Letter from Civil and Human Rights Leaders to Morgan Freeman

May 3, 2013


The Dorothy Cotton Institute Civil and Human Rights delegation to the West Bank sent a letter to Morgan Freeman urging him to decline an award from the Canadian Friends of the Hebrew University which he accepted on May 6, 2012.  

8,000 others signed a similar letter organized by the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation.    View that letter here.


Dear Mr. Freeman,

We are writing to you as members of a historic delegation of twenty three leaders from the nonviolent  U.S.  Civil  Rights  movement  of  the  1950’s  and  1960’s,  younger  civil  rights  and  human   rights leaders, peace advocates and educators, who traveled to East Jerusalem and the West Bank in October last year, to meet with leaders of the Palestinian nonviolent resistance movement and their Israeli allies. During our trip, we witnessed for ourselves the injustice and violence of the Israeli occupation, and the suffering inflicted on the Palestinians, in violation of international law and UN resolutions. For many of us, the systemic discrimination on the West Bank reminded us of the Jim Crow South.

Our experience on the West Bank compels us to join with so many others who have urged you to decline the Key of Knowledge Award from the Canadian Friends of the Hebrew University for your work  in  “combating  segregation  and  prejudice,  and  promoting  knowledge  and  education   throughout the world.” We honor your work in combating segregation and prejudice and it is precisely because of this work that we urge you to decline this award. By accepting the award you will implicitly legitimate Israel’s  continued  policies  of  oppression  and  discrimination  on  the  West   Bank.

During our trip we met countless courageous Palestinian nonviolent activists and their Israeli allies who are putting their very lives on the line in the struggle for basic human rights. These folk welcomed us into their homes and villages and shared their story with us. They inspired us and they asked us to do all we can to bring pressure to bear on Israel to end their policies.

By declining the award you would be adding your voice to those of Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu who have consistently stood in solidarity with the struggle of the Palestinians for justice and human rights. You would also be joining Stevie Wonder who declined to sing at a fundraising gala for the Friends of the Israeli Defense Forces last year.

Dr Martin Luther King Jr. said, “our  lives  begin  to  end  the  day  we  become  silent about things that matter.”    An end to Israel’s  45-year occupation of the West Bank matters. Equality, security and human rights for everyone matters. The future of the children of Israel and Palestine matters.

By declining this award you have the opportunity to say that all this matters.

We trust that you will carefully consider this request and we hope that you will decide not to be silent. We who have seen with our own eyes cannot be silent, and we hope that you will use this opportunity to make your own statement in support of justice and dignity.


The Dorothy Cotton Institute 2012 Civil and Human Rights Delegation:


For more information on the 2012 Civil & Human Rights Delegation, please see http://dcidelegation2012.blogspot.com.


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