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August 14, 2016 6:04 am

Popular Senegalese Musician Baaba Maal Pressured by BDS-ers to Cancel Israel Concert

avatar by Lea Speyer

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Popular Senegalese musician Baaba Maal. Photo: Skoll World Forum.

Popular Senegalese musician Baaba Maal. Photo: Skoll World Forum.

An organization aligned with the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement is pressuring a popular Senegalese musician not to perform in Israel next month.

Artists for Palestine UK (APUK) — a self-described “network of artists, cultural workers and activists” which accuses the Jewish state of orchestrating a “campaign to exploit culture as a diplomatic weapon” — is calling on Babba Maal to cancel his concert in Jerusalem in September.

As part of an organized move against Maal, APUK handed out leaflets on July 30 to British concertgoers attending a music festival featuring Maal. On the flier, APUK compared Israel to “South African apartheid.”

The move came several days after APUK — which says it is working with other BDS activists in France, Senegal and Israel — issued an open letter to Maal, which stated in part:

Dear Baaba Maal,

People who love and respect your work are finding it hard to understand that you have agreed to perform in the Old City of Jerusalem — which is under Israeli military occupation — in September this year…

You will know that the millions of Palestinians who live as refugees in Lebanon, Jordan, Syria and elsewhere cannot fly to their homeland. Israel denies their rights as the indigenous inhabitants of the land and will not let them in, even for a brief visit. For these people, Jerusalem — where you will sing — exists in prayer and aspiration only: the city is closed to them. And it’s mostly closed to the nearly five million Palestinians who live under occupation and siege in the West Bank and Gaza; Israel does not generally allow them to enter either…

By agreeing to appear in a city which is under illegal occupation, whose indigenous inhabitants continue to be under pressure to leave, you are giving consolation to the state responsible for the dispersal and the Occupation, and its international supporters…

Your presence on the bill for September is being widely used to promote the festival. We think you’re lending your credibility as a musician and a human rights activist to a sophisticated public relations exercise aimed at making an occupied city appear to be a haven of multiculturalism. Do you really want to do that?

APUK’s pressure is a common tactic employed by the BDS movement. Artists such as Alicia Keys, Scarlett Johansson and Carlos Santana have been targeted by the movement for their support of Israel.

One of the most outspoken supporters of the BDS movement — and who actively pressures other artists not to perform in Israel, which he has called an “apartheid regime” —  is former Pink Floyd bassist Roger Waters. Waters also openly criticizes musicians — such as Matisyahu, Jon Bon Jovi and the Rolling Stones — and takes credit for the cancellation of a performance by Stevie Wonder at a 2012 Friends of the IDF gala.

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  • Hammersmith

    Or does it?

  • diane

    OHHH give me a break, I hope he can be a man and stand up against these anti Israel haters. Also the rest of these musicians and stars, I do not see these hypocrites stand up against all the terrorist, the killings in France,US twin towers,Florida, Germany etc I can go on and on what they are. Wake up you sympathetic nuts, do you not see all the kidnapping of children sold and being abused as sex slaves all the women are being raped along with selling young boys and using they as sex slaves by the sadistic f… sickos
    chopping off peoples heads for not conforming to their believes Wake Up, why don’t you people read about the truth, I do not see the Jewish people doing this to other fellow human beings and when they do its only for defense against all those nuts that come against just a small little state. I don’t see Iran, Iraq,Jordan,Egypt,
    and others offering open doors to supposedly some of these refugees. If Israel allows them in how may more Isis and terrorist will be trying to enter and destroy this small state, do you people forget they hate the Jewish people and all of you are starting to fall into their hater gang of sickos. Also my father also was a war hero and prisoner of war in Germany he fought to free all you ungrateful sickos. Wake up it’s starting all over again blame the Jews because you do not want to learn the truth and close your eyes to all the lies, that is so easy to do instead of really learning the facts.

  • John Donley

    There are idealistic people on both sides of this argument. The universality of music and literature and the ability of each to enlighten and educate people should not be used as a weapon of division. Do not count Roger Waters among those of high moral conscience. He is a thief of words and a liar. His great work of “The Wall” was initiated and perpetrated as a fraud. He plagiarized verse throughout his composition and has lied about it for almost forty years. For you BDS supporters, he is a spokesman with a black mark his face. His narcissistic bluster is only a mask to cover his lying past.

  • The statements of the BDS are totally untrue. I am sorry that Baba Maal believes them. The world of free men will not benefit from the hatred that BDS vomits out.

  • Mireille Mechoullam

    I hope he won’t fall for the Trap.

    None of the above enterrtainers listen to the BDS garbage.

    I hope you also won’t.

  • Roger Water’s father was killed on the beaches of Anzio as the troops he was with would ultimately liberate the Nazi concentration camps. Roger Waters’ blatant antisemitism desecrates his father’s sacrifice.

    • Hammersmith

      Or does it?

  • Tammy emanuel

    BDS is an immoral organisation. It lies about Israel. Nothing it claims is true.
    Many south Africans have said that they have been in Israel and saw for themselves that there is no apparthaid at all. Moreover – claiming so is an insult to the apparthaid they suffered. They are offended by this claim.
    BDS members simply want to glorify themselves and find that picking on Israel is an excelent option. It arouses all the hidden antisemitism so many have. Now antisemitism finds a so called “justification”.
    BDS thrives on hatred. It is a movement of cowards and hyporits. BDS members refuse to look into their own selves and are happy to find Israel as their scapegoat.