- Category: Culture
- Created on Wednesday, 29 June 2011 20:11
- Written by Crawdaddy
Only a few weeks after announing plans to play in Tel Aviv, Jello Biafra has reversed his decision. While his statement refuses to embrace the call for a cultural boycott of Israel, and is in fact politically very weak, his actions indicate that the protests of many of his fans forced him to rethink. In the previous discussion here on this issue we talked about the problems with simply writing people off for having bakwards positions on certain questions and the importance of patient struggle with people. This development neatly illustrates this larger point.
Jello Biafra Cancels Controversial Tel Aviv Gig
A minor political brouhaha erupted a few weeks ago when it was announced punk rock legend Jello Biafra would be traveling to Israel to play a July 2 show with his band, the Guantanamo School of Medicine, at Tel Aviv’s Barby Club. Fans couldn’t believe a figure like Biafra would defy the implied academic/cultural boycott of Israel over the country’s ongoing aggression towards Palestine, and a chorus of “cancel the gig” quickly rose up. Jello finally wobbled this morning, releasing a statement saying the Guantanamo School would not be performing at the Barby Club.
“Jello Biafra and the Guantanamo School of Medicine are not going through with the July 2 date in Tel Aviv,” Biafra wrote on his Facebook page. “This does not mean I or anyone else in the band are endorsing or joining lockstep with the boycott of all things Israel. I am going to Israel and Palestine to check things out myself and may yet conclude that playing for people in the belly of the beast was the right thing to do in the first place.”
The singer went on to say that the band’s “intention in going” was to “do some good, speaking truth to power, fans, and impressionable young minds in a way that most bands don’t.” In the same breath, Biafra pointedly asked, “What about the people on the same side of the human rights fence we are who now don’t get to see us play? Should they be boycotted too? What about the even larger atrocities of the Bush regime and by extension Obama? Should we turn off our mouths of anger and boycott our own country too?”
“I’ve been doing this long enough to know better than buy into hardline absolutes such as playing in Israel automatically supports apartheid or Israel’s government,” Biafra continued. “That threat is ridiculous. I know far more about this issue than some people think I do, and I am not a poodle for Hasbara, Peace Now, BDS or anyone else…calling anyone speaking up for Palestinian rights a ‘terrorist’ is dumb. So are the blanket condemnations of everyone who happens to be Israeli that seem to be coming from the ‘drive all the Jews into the sea’ crowd.”
“Speaking personally, I currently favor two democratic states in the admittedly naive hope that in our lifetime they can somehow evolve into one. Where race or religion does not matter because people have learned to work with each other.”
As expected, some people are very pleased with Jello and the Guantanamo School of Medicine’s cancellation while some people are gravely disappointed. One thing I don’t think we’ve ever had here on Crawdaddy! is a lengthy debate about the Palestinian-Israeli conflict; By all means, readers, fill up the comment section here with your thoughts and opinions.