Tel Aviv’s famed clubbing scene is feeling the impact of the Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign, reported Haaretz, as top international DJs are staying away.
“The current tsunami of cancellations, while it might sound trivial if you’re untutored in trance music, could reflect a trend with effects far beyond the Meteor Festival,” the article states.
“In the optimistic scenario, this is a one-off event that has cast the spotlight on lesser-known musicians as well. In the pessimistic scenario, this is the end of an era in which the clubbing scene has been an exception.”
The report notes that “adding credence to the change-in-direction theory are the cancellations by DJs who have spun in Tel Aviv in recent years.”
According to Haaretz, recent developments that have fuelled the boycott include “[Palestinian] civilians getting shot” at the Gaza perimeter fence during the Great Return March protests, as well as “news reports about the nation-state law and the discrimination that comes with it”.
Other developments cited include “the arrests and detentions of left-wing activists entering Israel”, and “Donald Trump’s presidency and his unconditional embrace of Netanyahu, including, of course, the controversial opening of the US Embassy in Jerusalem”.
In terms of the cultural boycott more broadly, the piece reports that Beyoncé “doesn’t intend to perform in Israel”, in addition to “refusals to appear in Israel” by artists from “the cream of international alternative rock and pop” like the Knife, Grizzly Bear, Arcade Fire and Deerhunter.
The report also cites refusals from hip-hop stars, such as Lil Yachty and Tyler, “who cancelled appearances”, as well as “other heroes of the genre like Kendrick Lamar, Chance the Rapper and Vince Staples [who] have refused from the outset to accept invitations to Israel”.
The Haaretz article concludes by stating that “the voices calling for a cultural boycott of Israel, whether in sports, concerts or the subfield of electronic music, aren’t going to disappear. If anything, they’re only going to grow louder”.