Back in April, Thurston Moore cancelled a concert he had scheduled in Tel Aviv, Israel, but didn’t provide an explanation. A few days ago, he opened up about his reasoning to The Quietus in a longer piece by British-Palestinian musician Samir Eskanda that examined why artists are boycotting Israel and supporting the BDS Movement. Here’s Moore’s explanation:
Since it was founded in 2005 I have honored the Palestinian BDS call by not accepting offers to perform in Israel, though all the while having the inherent belief in the importance of bringing music, art, education (love) to friends. With cursory knowledge of the boycott’s principles and not exactly concurring with the aspects of requesting certain limitations on cultural exchange I reconsidered and accepted a kind offer from promoters in Tel Aviv (as announced for April 2015).
It was with serious deliberation that I eventually arrived at the personal conclusion that to perform with my band in Israel was in direct conflict to my values. With the realization that a cultural and academic boycott is central to its purpose in exposing a reality of brutal human rights violations – including those accompanying Israel’s discriminatory laws and occupation of the West Bank – I felt the need, with humility, to cancel the engagement.
Subsequently the choice to play in Tel Aviv, while a boycott based on principles of non-violence exists, initiated for me an active study and contemplation in which emerged an enlightenment of personal judgment. This is in admiration to the fans, friends and neighbors who have engaged me in discussing the complicity of crossing this very real line of protest.
With apology and thanks to everyone I work with professionally, as this decision incurs difficult rectification, and to every individual with a wish to hear us play live, I’ve made the decision, with certitude, to fully acknowledge the dedication of the boycott until the time comes for it to be unnecessary.
When Sonic Youth played Tel Aviv in 1996 it was an amazing, wonderful experience and education. I hope to return soon.