Red Hot Chili Peppers urged to boycott Israel

The Red Hot Chili Peppers have been targeted by anti-Israel campaigners who want the band to cancel a planned gig in Tel Aviv.

The band is due to perform in the country in September, a decade after they cancelled a gig because of concerns about terrorist attacks.

The group Boycott From Within is calling for the rock band to pull out of the gig, which is part of the Red Hot Chili Peppers' world tour, because of the political situation.

"High profile performances, such as your scheduled gig, have served the government's agenda of whitewashing its war crimes and creating an image of Israel as a "modern state", where celebrities come to perform and see the sights," wrote the BDS campaigners in a letter to the California-based band.

"Not performing is very effective in promoting justice in the region," they added. "It is with great admiration of your art and activism that we suggest that a people oppressing another should not have the benefit of enjoying it or cynically using it as a tool of self-justification. In view of the aforementioned facts, you can make a difference and promote justice and human rights, by deciding not to play in Israel."

The boycotters also criticised the promoter of the concert, Israeli producer Shuki Weiss, for having sent Israeli officials tickets to concerts in the past.

"This is not just corruption within the system, but corruption that serves to whitewash Israel's war crimes against the Palestinian people, using international artists such as you," they said.

The Chilis were due to perform in Israel a decade ago, when they cancelled at the last minute following two suicide bombings in the space of one week. The attacks killed 35 people in total.

Two of the band's ten albums were recorded with Haifa-born guitarist Hillel Slovak, the son of a Holocaust survivor, who died of a heroin overdose in 1988.

Last updated: 10:39am, May 21 2012