Boycott Tune In Tel Aviv
While claiming to be “independent of any political agenda”, organiser Oleh! Records boasts of “developing long term objectives and programs for the Israeli Foreign Ministry" and that their “activity directly counters BDS and cultural boycott of Israel”.
Oleh! Records has promoted Israeli artists to international music executives since 2006. Later becoming Israel’s official Music Export Office and launching the annual music showcase event Tune In Tel Aviv, it has deceived participants about its motivations throughout.
While its Facebook page falsely claimed until recently that it is “independent of any political agenda”, elsewhere, Oleh boasted openly of “developing long term objectives and programs for the Israeli Foreign Ministry which are now being used annually to deliver high impact projects” and that its “activity directly counters BDS and cultural boycott of Israel”.
Members of Oleh’s International Board of Advisors include so-called “Creative Community for Peace” (CCFP) co-founder Steve Schnur and CCFP board members Craig Balsam and Steven Bensusan. CCFP is a thinly-veiled front for the pro-illegal settlement lobby group StandWithUs. CCFP/StandWithUs has often partnered with the far-right Israeli government.
Another member of Oleh’s International Board of Advisors is Seymour Stein, who has said that Oleh was “founded” partly “as a means to counter” the nonviolent Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement for Palestinian rights, at a 2019 event organised by Oleh and CCFP.
BDS upholds the simple principle that Palestinians are entitled to the same rights as the rest of humanity. Inspired by the South African anti-apartheid struggle and the boycotts during the US civil rights movement, BDS is supported by the absolute majority of Palestinian society. It is anchored in international law, rejects all forms of racism, and aims to end injustice and oppression.
Thousands of artists and cultural workers have publicly endorsed the cultural boycott of Israel, recognising their moral responsibility to do no harm to nonviolent struggles for justice. Refusing professional engagements with institutions complicit in violations of human rights is a basic ethical requirement. We urge all international cultural workers to fulfil it.