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Germany festival bars US rapper for refusing to condemn BDS

American hip hop singer Talib Kweli on 29 April 2012 [meghan.roberts/Flickr]
American hip hop singer Talib Kweli on 29 April 2012 [meghan.roberts/Flickr]

A German music festival has recently disinvited American hip hop singer Talib Kweli for refusing to condemn the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

Kweli revealed last week that he had received an email from the Artistic Director of the German Open Source Festival, Philipp Maiburg, asking artists to announce their position regarding the BDS movement following a decision by the German parliament designating the movement “anti-Semitic”.

“As you know, there are many discussions around the BDS in Germany and artists which have signed to it. There has also been a lot of confusion even with much bigger festivals than ours,” Maiburg said.

Although the German parliament’s decision is non-binding, Maiburg said “all administrations of regions or cities, as well as representatives of public institutions, are asked not to give BDS any room or platform.”

READ: 240 Israel and Jewish professionals urge Germany not to enforce anti-BDS law

“As we are also working with public funding we have no other choice than to ask you for an official statement concerning your position towards the BDS,” Mayburg said in his email.

Responding to the festival director’s demand, Kweli said in a statement posted on Facebook that “by lying and saying that BDS is an anti-Semitic movement, the German government is engaging in fascism and doing a disservice to the German people”.

“Boycotting, Divesting and Sanctioning are peaceful solutions to the crisis that destroys Palestinians homes and lives. It is the opposite of terrorism,” he added.

“The ball is in your court. I would like to perform in Germany but I don’t need to. I’d rather be a decent human being and stand up for what’s right then censor myself and lie about BDS for a check [cheque],” he added.

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