FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
New York, NY - After receiving over 30,000 views in just two days, a video of New York human rights activists commemorating Palestinian Land Day by calling on Americans to boycott Israel was taken down on the evening of April 1st by YouTube. Today, Adalah-NY posted a silent version of the video on YouTube. In the video, originally posted on March 30, more than 30 dancers accompanied by the Rude Mechanical Orchestra surprised crowds at New York's bustling Grand Central Terminal with an unannounced song and dance.
Reposted silent flash mob video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AZulhUV4rQM
The flash mob started with a handful of people and within a minute saw dozens more singing and dancing to a parody of the tune of "Don't Stop Believin’" by Journey. "Don't stop boycottin'," they sang, "Think when you're shopping." They called out companies benefiting from Israeli occupation, and celebrated Roger Waters, Gil Scott Heron, and Elvis Costello, who are among the many artists to have heeded the Palestinian civil society call to boycott Israel until it complies with international law.
On April 1, Adalah-NY discovered that YouTube had taken the video down after receiving a claim of copyright infringement. Hannah Mermelstein from Adalah-NY commented, “The Global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Movement is growing in influence and power as evidenced by the popularity of our video. We are dismayed that our video has been removed from YouTube and are working to make it available again. We fear that this is but another example of attempts to silence calls for justice and Palestinian rights. But the BDS movement to hold Israel accountable for its crimes against Palestinians will not be silenced.”
In January, YouTube removed a Saint Louis Boycott Motorola Flash Mob video that parodied the Beyonce/Lady Gaga song "Telephone" as the video reached 35,000 views. As was the case with the Saint Louis flash mob video, there are tens of parody versions of Journey's "Don't Stop Believin’" currently posted on YouTube. In another attempt to silence efforts at shedding light on Israeli crimes, in March, a number of groups and the Israeli government attempted to prevent the screening of "Miral," a film about Palestinian women living under Israeli military occupation, at the United Nations in New York.
The Global BDS Day of Action on Land Day is part of the growing international movement calling for a boycott of Israel until it respects the basic rights of Palestinians living under occupation, within Israel, and in exile. The Palestinian-led BDS movement is a moral, nonviolent campaign for human rights modeled on the worldwide boycott movement that helped to bring an end to apartheid in South Africa.