Palestinians call on Rodrigo y Gabriela to cancel apartheid Tel Aviv concert

The Mexican duo plan to perform in auditorium funded by colonization program founder

Palestinians urge Rodrigo y Gabriela to cancel their planned concert at the apartheid Tel Aviv Culture Center, officially known as the Charles Bronfman auditorium, after its major funder.

Bronfman is also co-founder of the Taglit Birthright program, which more than 1,000 young Jewish Americans have pledged to boycott, reasoning that “it is fundamentally unjust that we are given a free trip to Israel, while Palestinian refugees are barred from returning to their homes. We refuse to be complicit in a propaganda trip that whitewashes the systemic racism, and the daily violence faced by Palestinians living under endless occupation.”

Palestinian oud virtuosos Le Trio Joubran previously worked with Rodrigo y Gabriela and have issued a heartfelt appeal to the Mexican duo to cancel their apartheid show: “Please Rod and Gabi, take the right decision.” Musician and actor Steve Wall, from Ireland, where the duo spent eight years of their career, joined Irish human rights activists in urging them to “reconsider”.

Regardless of intentions, performing in apartheid Israel – as leading human rights groups such as Amnesty International have designated it – can only contribute to artwashing its regime of oppression and therefore delaying justice, freedom and equality for all. For this reason, more than 500 Latin American artists have endorsed the cultural boycott of apartheid Israel.

All progressive artists, with notable exceptions, refused to perform in apartheid South Africa, recognizing above all else their profound moral obligation to the oppressed. Likewise, thousands of artists, including many influential and innovative musicians, have pledged to refuse offers from Israel’s complicit cultural institutions, despite the best efforts of Israel’s lobby groups like the so-called “Creative Community for Peace”, a front organization.

As Black American philosopher Cornel West said, “justice is what love looks like in public”. We urge Rodrigo y Gabriela to choose justice and cancel their apartheid Tel Aviv show.


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