Western Saharan artist cancels Israel gig following BDS call

30 July 2015

Following calls from supporters of the BDS boycott of Israel movement, the Western Saharan musician, Aziza Brahim, has cancelled her participation in an upcoming Israeli music festival.

Brahim was due to perform in Israel on the 2nd of September 2015 but yesterday posted on her FaceBook: "I've decided to cancel my concert at Jerusalem Sacred Music Festival. I want to express sincerely my follower's understanding, support and the respect in which most of them have shown their opinions.” Several of Brahim’s supporters and fans engaged with her via social media urging the artist to cancel her Israeli gig in solidarity with the Palestinian people. Activists, in urging Brahim to cancel her Israel gig, compared Morocco’s illegal occupation of Western Sahara with Israel’s illegal occupation and oppression of the Palestinian people.

The human rights and Palestine solidarity organization BDS South Africa welcomes this latest cultural boycott of Israel victory. In 2005 Palestinians called for a non-violent boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign of Israel until it ends its violations of international law. Aziza Brahim joins a growing list of international artists who have pulled out of shows in Israel and supported the Palestinian BDS cultural boycott of Israel including Lauryn Hill, Roger Waters, Sinéad O’Connor, Elvis Costello, Gil Scott-Heron, Talib Kweli, Moddi, Faithless, Carlos Santana, Stevie Wonder and others.

Aziza Brahim’s heeding of the BDS call and decision to cancel her Israeli gig in solidarity with the Palestinian people (and their progressive Israeli allies supportive of BDS) is an example of internationalism and the capacity to be involved in ones own struggle yet at the same time lend solidarity to others.

Aziza Brahim, beyond being a musician and actress, is also known as spokesperson for the Saharawi people and their ongoing struggle for recognition and justice. Brahim was raised in the Saharawi refugee camps lining the frontier between Algeria and Western Sahara with her life being marked, according to her biography, by "both daunting hardship and inspired will". Fleeing from these camps and the regime of political oppression that followed Morocco’s 1975 invasion of Western Sahara, as a young teenager Aziza travelled to Cuba for her secondary school studies. Following her return from Cuba, Brahim began her career in music and film.

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