Israeli music scene jolted by international boycott movement

The boycott of the festival has succeeded “beyond expectations.” BDS is now setting its sights on the Eurovision Song Contest in 2019.

By Josef Federman | Star Tribune | Associated Press | Sep 10, 2018

Now is not the time for escapism and celebrations. Now is the time for activism and protests against Israeli apartheid, Israeli occupation of the West Bank and the human rights atrocities being carried out every day in Gaza by Israeli forces.
— of Montreal, a popular indie band as posted on their Facebook page

Israel’s Meteor Festival was meant to bring together indie groups from around the world in what organizers billed as a Woodstock-like “cutting edge musical journey that surpasses borders and distorts time and space.”

Instead, some 20 acts, including headliner Lana Del Rey, withdrew at the last minute amid apparent pressure from a Palestinian-led international boycott campaign.

The cancellations turned the weekend festival, held in the bucolic setting of an Israeli kibbutz, into the latest battleground between Israel and the boycott movement that says it seeks to end Israeli rule over Palestinians.

Campaign organizers claimed success, saying it reflects growing opposition to Israeli government policies among international millennials.

“The fact that these artists are canceling is showing just how different the younger generation is viewing Israel,” said Diana Buttu, a Palestinian analyst who supports the movement known as BDS.

The campaign, founded in 2005, calls for boycotts, divestment and sanctions against Israeli businesses, cultural institutions and universities.

BDS says it seeks to end Israel’s occupation of lands captured in the 1967 Mideast war and what it describes as discrimination against Israel’s Arab minority. It calls for the “right of return” for millions of Palestinian refugees and their descendants to homes their ancestors fled or were expelled from in the 1948 war over Israel’s creation.

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