The Yardbirds Refrain From Playing Apartheid Israel

The Yardbirds Refrain From Playing Apartheid Israel

10/25/11 Many Yardbirds fans are thrilled to hear that these British legends, famous for the unmatched single “For Your Love,” will not play in apartheid Israel.  The reasons NOT to play in Israel are many, and include:


  • the BDS movement (Boycott, Divest and Sanctions), as well as the PACBI, call for a boycott
  • the status of Palestinian refugees who live deprived of their land in refugee camps in Lebanon, Jordan, Syria and more…
  • the open-air prison called the Gaza Strip, encasing over 1 million Palestinians and patrolled and bombed by man-less drones
  • the 2010 massacre on the flotilla: in international waters, Israel massacred 9 peace activists.
  • the racist policies that make life unbearable for Palestinians who hold Israeli ID cards, and who make up 20% of Israel’s population
  • the illegal, apartheid wall, that separates families from each other, from their own land, from water, and often from the jobs they “once had”
  • the illegal raids, in which children are seized, and families are terrorized, by Israeli forces, in the West Bank


Professor Haim Bresheeth, Mike Cushman, Professor Adah Kay, and Professor Jonathan Rosenhead, calling themselves “ancient geezers,” wrote an OPEN LETTER to the Yardbirds on August 30.  They stated:

“…The world famous Yardbirds appear to have respected the South
African liberation movement’s call for artists and musicians to
assist them by denying legitimacy to the racist state.
Have you thought through the implications of your appearance at
the Barby Club in Tel Aviv on October 29? You’re telling

Palestinian civil society organisations that are similarly calling for

a cultural boycott of Israel that their dispossession and their
oppression don’t matter. The Palestinian Teachers’ Federation;
the Writers’ Federation; the League of Palestinian Artists; the
General Union of Palestinian Women; and many others – your
performance at the Barby will in effect tell all of these people that
you side with the Israeli military occupation, that you don’t mind
helping to airbrush the cruelties of racism and ethnic cleansing,
and that you’re happy to behave as if there isn’t a Palestinian
struggle for liberation and justice.
So we’re hoping you might think again.
Here’s Roger Waters talking about why he supports the Boycott,
Divestment and Sanctions campaign against Israel. Here are
Faithless and other musicians singing ‘Freedom for Palestine’.
Here is Elvis Costello explaining why he withdrew from his two
scheduled concerts in Israel.
There’s a wave, Yardbirds – a whole international wave of people
supporting justice for the Palestinians via consumer boycotts,
academic boycotts, cultural boycotts. You can cancel your gig and
ride that wave – or you can let one night at the Barby dash you on
the shore. Please think again. Please don’t go…”

On September 8th, a facebook page was created called  “Yardbirds: Please Don’t Play in Apartheid Israel.”  The page was created to list reasons why the boycott call asks musicians to refrain from playing in Israel.  Many more peace activists wrote to the band’s US and European agents and directly to Jim McCartney and Chris Dreja, who are the two original members of the band. (See the Israeli Auris Media’s cancellation notice for the Yardbirds)

It comes with great applause that the Yardbirds have chosen to ride the “wave” supporting justice for the Palestinians via consumer boycotts, academic boycotts, and cultural boycotts.   We are confident that they will choose not to reschedule their concert.

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