German music festival demands band Young Fathers reject BDS

"We approached the Young Fathers, in order to also receive an unambiguous disassociation from every form of antisemitism and racism,” event organizers stated.

June 9, 2018 19:53
1 minute read.
Manifestants pro-BDS à Berlin

BDS activists in Berlin. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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The music and arts festival Ruhrtriennale has called on the Scottish band Young Fathers to withdraw its support for the boycott, divestment, sanctions (BDS) campaign targeting Israel ahead of the band’s slated appearance in August.

The Ruhrtriennale wrote in a Facebook post on Thursday that it “expressly distances itself from the ‘Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions’ campaign and its direct or indirect goals. We approached the Young Fathers, in order to also receive an unambiguous disassociation from every form of antisemitism and racism.”

If Young Fathers refuses to reject BDS, it is unclear if the Ruhrtriennale – which is located in the city of Bochum in the Ruhr region in West Germany – will disinvite the band. Young Fathers pulled out of the 2017 Berlin-based Pop-Kultur festival because the Israeli Embassy sponsored an artist from Israel with a 500-euro donation.

The band wrote at the time: “Young Fathers have a long history of opposing any form of hatred, including racism and antisemitism, and we support the principle of a peaceful solution that allows Palestinians the right to return to a safe homeland and that allows Israelis and Palestinians of all faiths (and none) to live together in peace. This is a very tiny act on our behalf in the grand scale of things but one we still believe is worth it.”

The Ruhrbarone website first broke the story about Young Fathers and Ruhrtriennale’s opposition to BDS. According to Ruhrbarone, “In the past, the band [Young Fathers] participated many times in the antisemitic action group [BDS], whose goal is the scientific and cultural isolation of Israel.”

Young Fathers urged the band Radiohead to not play in Israel. Radiohead, however, rejected the BDS campaign and performed in Israel. In May and June, two German state intelligence agency reports defined BDS as antisemitic.

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