Letter to Emir Kusturica


Dear Emir Kusturica,

We have learned that you are intending to give a concert in Israel with the No Smoking Orchestra, and we are writing to urge you to cancel the concert.

We know that you are making a film in Israel/Palestine, and we trust your political sense to guarantee that the reality of Palestinian daily life under occupation will be presented in all its horror, from the dispossession of their homes to the numerous discriminatory laws to which they are subjected, in an undemocratic system that can be described as apartheid.

By performing in Israel as an artist, on the other hand, you are offering your image to this country, and Israel will use your image to polish its own, to prove itself a representative of “civilized” culture and in this way to trivialize its crimes. It is absolutely certain that the state of Israel will view your concert as a form of political support, not merely a cultural event. And please don’t forget that the vast majority of Palestinians will not be able to hear, share, or experience the invigorating music of the No Smoking Orchestra, because they will not be permitted to travel to the site of your concert.

As a reaction to decades of oppression and to the failure of all attempts at peace, and taking inspiration from the South African struggle against apartheid, the Palestinian people have called on artists of conscience to join the movement of Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) against Israel, in order to end the longest conflict in recent history. The BDS campaign asks for nothing more than the application of international law: ending the settlements, the occupation, and the blockade of Gaza, and dismantling the Wall; ending apartheid for the Palestinians of 1948 (the so-called “Israeli Arabs”); and the right of return for all refugees.

Things have changed as a result of this BDS call. Filmmakers and actors like Ken Loach, Jean-Luc Godard, and Meg Ryan, and musicians such as Elvis Costello, the Pixies, and Massive Attack, have publicly refused to play this game. To perform in Israel today is to make a political statement. We hope to count you among the artists joining the non-violent call to boycott Israel, and in this way helping to bring about equality of rights and justice in Palestine-Israel.

In response to the Palestinian call for international solidarity, please refuse to entertain Israeli apartheid.

We remain at your disposal for any further information.

The French BDS Campaign

The European Platform for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (EPACBI), including:
Association des Universitaires pour le Respect du Droit International en Palestine (AURDIP, France)
Akademisk og Kulturell Boikott av staten Israel (AKULBI, Norway)
Berlin Academic Boycott (BAB, Germany)
Belgian Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (BACBI, Belgium)
British Committee for the Universities for Palestine (BRICUP, UK)
Comissio Universitaria Catalana per Palestina (CUNCAP, Spain)
Dutch EPACBI group (The Netherlands)
Irish Campaign for the Academic Boycott of Israel (ICABI, Ireland)
Italian Campaign for the Academic & Cultural Boycott of Israel (ICACBI, Italy)
Action Group at KTH for Boycott of Israel (PSABI, Sweden)
Emir Kusturica
c/o GMR – M.Factory
Palmira Toljatija 5
11000 Beograd