Some artists, authors, academics and celebrities from around the world are boycotting Israel. Singers, bands and actors are refusing to perform or canceling performances after international pressure or incidents they consider oppressive toward Palestinian people. Academics and authors are speaking out and pulling out of participation in forums for the same reasons.
One of the organizations encouraging a boycott is the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Movemen
t, which likens the ongoing Palestinian situation in Israel to the former oppressive policy of apartheid in South Africa. Another organization attempting to spark a boycott is the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel
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Some of the well-known names the two movements list as supporters of their efforts include:
1. Roger Waters:
The English base player and vocalist was a founding member of the group Pink Floyd and has also had a long solo career. He has spoken publically on many occasions in support of the BDS movement. BDS quoted Waters as saying,
“Since visiting Israel and the occupied territories in 2006, I have been part of an international movement to support the Palestinian people in their struggle for freedom, justice and equality.”
2. Alice Walker:
Best known for her award winning book “The Color Purple,” the author has become an activist for human rights. She has been vocal about Gaza rights and has called Israel an apartheid state. BDS says Walker, “reminded the world of the Rosa Parks-triggered and Martin Luther King-led boycott of a racist bus company in Montgomery, Alabama during the U.S. civil rights movement, calling for wide endorsement of BDS against Israel as a moral duty in solidarity with Palestinians.”
3. Archbishop Desmond Tutu:
A retired Anglican bishop who became famous during the South African fight against apartheid. Tutu reportedly said, “Just as we said during apartheid that it was inappropriate for international artists to perform in South Africa in a society founded on discriminatory laws and racial exclusivity, so it would be wrong for Cape Town Opera to perform in Israel.”
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4. Stephen Hawking:
The professor and physicist accepted an invitation to speak at a conference hosted by Israeli president Shimon Peres. PACBI touted this decision as Hawking’s official move to join the academic boycott of Israel. Hawking has visited Israel in the past.
5. John Berger:
The English novelist and painter, known for his work ”Ways of Seeing,” issued a 2006 letter calling on other cultural workers to endorse a boycott of Israel. The letter was signed
by 93 other cultural leaders and stated in part, “the situation of the Palestinians is worse than that of black South Africans under apartheid.” Meanwhile, Western governments point to Israel’s “legitimate right of self-defense” and continue to supply weapons to the nation.
6. Devendra Banhart:
The American folk singer pulled out of a scheduled concert in Israel after he said he felt the gig was being politicized. Banhart reportedly said, “It seems that we are being used to support views that are not our own.”
BDS also celebrates the actions of celebrities like Bono, US, Bjork, Jean-Luc Godard, Snoop Dogg, Elvis Costello, Gil Scott-Heron and Carlos Santana and Vanessa Paradis, who, though they did not cite political reasons, declined or cancelled opportunities to perform or speak in Israel.
PACBI cites support
from many other celebrities, including John Cusack, Madonna, Mia Farrow, Rihanna, and Rob Schneider, who have made statements in support of the Palestinian cause.
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