The opinions of Ana Moura’s audience last night at her Glasgow performance were clear, “Don’t perform in Israel – support the appeal from Palestinian civil society for a cultural boycott of Israel.” From the first member of the audience we spoke to, who had appeared with friends and took extra leaflets to distribute inside, only one single individual mounted a dispirited defence of Israel. An Irish Palestine Solidarity Campaign member had earlier written from Dublin, following Ana Moura’s performance at the Concert Hall there, that the audience were “the most receptive people I’ve ever leafleted,” with a number of people saying that the planned Israel performance “would leave a sour taste”.

Write to the artist and ask her not to play IsraelAna Moura can be in no doubt after Dublin and Glasgow that her fans want her to honour the call from Palestine for artists to play their part in the growing campaign to isolate the apartheid state.

In the words of Roger Waters, "The abhorrent and draconian control that Israel wields over the besieged Palestinians in Gaza, and the Palestinians in the occupied West Bank (including East Jerusalem), coupled with its denial of the rights of refugees to return to their homes in Israel, demands that fair minded people around the world support the Palestinians in their civil, nonviolent resistance. For me it means declaring my intention to stand in solidarity, not only with the people of Palestine, but also with the many thousands of Israelis who disagree with their governments racist and colonial policies, by joining a campaign of Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel, until it satisfies three basic human rights demanded in international law."

Unfortunately, the Artistic Director of Celtic Connections, which hosted Ana Moura, does not share Waters commitment to human rights. Donald Shaw phoned the SPSC office on Thursday to complain bitterly about our plans to ask audience members to appeal to the performer not to play Tel Aviv. Mr Shaw said he was “disappointed” and that standing outside the event to leaflet the audience would be “disruption”. Shaw expressed concern that the global booking agency that handles Ana Moura might react negatively; several hundred leaflets distributed in Glasgow could negatively affect commercial decisions taken by an international agency based in Berlin.

During the phone call, Mr Shaw expressed incredulity at the idea that artists such as Waters, Elvis Costello and the late, great Gil Scott-Heron honouring the Palestinian appeal for boycott could contribute to the Palestinian freedom struggle. He recommended Paul Simon as a positive example of a musician who rebuffed calls from the South African liberation movement to stay away, and went to apartheid South Africa to play music.

The SPSC Secretary found it very disappointing to listen to a political argument that artists should stay neutral on an issue of oppression, and that financial calculations can over-ride ethical, humanitarian and political considerations, especially since the Celtic Connections Artistic Director has told the BBC he is “Inspired by the...Arab Spring” and had therefore “programmed a strong political strand with artists from Palestine exploring songs of conscience.”

Where promoters follow the bottom line, Ana Moura’s audiences showed clear support for the people of Palestine and do not want the performer to allow her art to be used to whitewash the crimes of the apartheid State of Israel.

Mick Napier (22 January 2012), Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign


Events & Activities