Alicia Keys Gives BDSHoles The Middle Finger
Singer Alicia Keys has ignored BDSHoles like Alice Walker and Roger Waters and is determined to perform in Israel on US Independence Day.
“I look forward to my first visit to Israel. Music is a universal language that is meant to unify audiences in peace and love, and that is the spirit of our show,” Keys said in a statement to the New York Times.
On Wednesday, Pulitzer Prize-winning author and activist Alice Walker, a prominent American supporter of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel, asked Keys to cancel her upcoming Tel Aviv concert appearance.
In an open letter posted online, Walker wrote that Keys was putting herself in “soul danger” by performing in “an apartheid country that is being boycotted by many global conscious artists. You were not born when we, your elders who love you, boycotted institutions in the US South to end an American apartheid less lethal than Israel’s against the Palestinian people.”
Walker urged Keys to educate herself on the issue and compared the BDS movement to the civil rights activists who staged the Montgomery Bus Boycott in 1955, which “fundamentally changed” America.
“A cultural boycott of Israel and Israeli institutions (not individuals) is the only option left to artists who cannot bear the unconscionable harm Israel inflicts every day on the people of Palestine, whose major ‘crime’ is that they exist in their own land, land that Israel wants to control as its own,” Walker wrote, adding that the Israeli system is “cruel, unjust, and unbelievably evil” and is the cause of “much of the affliction in our suffering world.”
Walker last year refused to authorize a new Hebrew translation of her acclaimed novel “The Color Purple.” She is actively involved with the BDS movement on the UC Berkeley campus in California, where, in April, the student union passed a resolution calling for the university to divest from companies that have contracts with Israel’s military.
Waters, who in March convinced Stevie Wonder to cancel an appearance at an IDF event in Los Angeles, invited Keys to “join the rising tide of resistance” and noted that “nothing has changed since the bad old days of apartheid South Africa and Segregated America. We must stand united with all our brothers and sisters against racism, colonialism, segregation and apartheid.”
The debate over Keys’s appearance in Israel has branched out to social media, with Israel supporters launching multiple Facebook pages in support of her arrival, only to be countered by pro-BDS campaigns.
Keys’s official Facebook page on Wednesday, in the wake of the additional publicity generated by Walker and Rogers, featured multiple extended debates on her Tel Aviv concert, with fans sounding off both for and against in comments underneath unrelated pictures from Keys’s world tour. She is currently in England.
Keys, 32, is one of the most successful pop and soul singers of the past decade, with sales of over 35 million copies of her albums and 14 Grammy Awards to her name.
“I’m excited to go to new places on this tour, among them Tel Aviv. I plan on bringing with me a show full of emotion and inspiration,” Keys said when the concert was announced.
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