Palestinians celebrate as Shakira latest act to cancel Israel gig

Shakira is the lastest musician to cancel a performance in Israel.

Palestinians are welcoming the news that Shakira will not play in Tel Aviv in July, as previously announced.

The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI), said Shakira’s decision dashes Israel’s hopes “to use her name to art-wash its latest massacre in Gaza”.

“Artists, especially UN goodwill ambassadors, have a moral duty not to be complicit in covering up human rights violations and apartheid,” PACBI added.

Meanwhile, a number of international artists have announced that they are pulling out of the Tel Aviv International LGBT Film Festival in solidarity with Palestinians.

Shakira, the Grammy-winning Colombian superstar with Lebanese ancestry, serves as a goodwill ambassador for UNICEF, the UN children’s agency that has documented many of Israel’s abuses.

“Hundreds of Palestinian municipalities and cultural organisations, as well as thousands of fans and boycott activists, from Gaza and Lebanon to Colombia and the US, appealed to Shakira to cancel,” PACBI said.

Israel supporters had presented Shakira’s planned show as a blow to the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement targeting Israel and as a sign of Shakira’s “support for Israel.”

Shakira’s nixing of plans to play in Tel Aviv comes amid a wave of new support for BDS since Israel’s massacres of unarmed civilians during Gaza’s Great March of Return rallies beginning on March 30.

Brazilian legend Gilberto Gil last week cancelled a July gig in Tel Aviv and Tiago Rodrigues, the director of Portugal’s national theatre, pulled out of this year’s Israel Festival.

In a coordinated action last week, dozens of British bands declared their support for the cultural boycott of Israel as a peaceful way to demonstrate solidarity with Palestinians.

In recent months other big names who have refused to go to Israel include New Zealand pop star Lorde and Hollywood actor Natalie Portman.

On May 29, PACBI also announced the Tel Aviv International LGBT Film Festival had been hit “with a wave of cancellations” ahead of its opening “following calls from Palestinian LGBT collective Pinkwatching Israel and human rights activists around the world”.

Brazilian Black trans singer, performer and activist Linn da Quebrada said: “Even knowing that also in Israel there are people who suffer from oppression over their bodies and desires, I decided to cancel my participation, joining the cultural boycott that has happened in the last few months around the world, as a form of protest against Israel and its genocidal policies over Palestinians.”

In coordination with da Quebrada, directors Claudia Priscilla and Kiko Goifman announced they were withdrawing their documentary Bixa Travesty from the festival over what Goifman termed “Israel’s genocidal policies”.

French filmmaker Sylvain Coisne withdrew his short film Dylan, Dylan.  Brazilians Calí dos Anjos and Bia Medeiros pulled out their animation Tailor.

Pakistan’s Aks International Minorities Festival has also withdrawn its participation from TLVFest, as the Tel Aviv festival is also known.

[Abridged from The Electronic Intifada.]