Dear Ryan Fleur, Matthew Loden, and Yannick Nézet-Séguin, We are a group of artists, scholars and human rights advocates from the Philadelphia area and beyond, writing to urge you to cancel upcoming performances of The Philadelphia Orchestra in Israel this June. It troubles us that one of Philadelphia’s most celebrated cultural institutions will participate in the Israeli government’s “Brand Israel” propaganda strategy, which employs arts and culture to divert attention from decades of Israel’s military occupation and denial of basic rights to the indigenous Palestinian population. The aims of “Brand Israel” were articulated by an official from Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the New York Times: “We will send well-known novelists and writers overseas, theater companies, exhibits…This way you show Israel’s prettier face.” The Philadelphia Orchestra’s trip to Israel, with heavy involvement of government officials, is part and parcel of this strategy. We therefore urge you to cancel your trip to Israel. Your website indicates that your visit is “in celebration of its [Israel’s] 70th anniversary,” but while you celebrate with Israel, Palestinians will be mourning the Nakba, when Israel expelled over 750,000 indigenous Palestinians, and confiscated their properties, businesses, lands and heritage. Those Palestinians and their descendants remain refugees today. You also wrote that “Sharing the ‘Philadelphia Sound’ with audiences abroad is part of our commitment to cultural diplomacy, using music to bring people and cultures together in ways that would not otherwise take place.” You should know that Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Gaza, and Palestinian refugees in the Diaspora, will not be permitted to attend your performances. We question your communication team’s statement that the “tour [is not] a political mission.” As the Israeli government welcomes your shows at the highest levels, its attacks against Palestinians, including musicians and other artists, will go unabated.