Pet Shop Boys: Apartheid Israel is "a caricature"
British pop duo reject "apartheid Israel" label amidst calls to boycott Tel Aviv gig
British electro-pop duo The Pet Shop Boys has hit back at critics who insisted that the pair should cancel their planned performance in Tel Aviv, Israel next Sunday.
The band, which has been together since the early 1980s and performed such hits as 'West End Girls' and 'Go West', responded to calls by boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaigners with a swift rebuttal that asserted that Israel was no apartheid state.
In a statement published on the Pet Shop Boys website, member Neil Tennant states:
"I don't agree with this comparison of Israel to apartheid-era South Africa. It's a caricature. Israel has (in my opinion) some crude and cruel policies based on defence; it also has universal suffrage and equality of rights for all its citizens both Jewish and Arab. In apartheid-era South Africa, artists could only play to segregated audiences; in Israel anyone who buys a ticket can attend a concert. Neil x"
Anti-Israel protestors are set to protest outside an event the band members will be participating in later this week.
"Open your eyes to the ugly reality of apartheid Israel," reads a poster prepared for the protest, which is being promoted by a website called Innovative Minds (InMinds). "Cancel your Tel Aviv concert. Stand with the oppressed."
InMinds is known for selling a violent video game for children in wherein the player is encourage to work with the "Lebanese resistance" (terrorist outfit Hezbollah) to kill "invading zionists". The flyer that the website has been distributing online can be viewed above.
One blogger has noted that the poster claims that "1 child [is] killed every 3 days" and that "2 kids [are] caged every day?" and clarifies: "These statistics are anti-Israel fantasies. There have been no Palestinian Arab children killed by Israel in the past five months (the last one was throwing rocks and bottles at the IDF in January.) Even during the second intifada, from 2000-2005, the number of children killed did not reach this level."
The news follows on from American singer Alicia Keys' decision to continue her concert plans in Israel following efforts by BDS activists to have her cancel. Keys stated, "I look forward to my first visit to Israel. Music is a universal language that is meant to unify audiences in peace and love, and that is the spirit of our show.”
London is set to play host to a conference discussing boycott activity this week.
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