Rodrigo y Gabriela cancel apartheid Israel concert

Fans at Belgian festival had called on the Mexican duo to skip apartheid Tel Aviv

The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI), a founding member of the BDS movement, welcomes the decision of Rodrigo y Gabriela to cancel their concert in apartheid Tel Aviv after hearing from fans, fellow artists, and human rights defenders.

The cancellation came just hours before apartheid Israel launched its latest brutal assault on the besieged Gaza Strip, a short drive from the Tel Aviv Culture Center where the show would have taken place. Israel killed more than 40 Palestinians including 15 children and injured hundreds more.

Even before the attacks on Gaza, Rodrigo y Gabriela had privately told the Palestinian group Le Trio Joubran that they had ditched the Tel Aviv concert. Le Trio Joubran, renowned oud virtuosos, had appealed last month to the Mexican duo to cancel their appearance: “Please Rod and Gabi, take the right decision”.

Fans and festival-goers at Esperanzah festival in Belgium had urged Rodrigo y Gabriela to cancel the concert, waving Palestinian flags and keffiyehs – Palestinian scarves – during the festival performance. Many had their photo taken holding placards appealing to the duo.

They joined Mexican and Irish human rights defenders, and Irish actor Steve Wall, all of whom had also made appeals. Rodrigo y Gabriela spent eight years living and working in Dublin. While the duo did not publicly address their cancellation of the apartheid Israel concert, they tweeted two days before it had been due to take place that their tour was now over.


A post shared by BDS MEXICO (@bds_mexico)

This is at least the third apartheid Tel Aviv concert to be cancelled this summer. 

In June, US band Big Thief apologised to their fans for the hurt caused by their announcement of two shows in apartheid Israel, and affirmed their opposition to “the systematic oppression of the Palestinian people”. In response, the massacre-supporting venue they had been booked to play, Barby in apartheid Tel Aviv, called them a “bunch of miserable, spineless musicians”.

Days later, Canadian group badbadnotgood’s announced concert at Barby was also cancelled. The double Grammy-winning band and producers had performed at the venue in 2017. The show’s cancellation followed appeals from fans and activists and was privately verified.

We urge all artists to refuse offers from Israel’s cultural sector that is complicit in apartheid. Refuse to art-wash Israel’s massacres. Join our struggle for freedom, justice and equality.

If you cannot, at least don’t harm it. 


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