Band banned for boycott stand

Scottish group rejects festival request to withdraw support for boycott against Israel; Festival management: 'Want nothing to do with BDS'.

Mordechai Sones,

Empty bandstand
Empty bandstand

The organizers of the German Ruhrtriennale music festival confirmed in an official statement that the name of the successful Young Fathers hip-hop band has been removed from the festival's roster, reports Israel Hayom. The reason given for cancellation was the three band members' public support for the BDS organization and its boycott of Israel.

Festival organizers asked the band members to distance themselves from BDS (Boycott, Divest, Sanction). When the band chose not to do so, it was decided not to let them perform.

"We don't conclude the band members are anti-Semitic," said Stephanie Karp, artistic director of the festival. "I'd like to emphasize that criticism of the policy of the current Israeli government is not equivalent to anti-Semitism, but on the other hand, the festival disassociates itself from BDS and we have no desire to be identified with it. The band could have contributed a great deal to the musical tone of the festival."

In response to the performance's cancellation, the band members submitted the following response to Artists for Palestine UK: "We feel this is a wrong decision and absolutely unfair by the organizers of the festival who took this step and asked us to distance ourselves from the principles of human rights that we believe in. Those who know the band and its activities know that we are opposed to all forms of racial hatred and discrimination from time immemorial.

"We, like the BDS, will not tolerate any policy or action that encourages or promotes racism against blacks, Arabs, Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, sexism, xenophobia, or homophobia. In the hope of achieving a lasting and comprehensive peace that will allow Palestinian refugees to return to their lands and enable Israelis and Palestinians of all faiths to live together in peace."