April 25, 2010

Gil Scott-Heron announces cancellation of Tel Aviv concert

An April 24 press release from the Gil Scott-Heron Boycott Israel Campaign:



GIL SCOTT-HERON ANNOUNCES CANCELLATION OF TEL-AVIV CONCERT [includes response from ex-Black Panther Minister of Culture Emory Douglas]

Gil Scott-Heron announces cancellation of Tel Aviv concert
Artist won’t play in Israel “until everyone is welcome there”.

Fans of revolutionary poet and singer-songwriter Gil Scott-\Heron welcomed his decision tonight to cancel the concert he had been scheduled to play in Tel Aviv this May. Heron announced the decision during his set at London’s Royal Festival Hall, the opening date of his World tour.

Activists from the Gil Scott-Heron Boycott Israel Campaign had picketed the event earlier in the day, attracting considerable public interest and support. Ten activists from the Campaign then continued their protest inside the concert, raising the issue of Israeli apartheid right at the start of Heron’s set and after the first song.

The activists were great admirers of the artist who were shocked by Heron’s decision to play Israel, given his longstanding commitment to equality and civil rights in both the USA and South Africa. Leading members of the ANC have stated that Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians is even worse than was their own treatment under South African apartheid.

The Campaign is now awaiting confirmation from Gil Scott Heron’s management that the concert has indeed been cancelled.

Emory Douglas, renowned artist of the Black Panther Party, commented “My choice to join the voices opposed to your going [to Tel Aviv] wasn't personal, but the right thing to do. I will be one of the first in line at your next concert in my town. May you continue to inform and inspire.”

For more information on the campaign, please contact:

sukant.chandan@gmail.com

Notes to Editors

• Sukant Chandan is coordinating the GSH Boycott Israel Campaign

• The GSH Boycott Israel Campaign started in response to GSH’s proposed gig in Israel on 25 May 2010

• The GSH Boycott Israel Campaign seeks to persuade GSH to cancel this gig

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Full Emory Douglas statement:

I commend you on your reversal of not going to perform in Israel, a place ruled by an Apartheid Government. Perhaps the courage you've shown by not going will now set the standard and be an inspiration for other performers to be mindful of the choices they make.

My choice to join the voices opposed to your going wasn't personal, but the right thing to do. I will be one of the first in line at your next concert in my town. May you continue to inform and inspire.

-One Love, Emory Douglas, former Minister of Culture of The Back Panther Party


Update: Despite Scott-Heron's announcement, the producers of his Tel Aviv show say it's still on, and tickets are still being sold, as reported today in Ha'aretz.

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