Will Christina Aguilera, Imagine Dragons cross international picket line?

Christina Aguilera, in a purple jacket and wearing sunglasses, holds a microphone

Palestinians and fans around the world are calling on US pop star Christina Aguilera to respect the boycott call and cancel her show.

Ritzau Scanpix ZUMAPRESS

Palestinians and supporters around the world are demanding that US musicians cancel upcoming shows in Tel Aviv this month and refuse to help Israel artwash apartheid.

Pop star Christina Aguilera is scheduled to perform on 10 August at Live Park, an arena located in a neighborhood “built partly over the ruins of the ethnically cleansed Palestinian villages of al-Safiriyya, Sarafand al-Amar and Bayt Dajan,” according to the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI).

More than 12,000 fans around the world have signed a petition, organized by the US-based Adalah Justice Project, calling on the singer to cancel her show.
Activists hand-delivered the signed petition to Aguilera’s production company in New York City last week.
Israeli media have reported that a former Israeli soldier, Eden Ben Zaken, will join Aguilera on stage during her concert.

Ben Zaken has lent her music and fame for military propaganda. A video for one of her hit songs features her performing alongside Israeli soldiers who have disabilities, portraying the apartheid state’s army as joyful, liberal and inclusive.

This propaganda serves to whitewash the Israeli military’s crimes, especially how it has deliberately targeted Palestinian civilians causing thousands of serious injuries and permanent disabilities – and then obstructed their medical care and rehabilitation.

In July, activists with Jewish Voice for Peace in New York protested Aguilera’s scheduled Tel Aviv performance.

“By choosing to perform in the apartheid state, @xtina will be crossing a picket line and ignoring the call for artists to boycott Israel until Palestinians have justice, equity, and freedom,” the group stated.

Meanwhile, the band Imagine Dragons is coming under pressure to cancel their 29 August concert at a venue on the ruins of Jarisha, which was ethnically cleansed in 1948 by Zionist militias.
“Palestinians recognize and applaud Imagine Dragons’ vocal advocacy for the rights of LGBTQ+ people,” PACBI states.

“At the same time we deeply appreciate the many queer artists and allies who have supported our peaceful movement, including opposing Israel’s pinkwashing.”

Pinkwashing is the term that aims to falsely present Tel Aviv as a safe place for Palestinians who seek same-sex relationships, while exaggerating or lying about dangers they face in their own society.

The strategy is typically aimed at Western liberal audiences.


Nora Barrows-Friedman

Nora Barrows-Friedman's picture

Nora Barrows-Friedman is a staff writer and associate editor at The Electronic Intifada, and is the author of In Our Power: US Students Organize for Justice in Palestine (Just World Books, 2014).