Sam Smith urged to cancel Israel concert over 'pinkwashing'

Sam Smith urged to cancel Israel concert over 'pinkwashing'
Activists are calling for global gay singing sensation Sam Smith to cancel their concert in Israel, stating that the Jewish state is guilty of 'pinkwashing' and 'targeting Palestinian queers'.
3 min read
10 March, 2023
Smith is set to perform as part of Tel Aviv’s Summer in the City music festival [Getty]

Activists are calling for global gay superstar singer Sam Smith to cancel a concert in Israel over the country's "targeting Palestinian [of] queers" and "pinkwashing".

The British singer is set to perform as part of Tel Aviv’s Summer in the City music festival on 31 May.

Smith has previously said they would "never" perform in Russia because of its treatment of the LGBT community, according to Digital Spy. Fans are asking Smith to apply a similar sentiment with Israel stand "on the right side of history".

Pinkwashing refers to using a pro-LGBTQ+ agenda to mask other human rights violations. Many activists have accused Israel of using such tactics to gloss over its brutal occupation of the West Bank and siege of Gaza.

"Israel is complicit in extensive pinkwashing and targeting of Palestinian queers… cancel your gig in Israel Sam. Be on the right side of history,” one activist wrote.

One activist posted an image purportedly of a previous Sam Smith Instagram story, in which the Smith said they "can’t stop day dreaming about what it would be like" to marry a policeman, alongside an image of the festival’s advert, saying it "checks out".

The New Arab could not verify the post.

Other activists said Smith's performance is "the result of lazy conversation on queer liberation… that rests on white-washed understandings of queer futures"

"If your activism does not intersect with all quests for 'freedom', including Palestinians’, you are turbocharging queer oppression & ostracization," another activist, Hussein, said.

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Activists also asked why Smith decided to go ahead with their performance, stating their participation makes them "complicit" in Israel’s "apartheid regime and ethnic cleansing of Palestinians".

Other artists expected to make an appearance at the festival include Robbie Williams and Callum Scott.

Israeli public figures have recently made headlines due to anti-gay remarks.

Rabbinic leader of Tunisian reportedly said the newly appointed speaker of the Knesset, Amir Ohana, was "infected with a disease" because of his gay sexuality.

Prime Minister Netanyahu also now heads a government that includes ultra-nationalist religious parties, and what is believed to be the most far-right government in Israel's history.

Some cabinet members are openly opposed to Israel’s LGBTQ+ community, but Netanyahu has said his new government will uphold their rights.