Radical artist pulls out of Israel gig

Issue 

African American artist Gil Scott-Heron, whose political poetry influenced a generation of rap artists, sensationally announced the cancellation of his planned gig in Tel Aviv on April 24.

Speaking onstage at London’s Royal Festival Hall, Scott-Heron told the audience he “hated war” and told the packed audience his Israel tour date would not be going ahead.

Fans dismayed at the planned gig had earlier disrupted his concert. They repeatedly heckled the performer and asked him to cancel.

A Facebook page was set up to urge the legendary performer against going ahead with his Israel appearance in violation of a call for a cultural boycott as part of the international boycott divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign issued by Palestinian activists in 2005.

More than 1000 people have joined the Facebook page.

Scott-Heron is best-known for the classic song “The Revolution Will Not be Televised”, and was a leading voice in calling for the cultural boycott of apartheid South Africa, joining United Artists Against Apartheid in the 1980s.

Palestinian solidarity campaigners were deeply saddened by Scott-Heron’s apparent decision to play a high-profile gig there.

Scott-Heron was cheered and applauded when he announced the gig’s cancellation. Palestinian solidarity campaigners have vowed to continue calling for all artists to respect the cultural boycott of Israel.

[Reprinted from Counterfire.org.]