Sunday, August 21, 2011

Cancellations at Eilat Festival: BDS or Fear?

Pianists Eddie Palmieri and Jason Moran, as well as New Orleans band Tuba Skinny, have cancelled their participation in the Red Sea International Jazz Festival in Eilat, Israel. Of course, Electronic Intifada and Philip Weiss immediately jumped up and said the boycott campaign is working. They claim that, at least in Tuba Skinny's case, their withdrawal from the Red Sea festival is a response to the BDS movement's requests/demands that the band not perform in Israel.


Had they announced this decision before August 18, I would have sadly agreed that they caved in to the pressures of BDS. But they decided not to come after the terrorst attacks which killed eight Israelis just a few miles north of Eilat, where Tuba Skinny and the others were scheduled to perform. 

It seems much more likely that the cultural terrorism of BDS had nothing to do with this decision. These musicians were scared away by the physical terrorism of the Popular Resistance Committees. It might also be the case that they're afraid the rockets now blowing up in Ashdod and Be'er-Sheva will reach Eilat, or that the whole country will go to war. I can understand them. I wouldn't volunteer to go into a war zone. That's a far cry from endorsement of the boycott or rebuke of Israel.

Update: Mondoweiss commenter eljay linked to Tuba Skinny band member Erika Lewis's announcement on their Facebook page, which I believe confirms that their decision had nothing to do with BDS. Judge for yourselves:

"In light of the violence in Eilat and the surrounding region, Tuba SKinny will not be performing at The Red Sea Jazz Festival. We are sorry to miss all of you who might be there, and we hope to be able to return at a more peaceful time."

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