Dave Chappelle Slams Israeli Aggression, Artists Call for US-led Ceasefire
Celebrated comedian Dave Chappelle drew critical attention to Israel’s escalating and vastly disproportionate attacks on Gaza at a sold-out, 22,000-capacity performance in Boston, USA on Thursday. The comedian, a recipient of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts’ Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, accused the American government of aiding and abetting in the slaughter of innocent civilians.
Chappelle, while condemning Hamas’ attack on 7 October, characterised Israel’s attacks on Gaza as war crimes by the Israeli government, according to people in attendance.
“You can’t kill innocent civilians like that and the whole world sits silently and watches,” Chappelle was quoted as saying by those in attendance.
When he was angrily ‘challenged’ by a member of the audience demanding that he ‘shut up,’ Chappelle is said to have further lambasted Israeli aggression by stating that they had no right to tell him to ‘shut up’ while taking tens of billions from “my country [America]” as they engaged in the killing of innocent women and children.
Chappelle was also reported to have been vehemently critical of Israel cutting off water and other essentials to Gaza. Those in attendance clapped and cheered, agreeing with the comedian’s sentiments with chants of “Free Palestine” emanating from the crowd as Chappelle, in turn, echoed their feelings, attendees said.
“Two wrongs don’t make a right,” Chappelle was quoted as saying, towards the end of the show.
This comes at a time when a group of 55 prominent artists, under the label ‘Artists 4 Ceasefire’ have signed an open letter to American President Joe Biden, urging the U.S. to broker a ceasefire in the region.
“We urge your administration, and all world leaders, to honor all of the lives in the Holy Land and call for and facilitate a ceasefire without delay – an end to the bombing of Gaza, and the safe release of hostages,” stated the letter which included a comment by UNICEF spokesperson James Elder outlining the dire circumstances that Palestenians were facing.
“Children and families in Gaza have practically run out of food, water, electricity, medicine and safe access to hospitals, following days of air strikes and cuts to all supply routes,” Elder’s comments read.
Meanwhile a statement from the group ‘Artists for Palestine UK’, signed by figures such as Tilda Swinton, Charles Dance, Miriam Margolyes and Mike Leigh, chastised the UK government for “not only tolerating war crimes but aiding and abetting them.”
The full statement by Artists 4 Ceasefire reads;
Dear President Biden,
We come together as artists and advocates, but most importantly as human beings witnessing the devastating loss of lives and unfolding horrors in Israel and Palestine.
We ask that, as President of the United States, you call for an immediate de-escalation and ceasefire in Gaza and Israel before another life is lost. More than 5,000 people have been killed in the last week and a half – a number any person of conscience knows is catastrophic. We believe all life is sacred, no matter faith or ethnicity and we condemn the killing of Palestinian and Israeli civilians.
We urge your administration, and all world leaders, to honor all of the lives in the Holy Land and call for and facilitate a ceasefire without delay – an end to the bombing of Gaza, and the safe release of hostages. Half of Gaza’s two million residents are children, and more than two thirds are refugees and their descendants being forced to flee their homes. Humanitarian aid must be allowed to reach them.
We believe that the United States can play a vital diplomatic role in ending the suffering and we are adding our voices to those from the US Congress, UNICEF, Doctors without Borders, The International Committee of The Red Cross, and so many others. Saving lives is a moral imperative. To echo UNICEF, “Compassion — and international law — must prevail.”
As of this writing more than 6,000 bombs have been dropped on Gaza in the last 12 days — resulting in one child being killed every 15 minutes.
“Children and families in Gaza have practically run out of food, water, electricity, medicine and safe access to hospitals, following days of air strikes and cuts to all supply routes. Gaza’s sole power plant ran out of fuel Wednesday afternoon, shutting down electricity, water and wastewater treatment. Most residents can no longer get drinking water from service providers or household water through pipelines…. The humanitarian situation has reached lethal lows, and yet all reports point to further attacks. Compassion — and international law — must prevail.” – UNICEF spokesperson James Elder
Beyond our pain and mourning for all of the people there and their loved ones around the world we are motivated by an unbending will to stand for our common humanity. We stand for freedom, justice, dignity and peace for all people – and a deep desire to stop more bloodshed.
We refuse to tell future generations the story of our silence, that we stood by and did nothing. As Emergency Relief Chief Martin Griffiths told UN News, “History is watching.”
Aria Mia Loberti
Fatima Farheen Mirza
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