Rage Against The Machine, The Roots and over 600 musicians pledge to boycott Israel

Rage Against The Machine, The Roots and over 600 musicians pledge to boycott Israel
Rage Against The Machine was one of the leading signatories of an open letter which calls on artists to not perform in Israel while the occupation continues.
2 min read
29 May, 2021
Rage Against The Machine have long rallied in support of Palestine [Getty]

Over 600 musicians, including Rage Against the Machine, have signed an open letter calling on other artists to boycott performances in Israel until it ends its occupation of the Palestinian territories.

The letter, organised under the banner "Musicians for Palestine," follows growing widespread condemnation of Israel and support for Palestine from leading public figures and celebrities.  

Among the musicians pledging to boycott Israel are the Strokes' Julian Casablancas, members of Cypress Hill, Patti Smith, Pink Floyd's Roger Waters and System of a Down's Serj Tankian.

"As musicians, we cannot be silent. Today it is essential that we stand with Palestine. We are calling on our peers to publicly assert their solidarity with the Palestinian people. Complicity with Israeli war crimes is found in silence, and today silence is not an option," the letter read.

"Today, we speak together and demand justice, dignity and the right to self-determination for the Palestinian people and all who are fighting colonial dispossession and violence across the planet," it added. 

Iraqi-Canadian rapper, Yassin Alsalman, known by his stage name Narcy of The Narcicyst, helped organise the open letter. 

"Listen, if we are not going to use our art and space to amplify those in need of space then what the f**k are we doing?" Alsalman said in one of his many calls to action. 

The open letter asks fellow artists to refuse "to perform at Israel's complicit cultural institutions, and by standing firm in your support of the Palestinian people and their human right to sovereignty and freedom". 

“We believe this is crucial to one day live in a world without segregation and apartheid," it says. 

The Roots' Black Thought and Questlove, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Thurston Moore, Bun B, Royce Da 5'9″, Talib Kweli, Run the Jewels and Anti-Flag are also among the signatories. 

The US rock band Rage Against The Machine, renowned for its revolutionary and anti-establishment music, spoke out during Israeli security forces' violence  in East Jerusalem and at the Al-Aqsa mosque in early May, denouncing Israel's "brutal" occupation while voicing solidarity for the Palestinians.

"The violence and atrocities we are witnessing in Sheikh Jarrah, the Al-Aqsa compound and Gaza are a continuation of decades of Israel's brutal apartheid and violent occupation of Palestine," the band wrote on Twitter.

"We stand with the Palestinian people as they resist this colonial terror in all its forms. #FreePalestine"” they continued.