I’m not sure what Nobel peace prize-winners are for, but if it’s protesting things they don’t like with open letters, they’re awesome at it. One such letter calls for an international Israel military boycott over the latest conflict with Gaza. It includes 52 signatories and also denounces the US and EU’s “complicity” through weapons sales.
According to The Guardian, the 52 signatures belong to prominent artists and activists including Mairead Maguire and Adolfo Pérez Esquivel, film directors Mike Leigh and Ken Loach, author Alice Walker, US academic Noam Chomsky, Roger Waters of Pink Floyd, and Stéphane Hessel, a former French diplomat and Holocaust survivor.
The letter opens with a Nelson Mandela quote: “For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.”
The letter reads, in part:
“Horrified at the latest round of Israeli aggression against the 1.5 million Palestinians in the besieged and occupied Gaza Strip and conscious of the impunity that has enabled this new chapter in Israel’s decades-old violations of international law and Palestinian rights, we believe there is an urgent need for international action towards a mandatory, comprehensive military embargo against Israel.
“Such a measure has been subject to several UN resolutions and is similar to the arms embargo imposed against apartheid South Africa in the past.”
The Nobel peace laureate letter is a direct response to the attack that killed 160 Palestinians, many of them civilians, including about 35 children. Recent reports that suggest at least some of these fatalities actually occurred at the hands of poor military technology belonging to Hamas, and several indicating that Hamas operatives brutally executed six “spies” on a public street a day before the ceasefire, were not mentioned in the letter. Good people, but possibly not very well-read.