More than 900 artists have joined the #MusiciansForPalestine initiative, calling on their peers to add their names in “refusing to perform at Israel’s complicit cultural institutions.”
Among the signatories are FKA Twigs, Denzel Curry, Marianne Faithfull, Arca, Seun Kuti, UB40, Blonde Redhead, The Halluci Nation (formerly A Tribe Called Red), CocoRosie, Mélissa Laveaux, James Poyser of The Roots, John Gourley of Portugal. The Man, Bachar Mar Khalifé, Lido Pimienta, Zoë McPherson, Femdot, Majid Jordan, Redveil, Ana Tijoux, Anti-Flag, and Venus X.
The initiative was launched in May last year, after Israeli forces killed at least 243 Palestinians in Gaza and wounded at least 1900. 12 people in Israel were also killed by Palestinian armed groups. Last month, Israeli forces killed 47 Palestinians in Gaza, including at least 16 children.
Organizers with the collective added, “We believe that now, more than ever, is the time to respect the Palestinian peaceful picket line by declining invitations to events that are subsidised or sponsored by the Israeli state, its lobby groups or complicit cultural institutions. Such events can only legitimize Israeli apartheid policies.”
The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) was among those welcoming the initiative, saying in a statement, “Palestinians thank the hundreds of musicians endorsing our peaceful call to boycott apartheid Israel’s complicit cultural sector. Israeli music venues, festivals and concert promoters are deeply involved in artwashing Israel’s decades-long regime of military occupation, settler-colonialism and apartheid against Indigenous Palestinians.”
PACBI, a founding member of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, continued: “Principled artists once boycotted South Africa’s apartheid regime, refusing to play Sun City. #MusiciansForPalestine carry the torch for an inspiring new generation that is enacting meaningful international solidarity with global struggles for justice and dignity.”
The letter follows other statements from artists in support of Palestinian rights, including #DJsforPalestine, the Letter Against Apartheid and Queer Cinema for Palestine. The BDS movement was founded in 2005 and has three aims: the end to Israel’s military occupation; equality for Palestinians with Israeli citizenship; and the right to return for Palestinian refugees.