The metal band Arch Enemy is scheduled to play apartheid Israel on 24th January, following their Khaos Over Europe Tour in conjunction with Amnesty International’s freedom of expression campaign.
While Arch Enemy play for ‘Freedom of Expression’, those who speak out in non-violent protest are targeted by Israel for example: Israel urged to lift Al-Haq director’s travel ban and there are many Palestinian political prisoners of conscience detained in military prisons without trial or charge. Addameer. Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association
The BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) group Don’t Play Apartheid Israel (DPAI) created a Facebok page to support the Palestinian call for BDS and to try to persuade Arch Enemy to cancel the gig, in support of the oppressed Palestinian people.
PACBI (Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel) issued a very strong plea for Arch Enemy not toplay apartheid Israel.
“Today, Palestinian civil society groups are calling on artists to shun Tel Aviv in the same way that South African activists called on artists to boycott Sun City. All we are asking is for you to refrain from crossing a picket line called by Palestinian society, endorsed by international organizations, and increasingly supported by progressive-Israelis . Palestinian civil society is asking this of you as the most essential contribution to their struggle to achieve peace and justice. They are calling for nothing short of revolution, rebellion, and freedom, as echoed in the slogan of the BDS movement for Freedom, Equality and Justice. ”
While espousing freedom of speech, Arch Enemy engaged in censorship and deleted all posts which asked them to refrain from playing in Israel and urged them to listen to and really hear the Palestinian people from their official FB page.
On Saturday 3rd December, Angela Gossow from Arch Enemy posted this on the BDS Facebook page, as well as the USACBI page:
Arch Angela “if the constant threat, bullying and slander of arch enemy via email and online does not stop immediately, we will publish some of the threats we have recceived from your supporters, where they claim they will come to some of our shows and threaten to attack us, both verbally and physically.
i am making amnesty international aware of your criminal methods and your breach of freedom of choice, freedom of expression and freedom of art. it is up to us (and only us!) to chose in which countries we perform and bring our message to. it is NOT yours to tell us what to do and to force your will upon us. you are hurting our rights of freedom and you make us fear for our safety. SHAME ON YOU! Music should transcend all races, political issues and borders – we will not be instrumentalised, neither by you or any other organization or government. who are you to tell us what to do?!“
There were absolutely no threats made against Arch Enemy by BDS campaigners, rather attempts to highlight the terrible injustices that Israel subjects the Palestinians to and efforts to get the band to live up to its talk of freedom and equality and not to endorse a state which occupies, dispossesses and imprisons a people.
Today, further posts were removed from the Arch Enemy page, giving the lie to their claims of: “End repression. Allow expression!”
So, if Arch Enemy believe in freedom of expression, why do they engage in censorship? If they think there is nothing wrong in ignoring the Palestinians and playing in apartheid Israel, why not engage in discussion?