Two time Grammy winner Cassandra Wilson was due to headline the the Holon International Women’s Festival in apartheid Israel from 22nd to 25th February, but cancelled on 21st stating: “As a human rights activist I identify with the cultural boycott of Israel”.
There had been online efforts on Twitter to talk to Cassandra and show her the true nature of the apartheid state and the importance of the Palestinian call for BDS. Israeli group Boycott from Within sent this letter to Cassandra asking her to cancel. Cassandra Wilson, Please do not support selective empowerment of women under Israeli apartheid
You can thank Cassandra for her courage and integrity in supporting equality for the Palestinian people at her Twitter account @reallycassandra or Contact her here.
Reaction from the festival organisers has been ugly with them threatening to sue and a report in Haaretz claiming that music promoters are to introduce cancellation clauses into contracts with artists due to play Israel. This move is yet another to shut down freedom of speech and of action from apartheid Israel as it stipulates: “that the artist is aware of possible political pressure to cancel their appearance.” It is also indicative of the increasing success of BDS, particularly in the cultural arena, and its threat to the fallacy that Israel is a democratic state. Every artist that cancels or refuses to play there makes the struggle against apartheid that bit more winnable.
In 2012 already the tUnE-yArDs, Cat Power and The Pains of Being Pure at Heart have cancelled their dates in apartheid Israel, all of them citing political reasons. It’s a great start to the year, a great turn for justice for Palestine. We can only hope it inspires more artists to act in good conscience and not to play in apartheid Israel, artists like the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Guns N’ Roses.
Cassandra Wilson has had some great support on Twitter and some rotten racism from the supporters of apartheid too. See below, click on images to enlarge.
The beat drops when the wall falls! One world, one love.