It was announced on the radio today that you have a scheduled concert in Tel Aviv this coming October. I was a bit taken back by these announcements…. for good reason.

We grew up together and lived on the same street in Brighton Beach for many years. My brother was in your class at Lincoln High. Your cousin was in mine. The ‘Knish’ Shop on the boardwalk, owned by your family was one of my favourite places.

I have fond memories of growing up in Brighton, as I am sure you do as well. It was a cultural paradise at the time… you down the street from me, Neil Diamond around the corner, The Tokens just a few blocks away… it was a fun place. Things changed, today English is a fourth or fifth language in the area because of the influx of immigrants from the FSU.

When we were growing up we were taught certain values. We lived in a predominately Jewish Progressive Community. You might remember the mural in our local Bank, The Lincoln Savings Bank. It was a mural of Abraham Lincoln surrounded by freed slaves. We were brought up in an area that stressed Freedom and Human Dignity FOR ALL.

In our school we were taught that Democracy is sacred, that Freedom is sacred. Those are the values we live by today.

Unfortunately Israel, which has been my home for nearly 26 years, does not live by these values. Israel has been/is building a wall of Apartheid to separate Jews from Palestinians.

Israel has illegally occupied all areas belonging to Palestine for the past 43 years, denying them a chance to live as a free people.

For the past 63 years Israel has been involved in a Genocide against the civilians of Palestine, a genocide that continues without condemnation.

I urge you to read THIS LINKED article, written by a very close Palestinian friend of mine. See how things look from ‘the other side of the wall’.

It is left to people like yourself to condemn Israeli atrocities and crimes against humanity. Dissociating ourselves from Israel’s brutal policies is the only nonviolent way now to avoid becoming complicit in the killing, the wounding and the maiming, and the robbing of Palestinians. Faced with all this and more, Palestinians are calling on all people to support their struggle for their basic rights. Unfortunately, recognizing Palestinian rights will require a fundamental shift in Israeli society. I suspect that this change will be achieved only via external pressure. The least that one can do in such a situation is not act as if it is business as usual.I appeal to you to add your voice to those brave people the world over who boycott Israel. I urge you to cancel your planned performance in Israel.

In Jerusalem there is a Memorial Park to the victims of the Holocaust, Yad Vashem. In the centre of the Park, there is an area dedicated to The Righteous Gentiles, those non Jews that saved Jewish lives during the war. I beg you to consider joining the list of Righteous Jews, those that saved Palestinian lives during this ugly occupation we live in. Join the growing list of Jews that are saying “NOT IN MY NAME!”

I ask you to consider postponing indefinitely your appearance here until your Palestinian fans are as free as your Israeli fans to come and hear you perform in Tel Aviv, as free and equal citizens in their own country. And I urge you to ask your fans everywhere to help bring that day closer by working together for justice for all here.

I hope you can appreciate that by writing this letter I open myself up to outrageous fines, which I would refuse to pay resulting in a prison sentence. That will happen if a proposed Bill against promoting the Boycott against Israel passes in the Knesset,

Israel is NOT the Democracy you might think it is…. far from it.

Sincerely, a voice from your past,
Steve Amsel


  1. Mark said,

    June 10, 2010 at 20:35

    I hate democracy. Democracy is tyranny by the masses. Tyranny is two wolves and a sheep voting on what is for dinner.

    I believe that a republican form of government is the best. A republican government has a set of rules that must always be followed if the government it to retain any legitimacy. Those rules protect the rights of the minority despite what the majority may want. Democracy is an enemy of humanity. Republicanism is the only government compatible with LIBERTY.

    Down with democracy!

  2. Paul said,

    June 10, 2010 at 21:59

    Like many things in life Democracy itself is not the problem, but it is the abuse of Democracy that is the problem. Democracy exists only if the populace are enlightened, involved and unafraid to reluctantly bloody their hands occaisionally. These days we are none of the above.

  3. Doug said,

    June 11, 2010 at 00:12

    Thanks Steve, your contribution to peaceful discourse from within Israel is
    invaluable and give us a perspective missing from the media in the U.S,
    I also hope for a peaceful coexistence in the middle east and the world.
    Best Wishes, Doug

  4. June 11, 2010 at 16:35

    […] June 11, 2010 AN OPEN LETTER TO NEIL SEDAKA TO BOYCOTT APARTHEID Posted by marcy/مارسي newman/نيومان under Boycott, Cultural Boycott, Take Action Comments Off  June 10, 2010 at 19:31 […]

  5. aufzuleiden said,

    June 11, 2010 at 17:41

    Mark (comment 1), if you understood anything about history you would know that the foundation of a Republic is – in a word – democracy. The word ‘republic’ itself comes from the Latin ‘res publica’ meaning ‘a public affair’ and the ideal behind a Republic is that of a ‘democracy’ without a monarch. Some have used the phrase ‘representative democracy’ in their definition of republic, but it all boils down to the same thing: your republic exists as a nation, without a monarch, relying on the PEOPLE to elect (according to the strictures of the constitution) those individuals who will represent them for a proscribed period of time.

    Sometimes democracy (and republic) means having to live with a government that you don’t agree with; that’s just a fact of life. It doesn’t mean you plot to overthrow them or plan an assassination – it means you find someone that you like BETTER to run in the next election, someone you believe will do a better job (no, Sarah Palin is NOT an option, we’re talking about the real world here, not an imaginary one where you can ‘see Russia’ from your house in Alaska).

    When you say ‘down with democracy’ you only demonstrate that you are an elitist – someone who wants the rules that you like to be enforced (betcha’ like them guns, eh?) but omitting those that are, how shall I say – inconvenient? Well, that’s just too bad. Another thing about democracy is that you don’t have an option of taking a portion of it and leaving the parts you don’t like. If your britches are all knotted up because you’ve been watching Cluster Fucked Noise and you believe that certain people aren’t qualified to be in office for whatever reason – that is your constitutional right.

    Yes, it is your constitutional right (in the United States) to be a raving lunatic. It is also your right to move if you don’t like something. So, as the saying goes, ‘America – love it or leave it’ (I don’t live there, so it isn’t a problem for me). Quite frankly, anyone that believes democracy is not something that people should have access to is, well, an idiot of Biblical proportions.

    Considering that there are many things that can be done to make our democracy BETTER – dumping it would be a greater tragedy than anything. Make voting mandatory – END lobbying – END political contributions from anything other than private individuals – END ALL negative ads – and other things. Campaign reform is the first step – but the will has to be there. Change can come, but people have to be willing to let real democracy happen rather than being enslaved by the corporations and special interests that control many parts of government.

    Republic vs Democracy? How about apple vs pomme?

    Wie viel ist Aufzuleiden!

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