When silence is louder than lyrics: Musicians lend their voices to the boycott against Israel

Published March 5th, 2014 - 14:22 GMT

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Roger Waters
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Image 1 of 9: Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters: The longtime BDS supporter has urged musicians via pro-Pal blog Electronic Intifada to boycott Israel for its apartheid “crimes” and “ethnic cleansing” and to not accept awards or funding from the state “until such time as Israel complies with international law and universal principles of human rights.”

snoop dogg
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Image 1 of 9: Doggy Style! Calvin Cordozar Broadus, Jr. AKA Snoop Dogg (or Snoop Lion, if you're hip enough) was once quoted as telling Palestinian-American hip hop producer Fredwreck “Why they building a wall around y’alls people’s shit. That’s f**ked up, cuz.’ ” Word. Poetry can be found in the most unlikely places! And Snoop is keepin it real, yo!

Coldplay
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Image 1 of 9: Coldplay: This British rock quartet courted controversy by promoting Freedom OneWorld’s 2011 single “Freedom for Palestine” and its video featuring a keffiyeh-clad breakdancer, scenes of IDF checkpoints, and the West Bank wall. The band backed full exposure of Palestinian realities to new audiences; strengthening the global call for change.

Elvis Costello
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Image 1 of 9: Elvis Costello: Singer/songwriter Costello quit his 2010 Israeli bookings, stating, "There are occasions when merely having your name added to a concert schedule may be interpreted as a political act, and it may be assumed that one has no mind for the suffering of the innocent." He said his decision was “a matter of instinct and conscience.”

 Cassandra Wilson
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Image 1 of 9: Cassandra Wilson: U.S. jazz vocalist Wilson called off her gig at the 2012 Women’s Festival in Holon, Israel, following appeals by BDS activists. In a press statement issued just before she was to hop on her Tel Aviv flight, the Grammy-winner announced, “as a human rights activist, I identify with the cultural boycott of Israel.”

Carlos Santana
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Image 1 of 9: Carlos Santana: The guitar legend announced in January that he was canceling a show slated for June, citing scheduling difficulties. Could politics have been a factor? Santana was allegedly the target of a BDS campaign calling on him to cancel his Tel Aviv concert, or could it have been pressure from a Black Magic Woman?

Stevie Wonder
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Image 1 of 9: Stevie Wonder cancelled a 2012 Los Angeles concert in support of the Israel Defense Forces. "Given the delicate situation in the Middle East, and with a heart that has always cried for world unity, I will not be performing at the FIDF Gala," this UN goodwill ambassador said, "I am and have always been against war, any war, anywhere."

Cat Power
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Image 1 of 9: Cat Power: Singer-songwriter Chan Marshall, better known by her stage name Cat Power, canceled her Israeli shows, tweeting that, due to “much confusion in her soul” over “such unrest between Israel and Palestine,” she couldn’t perform. She added, “I feel sick in my spirit.”

Irish artists boyco
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Image 1 of 9: 100s of Irish Artists: In 2010, Irish acts launched a cultural boycott stating they wouldn’t exhibit or perform in Israel "until such time as Israel complies with international law and universal human rights"; over 300 Irish artists support BDS. The Irish do speak their mind, as the proverb goes, “Tis often a man’s mouth breaks his nose.”

Last week marked Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW), the annual international series of awareness-raising events that shines a media high-beam on Israel’s escalating apartheid policies towards Palestine.

Click back three decades to 1985’s Artists United Against Apartheid, one of the most effective projects to incite non-violent support for human rights campaigns - quickly politicizing people around the world who might not otherwise have South African apartheid on their playlist.  

Founded by activist and performer Steven Van Zandt and record producer Arthur Baker to protest South Africa’s treatment of its black citizens, this musical conglomerate of stellar talent produced a song, an album, a video and behind-the-scenes documentary film exposing the hypocrisy of high-living in a region ringed by humanitarian atrocities. The artists also vowed never to perform at Sun City because it would indicate acceptance of intolerable human rights violations.

Lou Reed, Miles Davis, Bonnie Raitt, Bob Dylan, a wasp-waisted Bruce Springsteen and Bono (sporting a cringe-inducing mullet) joined dozens of other musicians in a music video that, while censored in the USA and banned in South Africa, had far-reaching influence around the globe. Check out the original video.

 

In 2011, a group of artists called Freedom OneWorld released the first ever mainstream single in solidarity with Palestine and a video intended to break the music industry’s wall of silence. A noble attempt, which enjoyed moderate success.

Now, with the summer concert season looming, maybe it’s time to launch a modern anthem about respecting the pro-Palestine “international picket line”?

Today, Israel’s been experiencing a wave of cancellations by major musical acts, triggered in part by the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, and also by the artists’ personal ethics. How about a new hip-shaking blockbuster to rev up awareness?

Let’s hear a fresh musical consensus against the actions of Israel, and let it play until Israel ends its occupation, grants full equality to Israeli Arabs and allows Palestinian refugees right of return. Here are some of the recent MIA musical numbers to have pulled out from performing to Israeli fans.

 

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Piss off a play your music. That what you do. Most of your private life would be down right shame, told the truth what you have done be hind closed doors. The United States is just as bad as other countries.

Anonymous (not verified) Sat, 03/08/2014 - 20:24

Today. Right now. The Palestinians can choose peace, independence and complete autonomy.

The fault, my Palestinian friends, is not in Israel or the stars, the fault is in yourselves and your leaders.

herman (not verified) Sat, 03/08/2014 - 15:40

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