PRESS STATEMENT: Activists request meeting with Die Antwoord music band over Israel boycott
15 May 2016
The human rights and Palestine solidarity organisation BDS South Africa has written a 1000-word letter to rappers Ninja, Yolandi Visser (Vi$$er) and DJ Hi-Tek of the South African rap-rave group Die Antwoord
BDS South Africa is urging Die Antwoord to respect the international boycott against Israel. Die Antwoord is due to perform in Israel early next month in June. BDS South Africa has written in their letter, now made public:
“In 2005, inspired by the successful boycott and isolation of apartheid South Africa, Palestinians called on the international community to play a decisive role in their struggle for self-determination and an end to Israel’s Apartheid policies. Palestinians called on global civil society, artists and multinational corporations to participate in the nonviolent of boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel until it complies with international law in respect of its treatment of Palestinians.
"Various churches, businesses and other entities have ended relations with Israel in line with the BDS call. We are urging you to join the growing list of artists and musicians who are choosing to be on the right side of history by boycotting Israel, turning down its invites and cancelling Israeli gigs. This list includes Lauryn Hill who cancelled her Israeli gig last year, author of the well-known book “The Colour Purple” who refused to have her book published in Israel, Roger Waters of the music band Pink Floyd who has been at the forefront of the BDS movement and the world famous physician Professor Stephen Hawking who cancelled his participation in Israel in line with the boycott. Others include Danny Glover, the UK band Faithless, author JM Coetzee, Breyten Breytenbach and various others".
In the letter to Die Atwood, BDS South Africa also requests a meeting. The music group is yet to respond to the letter or request for a meeting.
Meanwhile, a group of Israeli peace activists belonging to the organisation “Boycott From Within” have also written to Die Antwoord urging the group postpone their gig. They write:
"We are citizens of Israel, active against our government's military occupation and apartheid policies against the Palestinian people. We have received news that Die Antwoord is scheduled to perform in Israel in June 2016...while many people in Israel may enjoy and appreciate the talent of Die Antwoord (and rightly so), we request that you postpone your visit to Israel until the time when Israel complies with international law and stops its discriminatory occupation and apartheid policies of mass violence against the Palestinian people. We urge you to respect the call issued by Palestinian civil society for boycott, divestment and sanctions in 2005.
"Just as white activists during apartheid in South Africa stood up for justice, and supported the liberation of all South Africans from a racist regime, we too join the Palestinian-led worldwide movement to end Israel's apartheid. We are hopeful that you will take the ethical position of refusing to perform in Israel at this time given your history as South Africans, as people who know about the bitterness of injustice and live with the consequences of apartheid."