The Guardian JULY 3, 2019 - by Brian Eno & others


A hundred and three signatories including Peter Gabriel, Naomi Klein and Boots Riley condemn attempts in Germany to impose political conditions on artists who support Palestinian rights

We are shocked that the Open Source Festival in Düsseldorf has disinvited the black American rapper Talib Kweli, leading to the cancellation of his Germany tour, after he refused to denounce the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement for Palestinian rights. Attempts in Germany to impose political conditions on artists who support Palestinian rights, particularly targeting people of colour and queer artists, comprise a shameful trend of censorship, anti-Palestinian repression, and attacks on freedom of conscience.

We hold diverse views on BDS, but we concur with two hundred and forty Jewish and Israeli scholars who recently wrote that "the three main goals of BDS - ending the occupation, full equality to the Arab citizens of Israel and the right of return of Palestinian refugees - adhere to international law".

Dr Sara Roy of Harvard University, a leading Middle East scholar, recently addressed members of the German parliament: "I lost a large extended family to fascism and racism. By endorsing the motion that alleges that BDS is antisemitic - regardless of one's position on BDS - you are criminalising the right to free speech and dissent and those who choose to exercise it, which is exactly how fascism takes root. You also trivialise and dishonour the real meaning of antisemitism."

We firmly oppose all forms of racism and discrimination, including anti-blackness, antisemitism, Islamophobia, homophobia and sexism. We also agree with the two hundred Palestinian civil society organisations who responded to the Bundestag's declaration that equated BDS with bigotry: "Denying Palestinians the right to non-violently advocate for freedom, justice and equality is anti-Palestinian and puts the Bundestag at odds with international law, with universal democratic principles and even with the formal position of the European Union."

Supporting a nonviolent struggle for freedom, justice and equality, for Palestinians or others, should never be conflated with bigotry. It's a right. For many, it's also a moral duty.

Khalid Abdalla actor, filmmaker Tunde Adebimpe musician Aviad Albert musician, linguist Tariq Ali writer Nir Alon visual artist Monifa Bandele human rights activist David Banner musician, producer, actor, activist Daphna Baram comedian; director, Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions UK Ben UFO DJ The Black Madonna DJ, producer Nicholas Blincoe writer Judith Butler philosopher David Calder actor Iggor Cavalera musician Julie Christie actor Caryl Churchill playwright Ciel DJ, producer Scott Cohen music industry executive Ben Cook director, LUX Artists' Moving Image Molly Crabapple artist, writer Patrisse Cullors artist; co-founder, Black Lives Matter Liam Cunningham actor Selma Dabbagh writer Dror Dayan film-maker Laurence Dreyfus director, Phantasm Viol Consort Michael Eric Dyson author, minister, professor Theo Ellis musician Eve Ensler playwright, activist Brian Eno composer, producer Jodie Evans film producer Gareth Evans curator, producer Anat Even film-maker Chiara Figone Archive Books/Kabinet/Journal Saeed Taji Farouky film-maker Peter Gabriel musician, founder, Womad festival Tom Gilroy actor, director Jodie Ginsberg CEO, Index on Censorship Ariel Gold human rights activist Ohal Grietzer composer LisaGay Hamilton actor Marc Lamont Hill author, activist HowNosm street artists Chace Infinite artist, entrepreneur Oli Isaacs artist manager Aki Kaurismäki film director, screenwriter Brigid Keenan writer Reem Kelani singer, musicologist Robin Kelly historian, academic AL Kennedy writer Peter Kennard artist Steve Kettley musician, composer Naomi Klein writer Paul Laverty screenwriter Mason Leaver-Yap associate curator, KW Institute for Contemporary Art Mike Leigh writer, director Laima Leyton musician Ken Loach director Liz Lochhead poet, playwright Sabrina Mahfouz writer Jens Maier-Rothe curator, film producer Miriam Margolyes actor Kika Markham actor, writer Yann Martel writer Francesca Martinez comedian Ahmed Masoud writer, director Pauline Melville writer Avi Mograbi film-maker Jessica Care Moore poet, author, publisher Thurston Moore musician Tom Morello musician Ali Shaheed Muhammad rapper, producer, DJ Laura Mulvey film-maker, writer Joff Oddie musician Jonathan Ofir conductor Mutulu "M-1" Olugbala musician, activist David Oppenheim artist, musician Maxine Peake actor Cat Phillipps artist Danielle Alma Ravitzki musician, visual artist Boots Riley director, musician, activist Ben Ronen visual artist Rrose musician Mark Ruffalo actor Gavin Rayna Russom Composer Michal Sapir writer, musician Sate artist James Schamus screenwriter, producer, director Stephen Sedley human rights lawyer Itamar Shapira musician Shain Shapiro music industry executive Eyal Sivan Film-maker Gillian Slovo writer Christopher Somes-Charlton Artist manager Ahdaf Soueif Writer Lia Tarachansky journalist, film-maker Eyal Vexler cultural producer, curator Violet electronic musician Roger Waters musician Jonathan Watkins director, Ikon Gallery Eyal Weizman director, Forensic Architecture Penny Woolcock screenwriter, filmmaker Robert Wyatt musician Young Fathers band