Kate Tempest .
(photo credit: FACEBOOK SCREENSHOT)
British rapper Kate Tempest on Wednesday pulled the plug on her October 6 concert in Berlin citing “personal threats,” which may be linked to her anti-Israel views.
The German theatre Volksbühne, which financed and organized the event, wrote The Jerusalem Post by email that the singer’s management said: “We have continued to receive personal threats via email and over social media and this is not a conducive environment in which to present our concert. Kate does not want to perform in such an aggressive atmosphere and I do not want to take a further risk with her mental health or potentially our team’s safety.”
It remains unclear whether or not threats were in fact made and what the nature of said threats was. It is also unknown if Berlin Mayor Michael Müller played a role in Tempest’s decision, in light of his pledge in September that the city would not subsidize BDS activities.
The German Jewish weekly Jüdische Allgemeine
urged Müller last week to cancel Tempest’s appearance because of city funding for the concert.
Tempest was among 1,220 signatories of a 2015 petition by the network “Artists for Palestine UK” in support of the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) campaign targeting the Jewish state.
She was also among the artists who boycotted Berlin’s Pop-Kultur festival in August because the Israeli embassy was among the organizers of the event, the German public broadcaster Deutsche Welle reported.
Tempest wrote on her Facebook page that she is of Jewish descent.
After an investigative series in the Post about widespread BDS and anti-Israel activity in Berlin, Müller said in September: “BDS stands with antisemitic signs in front of Berlin businesses. Those are intolerable methods from the Nazi period. We will do everything possible to withdraw money and space for BDS’s anti-Israel incitement.”
The mayor had been under fire for months for his inaction on BDS. Müller said in response that he would “continue to make clear his position regarding Israel and against antisemitism and racism in my city government.”
The city of Berlin provided €3 million to the Volksbühne in 2016-2017. Post email queries to Müller were not immediately returned.
Johannes Ehmann, a spokesman for Volksbühne, said Tempest is not a “hater of Israel and is not a BDS singer.”
He asked where, aside from the 2015 petition, is there proof that she supports BDS and hates Israel.
“I very much regret that Kate Tempest decided not to perform in Berlin. That is a huge disappointment for us and the many patrons who were looking forward to the concert,” said Volksbühne director Chris Dercon.
“While I can understand her unease in this situation, I wish that the artist would have opened up a dialogue with the audience. That’s why we make art,” he said.
Major German cities, including Berlin, Frankfurt and Munich, are implementing laws and policies to ban funds and space for BDS activities because it is widely viewed as an antisemitic campaign.