Top Level Executives Sign Open Letter to Alice Walker

By July 11, 2013Cultural Boycott
Top Level Executives Sign Open Letter to Alice Walker
June 11, 2013
Open Letter:
As advisory board members of the Creative Community for Peace (CCFP), an organization that believes in the power of art and music to build bridges and foster understanding, we are saddened by Alice Walker’s misleading statements about Israel in a recent open letter to Alicia Keys. In this letter, Ms. Walker makes inflammatory claims that Israel is an apartheid state and makes false comparisons of the Jewish state and the pre-civil rights American South.
Unfortunately, Ms. Walker fails to recognize that Israel is a democratic country with a diverse population, where women, Arabs, Muslims, Christians and all minorities have equal rights; a nation where art and freedom of expression flourish. Citizens of all ethnicities mingle openly in public arenas, sit side-by-side in restaurants and are free to speak their minds and vote their consciences. The recently crowned Miss Israel is from Ethiopia. In apartheid South Africa or the pre-civil rights American South, that would have been unheard of.
The great Martin Luther King Jr. had this to say this about Israel: “Israel is one of the great outposts of democracy in the world, and a marvelous example of what can be done, how desert land can be transformed into an oasis of brotherhood and democracy.”
False comparisons of Israel to apartheid South Africa and the pre-civil rights American South diminish the real human suffering of those times. South African Member of Parliament Dr. Kenneth Meshoe, who grew up in apartheid South Africa knows the tyranny of oppression, wrote the following in his May 15 op-ed in the San Francisco Examiner.
“As a black South African who lived under apartheid, this system was implemented in South Africa to subjugate people of color and deny them a variety of their rights. In my view, Israel cannot be compared to apartheid in South Africa. Those who make the accusation expose their ignorance of what apartheid really is… Israel is a model of democracy, inclusion and pluralism that can be emulated by many nations, particularly in the Middle East.” Read more
The many artists who have proudly performed in Israel include Rihanna, Erykah Badu, Missy Elliot, Madonna, Ziggy Marley, Paul McCartney, John Lee Hooker, Bobby McFerrin, the Black Eyed Peas, Seal, Akon, Steve Aoki, Elton John, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Regina Carter, McCoy Tyner, Courtney Pine, Sean Kingston, Henry Grimes, Al Foster, Gene Perry and Meshell Ndegeocello, to name just a few.
CCFP wishes for a resolution to the complicated Palestinian-Israeli peace process, but, unlike Alice Walker and Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters, we believe that a call for a cultural boycott of Israel while ignoring the many well-documented and ongoing human rights violations of Israel’s neighbors is disingenuous.
We support Alicia Keys and echo her message that the universal language of art and music has the power to “unify audiences in peace and love.” We also applaud Ms. Keys and the hundreds of international artists who perform in Israel each year. They are using the power of their music to build bridges and open communication and are learning more about the region for themselves.
Over 18,000 people from around the globe have expressed their support and signed our petition [PETITION] urging all artists to keep their concert dates and play for peace in Israel. We ask all those who support peace to join with the Creative Community for Peace and encourage people to use the power of culture and music to interact and build greater dialogue and understanding.
Respectfully yours,
Please note that all board member organizations are listed for affiliation only.
Craig Balsam
Advisory Board Member, Creative Community for Peace
Co-founder Razor & Tie Entertainment
www.creativecommunityforpeace.com
www.facebook.com/CreativeCommunityForPeace
Steven Bensusan
Advisory Board Member, Creative Community for Peace
President of Blue Note Entertainment Group
www.creativecommunityforpeace.com
www.facebook.com/CreativeCommunityForPeace
David Byrnes
Advisory Board Member, Creative Community for Peace
Partner, Ziffren, Brittenham, LLP
www.creativecommunityforpeace.com
www.facebook.com/CreativeCommunityForPeace
Ron Fair
Advisory Board Member, Creative Community for Peace
Record Producer and Music Executive
www.creativecommunityforpeace.com
www.facebook.com/CreativeCommunityForPeace
Daryl Friedman
Advisory Board Member, Creative Community for Peace
The Recording Academy/GRAMMYs on the Hill Chief Advocacy & Industry Relations Officer
www.creativecommunityforpeace.com
www.facebook.com/CreativeCommunityForPeace
Ran Geffen-Lifshitz
Co-founder & Advisory Board Member, Creative Community for Peace
CEO of Media Men Group
www.creativecommunityforpeace.com
www.facebook.com/CreativeCommunityForPeace
Jody Gerson
Advisory Board Member, Creative Community for Peace
Co-President of Sony/ATV Music Publishing
www.creativecommunityforpeace.com
www.facebook.com/CreativeCommunityForPeace
Gary Ginsberg
Advisory Board Member, Creative Community for Peace
Executive Vice President of Corporate Marketing and Communications at Time Warner Inc.
www.creativecommunityforpeace.com
www.facebook.com/CreativeCommunityForPeace
David Glick
Advisory Board Member, Creative Community for Peace
Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Edge Group
www.creativecommunityforpeace.com
www.facebook.com/CreativeCommunityForPeace
Colin Lester
Advisory Board Member, Creative Community for Peace
CEO of Twenty First Artists
www.creativecommunityforpeace.com
www.facebook.com/CreativeCommunityForPeace
David Lonner
Advisory Board Member, Creative Community for Peace
CEO of Oasis Media Group
www.creativecommunityforpeace.com
www.facebook.com/CreativeCommunityForPeace
Scott Packman
Advisory Board Member, Creative Community for Peace
Senior Executive Vice President and General Counsel, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
www.creativecommunityforpeace.com
www.facebook.com/CreativeCommunityForPeace
David Renzer
Co-founder & Advisory Board Member, Creative Community for Peace
Former chairman/CEO of Universal Music Publishing Group
www.creativecommunityforpeace.com
www.facebook.com/CreativeCommunityForPeace
Hanna Rochelle
Advisory Board Member, Creative Community for Peace
Founder & President of Lyric Culture
www.creativecommunityforpeace.com
www.facebook.com/CreativeCommunityForPeace
Steve Schnur
Co-founder & Advisory Board Member,  Creative Community for Peace
Worldwide Executive, Music
President, Artwerk Music Group Electronic Arts
www.creativecommunityforpeace.com
www.facebook.com/CreativeCommunityForPeace
Sam Schwartz
Advisory Board Member, Creative Community for Peace
Co-principal in Gorfaine/Schwartz Agency
www.creativecommunityforpeace.com
www.facebook.com/CreativeCommunityForPeace
Ben Silverman
Advisory Board Member, Creative Community for Peace
Founder & CEO of Electus and former co-chairman of NBC Entertainment and Universal Media Studios
www.creativecommunityforpeace.com
www.facebook.com/CreativeCommunityForPeace

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