Faithless guitarist Dave Randall: people are realising that Israel is an apartheid state
Faithless and Slovo guitarist Dave Randall has written of his support for the cultural boycott of Israel in the South African newspaper The New Age. Faithless announced in Israel that they had declined an offer to perform in Israel.
On the band’s last tour to Israel, Faithless frontman Maxi Jazz and lead guitarist Dave Randall became acutely aware of the Israeli occupation and late last year – amid much public attention – Faithless cancelled its scheduled Israeli gig.
Faithless last performed in Israel in June 2005. I invited my friend, Palestinian producer and rapper Jad Abbas (aka Boikutt), to be my guest at the gig. He declined, explaining that Israeli checkpoints meant the short journey to the venue from his home in Ramallah would be almost impossible.
He added that, as a supporter of the cultural boycott of Israel, he would prefer it if our gig wasn’t happening at all. At the time, I knew of no western bands who had joined the boycott.
Since then, awareness of the true face of Israel and the suffering and humiliation to which Palestinians are subjected has become far more widespread, particularly in the wake of the siege of Gaza.
Significantly, people are coming to the realisation that Israel is an apartheid state.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu was right to warn the Cape Town Opera: “Just as we said during apartheid that it was inappropriate for international artists to perform in South Africa, in a society founded on discriminatory laws and racial exclusivity, so it would be wrong for the Cape Town Opera to perform in Israel.”
No matter how progressive your particular fans may be, gigs do not take place in a political or economic vacuum. Beyond your fan base, a performance in Israel can only too easily be interpreted as an endorsement of business-as-usual in the apartheid state.
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Randall recently appeared in a video endorsing the South African Artists Against Apartheid group.