Don’t play Berlin Pop-Kultur under Israeli Embassy sponsorship!

***UPDATE:
Iklan, featuring Law Holt, are the first UK band to respond to Palestinians’ appeal to withdraw from Israeli-sponsored festival 17.08.2017

Brian Eno and Roger Waters have told Artists for Palestine UK they endorse APUK’s open letter (below) to Pop-Kultur musicians 17.08.2017

 

AN OPEN LETTER TO ALL UK MUSICIANS  SCHEDULED TO APPEAR IN BERLIN AUGUST 23 – 25, 2017

‘Art goes beyond a single act on a stage; it’s against all that is regressive and discriminatory in this world’
Mohammad Abu Hajar, Syrian rapper

Dear colleagues:

When you signed up to play Berlin Pop-Kultur, you possibly didn’t know that the Israeli Embassy in Germany was a sponsor.   Maybe you also don’t know that Palestinian civil society, living under Israeli military occupation or in exile, is appealing to artists not to take part in events sponsored by the state of Israel, in solidarity with the Palestinians’ long struggle for rights and freedom.

But now that you do know, will you follow the example of the musicians who have withdrawn from Pop-Kultur in the past few days?

For instance, Emel Mathlouthi, singer-songwriter of the Tunisian Revolution, who says:

I was looking forward to playing later this month in Berlin, until I realized the festival is sponsored by the Israeli embassy.   Now that I know, I’ll have to pull out.  

As things get tougher inside and outside Palestine, what each one of us can always do is show solidarity and empathy; as artists it starts by being true and faithful.
Emel Mathlouthi, 15 August 2017

 And Mohammad Abu Najar, of the Syrian rap band Mazzaj, himself a refugee from the Assad regime in Germany, whose statement says:

To be consistent with our political commitment against any form of oppression, colonialism or discrimination we proudly declare our withdrawal from the festival as long as it endorses the discriminatory policies of the Israeli state by collaborating with [it] and displaying its logo.

We call for all the participating artists to take a similar position to prove that art is still a message that goes beyond a single act on a stage, that art is a position against all that is regressive and discriminatory in this world.
Mohammad Abu Hajar, 11 August 2017

Pop-Kultur says the Israeli Embassy’s logo is on its site because the Embassy are paying some musicians’ expenses, and they have no influence on content.

But that’s not the point.   The point is that the state of Israel continues to dispossess the indigenous population of Palestine, and shows no sign of stopping.   Abu Hajar says:

‘We will not participate in a festival that accepts partnership with a government which openly declared on many different occasions anti-Arab, anti-Muslim and anti-Black attitudes.’

Dear colleagues, you know that you have the power to tell the Israeli government you disapprove of its actions.   You have the power to tell the Palestinians they are not alone under occupation and in exile.   Please use your power.

Please withdraw from Berlin Pop-Kultur.

Artists for Palestine UK
London, August 15, 2017


At the time of writing, the following UK artists are scheduled to appear at Pop-Kultur:

Arab Strap, Simone Butler, Shirley Collins, Darkstar, Christine Franz, Manuela Gernedel, Law Holt, IDLES, Iklan, Ian Keary, Lady Leshurr, David Laurie, Let’s Eat Grandma, Little Simz, Timothy London, Cieron Magat, Nick McCarthy, Anna Meredith, Piano Wire, Simon Price, Alexis Taylor, Throwing Shade, Typewriter-Klangwelten, Christian Vogel, Stephen Warwick, Rob Young, Young Fathers.

UPDATE: 17.08.2017 :  Iklan, featuring Law Holt, are the first UK band to respond to Palestinians’ appeal to withdraw from Israeli-sponsored festival

AN OPEN LETTER TO RADIOHEAD

London, April 24th  2017

Dear Thom Yorke, Jonny Greenwood, Colin Greenwood, Ed O’Brien and Philip Selway,

You’re listed to play Tel Aviv in July this year.

We’d like to ask you to think again – because by playing in Israel you’ll be playing in a state where, UN rapporteurs say, ‘a system of apartheid has been imposed on the Palestinian people’.   

We understand you’ve been approached already by Palestinian campaigners. They’ve asked you to respect their call for a cultural boycott of Israel, and you’ve turned them down.   Since Radiohead campaigns for freedom for the Tibetans, we’re wondering why you’d turn down a request to stand up for another people under foreign occupation. And since Radiohead fronted a gig for the 50th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, we’re wondering why you’d ignore a call to stand against the denial of those rights when it comes to the Palestinians. 
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Artists appeal to the Chemical Brothers: Please don’t play Tel Aviv

  • UPDATES:
  • Haaretz: ‘Former Pink Floyd bassist signs an open letter telling the electronic duo to not be fooled by Tel Aviv’s cool vibe while a different petition accuses artists who perform in Israel of whitewashing apartheid.’ (November 5, 2016)
    Report in the Guardian: ‘Former Pink Floyd man joins campaign alongside Caryl Churchill and Maxine Peake seeking a cultural boycott to promote better treatment of Palestinians’ (November 2, 2016)
  • Report in Pitchfork:  ‘Roger Waters, Thousands More Petition the Chemical Brothers to Cancel Tel Aviv Show’; and here in NME magazine and MixMag (November 1, 2016)
  • In an interview with Israeli media Chemical Brothers deny they are asked to boycott Israel despite over 7,000 people asking them to do just that. They are quoted as saying ‘pressure was not applied to us. We will go to any place where young people want to see us playing. We are not really involved in all the rest’. Needless to say, if the controversial concert goes ahead, fans in the occupied Palestinian territories will not be able to reach it due to ‘all the rest’. (October 29, 2016).
  • More than 7,000 people sign a petition asking Chemical Brothers Ed and Tom not to play Tel Aviv! (October 28, 2016)

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ARTISTS’ VERDICT – CULTURAL BRIDGES WITH ISRAEL LEAD NOWHERE

Like the staircases at Hogwarts, Israel's cultural bridges can lead interminably to nowhere

Like the staircases at Hogwarts, Israel’s cultural bridges can lead interminably to nowhere

The appearance last week of some famous UK cultural names on a statement defending Israel against boycott has sparked a wave of incredulity and outrage from fellow artists.

Artists, actors, writers, editors, musicians and filmmakers are among those queuing up to defend the boycott tactic after JK Rowling, Hilary Mantel and historian Simon Schama joined well-known pro-Israel lobbyists in attacking it. Rowling and co urged cultural ‘coexistence’ and ‘dialogue about Israel and the Palestinians’ and called the Palestinian boycott campaign “divisive and discriminatory”.

“It is Israeli policies towards Palestinians which are divisive and discriminatory,” said actress Miriam Margolyes, one of more than 1000 UK artists who have signed a commitment not to cooperate with Israeli state-funded cultural institutions as long as Palestinian rights are denied.
“Artists used the tactic of boycott against apartheid in South Africa and we are doing it again in support of Palestine– because no one else is holding Israel to account,” she said.

Composer Brian Eno, one of a number whose letters were published in the Guardian on October 27, said he appreciated the desire for dialogue, “but what kind of dialogue is realistically possible between a largely unarmed and imprisoned people whose land is disappearing before its eyes, and the heavily weaponised State that’s in the process of taking it.”  Continue reading

The response from Israel: ‘cheap propaganda’ & hate-filled satire

The antisemitism smear was the anticipated response of Israel’s apologists to the artists’ pledge for human rights. Indeed that is what makes signatories courageous individuals. What was feared but less anticipated was the extent to which that smear would be sharpened – and then given a platform in the mainstream press – to hold pledge signatories responsible for the deadly targeting of Jews.

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