Israeli human rights groups have written to the president of Germany’s lower house condemning the Bundestag’s recent resolution equating BDS – the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement for Palestinian rights – with anti-Semitism.
The resolution “echoes the position of the government of Israel, which has been working hard to use false accusations of anti-Semitism to discredit the Palestinian struggle for freedom,” say the heads of B’Tselem, Gisha, Adalah, Physicians for Human Rights–Israel, Yesh Din, Breaking the Silence and HaMoked.
The groups note that while Israel is trying to demonize the nonviolent movement for Palestinian rights as anti-Semitic, it is “at the same time cynically associating itself with some of the most ultra-nationalist political parties in Europe, including ones with clear racist roots.”
The Israeli human rights groups accuse the German government of aiding Israel’s “unacceptable strategic goal” of maintaining “perpetual occupation over millions of Palestinians with no political rights, while silencing any form of opposition to this injustice.”
Solidarity with Talib Kweli
Meanwhile, more than 100 artists and cultural figures signed a letter this month in solidarity with American rapper Talib Kweli, who has been disinvited from three concerts in Germany over his support for BDS.
“Supporting a nonviolent struggle for freedom, justice and equality, for Palestinians or others, should never be conflated with bigotry. It’s a right. For many, it’s also a moral duty,” the letter states.
Kweli was disinvited from two other German venues in recent weeks for similar reasons.
Kweli’s criticism of Israel’s oppression of Palestinians began when he was scheduled to perform in Tel Aviv several years ago.
He was offered “10 times more than I usually get paid” but chose to skip the event after he learned about the boycott movement, he recently told the publication Uproxx.
“I wasn’t aware that there was a cultural boycott of Israel that was akin to the cultural boycott of South Africa in the 1980s,” Kweli said. “My parents participated heavily in the boycott of South Africa, they were very active in the anti-apartheid movement.”
“You know, how could I – in the face of Palestinians who live in Israel, as second-class citizens, telling me that they’re my fans, telling me they want to see me but asking me not to come – how can I say, ‘Well, I’m still going to come because my music is so powerful, it’s going to heal the world,’” Kweli said.
While he faced what he called “fierce” pushback from Palestine solidarity activists to cancel his gig, Kweli maintains that they were “respectful.”
“When I canceled the Israel show in solidarity with BDS, I got called n*****, and monkey, and all types of shit from these Zionist trolls, and it immediately made me feel like I’d made the right decision.”
Kweli said he was grateful to the artists who signed the letter supporting him.
Last year, Young Fathers had their show canceled by another German festival for refusing to renounce their support for Palestinian rights.
JLo don’t go
Israeli activists from the group Boycott from Within are urging pop star Jennifer Lopez to cancel her upcoming concert in Israel.
The activists point out how Lopez previously called for the people of Puerto Rico to be “treated equally,” but they note that “Palestinians, both citizens of Israel and disenfranchised subjects of the Israeli occupation, are not treated equally.”
“Unfortunately, whatever your intention is, Israel has already enlisted you in its service,” they tell Lopez.“Jennifer, we see you as a conscientious artist. Palestinians suffer from heinous, unabated violations to their rights, freedom and dignity. Please support them. Please Boycott Israel!”
Lopez is scheduled to perform in Tel Aviv on 1 August.