Open letter to Johnny Rotten urging Tel Aviv gig cancellation

ISM London has written the following letter to John Lydon, formerly Johnny Rotten of the Sex Pistols, urging him and Public Image Ltd to endorse the Palestinian call to boycott Israel and cancel their upcoming gig in Tel Aviv.

Dear John Lydon and Public Image Ltd,

We are a group of human rights activists from the UK who work on the ground in Palestine supporting the Palestinian non-violent popular struggle against Israeli occupation.

We have heard you have been booked to play in Tel Aviv at the end of August and are writing to ask you not to go.

You may not know, but in 2005 an unprecedented coalition of Palestinian grassroots groups, trade unions and NGOs stood together and asked the world to boycott apartheid Israel in the same way the world boycotted apartheid South Africa (you can see the list of signatories on their website:

They have three demands: an end to the 43-year-old military occupation of the West Bank, Gaza, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights; equal rights for Palestinian citizens of Israel, and for the Palestinian refugees — the largest refugee population in the world — to be allowed home.

Not exactly unreasonable is it? But Israel will not concede Palestinian rights unless pressured from outside. Heeding this call to boycott Israeli apartheid is something more and more international artists are doing.

As activists working on the ground in Palestine we have seen the full horror of the occupation: the separate road systems for Israeli settlers, the brutality of Israeli army invasions into Palestinian cities, the way the apartheid wall snakes through the West Bank stealing Palestinian land.

We are not the only ones; many veterans of the South African struggle against apartheid, such as Archbishop Desmond Tutu, have said that Israeli apartheid in Palestine is worse even than in South Africa.

In the 1980s you heard the ANC’s call to boycott South Africa, and recorded Rise with Public Image Limited. Please now join artists such as Elvis Costello, Gil Scott Heron and Gorrilaz, and cancel your Israeli tour dates.

These are only a few of the famous names that have now cancelled Israeli tour dates in response to the Palestinian call to boycott Israel until it complies with international law. Many other artists, away from the headlines, have heeded the call by not even booking Israeli tour dates in the first place.

Do the right thing, cancel Tel Aviv.


International Solidarity Movement, London

“Our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians”

Nobel Peace Laureate Nelson Mandela.