Thurston Moore hasn’t played a show in Israel since 2005, but that was set to change back in April of this year. However, the Tel Aviv concert was abruptly canceled with no explanation, leading many in to suspect it was connected to the growing BDS (boycotts, divestment and sanctions) movement against the country’s treatment of Palestinians. Now, Moore has written a statement for The Quietus in which he officially announced his support for BDS.
Moore opened his message by saying that while he had adhered to the BDS call for 10 years, his “cursory knowledge of the boycott’s principles and not exactly concurring with the aspects of requesting certain limitations on cultural exchange” led to him accepting the April Tel Aviv gig in the first place.
“It was with serious deliberation that I eventually arrived at the personal conclusion that to perform with my band in Israel was in direct conflict to my values,” he continued. “With the realization that a cultural and academic boycott is central to its purpose in exposing a reality of brutal human rights violations – including those accompanying Israel’s discriminatory laws and occupation of the West Bank – I felt the need, with humility, to cancel the engagement.”
“With apology and thanks to everyone I work with professionally, as this decision incurs difficult rectification, and to every individual with a wish to hear us play live, I’ve made the decision, with certitude, to fully acknowledge the dedication of the boycott until the time comes for it to be unnecessary,” Moore wrote.
He ended by expressing hope that one day the BDS movement’s goals will be met, and he looks forward to again performing in Israel. “When Sonic Youth played Tel Aviv in 1996 it was an amazing, wonderful experience and education. I hope to return soon.”
Moore is just the latest in a long list of musicians who have shown support for BDS. Roger Waters has been (in)famously outspoken on the matter, as has Brian Eno. Jarvis Cocker, Kate Tempest, Stevie Wonder, Pixies, Elvis Costello, Lana Del Rey, Lauryn Hill, and even Gorillaz have all canceled Israel shows or joined the BDS collective in one form or another.