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More than 100 Jews and Israeli Arabs are calling on Madonna to call off her Tel Aviv concerts, scheduled for September 1 and 2.
The group has formed an organization called Boycott! Support the Palestinian BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) Call from Within, and on Sunday sent a letter to Madonna asking her not to perform at the Tel Aviv Fairgrounds.
According to Tel Aviv University Prof. Rachel Giora, a member of the group, the organization is also encouraging Israelis to boycott Madonna's performance, "to let Israel's government know how they feel... thereby hoping to encourage the Israeli government to reconsider its policies."
"A performance here would imply that Israel is behaving in an acceptable manner, and would be interpreted by Israelis as moral support for the illegal and inhumane policies, described by many as war crimes and crimes against humanity," Giora said in the letter.
The letter refers to Madonna's study of Kabbala and her understanding of the Jewish concept of tikkun olam, or healing the world. The group suggest that "Israel's actions don't reflect this [tikkun olam], as Palestinian dignity and life are being trampled upon."
Although Madonna is not Jewish, she is known for her affection for Israel and the Jewish people, and her appreciation of Kabbala. It seems unlikely that she will comply with the boycott request.
This month, Madonna is taking her children to Poland, where they will visit Auschwitz. It is thought that Madonna specifically planned for her children to visit Poland and understand the horrors of the Holocaust before they all travel to Israel next month, where they will visit the Western Wall.
If the performances are held as scheduled, it is likely that supporters of the boycott campaign will protest outside the venue.
The Boycott! Support the Palestinian BDS Call from Within organization was founded in 2007 and is based on the boycott of South Africa during the apartheid era, Giora said.
"Israel has long been practicing apartheid and violence against the indigenous Palestinians," the group claims.
This time last year, the organization sent a similar letter to Leonard Cohen, asking him to boycott Israel. However, Cohen has confirmed his appearance at Ramat Gan Stadium on September 24.
"We corresponded with his agent quite often, but the idea that Cohen [should] cancel his performance here fell on deaf ears," said Giora.
When asked why the members didn't leave Israel and participate in a personal boycott, Giora said, "I strongly object to Israeli policies myself, but Israel is my home, for which I feel responsible and in which I hope to effect an immediate change for a better future."
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