Dear Black Eyed Peas: Where’s the Love for Palestinians?

Dear Black Eyed Peas,

We are a network of artists, musicians, filmmakers, writers and cultural producers who support Palestinian human rights. We are shocked to hear that you are scheduled to perform in occupied Jerusalem on November 29th.

In the city where you are scheduled to play, indigenous Palestinians are subject to constant state violence. The forced expulsion of Palestinian Jerusalemites from their homes is a war crime. In May this year, the Israeli army’s unprovoked incursion into the Al-Aqsa mosque injured over 300 Palestinian worshippers. Together these crimes ignited protests all over Israel, the West Bank and Gaza, only to be swiftly followed by Israeli F16s bombing the Gaza Strip – killing 260 Palestinians, 129 of them civilians including 66 children and 40 women. 

As your song Where’s the Love? spells out so eloquently:

Nation droppin’ bombs killing our little ones
(Where’s the love?)
Ongoing suffering as the youth die young
(Where’s the love?)
Where’s the love when a child gets murdered?
…Everybody matter to me

Has everybody stopped mattering to you? 

Palestinian artists and cultural organisations have asked international artists to not perform in Israel until it dismantles its oppressive system of control and ends its violations of international law. Performing in Israel sends a false signal to the world that nothing terrible is taking place there.

Will you play on, and ignore the Palestinians as though they didn’t exist? 

Your 2009 song ‘One Tribe’ includes the lyrics:

One love, one blood, one people
One heart, one beat, we equal…
Let’s break walls, so we see through
Let love and peace lead you… 

And yet you are going to Jerusalem, a city partly cut off by an 8-metre high concrete apartheid wall, with checkpoints along its length, built as part of a land-grab. Where’s the Love?

But if you only got love for your own race
(Where’s the love?)
Then you’re gonna leave space for others to discriminate
(Where’s the love?)
And to discriminate only generates hate

Having performed these lyrics to international acclaim, it does not add up that you would play in Israel. According to a 2021 report by Human Rights Watch, Israel’s policies ‘amount to the crimes against humanity of apartheid and persecution’.  Where’s the Love?

By standing in solidarity with the Palestinian people, together with the Black Lives Matter movement and other international humanitarian and artist groups showing solidarity, you could signal to the world that you reject apartheid. By acting in accordance with the wishes of an occupied and oppressed people, you could show the world where the love is.  

With love,

Artists for Palestine UK

Photo by Bartek Szmigulski