The movement for a cultural boycott of Israel in response to its treatment of the Palestinians, modelled on the boycott of apartheid South Africa, could eclipse decades of disingenuous political charades in engaging western intellectuals, academics and artists. Internationally renowned figures such as Naomi Klein and Ken Loach have supported the call, and now one of Britain's most successful bands, Massive Attack, is publicly backing the boycott.Could that happen with the Palestinian cause some time soon? They'll never get a Palestine solidarity show on to mainstream television any time soon but then the internet does kill Israeli PR.
“I've always felt that it's the only way forward," Robert Del Naja, the band's lead singer, tells me when we meet at the Lazarides gallery in Fitzrovia, London. Del Naja is an artist as well as musician and his face and fingers are speckled with paint. Dozens of his pictures are strewn all over the wooden floorboards, drying. "It's a system that's been applied to many countries. It's a good thing to aim for because it applies the continual pressure that's needed."
Musicians have a history of rallying the public to supporting political causes. The global anti-apartheid movement got the fillip it desperately needed when musicians began supporting it. The single "Sun City" by Artists United Against Apartheid in 1985 and the 70th-birthday tribute concert for Nelson Mandela at Wembley in 1988 catapulted the cause into millions of ordinary homes.
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