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Pro-Israel cancel culture denounced by artistes supporting pro-Palestine rapper

March 29, 2022 at 1:54 pm

Lowkey in Concert at Abbeydale Picture House, 2019 [Tim Dennell/Flickr]

Dozens of musicians and celebrities have come out in support of the rapper and Palestine solidarity campaigner, Kareem Dennis, better known by his stage name, Lowkey. The British-Iraqi artiste has been the subject of a hostile smear campaign by a pro-Israel group, believed to be affiliated with the apartheid state.

Anti-Palestine lobby group, demanded last week that streaming giant, Spotify, delete Lowkey’s music, especially the 2010 track “Long Live Palestine Part 2”. The song that the pro-Israel group is campaigning to ban features Palestinian hip-hop group, DAM, British Palestinian artiste, Shadia Mansour, Iraqi-Canadian rapper, Narcy, among others.

Denouncing the campaign, Lowkey said: “The attempt to remove my music from Spotify by a group which was birthed and cultivated by BICOM (Britain Israel Communications and Research Centre), worked with the Ministry of Strategic Affairs and publicly identified itself as an Israel lobby group is ultimately an own goal for the apartheid regime.”

Read: The checkpoint between academic freedom and Israel needs to be lifted

Lowkey has received support from numerous artistes, who have put their names to an open letter defending the artiste, while also denouncing the smear campaign to silence him. The letter, seen by The Electronic Intifada, has been signed by rappers Wretch 32 and Ghetts, model Anwar Hadid, actor Michael Malarkey, Pink Floyd co-founder, Roger Waters and hip-hop DJ, Charlie Sloth.

The signatories are calling “on Spotify and all other platforms not to buckle to pressure groups who would rather see his music removed than grapple with the issues he highlights.”  They describe Lowkey as “the target of a coordinated smear campaign to demonise, defame and de-platform him.”

“Lowkey’s music has inspired and energised millions around the world and ignited an interest in many about the issues he raises in his work,” the signatories explained. “As a relentless advocate for Palestinian human rights, he is a target for many who would rather his message not be heard.”

The attempt to de-platform Lowkey is part of a growing phenomenon which social commentators refer to as cancel culture. With its threat to free speech, the UK Tory government is seeking to introduce new legislation to combat its rise.

Critics, overall, argue that the government should not be legislating the boundaries of free speech. But their biggest worry is the apparent hypocrisy. It is thought that the Tory government is seeking to target left-wing activists with the new legislation, and critics point out that it is the right, and in particular pro-Israel groups, who are most guilty of no-platforming and the ugly rise of cancel culture.

Read: UK education secretary faces legal action over calls to silence Palestine support in schools