A Win for BDS: Brazil's Gilberto Gil Cancels Show in Israel

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World famous Brazilian soccer player Pele and then Brazilian minister of culture Gilberto Gil in Germany, Dec. 8, 2005
World famous Brazilian soccer player Pele and then Brazilian minister of culture Gilberto Gil in Germany, Dec. 8, 2005Credit: AP

Brazilian musician Gilberto Gil decided to cancel his Israel show, saying Israel is going through "sensitive times," in an apparent reference to the violence in Gaza on the day of the dedication of the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem.

Gil, a world-renowned musician who served as Brazil's Culture Minister in the early 2000s, was supposed to perform in Ra'anana in July, but said that "after careful consideration with the other members of the band," the group "will not be able to perform in Israel this year."

The decision to cancel the event was announced in an email to the company responsible for organizing Gil's concerts in Israel. The group said they "love" Israel and they trust there will be "more opportunities to perform there, in better times."

Although Gil made no reference to the BDS movement or the recent violence in Gaza, pro-boycott Palestinian activists swiftly took to their website to celebrate the news and draw the connection to the so-called "March of return" in Gaza.

>> Portuguese director Tiago Rodrigues nixes shows at Israel Festival, announces he's joining BDS <<

"Palestinians have warmly received the news of Brazilian legend Gilberto Gil’s cancellation of his performance in Tel Aviv, scheduled for July 4, in response to what Palestinians and some international observers have termed as Israel’s “massacre” of over 100 civilians in Gaza over the past few weeks," the BDS movement website said.

The BDS website also mentions Caetano Veloso, another prominent Brazilian musician who performed in Israel 2015 with Gilberto Gil but recently announced he would not do it again in light of Israel's policies in the occupied territories.

On Saturday, Portuguese director and playwright Tiago Rodrigues announced he is cancelling his participating in next month's Israel Festival, slated to be held in Jerusalem, over political reasons. Rodrigues, the artistic director of Portugal's national theater, said he is officially joining the BDS movement.

Last month, American actress Natalie Portman announced she would not participate the Genesis Prize Foundation ceremony in Israel similarly saying “[r]ecent events in Israel" had been "extremely distressing."

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