Afropop musician Salif Keita on Thursday was forced to cancel a performance scheduled for today at the Jerusalem Sacred Music Festival on the recommendation of his management and agents after they said they could not guarantee his safety in the face of “threats, blackmail attempts, intimidation, social media harassment and slander” from the “extremist” Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel.
In a statement published to the musician’s Facebook page, addressed to “Sacred Music Festival, Hadassah Hospital, Salif Keita fans,” Keita’s non-profit, The Salif Keita Global Foundation, said: “The reason for 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 harassment 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,” the message said.
This success of the BDS movement in discouraging the musician from touring Israel came after former Pink Floyd bassist Roger Waters, who features a Jewish star painted on a giant inflatable pig at his concerts and is a seven-year member of the international BDS movement, on Tuesday asked other musicians and performers to join him in a new boycott of Israel.
“I write to you now, my brothers and sisters in the family of Rock and Roll, to ask you to join with me, and thousands of other artists around the world, to declare a cultural boycott on Israel, to shed light on these problems and also to support all our brothers and sisters in Palestine and Israel who are struggling to end all forms of Israeli oppression and who wish to live in peace, justice, equality and freedom,” Waters wrote.
Jewish organizations and human rights groups responded sharply. “If I were a musician looking to protest human rights abuses today, I would be looking at Syria, at Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, everywhere but Israel,” said Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, and Israel supermodel Bar Refaeli told Waters that his cultural boycott should “go all the way,” and include an image of her used in a video montage for his show, …read more
Source: The Algemeiner