Hiding Behind Governments: Artists Undermining the Boycott of Israel
If artists are to wait for UN policies to be formed rather than play a role in shaping them, then they forfeit their social responsibility and relegate their role to obeying government top-down decisions, rather than speaking truth to power.
When the BDS movement calls on artists and cultural workers to take a position so that this might pressure governments and the UN, the movement is essentially asking people to take a lead so that governments may follow.
Imagine if artists and musicians had waited for their governments before taking a stand in other situations of entrenched oppression; where would South African freedom be today? During the South African apartheid-era boycotts, world governments -- and to a lesser extent the UN -- were considerably slower in declaring apartheid to be a crime, and to institute comprehensive boycotts.
It was only decades after a grassroots movement had been formed, whereby many artists refused to perform for the apartheid regime, that world bodies joined the boycott call.