In Stuttgart, Germany, on July 19, activists prepared to demonstrate outside his concert, but in the face of continuing protests, Vieux agreed to meet with them about his scheduled concert in Israel. The group also challenged his musical alliance with Israeli musician Idan Raichel, an absolute apologist for Israel’s apartheid policies.
According to their report, Touré was disturbed to learn that Raichel was not quite what he seemed. “We put it to him that Raichel had strong connections to the army and supported them without compromise. We asked how it was possible to talk of music bringing people together when he supported repressive policies and actions that sowed hatred in peoples' hearts.
July 16, New York, NY - Outside the Brooklyn concert of Malian musician Vieux Farka Touré this evening, human rights advocates held signs and handed out hundreds of flyers calling on Vieux Farka Touré to cancel his scheduled August 25 concert in Eilat, Israel.
November 19, New York, NY – Demonstrators protesting the performance of Israeli musician Idan Raichel overflowed police barricades in front of Symphony Space Tuesday evening (PHOTOS). With creative signs, songs, poetry, dance and hip-hop performances, over 60 New Yorkers braved the sub-freezing temperatures to highlight the contradiction between Raichel’s self-image as a representative of a “tolerant, multi-ethnic Israel” and his role as a cultural ambassador for Israel and its brutal policies toward Palestinians.
Raichel’s image as a musician who crosses cultural boundaries has made him an important cultural ambassador for Israel in its rebranding campaign. Israeli Foreign Ministry official Andy David said of Raichel: “I think Idan is maybe the best ambassador that Israel has through his music and his inclusiveness.” Raichel has affirmed his role in drumming up support for the Israeli government, saying, “I believe that our role as artists is to enlist in the Israeli propaganda campaign [Hasbara].”
This should have been a story just about music, about a fruitful and enticing cross-cultural collaboration between an Israeli pop icon and the scion of an African musical dynasty. Instead, we begin with a battle of petitions and committees, pitting the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement against supporters of the State of Israel.