International Community Urges Carlos Santana to Cancel Tel Aviv Performance
BY: Andrew Hansen/Contributing Writer
On Saturday, legendary guitarist Carlos Santana performed in Stuttgart, Germany where many activists supporting the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic & Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) met outside the concert venue to ask Santana to cancel his upcoming performance in Israel.
Scheduled to take place on July 30 in Tel Aviv, the PACBI has repeatedly asked Santana to cancel so that Israel cannot use his performance as propaganda to distract from the human rights violations occurring in the occupied Palestinian territories.
PACBI supporters that gathered in Stuttgart reportedly achieved some very meaningful dialogue with many Santana fans, who previously did not understand why Santana was being asked to not perform in Israel. In fact, Santana is one of many performers that have been asked to cancel their upcoming shows in Israel, including Pharrell Williams, Elvis Costello, Angela Davis, and Lauryn Hill who have all agreed to cancel their performances. According to the performers who have cancelled their appearances in Israel, they have come to the consensus that they do not want their art to be used as any form of propaganda for human rights abuses.
However, Santana’s current refusal to cancel his performance has been raising many eyebrows internationally, especially considering his previous achievements in increasing awareness for child rights in disempowered countries. After Santana’s founding of the Milagro Foundation in 1998, an organization dedicated to helping vulnerable children around the world, many are confused as to why the atrocities being committed to Palestinian children are being ignored by the musical artist. According to PACBI, Santana’s upcoming performance is directly contingent on his supported policies toward the rights of a child, as Palestinian children are currently in strong need of support from figures like Santana.
Santana recently took to Facebook to talk about his upcoming performance in Tel Aviv claiming, “All are welcome”. Yet, as explained in a powerful video released by PACBI, all are not actually welcome, considering the fact that millions of Palestinians are restricted from traveling due to Israeli occupation.
In a public letter sent to Santana from PACBI, specific injustices were explained, specifically the inhumane treatment of thousands of Palestinian children, in hope that it would appeal to Santana’s moral character. According to the letter, on top of being denied basic human rights like access to healthcare, education, and adequate shelter, there have been several documented cases of mistreatment towards Palestinian children including rape and torture. These injustices considered, many are confused as to why Santana has remained silent on his upcoming performance in Tel Aviv and refuses to cancel.
With the performance scheduled to take place in only a few days, Americans, Germans, and Palestinians alike have all stepped up their efforts to ask Santana to cancel the performance. Many petitions have been circulating around the web, one of which was even presented to the Milagro Foundation headquarters in California. Whether Santana accepts or refuses to cross the international picket line, it is clear that whatever he decides will have lasting implications on the Palestinian community, as well as Santana’s image as a defender of children’s rights.