79 Artists, Academics, and Producers Condemn Ruhrtriennale Censorship against BDS Supporters

The German festival Ruhrtriennale censored Scottish band Young Fathers over their support for BDS. (Photo: via Facebook)

Massive Attack, Patti Smith, Danny Glover, and Viggo Mortensen were among the 79 international artists, writers, and producers who condemned the German arts and music festival Ruhrtriennale’s attempt to censor Scottish band Young Fathers over their support for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement for Palestinian human rights.

The letter published in The Guardian reads:

“We are disturbed by attempts in Germany to impose political conditions on artists supporting Palestinian human rights. We are glad that the international outcry has convinced the Ruhrtriennale arts festival to reverse its repressive decision to cancel a performance by the Young Fathers.”

The band’s concert was canceled in mid-June after refusing to heed a request by the festival organizers who had asked the band to distance themselves from the BDS movement.

Stefanie Carp, the festival’s artistic director, said in a press release June 13 that:

“The Ruhrtriennale distances itself in all forms from the BDS movement and wishes to have absolutely no connection with the campaign.”

The band responded saying Carp’s decision was “wrong and deeply unfair.”

Shortly after, international support for the band by renowned artists like Roger Waters, Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore, and Brian Eno was made public and the band was re-invited to the festival.

The public letter signed also by academics, including Judith Butler,  Noam Chomsky, Angela Davis, Naomi Klein, and Israeli historian Ilan Pappe warned that “conflating nonviolent measures to end Israel’s illegal occupation and human rights violations with anti-Jewish racism is false and dangerous.”

The letter concluded in an open defense of the BDS movement:

“While we may hold diverse views on BDS, we are united in considering it a lawful exercise of freedom of expression(, they) have been used worldwide, including against apartheid in South Africa and the Jim Crow segregation laws in the US.”

(TeleSur, PC, Social Media)

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