Talib Kweli Uninvited From German Festival For Supporting Palestinian Rights

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Written by Ann Brown
Talib Kweli

Hip-Hop artist Talib Kweli is known for his conscious rhymes. But his consciousness seems to have lost him a major gig.

The artist was uninvited to perform at the mega Open Source Festival in Düsseldorf, Germany, following his refusal to denounce the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement for Palestinian rights. 

According to a statement from the festival organizer, it said that it had no other option but to revoke his invitation.

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“In May, the German Parliament, known as the Bundestag, designated the BDS movement as anti-Semitic. German lawmakers decided that the government would not fund any organization that questions Israel’s right to exist, calls for boycotting Israeli goods, or actively supports the BDS movement,” The Northstar reported.

Kweli ouster from the fest has prompted more than 100 artists, filmmakers, playwrights, and actors to sign an open letter condemning his removal.

“Listen, I’m not going to disavow this movement to support Palestinian… essentially Israel divestment, until certain Palestinian requirements are met.” Kweli said after Germany made its announcement. 

The rapper told Uproxx, “That’s not a decision that I arrived at willy-nilly. It was based on my experience as an artist and my experience with Israeli-Palestinian conversations. I have to state off the top that I’m not the BDS guy. I don’t talk about BDS at my show, I don’t hand out BDS pamphlets, I’m not a member of any organization that pushes BDS. I just became familiar with BDS a few years ago. I was booked to do a show in Israel and people who support BDS were very critical of me, very frustrated with me, and expressed their concerns. And I argued with them back and forth and…long story short — because it’s quite a long story…people who represented BDS convinced me to cancel my show in Israel.”

By contrast, Pharrell Williams criticized for singing to Israeli soldiers as part of army fundraiser.

“Pharrell Williams and Gerard Butler among stars condemned by Palestinians, who say money furthers the occupation,” The Middle East Eye reported. “The gala on  November 1, organized by Friends of the Israeli Defence Forces and attended by actors such as Ashton Kutcher, Gerard Butler and Andy Garcia, was praised by Israel and its supporters for raising a record $60 million and bringing together more than 1,200 people. 

Despite cries of human rights abuses and violations of international law, the voices of Palestinians were nowhere to be heard at the Los Angeles event.

The gala’s attendees, who also included Arnold Schwarzenegger and the singer Seal, enjoyed a performance by producer and rapper Pharrell Williams.”

Palestinian activist Fareed Taamallah said: “Every American dollar donated to the occupation’s state translates into our suffering as a Palestinian people.”