Slew of British musicians join BDS movement

Portishead, Wolf Alice and Shame call to boycott "brutal occupation."

May 23, 2018 14:58
3 minute read.
FILE PHOTO: British rock star Roger Waters walks along the Israeli barrier in Bethlehem

FILE PHOTO: British rock star Roger Waters walks along the Israeli barrier in the West Bank city of Bethlehem. (photo credit: REUTERS/AHMAD MEZHIR/FILE PHOTO)


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A number of British musicians and bands announced their support for the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement against Israel this week.

In a coordinated push by the Artists for Palestine UK group, several musical acts expressed support for BDS on social media on Tuesday, including Portishead, Wolf Alice and Shame.

The groups all shared the same text on either Instagram or Twitter to their hundreds of thousands of fans.

“As long as the Israeli government commits war crimes against the Palestinian people we support their call for a boycott of Israel as a means of peaceful protest against the brutal occupation,” the text read.

Portishead, the long-running rock group from Bristol, has released three albums, the most recent in 2008. Wolf Alice is a Grammy-nominated alternative rock band that has released two albums. Shame released its debut album earlier this year to critical acclaim.
Other British acts also took part in the online demonstration, posting the same text on social media, including Irish singer SOAK, punk duo Slaves, indie rock group Circa Waves and British singer-songwriter Declan McKenna.

Artists in the UK often face pressure from the organized BDS movement, in particular from former Pink Floyd frontman Roger Waters.

Waters posted the same statement on Twitter on Tuesday, writing that after his show in Lisbon on Monday night, “a lot of the local Portuguese load-out crew were wearing Palestine solidarity T-shirts. We maybe at a tipping point, In sorrow and in rage. We shall overcome!” Many prominent British artists have appeared in Israel over the years, often facing a public war of words with Rogers. Last year, both Radiohead and Nick Cave performed in Tel Aviv, and both vociferously shot down the criticism aimed at them from Waters and his supporters.

The British indie rock band alt-J will be performing at the Rishon Lezion Live Park next week. When they were last here in 2015, the group added a second show after it sold out so quickly. Three years ago, the band faced months of unsuccessful lobbying from the BDS movement. But it does not appear to be targeted in the same way this year.

Other British acts who are appearing in Israel this summer include singer Jessie Ware, comedian Jimmy Carr, punk rockers The Stranglers, electro- pop group Clean Bandit and, of course, former Beatles drummer Ringo Starr.

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