BDS

An Israeli government-backed propaganda initiative is attempting to rig another online poll about whether there should be a boycott of the Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv later this month.

This desperate effort to manipulate public opinion comes as Israeli organisers are struggling to unload thousands of unsold tickets to the event.

The Israeli city of Tel Aviv is preparing to host the Eurovision Song Contest in May, following Israeli artist Netta Barzilai’s win in Eurovision 2018.

In response, BDS Australia, which support the global boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign against Israel, says: “As a serial human rights abuser, it is unacceptable for Israel to be the host country for a competition that, in SBS’s own words, is supposed to ‘bring people and cultures together’.

More than 60 international NGOs have added their voices in protest against the plan to hold the finals of the Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv this year. They are now part of what is quickly becoming an international campaign by civil society groups seeking to move the event, which is scheduled for May, from Israel.

Campaigners for gay, lesbian and transgender rights have urged a boycott of this year’s Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv in May.

Dozens of DJs and music producers have joined an international call to support the cultural boycott of Israel.

“As long as the Israeli government continues its brutal and sustained oppression of the Palestinian people, we respect their call for a boycott of Israel as a means of peaceful protest against the occupation,” reads the statement artists posted on their social media pages, along with the hashtag #DJsForPalestine.

With a bold call for protests against Israel’s crimes of apartheid, US-based pop band Of Montreal has dropped out of Israel’s Meteor Festival on September 4, just days before it was set to begin.

This follows the cancellation by headliner Lana Del Rey, who nixed her performance on August 31.

Australian artists are joining the more than 140 international artists in the call for a boycott of Eurovision 2019 if it goes ahead in Israel next May, says BDS Australia.

Inspired by the conscientious artists who refused to perform in apartheid South Africa in the 1980s, Palestinian artists and cultural groups have called for non-violent pressure in the form of boycotts on Israel until it complies with its obligations under international law.

Israel’s Parliament, the Knesset, approved the controversial nationality bill on July 19 declaring Israel a nation-state for the Jewish people and downgrading the status of Arabic from official language to “special status”, TeleSUR English reported. Arabs make up 21% of Israel’s population.

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.”

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