Thurston Moore Declares Support of Israel Boycott
Former Sonic Youth guitarist Thurston Moore has opened up about his recent cancelation of a concert in Tel Aviv, Israel, and expressed his support of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Movement.
In a piece for the Quietus, English-Palestinian musician Samir Eskanda discusses his own support for the the BDS Movement, which seeks to place pressure on Israel in hopes of changing the country’s treatment of Palestinians and its practices in occupied territories.
Eskanda reached out to artists who have taken a pledge in support of the movement, which states that signees will “accept neither professional invitations to Israel, nor funding, from any institution linked to its government until it complies with international law and universal principles of human rights.”
One of those artists was Thurston Moore, who canceled a concert in Tel Aviv earlier this year without explanation. Now, in his conversation with Eskanda, he reveals that he did so as an act of “empowerment through choice of non-violent activism" and as a means of “exposing a reality of brutal human rights violations.” Read his entire statement below:
Since it was founded in 2005 I have honored the Palestinian BDS call by not accepting offers to perform in Israel, though all the while having the inherent belief in the importance of bringing music, art, education (love) to friends. With cursory knowledge of the boycott's principles and not exactly concurring with the aspects of requesting certain limitations on cultural exchange I reconsidered and accepted a kind offer from promoters in Tel Aviv (as announced for April 2015).
It was with serious deliberation that I eventually arrived at the personal conclusion that to perform with my band in Israel was in direct conflict to my values. With the realization that a cultural and academic boycott is central to its purpose in exposing a reality of brutal human rights violations – including those accompanying Israel's discriminatory laws and occupation of the West Bank - I felt the need, with humility, to cancel the engagement.
Subsequently the choice to play in Tel Aviv, while a boycott based on principles of non-violence exists, initiated for me an active study and contemplation in which emerged an enlightenment of personal judgment. This is in admiration to the fans, friends and neighbors who have engaged me in discussing the complicity of crossing this very real line of protest.
With apology and thanks to everyone I work with professionally, as this decision incurs difficult rectification, and to every individual with a wish to hear us play live, I've made the decision, with certitude, to fully acknowledge the dedication of the boycott until the time comes for it to be unnecessary.
When Sonic Youth played Tel Aviv in 1996 it was an amazing, wonderful experience and education. I hope to return soon."
Moore joins other BDS supporters including Brian Eno, Robert Wyatt, Jarvis Cocker and more. Douglas Hart -- formerly of the Jesus and Mary Chain -- has also backed the BDS Movement, telling Eskanda:
Who in their right mind would have performed in South Africa during the Apartheid era? However you wish to term what is happening to Palestinians at the hands of the Israeli state, or whether you agree or disagree with the parallels between apartheid South Africa and Israel's occupation of Palestine, you can't deny the abject suffering of the Palestinian people, and the obscene iniquity between the quality of lives of Palestinians and Israelis. We have to do anything we can to change it.