Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Israel & Crime of Apartheid & Pet Shop Boys

by DPAI (UK, Australia, Ireland, USA)
If the Pet Shop Boys go ahead with their 23 June gig in Tel Aviv, Israel, they'll be playing to a privileged  segregated audience.  
Millions of Palestinians under Israeli occupation in the West Bank and under siege in Gaza will find it impossible to attend their concert.  
Recently, the EI published an article that explained that, in all of Israel, there was only one young man so far this year who was a convicted conscientious objector to the military service that Israel requires.  It is a fallacy to assume that many Israelis are against the occupation.  Natan Blanc, Israeli citizen and conscientious objector 19, stated:

There are not many cases like mine in prison. I was the only prisoner who got convicted for service refusal this year. Our percentage is very small.

The Pet Shop Boys are well aware of colleague Dusty Springfield's  courageous stand against South African apartheid in 1964.   Springfield walked out of a South African tour when she found out she was playing to segregated audiences.  She was the first performer to engineer an anti-apartheid clause in her professional contract. 

In the 1960s, the Anti-Apartheid Movement began to campaign for a cultural boycott of apartheid South Africa.  Pet Shop Boys' colleague Springfield was a part of this significant movement.  Artists were requested not to present or let their works be hosted in South Africa. In 1963, 45 British writers put their signatures to an affirmation approving of the boycott, and, in 1964, American actor Marlon Brando called for a similar affirmation for films. 

In 1965, the Writers' Guild of Great Britain called for a proscription on the sending of films to South Africa. Over sixty American artists signed a statement against apartheid and against professional links with the state. 

Are the Pet Shop Boys behind the times nearly half a century later?  
The boycott of Israel is in its infancy now, the call made only in 2005.  But with today's technology, we're much more aware and much more connected.  Roger Waters has taken a bold stand against Israeli apartheid, many other artists turn down invitations to Israel or vocally support the boycott.  There are still some musicians,  it seems, that are either unaware, or misled into thinking that Israelis are mostly against the occupation.  
Pet Shop Boys play in the UK before their proposed Tel Aviv gig.  http://www.ticketmaster.co.uk/Pet-Shop-Boys-tickets/artist/735852   A facebook page is set up asking the band to cancel,  "Pet Shop Boys, Apartheid's a Sin - Don't Play Israel"