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SA band taken on BDS ‘fake news’ ride

  • BlackMotion1
When Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) South Africa triumphantly announced on Tuesday that the South African music duo Black Motion had decided not to play at the upcoming Meteor Festival at Kibbutz Lehavot HaBashan, it looked like just another case of a band being bullied into withdrawing from performing in Israel.
by TALI FEINBERG | Aug 23, 2018

But on Wednesday, Meteor Festival organiser Liat Turgeman told the SA Jewish Report, “At the moment, we [have] not received a cancellation notice from Black Motion. They are scheduled to perform at Meteor Festival as planned.

“We have a contract signed by Real Tone agency on 4 June, otherwise we wouldn’t have announced it.”

The band’s spokesperson, Kutlwano Chaba, said that the band had not issued a statement saying that it was not going to perform in Israel. He said that the band had been fearful of travelling to Israel because it was a conflict zone, “just like they are scared of travelling to Afghanistan or Syria, or like during the World Cup, when people were scared of coming to South Africa because of the crime”.

Chaba said that an international agent made all their bookings abroad, and he would need to speak to him to confirm if the band was performing at the Meteor Festival or not.

However he emphasised that “It was never about any particular country – it just happened to be that Israel is one place they are nervous to travel to.

“We don’t have a stand, and we are just about music. We feel like we have been used as a ball between two sides. It is unfair to make us spokespeople for BDS.

“If music is used to divide, there is no point. It must always be a unifier. Music unifies, music heals, it is a universal language. If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy. Then he becomes your partner.”

The incident had motivated the band to consider hosting an event to bring the two sides of the conflict together in South Africa. “We are launching an album in two months’ time, and I would love to see both sides of this issue attend it, and enjoy the gift of music. I suspect there is no dialogue between the two groups. Music can bridge this gap.”

Chaba said he understood that there was a house-music movement in Israel, which is why the band was invited to play there, and it had performed with Israeli DJ Avi Elman, known as UPZ, when he visited South Africa in the past. “Music is universal!” he emphasised.

It is clear that BDS South Africa forced its agenda on Black Motion, creating “fake news” in the process. According to the organisation’s statement, “BDS South Africa can confirm that we did reach out to the management of Black Motion, who graciously met us, were open to the information we provided including the letter written by Palestinians and a letter by progressive Jewish Israeli allies urging artists to boycott Israel and not perform at the upcoming Meteor Festival. We thank them for both their willingness to engage, and their decision to not perform in Israel.”

Clearly this musical duo did no such thing.

Black Motion is not the only group attending the festival that has been pressured by BDS. Singer Lana Del Ray was adamant that she would perform, writing on Twitter: “We signed onto the show [with] the intention that it would be performed for the kids there, and my plan was for it to be done with a loving energy [with] a thematic emphasis on peace. If you don’t agree with it, I get it. I see both sides.”

She said her decision was not intended to be “a political statement”, pointing out that she doesn’t always agree with the politics of the places she performs in, highlighting her own country as an example.

“We don’t always agree with the politics of the places we play in. Sometimes we don’t even feel safe, depending on how far abroad we travel, but we are musicians, and we’ve dedicated our lives to being on the road,” she wrote.

“I would like to remind you that performing in Tel Aviv is not a political statement or a commitment to the politics there, just as singing in California doesn’t mean my views are in alignment [with] my government’s opinions or sometimes inhuman actions.”

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