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Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Boycott the Israeli Philharmonic


Women in Black-Los Angeles is working with individuals and groups all over the U.S. on a campaign to boycott the Israel Philharmonic when it performs in the United States in late January and early February of 2007. We initiated this campaign because Palestinian civil society and Israeli opponents of Apartheid have asked supporters all over the world to help them combat Israeli Apartheid by conducting campaigns of boycott, sanctions and divestment from Israel. Similar campaigns were crucial in ending Apartheid in South Africa. The Israel Philharmonic Orchestra is supported by the Israeli government and boasts of its role in celebrating Israel's military victories. It is therefore an appropriate target of boycott.

In October we composed a letter to the members of the Israel Philharmonic asking them to take a public stand against the Israeli occupation of Palestine. Copies of this letter went round the world by email and by the time it was sent to the Philharmonic, it had more than 800 signatures. However, we heard nothing from the Orchestra members, so in late December we sent a letter to the management of the Los Angeles Philharmonic asking them to either cancel the performances of the Israel Philharmonic or make an announcement in opposition to the Israeli occupation at each of the two Israel Philharmonic performances in Los Angeles.

Copies of our letter to the Israel Philharmonic, our letter to the L.A. Philharmonic management, and a summary of Israel's crimes against the Palestinian people can be found on our website at http://www.wib- The letters explain why we believe the orchestra should oppose the occupation and why we think a cultural boycott is justified.

We have now sent emails to signers of the original letter to the Israel Philharmonic who live in the New York and San Francisco area asking them to also initiate boycott campaigns when the orchestra comes to their city. We will also contact signers of the letter who live in the Los Angeles area.

In Los Angeles we will let audiences know about the boycott by holding silent vigils at two January matinee performances of the L.A. Philharmonic at Disney Hall, one on Sunday, January 14 and one on Sunday, January 28, 2007. Both vigils will be held from 1:00 pm to 2 pm.

We will then hold our anti-Apartheid/ boycott vigils at each of the two performances of the Israel Philharmonic at Disney Hall. These vigils will take place on the evenings of Monday, February 5 and Tuesday, February 6, 2007 from 6:30 to 8 pm. Disney Hall is located at the corner of First Street and Grand Ave. in downtown Los Angeles. We hope you will join us.

The complete schedule of the vigils at Disney Hall is:

Sunday, January 14, from 1 to 2 pm
Sunday, January 28, from 1 to 2 pm
Monday evening, February 5, from 6:30 to 8 p.m.
Tuesday evening, February 6 from 6:30 to 8 p.m.
Disney Hall is located at the corner of First Street and Grand in downtown Los Angeles.

If you can only participate in one vigil, please try to come to the Israel Philharmonic' s first performance on February 5, from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m.

If you would like to add your name to the letter to the Israel Philharmonic please contact us at womeninblackla@ You can call us at 323-993-3322 for more information.

President Carter writes in his new book, Palestine, Peace, Not Apartheid, "Israel's current policy in the territories is a system of Apartheid , with two peoples occupying the same land but completely separated from each other, with Israel totally dominant and suppressing violence by depriving Palestinians of their basic human rights. Israel's continued control and colonization of Palestine land have been the primary obstacles to a comprehensive peace agreement in the Holy Land."

For more information on Women in Black, the international peace organization, link here.

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