The ugly situation in Israel with rockets and bombs flying everywhere and citizens dying by the truckload in Palestine has thrown a lot of awkward question marks about musicians playing there and other similar places.
The question marks have been there for some time with both Jello Biafra and John Lydon both getting flak and both replying in their own idiosyncratic way about performing in the troubled nation in the past couple of years.
Jello Biafra statement on Israel
Of course now with the current situation the ante has been upped with a vicious new war and the Palestinians have requested that there should be a cultural boycott which throws musicians into an awkward situation – should a politically aware musician boycott countries with heavy handed foreign policies- does their very performance lend the regimes a credibility? Can music have an affect by playing in a troubled land or is it better to boycott?
There is, unfortunately, quite a long list of these nations round the world, should a musician play there and attempt to take their own version of events to the people? should we assume that everyone living in a country is in support of the regime running the place to their own ends? should a musician be able to transcend borders ? which countries are we going to have on the list of places not to perform?
It’s an awkward and messy debate which, of course, pales into insignificance compared to the situation on the ground but one that is important to anyone in a band.