The State of Israel’s official twitter channel *, maintained by the Foreign Ministry’s Digital Diplomacy Team has already claimed Gun N’ Roses as their trophy in support of metalwashing Israel, and tickets have not yet gone up for sale.
The trend to attract metal bands to play in Israel is not new. I’m going to take some credit for coining this little-known term. The concept was gleaned from the “pinkwashing” term, which has gone mainstream. Similar to “pinkwashing,” “metalwashing” is a way for Israel to gain acceptance through reaching out to metal fans. The number of heavy metal bands that have taken a liking to Israel and shut their eyes to Israel’s war crimes, human rights abuses, and violation of international law is growing. Apartheid Israel appears to have strong support from some metal bands. The question is, why? (I’ll leave you to ponder that)
The growing BDS movement continues to ask metal bands to cancel, and the Israeli-led co-resistance movement was prompted to write a letter entitled “A letter to all metal bands,” asking them to refrain from playing in the apartheid state. Sixteen Israelis signed the letter. The only metal band so far to cancel has been August Burns Red. [encode_email email=”email@example.com” display=”(Message me if this needs updating)”]
Here’s a partial list of bands whom have screamed, distorted their amps, and wore a lot of black for the stages of Tel Aviv:
Napalm Death, Metallica, Children of Bodom, Arch Enemy, Lamb of God, Linkin Park, and Ozzy Osbourne.
Metalheads Against Apartheid
You can join Guns N’ Roses: No Appetite for Apartheid! Don’t Play Israel on Facebook or tweet Guns N’ Roses at @gunsnroses to register your thoughts about the Israeli government’s brazen use of Guns N’ Roses to metalwash apartheid.
He recalls how Napalm Death had played that night. How, between songs, Barney had stopped and shouted to the crowd: “Now, go and tear down that wall”, or something like that, referring to the separation barrier that cuts off the West Bank from Israel. The crowd were shouting back and had their middle fingers up and suddenly —seeing me still smiling — Feras looks at me deadly serious and says: “This is not funny. They were shouting Death to Arabs.”
Napalm Death walked off stage after that, Feras says, and as they headed on to the next stage on the tour, maybe it left a sour taste, who knows. Chaos of Nazareth, meanwhile, go on. Like over 1.5 million of Israel’s population, the band are Arabs with Israeli citizenship, residents of cities like Nazareth which are primarily Arab but became part of Israel in 1948, as the Jewish army pushed east in the war that followed the declaration of an Israeli state. Arab Israelis now number among twenty per cent of Israel’s population and while life is more tolerable for them than the Palestinians cut off in the West Bank or Gaza, it is far from easy.
“As a Palestinian, as an Arab inside this country, I don’t have all my rights. When I go to airports, I get stopped and I know why. I see the people who are passing through and they are not Arabs,” says Feras. “And when we are standing on the stage, looking around at the crowd, I know that when I turn my back people are talking.”
“When some people got to know that we were playing with Lamb of God, they started talking to their manager and saying why don’t you get an Israeli band? Like we are not Israelis,” Feras says, with a good humoured but slightly exhausted laugh. “The manager called me and said: ‘Feras, you have no f***ing idea where you are living.’ He said he had calls from more than twenty managers urging him not to let us play.’