20 Sep 2012: In a recent poll in Britain 1739 adults were surveyed, and it was found that one in four support the cultural boycott of Israel by musicians.
Amongst liberal democrats, a full 36% polled supported the cultural boycott.
It is noteworthy that those surveyed were not asked if they support a boycott by artists of performing on Israeli settlements. The show of support for a boycott of any performance anywhere in Israel is significant.
Last year, Pink Floyd co-founder Roger Waters encouraged all musicians to support the boycott, and wrote:
I had already spoken out against the wall, but I was unsure whether a cultural boycott was the right way to go.
Under the protection of the United Nations I visited Jerusalem and Bethlehem. Nothing could have prepared me for what I saw that day. The wall is an appalling edifice to behold. It is policed by young Israeli soldiers who treated me, a casual observer from another world, with disdainful aggression.
For the people of Gaza, locked in a virtual prison behind the wall of Israel’s illegal blockade, it means another set of injustices. It means that children go to sleep hungry, many chronically malnourished. It means that fathers and mothers, unable to work in a decimated economy, have no means to support their families. It means that university students with scholarships to study abroad must watch the opportunity of a lifetime slip away because they are not allowed to travel.
My conviction is born in the idea that all people deserve basic human rights. This is not an attack on the people of Israel. This is, however, a plea to my colleagues in the music industry, and also to artists in other disciplines, to join this cultural boycott.
Artists were right to refuse to play in South Africa’s Sun City resort until apartheid fell and white people and black people enjoyed equal rights. And we are right to refuse to play in Israel until the day comes – and it surely will come – when the wall of occupation falls and Palestinians live alongside Israelis in the peace, freedom, justice and dignity that they all deserve.