The letter has been published on David Byrne’s website with a note from Byrne explaining why he decided to put it online.
“I received this email last Friday morning from my friend, Brian Eno,” Byrne writes. “I shared it with my office and we all felt a great responsibility to publish Brian’s heavy, worthy note.”
“I sense I’m breaking an unspoken rule with this letter, but I can’t keep quiet any more,” Eno begins. He then describes a picture he saw on the news that day of a Palestinian man carrying his four year old son’s remains in a plastic bag. He goes onto express his dismay that America refused to support a proposed UN resolution to set up an international inquiry into accusations that Israeli actions could amount to war crimes.
“What is going on in America?” he writes “I know from my own experience how slanted your news is, and how little you get to hear about the other side of this story. But – for Christ’s sake! – it’s not that hard to find out. Why does America continue its blind support of this one-sided exercise in ethnic cleansing? WHY?”
The producer then details a 2013 trip he took to Israel, where he witnessed the tensions first hand. He then goes onto describe what he calls the Israeli “settler militias” who have the “notion that they had an inviolable (God-given!) right to the land, and that ‘Arab’ equates with ‘vermin’ – straightforward old-school racism delivered with the same arrogant, shameless swagger that the good ole boys of Louisiana used to affect. That is the culture our taxes are defending. It’s like sending money to the Klan”.
After Eno’s letter, which can be read in full here, Byrne also publishes the response of Eno’s friend Peter Schwartz, who makes a more balanced case detailing the historical context of the conflict.
“I don’t think there is any honour to go around here. Israel has lost its way and commits horrors in the interest of their own survival,” Schwartz writes. “And the Arabs and Persians perpetuate a conflict ridden neighbourhood with almost no exceptions, fighting against each other and with hate of Israel the only thing that they share.”
Earlier this week, it was reported that One Direction’s Zayn Malik had received death threats after sending out a tweet supporting Palestine. Other musicians to speak out about the conflict include Madonna, Neil Young and Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder.