This week the UK band, alt-J, performed at two sold out concerts in Israel.
This was not before they, like many other artists, were pressured by the BDS movement to cancel their tour.
The term apartheid was thrown around as if it was affixed to Israel’s name. “Don’t play Apartheid Israel,” “Don’t support apartheid Israel,” “apartheid Israel,” “apartheid Israel,” “apartheid Israel.”
Let’s be clear: Israel is Israel, there is no pronoun before it, no ‘united,’ no ‘republic’ and certainly no ‘apartheid.’
The adjective apartheid is also misplaced. All citizens of Israel, no matter what race, religion, or ethnicity, are free to vote freely, move freely, and speak freely.
The only thing Israeli citizens don’t seem to be free of is their government. This is not down to the Israeli government but rather the BDS movement who fail time and time again to differentiate between Israeli civilians and the Israeli government.
The Israeli government is not perfect, but which government is? The Israeli government are certainly not a government practicing apartheid. The Israeli people by extension are certainly not practicing apartheid. But why do I even have to use the term extension? The Israeli people and the Israeli government are two different entities. Can we not leave it at that?
Israeli civilians, and any civilian for that matter, should not be punished for their government’s actions. They should not be grouped as one.
Why do the BDS movement continue to try and punish innocent Israeli civilians because of their birthplace? I personally didn’t choose where I was born, did you?
One BDS supporter wrote the following on alt-J’s Facebook page:
“Your music is awesome, and I am a fan. Please, please reconsider your plan to play in Israel. This is an apartheid nation, responsible for so much suffering to the Palestinian people. Do the right thing and boycott.”
Apartheid nation? I didn’t realise Israel was a nation? Pretty sure it is a tiny country in the Middle East. Plus nation sounds all-encompassing when the government and its civilians are separate.
The post above, plus a considerable number of other posts on alt-J’s Facebook wall, draws alt-J into the conflict.
“Do the right thing,” “do something good,” “you obviously have no morals or conscience.”
Alt-J are not responsible for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict nor do they become responsible for it by playing in Israel. alt-J and all other bands/artists should not be subject to intimidation and pressure to boycott Israel.
Are all people who visit Israel void of morals and conscience? Are all Israelis immoral? This idea is absurd!
There is an Israeli-Palestinian conflict which cannot be denied. Hopefully this conflict will come to an end soon, with both sides living in peace side by side. The outside world should promote this peace and encourage dialogue and unity.
Music is unity. When people from all different walks of life step into a concert arena, they unite in sharing a love for the band and a passion for the music being played. They wave their hands in unison, leaving their conflict at the door.
Music demonstrates that peoples can coexist and highlights common interest rather than differences.
Why do we want to prevent this?
Prevent the boycott instead.