International star Natacha Atlas announces Israel boycott

International singer and songwriter Natacha Atlas has announced publicly that she is canceling a planned concert in Israel and will boycott the country “until this systemised apartheid is abolished once and for all.”

In a statement on her official Facebook page, Atlas wrote:

I had an idea that performing in Israel would have been a unique opportunity to encourage and support my fans’ opposition to the current government’s actions and policies. I would have personally asked my Israeli fans face-to-face to fight this apartheid with peace in their hearts, but after much deliberation I now see that it would be more effective a statement to not go to Israel until this systemised apartheid is abolished once and for all. Therefore I publicly retract my well-intentioned decision to go and perform in Israel and so sincerely hope that this decision represents an effective statement against this regime.

Atlas also tweeted:

A world artist

Atlas, who grew up in Belgium is of Egyptian, Moroccan and Palestinian ancestry and has spoken publicly of Jewish roots in her family. She won a 2007 BBC Music award for her renowned fusion of Arabic and Western styles.

Her rendition of Screamin’ Jay Hawkins’ “I put a spell on you” was featured in Palestinian filmmaker Elia Suleiman’s 2002 feature film Divine Intervention.

Atlas was appointed a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Conference Against Racism in 2001, which was boycotted by the United States and Israel, for raising issues about US treatment of African Americans and Israel’s treatment of Palestinians.

Supporting Egypt’s uprising

In February 2011 during the uprising that toppled President Hosni Mubarak, Atlas released a remix of her song “Mounqaliba” which she dedicated “In support of my fellow Egyptians.”

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Comments

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Thanks to Natacha, for respecting the Palestinian voice, as represented by the PACBI. The PACBI urges ALL artists to refrain from performing in Israel. But Israel needs to persuade artists of conscience to play in its Sun City (Tel Aviv). It is one thing to say "Elton John" played here. It would have been quite another to boast that Natacha Atlas played here. Elton John shunned the call to boycott South Africa. Denise Jannah, who did a fundraiser for Gaza in 2009 recently stated she never would have played in Israel had she been told about BDS. Regrettably she played in Israel anyway. Israel's tactic of reaching out to Jello Biafra, Denise Jannah, Natacha Atlas, with the idea that "you can talk" to our "leftists" is a failed scheme. The voice of Palestinian Civil Society will be heard.

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Thank you for your courage in your decision to boycott Israel and your choice of words! The BDS movement is under pressure from fanatics here in Olympia. Words and actions like yours bolster the grassroots movement to end apartheid in Israel just as similar actions did in South Africa. Together, we the common people, may yet see justice prevail in the Middle East.

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dear natacha, congratulations you have made a courageous and wonderful discision to support peace in the middle east. you have the admiration and respect of millions in this world that are pro peace now. l,t,r&f = peace. leonardo

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When Amira Hass participate in a round table (with others as Ilan Pappe) in a book forum in Paris, despite the fact that Israel was the honour state invited, she explained that she did so because she thought that pronouncing her views within that forum, was more influential than boycotting it. She made the important point that boycott is a tool and not an aim for itself . I am wondering if in the particular case of Natacha Atlas, whose audience must include a large number of Palestinians living in Israel, is indeed the right choice.
Sharon Weill.

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Bob Geldof crossed the picket line, Moby also crossed it, and so have many other artists. Maybe they all thought that their action of ignoring the call of Palestinian Civil Society was going to be what it took to end apartheid. But its doubtful. For the "tool" of BDS to be an agent of "change," many many artists need to unite to not only boycott Israel, but speak out, ...sing out... against apartheid. Israel has NOT seen its Sun City moment yet...But is certainly sounds like it is coming.

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Natasha Atlas is a very talented singer! I respect her design and feel more like listening to her now!

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We, the global community who seek justice for all, admire Natasha Atlas for taking this decisive action. People with high profile, like her, make a real impact when they signify their unwillingness to associate with those who would suppress their fellow human beings and deprive them of all those things which most of us take for granted - freedom of association, freedom from harassment, access to health services, access to clean water, freedom to claim own property exclusively as ones own and not to have it appropriated and ones 1000 year olive trees
ripped up to make way for a separation wall, to have ones children safe from arrest and detention by Israeli "security" forces and abused. The tame media are unlikely to laud Natasha Atlas for her courage but the ordinary people will appreciate her courage. Thank you Natasha.

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you flow with the fashion.

Like Coldplay and Phil Collins- two of my favourite artists whom I'll never listen to again, you too chose the cowardly way of supporting terror.

None of you know what it is like to be an Israeli Jew and for your own sake I hope you'll never find out.

Ali Abunimah

Ali Abunimah's picture

Co-founder of The Electronic Intifada and author of The Battle for Justice in Palestine, now out from Haymarket Books.

Also wrote One Country: A Bold-Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse. Opinions are mine alone.