BDS

There is plenty of evidence that the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign targeting Israel, initiated by dozens of Palestinian civil society groups in 2005 in protest against Israel’s apartheid policies, is frightening the Israeli state, writes Lisa Gleeson.

Palestinians are celebrating the news that Argentina – and its star Lionel Messi – will not be playing the “friendly” football match that had been set for Jerusalem in the coming days.

The cancellation is a huge blow to Israel and came after an intense campaign by Palestinians and their supporters, especially in Latin America and the Spanish state, urging Argentina not to help Israel whitewash its most recent massacres of unarmed civilians in Gaza.

Palestinians are hailing the decision by Brazilian music legend Gilberto Gil to pull the plug on a planned performance in Israel.

Meanwhile, dozens of artists are declaring their support for the cultural boycott of Israel following the latest Israeli mass killings of civilians in the occupied Gaza Strip. They include bands such as Portishead, Wolf Alice and Slaves.

Palestinian civil society groups have accused Giro d’Italia cycling race, which started its first leg in Israel on May 4, of covering up Israel’s war crimes in Gaza and its secret police’s repression against Giro protests, said Kerry Smith.

In a major victory for the Palestinian rights movement on US college campuses, students at Barnard College in New York City voted nearly two-thirds in favour of a referendum supporting divestment from companies profiting from Israel’s human rights violations, writes Nora Barrows-Friedman.

In the face of a campaign by supports of the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel in protest against its apartheid policies, New Zealand superstar singer Lorde cancelled a planned Tel Aviv concert in December. The BDS call was first issued in 2005 by dozens of Palestinian civil society organisations, and has been heeded by many cultural figures, including musicians.

Ignoring a call from more than 170 Palestinian civil society organisations for a boycott of Israel over its policies of apartheid and occupation, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds played two sold-out gigs in Tel Aviv on November 19 and 20. 

Nick Cave and his band also ignored the example and calls by many other musicians organised in Artists for Palestine, such as Roger Walters and Brian Eno among the most prominent voices.

Sound System: The Political Power of Music
Dave Randall
Pluto Press Left Book Club, 2017
210 pp, $38.99

As a teenager, British writer and musician Dave Randall unwittingly attended a music festival in his home town where he heard the Special AKA sing “Free Nelson Mandela”. He experienced an epiphany.

“I had no idea who Nelson Mandela was,” he writes, “but I knew by the end of the first chorus I wanted him to be free.”

The Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) held their national conference in Chicago on August 5 and 6, at a gathering that confirmed its emergence as stronger, younger and more radical group than it has ever been.

Before last year’s US presidential election, the DSA boasted between 7000-8000 members. Since then, it has ballooned to 25,000 members — mostly young and hungry for a fight.

Artists and activists have pushed back against English rock band Radiohead, as the band goes ahead with its gig in Tel Aviv.

Two days before the July 19 show, Oscar-nominated filmmaker Mike Leigh condemned Radiohead’s intransigence towards Palestinians.

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