at his Ramat Gan, Israel concert. “We don’t cherry-pick our conscience.”
We are glad that Jose Feliciano will be among the ranks of independent-minded artists who have performed in Israel including Elton John, Paul McCartney, Madonna, Rihanna, The Black Eyed Peas, Metallica, Linkin Park, Lady Gaga, Akon, Alicia Keys, 30 Seconds to Mars, REM, Kaiser Chiefs, Pet Shop Boys, Guns N’ Roses, Placebo, Chris Cornell, and many others.
Music is our shared common language, one that transcends words and hatred. And because music speaks its mind and knows no borders, it is vital that it be heard everywhere there are voices of support, dissent or need. “Peace,” Eli Wiesel once wrote, “is not God’s gift to his creatures. It is our gift to each other.” The same can be said of music. And it is a dialogue that must continue.
I am sincerely,
Worldwide Executive, Music President,
Artwerk Music Group Electronic Arts
Welcome To The Creative Community For Peace
We represent a cross section of the creative world–those who create and help create music, films, and television programs–and their fans.
We may not all share the same politics or the same opinion on the best path to peace in the Middle East. But we do agree that singling out Israel, the only democracy in the region, as a target of cultural boycotts while ignoring the now-recognized human rights issues of her neighbors will not further peace. We understand the power that our music, our films, our television shows, and all arts have. They have the power to build bridges. Foster better understanding. Encourage dialogue. And hopefully lead toward greater mutual acceptance. If anything, turn up the music, expose more of our films and television shows to wider audiences, and encourage people from all cultures to interact and build greater dialogue and understanding. If you support the message that the arts can build bridges—please join us in this important mission.
The world might just be a better place for it.
To learn more about us please visit our website at: