Chris Rock, boycott apartheid Israel
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We know that you're opposed to being regarded as a role model, but it's also undeniable that your voice reaches wider than most. We write to you, asking that you heed the Palestinian call and cancel your show in Israel.
In the past two years, Israel has executed over 400 Palestinians in the streets of the West Bank. Approximately a fourth of them were children. Mass arrests have risen to over 6000 prisoners at any given time, including over 200 child prisoners, and 500 prisoners held without charge, trial, or release. All Palestinian prisoners in Israel's prisons are subject to systemic ill-treatment, arbitrary fines, medical neglect, beatings, and torture. House demolition has doubled since last year, including whole villages, leaving over a thousand people homeless, over half of them children.
Gaza is still under a debilitating siege. Two million people, over 50% of them children, crammed into 365 square kilometres, with power outages of up to 18-22 hours a day, 95% of the water undrinkable, civilian infrastructure devastated, including hospitals, schools, places of worship, and other institutions. Over 40% are unemployed, 80% of the population rely on humanitarian aid to cover their very basic needs, including food, basic education, basic health care, shelter, blankets, mattress or cooking stoves. The United Nations has declared in July 2017 that despite its public predictions that Gaza will be 'unliveable' by 2020, it has in fact been unliveable for years. 'Unliveable' has been defined by the UN as "effectively not enough resources for people to survive". Israel's restrictions on movement trap the population inside, without recourse to search for better living conditions than it is providing.
Within Israel itself, Palestinian citizens- over 20% of Israelis- are subject to a system of over 60 discriminative laws, decades-long processes of systematic, de-development, gentrification, ghettoisation, and impoverishment that results in an infant mortality rate three times as higher than Israel's Jewish citizens. Persecution of Palestinian political parties, parliamentarians, and public servants, escalates, while Israeli-Jewish politicians and public figures continue their unabated incitement to genocide against the indigenous Palestinian minority, with brutal results often meted out by Israeli civilians as well as armed forces.
Lastly, Israel has denied Palestinian refugees- the biggest group of refugees in the world- their right to return to their homeland, in accordance to international law and international resolutions, all the while continuing, to this day, to seize their land, and expel them from their homes.
Chris, it is Israel's explicit policy to use culture as a tool for state propaganda. Part of this is paying international artists unheard of sums of money in order to polish its image abroad and distract from its massive crimes against the indigenous Palestinian people.
We don't ask you to do anything extraordinary, nor do we ask you to lead. We only ask you not to lend your name to Israel's apartheid.
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