Brooklyn rapper and activist Talib Kewli who is well known for his collaboration with Mos Def as Black Star has become the latest victim of the anti-BDS movement with hunt.
The artist director of the Open Source Festival Philipp Maiburg wrote to Talib asking him to denounce the Boycott, Divest and Sanctions (BDS) movement so that he would be allowed to perform at the festival. This followed newly stated German laws which depicted the BDS movement inaccurately as “antisemitic”. The letter read, “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,” an email from the director read”. Under this new law (the first one to be passed in Europe) any projects supporting BDS will not receive public funding.
Talib’s honest and sincere reply to this letter must have been unexpected. He wrote, “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. 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.” The full letter and response can be found on Talib Kewli’s Facebook page.
Shortly after his response, his invitation to the festival was withdrawn.
On behalf of all solidarity activists I would like to thank Talib Kweli for his support in speaking out for justice and doing the right thing. For resisting peer pressure and bigoted characterization. The BDS movement calls for the boycott of Israel. It is inspired by the movement in South Africa which led to the end of the racist apartheid régime. It is a non-violent and peaceful means of resistance for Palestinians to fight for their right of self-determination under a brutal occupation.
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