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August 22, 2013

Even more artists call out BDS Bullying

salif keita.jpg

It's time to update to our post from last January, "More Artists Call Out BDS Bullying":

Italian author Umberto Eco called their ideas "absolutely crazy" and "fundamentally racist."

Irish writer Gerard Donovan referred to them as "idiots" who try to bully and cajole and are guilty of "outright intimidation.�?

The band Dervish was on the receiving end of their “avalanche of negativity�?, “venom�? and "hatred." (Irish justice minister Alan Shatter described it as "cyberbullying.")

The manager of Jazz musician Jack Terrasson condemned their "obnoxious" comments, "sheer harassment" and "blatant denigration," calling them "intellectually dishonest" and saying their intolerance is "abominable" and their hatred "pathological."

And now, Salif Keita, along with his wife Coumba Makalou, have torn into the BDS movement, which seems to have successfully bullied the Malian singer and songwriter into cancelling or postponing a performance in Israel.

Their statement, which appears on Keita's Facebook page, notes that

the cancellation is not one which was made by Mr. Keita, but by his agents who were bombarded with hundreds of threats, blackmail attempts, intimidation, social media harrassment and slander stating that Mr Keita was to perform in Israel, “not for peace, but for apartheid.�?

These threats were made by a group named BDS, who also threatened to keep increasing an anti-Salif Keita campaign, which they had already started on social media, and to work diligently at ruining the reputation and career that Mr. Keita has worked 40 years to achieve not only professionally, but for human rights and albinism.

Of course, we do not agree with any of these tactics or false propaganda, but management’s concern is to protect the artist from being harmed personally and professionally. Although, we love Israel and all his fans here, and the fantastic spirit of unity of the Sacred Music Festival, as well as the important work your hospital is doing for albinism, we did not agree with the scare tactics and bullying used by BDS; therefore management decided to act cautiously when faced with an extremist group, as we believe BDS to be.

In addition, Mr. Keita is not a politician who plays for governments, but a musician who performs for his fans who are of all faiths and origins in Jerusalem. It is unfortunate that artists like him are threatened by this group who falsely claim to defend human rights, when they should take their concerns to governments or ask for support of their cause in a lawful way, and not by endangering the freedom of expression of artists, or using harassment and intimidation of artists who play for peace and for all people, in order to bring some kind of justice to the Palestinians they claim to represent.

Keita, the statement explains, is following through on a planned donation to Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem, and his management is seeking to "determine a future time to be able to perform in Israel."

It may be that the proper response to such extremism is to criticize BDS without backing down in the face of their intimidation. But Israel can certainly withstand the unfortunate cancellation. The question is, can the BDS movement withstand many more "victories" like this one?

Hat tip Elder of Ziyon.

Posted by GI at August 22, 2013 04:48 PM


Mr Keita could overrule his agent, if you give into bullying they win and you are weak.

Posted by: Andrew at August 22, 2013 11:00 PM

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