U.S. Rapper Talib Kweli Backs Out of Israel Show

Under BDS pressure, Kweli announces on Twitter he wants to show solidarity with Palestinians, then changes his tune slightly.

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Talib Kweli performing at the 2012 Ilosaarirock Festival in Joensuu, Finland.
Talib Kweli performing at the 2012 Ilosaarirock Festival in Joensuu, Finland.Credit: Tuomas Vitikainen

American rapper Talib Kweli Greene has canceled his planned participation in an Israeli music festival, the artist announced on his Twitter feed, but remains interested in visiting the region and meeting with both Israelis and Palestinians fighting against the occupation.

"As much as I want to play Israel, I have decided not to in solidarity with Palestinians who will not have access to my show," the 38-year-old rapper from Brooklyn tweeted on Tuesday.

Two minutes later, however, he qualified his previous statement. "After days of discussions with many, I've decided to try & visit Israel & Palestine with those who fight to end the state of apartheid rather than use my art to force the issue on those who would rather not deal with it," the artist wrote.

Greene, who goes by the stage name Talib Kweli, was supposed to perform at Hadera's Boom Box festival August, alongside Wyclef Jean and J. Views, Femi Kuti and others. Kweli is known as a rapper with a political conscience.

The announcement followed pressure from BDS tweeters to fall in line with a total boycott of Israel that built up on Monday, though some suggested alternative ideas such as giving "free shows in Palestine" or meeting with African refugees.
Some followers said they hate the occupation and wish Kweli would not boycott and others supporting his decision because of the occupation. A few followers demanded more consistency from the artist, asking him if he would boycott Russia in solidarity with Ukraine, boycott Uganda because of its anti-gay hatred or condemn Islamic terror.

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