Sam Smith Cancels Concert in Apartheid Israel Following Campaign
The Brit and Grammy award-winning artist canceled their performance in the Summer in the City festival in Tel Aviv, following multiple calls not to perform in apartheid Israel.
Palestinians warmly welcome the news that Sam Smith will not be performing in apartheid Israel, and avoiding artwashing or pinkwashing Israel’s oppression against Palestinians.
Palestinian civil society organizations, including queer and trans groups, had called on Smith to “keep inspiring those struggling against all forms of racism and discrimination by canceling your performance in apartheid Israel” until Palestinians can enjoy freedom, justice and equal rights.
Aswat – Palestinian Feminist Center for Gender and Sexual Freedoms co-founder Ghadir Shafie had said in a letter to Sam Smith that performing in Israel “despite intentions, helps prop up the false image of Israel as a modern, democratic society…It may sound benign, but it is what allows Israel to continue its wholesale theft of Palestinian life, land, and dignity.”
More than 11,000 people had signed a petition by Adalah Justice Project urging Sam Smith to cancel their performance in Tel Aviv and “stand in solidarity with Palestinian queers and all Palestinians fighting for their human rights and dignity.”
On social media, queer and trans groups have echoed the Palestinian call using the hashtag #SamDontGo. In a widely circulated Tiktok video, queer Palestinian fan @jakegyllenhalal reminded Smith that they can’t “keep their business clean” in a place “where people are stripped of their rights simply for being who they are.”
US metal band Papa Roach, which was initially listed as the opening act for Sam Smith, confirmed in March that it would not be performing at the festival. The second day of the two day festival has been entirely canceled as a result.
We call on all remaining performers to withdraw from the Summer in the City festival in apartheid Israel, and to join thousands of artists worldwide in endorsing our nonviolent struggle for human rights.