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Music industry boycott of Israel? Not so much

100s of musicians know better than to let BDS's noise prevent them from performances that unify people like nothing else

When we saw the article “Radiohead announce Israel gig despite industry boycott,” we at Creative Community For Peace (CCFP) — an organization comprised of prominent members of the entertainment industry dedicated to promoting the arts as a means to peace and to countering the attempted cultural boycott of Israel — couldn’t help but ask ourselves, “What industry boycott?”

Despite the many groups and individuals calling very loudly for a cultural boycott of Israel — as part of the strategy of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement to isolate Israel and ultimately eliminate it as the Jewish state — more than 800 international artists, from all corners of the industry, have performed in Israel over the last 5 years.

In 2016 alone, more than 230 international artists performed in the tiny country, including: The Chemical Brothers, Tiesto, Armin Van Buuren, Ricky Martin, Major Lazer, Queen and Adam Lambert, Eagles of Death Metal, Sia, Julian Marley, Carlos Santana, Joss Stone, Avicii, Tame Impala, Wiz Khalifa, Megadeath, Elton John, Deep Purple, Eroz Ramazzotti, Jason Derulo, Craig David, Donovan, Jethro Tull, Ibeyi, and Sean Paul, among many others.

And the list of big names who have scheduled shows in Israel in 2017 already includes Aerosmith, Guns N’ Roses, Rod Stewart, the Pixies, and, of course, Radiohead. More are sure to come, especially now that Live Nation has acquired a majority stake in the Israeli production company Bluestone to launch Ticketmaster Israel.

Though every one of these artists, and the hundreds of others who chose to perform in Israel, received pressure from BDS activists to cancel their shows — in the form of petitions, open letters, email campaigns, and especially barrages of inflammatory pressure on social media — they held firm and went ahead with their concerts.

Why? Because they know what we know; that music is the shared language of humanity. It transcends differences and brings us together in ways nothing else can. Musicians should never be held captive to a narrow and discriminatory political agenda, like that of the BDS movement.

Furthermore, the movement for a cultural boycott of Israel is, through its efforts to keep Israelis and Palestinians apart, anathema to a long desired and sorely needed peace. The misinformation and distortions the movement is built upon dampen hope for rational discourse. And, through the tactics of intimidation so often used by its proponents, the movement attempts to hamper artistic freedom. It is rightly rejected by the majority of the entertainment industry.

We are proud of our industry for continuing to build bridges and shun boycotts.

David Renzer
Co-Founder – Creative Community For Peace
Chairman – Spirit Music Group

Steve Schnur
Co-Founder – Creative Community For Peace
Worldwide Executive for Music – Electronic Arts (EA)

About the Author
Nick is the Editorial Associate and Analyst for Creative Community For Peace (CCFP), an organization comprised of prominent members of the entertainment industry devoted to promoting the arts as a means to peace and to countering the cultural boycott of Israel.
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