Tuesday, September 14, 2004


Via Juan Cole, an open letter to Madonna from Angela Godfrey-Goldstein of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions, questioning Madonna's upcoming visits to holy sites in occupied Palestine, specifically Rachel's Tomb.

On behalf of Israeli Jews, and Palestinian or Israeli Christians and Muslims seriously opposed to your highly controversial visit, we ask you, with compassion, to reconsider the consequences of coming to Israel/Palestine in this context.

This visit takes you to the heart of Occupied Territory in Bethlehem: a closed-off prison, a ghetto, whose civilians now have no work, no freedom, no life. They've finished their savings, live now on food handouts from foreign donor agencies. They've had their land taken, they have no justice through the courts, this entire city of ordinary folk trying to live a decent life, is imprisoned, while Israel calls the shots.

Three million Palestinians are under full closure for the entire month of Jewish High Holidays. All to ensure further settlement development. At all times, they can't get out. They'll even have to pray at Rachel's Tomb checkpoint, instead of their own Jerusalem holy site, Al Aqsa Mosque, at Ramadan next month, like last year.

In the last four years, we've killed five times more of their children, three times more of their civilians, than the Palestinians have killed Israeli kids or civilians. We've taken their homes, land and villages, dignity, work. Bethlehem is a ghetto, with no work, and look – you a tourist – are you going to the Christian sites in the centre of Bethlehem?

Please read the whole thing.

On a personal note, I met and travelled with Ms. Godfrey-Goldstein during my visit to Israel and Palestine in June of 2003 (Here's a picture). She is extremely knowledgeable and persuasive on issues relating to Israel's criminal treatment of the Palestinians, and speaks from a place of deep sadness at the way that Judaism has been perverted to justify brutality and oppression, and the concomitant dehumanization of young men and women in the Israeli military who must carry out that brutality.

I hope the Material Girl takes her words to heart.

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