Letter to new conductor of the Idaho Philharmonic

April 24, 2008

Dear Robert Franz,

It is with great concern that I write to you today. A recent article in the Idaho Statesman announced that you will be hosting Composer Shulamit Ran this coming November for a performance that celebrates the 60th Anniversary of the founding of Israel.

The same date, 60 years ago, is also known as ‘Al Nakba’, the catastrophe, which marks the beginning of the ethnic cleansing of Palestine. 60 years ago, over 700,000 Palestinians were expelled from their homes and 500 Palestinian villages were destroyed in order to create a Jewish state on indigenous Palestinian land. This does not warrant celebration.

The state of Israel is illegitimate in international eyes. Its ongoing military occupation of Palestine is the longest standing in modern history. It is in violation of international law on many accounts (collective civilian punishment, torture, detaining of children, restricting movement, etc..). After 60 years of their so-called democracy, Israel continues to deny Palestinian refugees their UN-sanctioned right of return and Palestinians in Israel are denied fundamental human rights because they are “non-Jews”. The humanitarian crisis in Gaza, for which Israel is responsible for, is appalling. It is sad enough that we, as Americans, stand by and allow this to happen, but to celebrate a state whose practices are inhumane, immoral and brutal- is shameful. This is no time to celebrate.

As a resident of Boise and a lover of music I urge you to reconsider presenting a composer and her work, which glorifies the systematic ethnic cleansing of an entire culture. Please show your compassion by canceling the program in November.

Thank you for taking the time to read my words. I encourage you to contact me for further information on this issue.

Sincerely,

Lama Nasser

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