The Guardian deceives readers about the movement to boycott Israel (BDS) in two major ways. First, the malevolence of the movement is often ignored. Journalists covering the issue typically claim that BDS activists are motivated merely by opposition to settlements, whilst ignoring the fact that the BDS leaders reject the existence of a Jewish state within any borders – a position defined as antisemitic by the British government.  The other deception involves the propensity of journalists and contributors covering the issue to greatly exaggerate the size, influence and effectiveness of BDS, while ignoring counter counter-examples of prominent artists ignoring demands to avoid performing in the state. (See our ongoing series on BDS fails here.)

An April 24th Guardian article, about calls for the critically acclaimed rock band Radiohead to cancel its upcoming Tel Aviv gig, falls into this latter category.  

In fact, the headline of article by Guardian culture reporter Hannah Ellis-Petersen is itself misleading.

The words “leading arts world figures” obfuscates the fact that – as readers of this blog would know – those calling on Radiohead to boycott Israel are the same British figures typically involved in such efforts. They include Israel haters such as Roger Waters, directors Ken Loach, Peter Kosminsky and Mike Leigh, actress Miriam Margolyes and comedian Alexei Sayle.  In fact, the open letter to Radiohead is signed by a total of only 47 musicians and ‘cultural figures’. 

Moreover, the article completely ignores the extremely popular rock and pop stars – in addition to Radiohead – scheduled to perform in Israel over the summer. These include Guns N Roses, Metallica, Justin Beiber, Britney Spears, Aerosmith and Rod Stewart.  Last year, Queen, Elton John and Bon Jovi performed in front of huge Tel Aviv crowds.  

Other big names who ignored BDS over years include The Rolling Stones, Madonna, Leonard Cohen, Lady Gaga, Alicia Keys and Paul McCartney.

The bottom line is that, despite efforts by media groups such as the Guardian to amplify and legitimise the hateful rhetoric of a small number of artists, in 2017, 2018 and years to come, it seems certain that big name performers will continue to rock the Jewish state. 

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