Rock star and activist Bono and his band U2 face a boycott and action from pro-Palestinian groups after agreeing to play in Israel this summer.

The influential Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) has urged Bono to 'say no to Israel,' pointing out he has turned down a similar invitation two years ago.

"Performing in Israel would violate the almost unanimously endorsed Palestinian civil society Call for Boycotts, Divestments, and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel. This Call is directed particularly towards international activists, artists, and academics of conscience, such as yourself. Moreover, it would come a year and a half after Israel’s bloody military assault against the occupied Gaza Strip which left over 1,440 Palestinians dead, of whom 431 were children, and 5380 injured, " the letter stated.
The letter also called on Bono to live by what he recently wrote in The New York Times. "In a recent New York Times op-ed, you wrote of your hope ‘that the regimes in North Korea, Myanmar and elsewhere are taking note of the trouble an aroused citizenry can give to tyrants.’

“You went on to further elaborate on the hope that “people in places filled with rage and despair, places like the Palestinian territories, will in the days ahead find among them their Gandhi, their King, their Aung San Suu Kyi.” Rather than shifting the blame from the violence of the colonial oppressor to the resistance of the indigenous oppressed and characterizing the Palestinians as a population filled with “rage and despair,” it is more apt to consider them among the “aroused citizenry” responding to tyranny – Israel‘s regime of occupation and apartheid."

The letter goes on to praise Bono's activism in other conflict resolution areas: "A whole generation was affected by your musical activism, when you sang of the civil rights movement in America, the everyday human heroes in El Salvador and the brave struggles in Ireland – you filled a space that forced political morality into pop culture. Entertaining apartheid Israel despite all the injustice it is committing against the Palestinians would significantly smear this great legacy of yours.

“We urge you to heed the wise words of Archbishop Tutu and to honor the Palestinian Call. Your performance in Israel would be tantamount to having performed in Sun City during South Africa’s apartheid era, in violation of the international boycott unanimously endorsed by the oppressed South African majority. We call on you not to entertain Israeli Apartheid, " the letter ends.


U2 frontman BonoPeter Byrne/PA