Palestinians are calling for a boycott of the German festival that disinvited American rapper Talib Kweli because of his support for BDS – the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement for Palestinian rights.
PACBI, the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, is now calling on other artists to cancel their performances to show solidarity with Kweli.
“Open Source Festival has demonstrated glaring complicity in Israel’s far-right regime of apartheid, ethnic cleansing, settler-colonialism and occupation, through its shameless attempt to shield Israel from criticism and accountability by censoring Talib Kweli over his anti-racist views,” PACBI stated.
Kweli’s performance was canceled after bloggers from the “Ruhrbarone” website urged organizers from the Open Source Festival to do so, according to PACBI.
The same blog “previously called for genocide against Palestinians in a now-deleted tweet,” PACBI added.
The artistic director of the Open Source Festival had emailed Kweli demanding the artist’s position on BDS and highlighting a resolution recently passed by Germany’s lower house of parliament, the Bundestag, equating the nonviolent movement with anti-Semitism.
Kweli posted a public response on his Facebook page, refusing to denounce BDS “for a check.”
“By lying and saying that BDS is an anti-Semitic movement, the German government is engaging in fascism and doing a disservice to the German people,” Kweli wrote.
“I would like to perform in Germany but I don’t need to. I’d rather be a decent human being and stand up for what’s right than censor myself and lie about BDS for a check.”
Following the cancellation, Israel deployed its official Act.IL smartphone app to attack Kweli on his Facebook posts, smearing him as “anti-Semitic.”
Another festival cancels
Kweli was disinvited from a second German music festival this month for similar reasons.
He was scheduled to perform on 10 July at the Feierwerk music festival in Munich.
“We are committed to refusing to provide BDS campaigners with our space because this campaign is considered anti-Semitic,” the festival spokesperson said.
Despite this, Feierwerk still lists Kweli as one of the festival’s performers as of this writing.
Bhad Bhabie canceled in Amman
Meanwhile, organizers in Jordan canceled the planned performance of American rapper Bhad Bhabie next month over her support for Israel.
The American rapper announced her date in Amman on Twitter, with another scheduled in Tel Aviv for the next day.
In the tweet, the artist asked her followers not to make “political” comments, adding that she is not interested in anyone’s opinion.
This indicates that she was aware her decision would be controversial given she would be crossing an international picket line set by Palestinian civil society against performing in Israel.
BDS Jordan and Etharrak, a group that opposes normalization with Israel, wrote a joint letter to the concert’s organizers demanding they cancel Bhad Bhabie’s performance.
The Pop Entertainment agency heeded the call and canceled the event “due to the artist’s recent statements that violate our values and the contract between us and the artist.”
BDS Jordan said that “this collective victory would not have been possible if we didn’t stand united in the face of cultural normalization, one of the most dangerous instruments penetrating our society.”