Dozens of DJs Endorse Palestinian Cultural Boycott of Israel
Dozens of DJs expressed support for cultural boycotts of Israel in recent days, under the hashtag #DJsForPalestine.
The initiative was endorsed on social media by various artists, labels, and producers primarily from Europe and the US, including Caribou, Nightwave, The Black Madonna, Four Tet, Object Blue, DEBONAIR, Rrose, Call Super, Pariah, Laurel Halo, Peder Mannerfelt, Kiernan Laveaux, DJ Haram, Lauren Flax, Viva Ruiz, Primo, The Stud Collective, DISCWOMAN, Habibi Funk, Ash Tre Jinkins, Djeka, Alanna Blair, Ratskin Records, Sacred Sound Club, and Violet.
The campaign’s supporters all shared a bright pink graphic with the message, “As long as the Israeli government continues its brutal and sustained oppression of the Palestinian people we respect their call for a boycott of Israel as a means of peaceful protest against the occupation.”
Several also posted explanations that explicitly denounced Zionism, the movement to reestablish a Jewish homeland in the Middle East.
Ben UFO — one of the more high-profile acts to subscribe to the boycott — said on Instagram said that he had once played at Tel Aviv in 2013, but has since decided to blacklist the country in an expression of solidarity with Palestinian civil society.
“[I’m] still really hopeful that one day i’ll be able to play in Israel again,” wrote the DJ, whose real name is Ben Thomson. “[To] those who ask why this boycott is selective and only applies to one state, I would say that if a comparable situation existed elsewhere in the world, and a boycott had been called by the affected oppressed class of people, then i would respect that too.”
The initiative was launched by supporters of the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel, after more than a dozen artists — including American singer Lana Del Rey — withdrew from the Meteor Festival in Tel Aviv in September under public pressure.
BDS describes itself as a non-violent movement that seeks to redefine Israel “as a pariah state” until it complies with several Palestinian demands. Critics accuse it of opposing the Jewish people’s right to national self-determination and aiming to replace Israel with a single Palestinian state, a goal embraced by senior BDS figures.
A number of artists who oppose the boycott shared a counter-graphic under the hashtag, including Germany-based DJs Neele and n.akin, which decried it for aiming to “polarize and split” while “doing practically nothing to benefit people that suffer under any kind of oppression.”
The Berlin club ://about blank also announced the cancellation of an event with Room 4 Resistance, a local collective, on the grounds of “serious political differences” after the latter endorsed the boycott campaign on Wednesday.
“[In] the specific historical context in which we locate ourselves politically within the german left, one-sided statements against and attacks on israel are unacceptable to us,” the club wrote in a statement. “[For] us, this sort of call to boycott signifies a demonization of israel that one-sidedly answers the question of guilt in the israel-palestine conflict at the expense of israel, and that dismisses, transfigures, or else glorifies as resistance the responsibility carried by palestinian agents.”
“[The] problem for us is not solidarity with people in gaza and the west bank, it is rather the one-dimensional recrimination of israel and the dismissal of hamas’ jihadist anti-semitism,” they continued.
They called the cultural boycott “an expression of structural anti-semitism” that conforms “to the fundamentally anti-semitic construction of the antizionist world-view,” and argued that “boycott campaigns renew the construction of the enemy stereotype, which we decidedly reject.”
The club later announced that while it maintains its disagreements with Room 4 Resistance, the two groups are engaged in meaningful dialogue “about what to do next. We are working towards a joint statement, which will be published in the coming weeks.”
The group Jewish Antifa Berlin responded to the controversy on social media on Monday, accusing ://about blank of “Islamophobia,” “deep racism,” and antisemitism for daring “to define antisemitism and label as antisemitic the many thousands of Jews who support” BDS.
Like other major Jewish communal bodies, the Central Council of Jews in Germany has actively opposed the BDS campaign, which the country’s ruling Christian Democratic Union party has recognized as antisemitic.