BDS

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.

British rock band Radiohead have come under pressure by Palestine solidarity activists, who are calling for the band to cancel its July 19 Tel Aviv gig as part of the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign.

In a petition to English rock band Radiohead, Jewish voices for Peace ask the rockers to respect the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign targeting Israel, and cancel a Tel Aviv gig scheduled for July.

Launched by dozens of Palestinian civil society groups in 2005, the BDS campaign aims to isolate Israel in protest against its apartheid policies towards Palestinians.

British comedian Eddie Izzard was told he was not welcome at a marathon in the occupied West Bank after refusing to respect the cultural boycott of Israel.

The cultural boycott is part of the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign initiated by more than 170 Palestinian groups in 2005 in protest against Israel’s apartheid policies towards Palestinians

On an August evening in Glasgow last year, supporters of Celtic Football Club waved dozens of Palestinian flags during a Champions League playoff match against Israeli team Hapoel Be’er Sheva, garnering global attention.

Palestinian artists, cultural groups and human rights supporters have welcomed the Australian-British singer Natalie Imbruglia’s cancellation of her planned March performance in Tel Aviv and thanked her for deciding to be “on the right side of history, on the side of the oppressed”.

Immediately after contributing to his team’s Super Bowl victory on February, Martellus Bennett of the New England Patriots was asked what he thought about an upcoming visit to Mexico to represent the National Football League (NFL).

“Tear down the wall! Tear down the wall! That’s what I think about going to Mexico,” he cried.

Bennett then became the first of a number of Patriots players to confirm they would skip a visit with President Donald Trump at the White House.

Ottawa, Canada. July 2014. Members of the Green Party of Canada made history at their August 5–7 convention in Ottawa, passing a resolution to support the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign targeting economic activities in the Palestinian territories occupied by Israel. The BDS campaign was first launched in 2005 with a call from more than 170 Palestinian non-government organisations. It has generated growing support across the world.
Israel is intensifying its efforts to crack down on activists working for freedom, justice and equality for Palestinians. On August 7, interior minister Aryeh Deri and public security minister Gilad Erdan formed a new inter-ministerial task force that will, as the The Times of Israel reported, “target supporters of the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement”. The task force aims to prevent the entry of foreign activists allegedly affiliated with groups that support BDS. It also aims to expel those who have already entered territories under Israeli control.
Ten-time Grammy Award winner, US musician Pharrell Williams has cancelled his July 21 performance in Tel Aviv amid conflicting explanations. Over the past year, the “Happy” pop star has faced sustained pressure from the Palestine solidarity movement. Last year, amid rumours that he would be scheduling a Tel Aviv performance, campaigners urged him not to go. In an open letter, the US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel said that by performing in Tel Aviv, Williams would show himself “indifferent to the suffering of Palestinian children”.
Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon was one of the invited speakers at the annual Nakba rally, in Sydney on May 15, organised by the Palestine Action Group. The next day the Daily Telegraph ran an almost full-page story, under the headline “Taxpayers funding Greens' Israel blitz”, alleging Senator Rhiannon had misused her parliamentary allowance by photocopying the poster advertising the rally.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has filed a lawsuit against Distinctive Assets, the company distributing a luxury gift bag to Oscar nominees that includes an all-expenses paid trip to Israel sponsored by the Israeli government. “Distinctive Assets has been falsely representing that its extravagant 'gift bags' [are] redistributed by the Academy, at its direction, or with its endorsement or approval,” an Academy spokesperson told the Hollywood trade publication Variety.
There has been plenty of heat this Palestinian winter in the campaign for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel. There have been some important victories, helped by the increased scrutiny of Israeli state violence since October. And equally, the hysteria from Israeli and Western political establishments over the “threat” posed by the BDS campaign has reached new levels.
“Stop the blackmail: Anti-Zionism is not anti-Semitism.” Paris, July 2014.

Pages

Subscribe to BDS