As Israeli concert promoters prepare for their busiest concert season in history, the Boycott Israel movement continues its efforts to target individual artists to try to convince them to cancel their concerts, with Radiohead as the latest target.
Boycott activists have also recruited several artists to join their efforts, who have once again penned an open letter to try to convince Radiohead to cancel – under the guise of protesting against Israel for “humanitarian“ reasons.
Unfortunately, their letter is filled with inaccurate accusations against Israel, including false claims of “apartheid’ and “genocide.” Trying to appeal to artists natural empathy for the downtrodden, the boycott movement falsely characterizes the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement as a movement seeking peace and justice, and drives the prospect of peace further away.
The cultural boycott is built on the premise that there can be no dialogue or communication between Israel and the rest of the world. That Israel should be ostracized, demonized and bears sole responsibility for the problems of the region. To support this, Israel is branded as an apartheid state when in fact it is the only democracy in the region where all its citizens are subject to the same laws and are in fact free.
While we may have vastly different opinions on the supremely complicated Israeli-Palestinian conflict, we can all agree that the arts — through their ability to create dialogue — can and should be an important part of the solution.
We applaud Radiohead for joining their peers and using their art as a way to bring people together. On their US tour, Radiohead chose two Israeli acts — one Jewish and one Arab — to open for them, sending the powerful message to the world that coexistence is entirely possible, and music can be a catalyst for making it happen. Radiohead are sure to continue to foster this message when they perform in Israel in July.
Unfortunately, artists continue to be subjected to tremendous pressure from some of our peers in the entertainment community. Rather than expend this energy to divide, we hope that one day these groups and individuals will band together to unite. We invite them to sit at the table with us and work side by side to be sure no one is silenced.
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