Brazilian music sensation lashes out at BDS movement's call to cancel concert

"I will never abandon my public," he said, according to the Portuguese Rolling Stones. “Every artist should go where the people are, shouldn’t they?"

July 2, 2019 19:11
3 minute read.
Brazilian music sensation lashes out at BDS movement's call to cancel concert

Brazilian musician Milton Nascimento. (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)


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Brazilian music sensation Milton Nascimento, know for his unique style of incorporating samba, jazz, pop and heavy metal into his sets, admonished BDS activists calling for him to cancel his concert in Tel Aviv on Sunday.

Nascimento, who started recording in the 1960s is a major figure and still revered by the many citizens of Brazil as a musical icon.

"I will never abandon my public," he said, according to the Portuguese Rolling Stones. “Every artist should go where the people are, shouldn’t they? Even if I disagree with the ideas of a government, I will never abandon my audience.”

Major BDS activist and famous Pink Floyd front-man Roger Waters called on Nascimento to not perform in Tel Aviv, as he has done so many times in the past - most recently with Madonna performing at the Eurovision Contest that was held in Israel earlier this year.

In addition, a Palestinian advocacy organization wrote to the artist, "Your legacy of political rebellion, consistently speaking up for human rights and for justice, will be undermined by performing in an apartheid state that denies millions of indigenous Palestinians our basic rights.”

Nascimento further explained that his show was organized by a Brazilian company, so therefore, any accusation that he is contributing to "Israeli apartheid" is unfounded.

"This show does NOT have any incentive from the Israeli government, much less from the Israeli army. It's my Israeli fans who brought me here, and a lot of these fans are Brazilians living in Israel," he wrote.

The Brazilian artist compared the situation in his home country to the one in Israel, claiming that music is a powerful way to connect as well as speak up about important political issues, we may or may not agree with.

"During the Brazilian military dictatorship, I never stopped playing in my country, so why would I stop playing now, why would I stop sharing experiences of love and change while a far-right government happens in Brazil?," Nascimento said in a Facebook post.

"My music has already taken me to many places, some of which I never imagined. And I'm grateful for that. Very few times I declined an invitation," he said. "So, Why would I stop playing now? Why would you stop sharing experiences of love and change while an extreme right-wing government is taking place in Brazil?

"My question, which I leave here for the reflection of all: why should a people suffer retaliation for the political acts of its rulers? Should minorities continue to have no voice? For me, I repeat, the artist must go where the people are and today I am here to celebrate peace and everything that unites us. Live the love, live the music!," Nascimento concluded.

Roger Waters is known for making these types of grand gestures in order to stop artists from performing in Israel - and is known to be one of Israel's strongest critics.

The former Pink Floyd member, less than a week before the Eurovision Song Contest was to take place in Tel Aviv, vamped up his anti-Israel efforts, calling on the world to boycott the Eurovision Contest this year.

"If you believe in human rights... don't play in Tel Aviv," he published in a statement directed at Madonna.

Former Miss Iraq, Sarah Idan, took to Twitter to speak out against Waters's recent rhetoric, condemning his support of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

“An artist has power to inspire," wrote Idan. "Make sure you use your power for good and to bring people together. I never understood artists who boycott an entire country, you’re singing for people not for governments.”

Waters took to social media on Thursday afternoon to express his pride in a Swiss petition that demanded Eurovision "pull out of the finals in Tel Aviv," during which he compared Israelis to aliens, although "it's giving aliens a bad name."

Waters spoke of a conversation he had with BDS founder Omar Barghouti, who told him about the petition, which was signed by 136,000 Swiss people.

Last December, Waters responded to a Jerusalem Post article reporting that the UK Pink Floyd Experience will be performing in Israel, despite having previously canceled.

"I'm sorry you buckled boys, I could, and would, have helped you resist had you asked," Waters wrote on his Facebook page. He further explained that Israeli media is "trying to paint [him] as a wicked bully rather than a concerned human rights activist."

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