Berlin festival is hit by anti-Israel boycott

Berlin festival is hit by anti-Israel boycott


norman lebrecht

August 16, 2018

From Deutsche Welle:

After the (Israeli) embassy awarded three Israeli artists 1,200 € towards their travel and accommodation costs, the BDS movement — a global campaign to boycott Israeli products and services — demanded a boycott of the Pop-Kultur music and arts festival.

US musician John Maus, Scottish singer-songwriter Alun Woodward, English musician Nadine Shah and her countryman Richard Dawson, the post-punk trio Shopping, and Welsh artist Gwenno seem to have heeded the call. They’ve cancelled their appearances at Pop-Kultur, justifying their decision with the current political situation involving Israel and the Palestinian territories.

Read on here.


  • James says:

    Disgusting behaviour, anti-Semitic (in its effect if not in its intent, and I suspect that in some cases that may well have been the intent). Do they ever protest government support of the arts by any other country, let alone ones who have far worse records on many fronts (China? Russia? Even France? Even the US? South Africa? Let alone any of the Arab states).

    • A Japanese viewer says:

      It surely appears anti-Israel but hardly anti-Semitic. Sensible readers would not mix the two up.

    • Mike Schachter says:

      The Arab states have mostly little or no culture to boycott

      • ED says:

        WOW. Your ignorance, sir, is staggering. I pity you.

        • Mike Schachter says:

          How kind. Perhaps you could list for us recent contributions of Arab nations to world culture. The usual response is how wonderful they were 600 years ago. And now?

        • James says:

          Yes, some of the Arab states – particularly the ones worried about the days of oil ending – are pouring money into culture. Although they do tend to import European culture more than export their own, but depends in what – Iran has a big film scene these days, for instance and a lot of the Arab states are investing in theatre. Actually, Arabic music is very big in Israel (not least because of the million Jews who came from the Arab states in 1948, as well of course as the indigenous Arabs there). But I digress…

          • Tamino says:

            Iran is not an Arab country, and that you don’t know that shows how very ignorant and uninformed your world view is.

          • Sharon says:

            Oman has made a huge investment in western classical music; possibly because it was an interest of the sultan

        • esfir ross says:

          Good reply to Judo-Nazi

    • SVM says:

      Whilst I happen to disagree with this boycott, it is utterly absurd to describe it as “anti-Semitic”. The objection is framed in terms of what the boycotters regard as an unethical source of funding. Antisemitism, by contrast, is framed in terms of religion and/or ethnicity. Criticising the actions of the Israeli government (many of which are deeply unethical, and even illegal under international law… as are many actions of the UK government, to the extent that I am ashamed to be a British citizen) is *not* antisemitic.

      • Mike Schachter says:

        It can be “framed” how you like, it is still anti-Semitic

        • V.Lind says:

          Is Israel beyond criticism, then? I would like to know, for while I do not feel remotely anti-semitic, I sometimes have pause over certain Israeli government actions. I would just like to know.

          • Mike Schachter says:

            No but as others have noted the BDS fanatics focus on it exclusively. Why would that be/

          • Michael says:

            Criticizing Israel is not anti-semitic. Singling out Israel among every nation in the world for boycott is. Calling for the end of Israel, as BDS does, certainly is.

        • Eli S. says:

          Wrong. Huge difference between anti-Semitic (against a people) and anti-Israel (against a state) deemed oppressive. Plenty of Jews out there who are against Israel’s treatment of Palestinians.

      • Scotty says:

        The BDS movement calls for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions against the least repressive government in the Middle East. It is no coincidence that this is the Jewish State. For BDS to credibly distance itself from anti-semitism, it would need to broaden its movement to include, at the very least, Syria, Libya, and Saudi Arabia.

        • Von Schneider says:

          That’s an absurd statement. BDS doesn’t have to denounce every discriminatory and illegal act of state in the world in order to gain legitimacy.

          The notion that ‘other nations are worse, so Israel is beyond reproach’ is also ridiculous. Israel is a democracy, well-funded, and predicated upon Judea-Christian values. That is EXACTLY why we should demand so much of Israel and EXACTLY why its treatment of Israeli Arab minorities and continued illegal annexations is so troubling. Saudi and other states are worse in most ways, as you rightly point out, but we expect they would be for obvious reasons.

          Lastly, please stop peddling this lie that any criticism of Israel is the same as anti-Semitism. You know that is a gross simplification, you are using it as a scape goat, and neither you nor anyone else should be allowed to get away with it.

          I can only presume we both want Israel to stay Jewish and democratic. I certainly do. The only way for that to happen is for Israel to give up the notion that it can ever incorporate Judea and Samaria into Israel proper, demolish all its illegal settlements, and assist in carving out a viable Palestinian state on the West Bank with Jerusalem as a shared ‘free city’.

          • Scotty says:

            Are saying that we should expect more of Israel because it’s not a Muslim state?

          • Scotty says:

            “are YOU saying”

          • Tamino says:

            Scotty, let’s keep it simple for you:
            if your neighbor beats his wife, should you beat your wife too?
            If your neighbor beats his wife, does that give you the right to incorporate his garden into yours?

          • Michael says:

            Von Schneider, Israel has offered the Palestinians a state in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) on several occasions, from the Oslo Accords to the Camp David Summit. The Palestinians rejected each time and instead began several intifadas. Israel would withdraw from the West Bank immediately if they believed it would lead to peace. Which is indeed what they did in Gaza (and began to do in the West Bank) in 2005, and were rewarded with increased warfare. Unfortunately, the Palestinians don’t want a state in the West Bank. They want a state in Israel proper.

      • Tamino says:

        SVM, don’t try to argue with Mike. People like him are totally immune to logic and reason. It’s a sad state of being for a human, self defined by hatred and hatred again.

  • jan neckers says:

    Nobody ever protests against the occupation of part of the European Union by a racist, sexist and criminal muslim state. In 1974 the northern part of Cyprus was occupied at the cost of 3.000 lives. Only the rogue state Turkey recognizes the government of its satellite. For decades now Turkey has promoted illegal migration and illegal settlements in this part of the EU. and all over the world politically correct swindlers shut up.

  • Edgar says:

    Artists can decide freely whether to attend or not. That is their freedom, and they exercise that right. This has to do with anti-Zionism. Anti-Zionism is NOT the same as anti-Semitism.

    Of course, the greatest anti-Semitism manufarturer on the planet, occupying the Prime Minister’s office in Jerusalem, has a vital interest in keeping the conflagration between these two alive and growing. Which, ultimately, will harm not only the State of Israel, and not only Jews worldwide, but the entire world and all who live in it.

    I personally think the BDS movement has it wrong: as the result of its actions there will be Palestinians who will lose their jobs, not only Israeli workers.

    Again it cannot be stated clearly enough: anti-Zionism is NOT the same as anti-Semitism. The inflationary use of the word “anti-Semitism” is a veritable boon for real anti-Semites everywhere, who have never disappeared, but have become much more “salonfähig” than ever since WW II.

    • Scotty says:

      Certainly it is possible, as I do, to abhor both the policies of Israel’s current rightwing government and the BDS movement. The question above is whether much of the BDS movement is driven by anti-Semitism. I believe it is. VON SCHNEIDER, above, appears to argue that BDS is driven by pro-Semitism, by people who expect more of Israel because it is a Western (it’s not) democracy (it is) than of its Eastern, non-democratic neighbors. Is the theory that democratic countries should be held to account for their actions and others shouldn’t? What are the origins of a boycott of a democracy some of whose neighbors are violent dictatorships? Did the founders of BDS really think to themselves “a democracy should set an example” or did they think “what are those Jews doing now?”

  • luigi nonono says:

    Attempting to separate anti-Israel sentiment from anti-Semitic intent is in itself anti-Semitic and ignorant. Attacks on Israel are attacks on the entire Jewish people.

    • Tamino says:

      You can believe that as much as you want, but it is not so.
      You sound like a Mafioso speaking.
      “You insult my little brother Mario, you insult my whole family!”