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13 June 2012

Zakir Hussain Cancels Performance in Tel Aviv

 The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) would like to applaud and thank the world-class musician, Zakir Hussain, for canceling his performance in Israel [1].  Hussain's cancellation, coming on the heels of similar cancellations by Cassandra Wilson, Cat Power, among other international celebrities, has rattled the Israeli establishment and triggered even wider debate on the fast growth of BDS, particularly in the cultural domain, and its direct connection to Israel's intensifying crimes against the Palestinians.  Just recently Gil Shohat, an Israeli composer, conductor, Classical Music Advisor to the Israel Festival and Artistic Advisor to Israel’s Red Sea International Classical Music Festival was quoted as saying:

       In the world of classical music things are neither in-your-face nor crass, by the very nature of classical art, which is more noble, quiet, and introverted, but there are choirs and opera companies which are not interested in coming to Israel. Even if they don’t say it’s because of the political issue, they prefer not to get involved in such a sticky situation. As a composer active    on the world scene, I can testify that more than once projects have been cancelled or postponed based on their 'Israeliness.’ And again - these things are not said crassly, no one will say: we are conducting a boycott. The word boycott doesn’t exist, but the political situation of Israel also impacts this field. This is primarily true about larger projects, and less so regarding the activity of individual musicians. [2]
We thank Hussain for his courage and hope that one day in the near future he will more vocally support the Palestinian call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) of Israel, as a morally consistent and peaceful form of resistance supported by the majority of Palestinian civil society institutions.  We also wish to thank the great efforts by the Indian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (INCACBI) for appealing directly to Hussain [3] and taking persistently working towards the freedom, equality and justice of the Palestinian people.  The solidarity of the Indian people is a key component to our struggle.
Finally, we want to recognize the efforts of Palestinians who had themselves contacted Hussain and brought this issue to our attention.  These individuals who will remain anonymous have been an instrumental part of the consistent growth of the BDS movement.

Posted on 13-06-2012

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