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A letter to Beyonce from a Palestinian
Amer Zahr
Amer Zahr
Friday, February 12, 2016 - 5:29 pm (34 Comments)

Dear Beyonce,

I watched your Super Bowl performance last Sunday.  I heard your words.  I was excited. Ecstatic. Encouraged. I watched pundits on cable news networks talk about how you were “making a statement.”  Someone even said you were being “unapologetically black.” I loved it.

Much to my surprise, however, your contentious performance at our nation’s biggest sporting event wouldn’t be the most controversial thing you’d do this week.

Yesterday, the Times of Israel reported that you’ll be performing in Tel Aviv in August. Twice. At first, I hoped it was a rumor, perhaps some sort of smear directed at you after your Super Bowl saga. Sadly, it’s all too real.

So, Beyonce, Bey, habibti, I’m asking you not to do it.  Israel doesn’t wear a halo.  She’s a naughty girl. She doesn’t even pay her own bills, bills, bills.  Actually, we Americans do, to the tune of almost $250 billion over the years.  That should make you lose your breath.

I know you’re not doing it for the money.  You’re an independent woman. So I have to ask you:

Beyonce, are you crazy in love with Israel?

Are you crazy in love with a nation that has dispossessed and disenfranchised millions of native Palestinians, illegally settling their land, depriving them of the most basic of political rights, and silencing their narrative?

Are you crazy in love with a nation that has ignored more United Nations Security Council resolutions than any other?

Are you crazy in love with a nation that will let you travel across the world to perform in Tel Aviv, but restricts the movements of millions of Palestinians, through the use of hundreds of checkpoints?

I don’t want to get into the murderous wars in Gaza that have killed thousands of civilians, many of them defenseless children.  But I will tell you that the almost 2 million Palestinians who live there, under a blockade, less than an hour from Tel Aviv, have no hope of coming to see you. Crazy, right?

Are you crazy in love with a nation that has routinely discriminated against black individuals, destroying blood donated by Ethiopian Jews, injecting their women with contraceptives without their consent, and expelling thousands of African asylum-seekers (whom Israel labeled “infiltrators”)?

Are you crazy in love with Israel? Because Angela Davis, Cornel West, & Talib Kweli definitely aren’t.  And you know who else wasn’t?  The one and only Nelson Mandela.  Do you remember how you performed at a benefit concert organized by him back in 2003? Or how Israel staunchly supported the South African apartheid regime?  Or how Israeli leaders skipped his funeral?

Mr. Mandela said a couple things about us:

“We know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians.”
“My view is that talk of peace remains hollow if Israel continues to occupy Arab lands.”

Well, we’re still not free. And we’re still occupied.

Beyonce, walk with us.  Boycott. Divestment. Sanctions.  Say our name. #BDS.

I’m asking you to stand with us Palestinians, the survivors of efforts to erase us and our narrative from the face of the earth. We are trying to send Israel a message.  The same message the world sent to South Africa.  Actually, I think I know the perfect words to use.  Until it cleans up its act, we should all tell Israel the same thing:

To the left, to the left, everything you own in the box to the left.

Thanks,
A Palestinian

* Amer Zahr is a Palestinian American comedian, writer, professor and speaker living in Dearborn, Michigan. He is also the editor of "The Civil Arab."


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