The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) has called for the official boycott of three German clubs – ://about blank in Berlin, Conne Island in Leipzig, and Golden Pudel in Hamburg.
Announcing the call for boycott via the BDS Movement’s official website, PACBI claims that these clubs have “to varying degrees, demonstrated glaring and persistent anti-Palestinian and anti-Arab racism.”
“All three are complicit in promoting Israel’s regime of apartheid,” the statement continues. “Settler-colonialism and occupation and shielding it from criticism and accountability in accordance with international law. These clubs have repeatedly cancelled or denied performances to electronic artists who have given their support to the inspiring #DJsforPalestine initiative, engaging in censorship, intimidation and outrageous suppression of freedom of expression.”
PACBI claims that these clubs have “repeatedly cancelled or denied performances to electronic artists who have given their support to the inspiring #DJsforPalestine initiative”. They point to a “recruitment call” published on Conne Island’s website, “for German volunteers to join Israel’s occupation army”.
PACBI also claims that Golden Pudel “cancelled and denied shows to previously booked DJs who have given their support to the nonviolent cultural boycott of Israel in solidarity with Palestinian rights, and allowed promoters to do so”, and point to ://about blank’s cancelling of an event “because the organisers had supported #DJsforPalestine”.
In Setpember 2018, prominent figures in underground dance music expressed their support for BDS on social media, by using the hashtag #DJsforPalestine, and sharing a text image which read: "As long as the Israeli government continues its brutal and sustained oppression of the Palestinian people we respect their call for a boycott of Israel as a means of peaceful protest against the occupation”. This move came shortly after several DJs, including Ross From Friends and Volvox, withdrew from the line-up of Israel’s Meteor Festival following an official call for its boycott from BDS.
In September 2018, a Room 4 Resistance x Cómeme party at ://about blank was cancelled by the club’s owners, “on grounds of serious political differences. A deciding factor was Room 4 Resistance’s support of the current, ongoing boycott campaign against Israel”.
Following the cancellation of that party at ://about blank, R4R shared a statement to their Facebook which read: “We, Room 4 Resistance, are here to bring politics back to the dancefloor, and we stand in solidarity with the Palestinians. In addition to being queer, femme and non-binary forward, trans-positive, and sex-positive, we are anti-racist, anti-fascist, anti-colonialist, anti-apartheid and therefore opposed to the violent oppression of the Palestinian people. Since they suffer this oppression at the hands of the state of Israel, we understand why Palestinian rights groups are calling for a peaceful protest and cultural boycott.”
When approached by DJ Mag for comment on PACBI’s call for boycott, ://about blank shared the following statement:
“The current call for boycott by the ‘Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel’ (PACBI) against subcultural leftist places like the Golden Pudel Club, Conne Island and ://about blank is fully in line with BDS’s strategy of polarisation, separation and demonisation. Unfortunately, several (pop) cultural events and festivals were affected by this in the past years when being targeted by the BDS movement.
“We will not respond to this strategy of provocation, particularly as the accusations derive from the obsessive worldview promoted by the BDS campaign which divides the world into friend or foe. ://about blank will furthermore not take a one-sided position in the Middle East conflict, as we already expressed in September 2018.
"When we founded ://about blank, it was clear to us: Even a politically-oriented techno club that putters around with numerous contradictions cannot be the place where such a highly complex and contentious conflict like the one concerning Israel and Palestine is negotiated. we are cognizant of the fact that there are multiple perspectives, arenas of discourse, experiences, and personal backgrounds attached to this distressing conflict — which is why we are not adopting a partisan position.
“Rather, we focus on direct exchange, listening to each other, and recognising different backgrounds and contexts. We are convinced that this is essential for finding a way out of the dilemma, and to contribute to a productive discussion at eye level instead of being caught in an endless loop on social media. Last week, for example, a discussion night took place at ://about blank which was part of the event series ‘The Amplified Kitchen’. There, a diverse audience including Israeli, Palestinian, queer, inter- and antinational positioned persons of club culture engaged in a discussion with each other, recognised and respected differences, discovered similarities and held a controversial face-to-face debate. We will continue on this path.”
Golden Pudel shared the following statement with DJ Mag [translated from German]: “When we as Pudel get attacked, in a similar fashion and for similar absurd reasons, by BDS and Anti-BDS alike, then that mirrors the public discourse around the subject rather nicely. The Titanic [Editor’s note: German satire magazine] couldn’t have thought this up any better. We take it as a compliment and keep going our own way.”
DJ Mag has approached Conne Island for comment.
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