The Liberal Agenda – Open Letter to the citizens of Nelson re The Jerusalem Quartet


To the citizens of Nelson

We, the undersigned, object to the presence of The Jerusalem Quartet, comprised of four Israeli citizens, at the forthcoming Adam Chamber Music Festival, in Nelson.

What is the background to our objection? In 2005 after 57 years of struggle against Israeli oppression, Palestinian groups came together to call for a comprehensive boycott of Israel. It’s called the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) campaign and came after all other attempts at applying international pressure on Israel had failed. The aim is to repeat the success of the non-violent international boycott of South Africa to overturn the apartheid system. Israel also imposes an apartheid system on its Palestinian citizens.

Last year the New Zealand singer, Lorde, played her part in supporting this campaign and decided to cancel her scheduled performance in Tel Aviv.

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The Jerusalem Quartet claim that they are purely independent, non-political musicians with no alignment to the state of Israel. However, in recent years, in Croatia in 2015, the Ukraine in 2017 and in the USA in 2018 they have performed with the support of local Israeli embassies. They are therefore part of the Israeli Government’s propaganda attempt to project a ‘normal’ image to the world. However, there is nothing normal about a government that illegally occupies and builds on Palestinian land in the Occupied Territories, that routinely abducts and imprisons children from their families, that last year killed over 150 Palestinians at the Gazan border and still denies the right of millions of Palestinian refugees to return home.

We therefore urge people who are planning to attend the Jerusalem Quartet performances to stay away; to stand in solidarity with Palestinians, who have suffered for so long; to be part of the international movement to end apartheid in Israel.

BDS committee in Palestine