Why Did Eric Burdon Cancel His Gig in Apartheid Israel?

The latest major artist to cancel their performance in apartheid Israel is Eric Burdon, after a focused campaign by BDS advocacy organisations, including the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign and DPAI. A facebook page and twitter campaign augmented the calls to Burdon to respect the Palestinian-led boycott.

Since the cancellation, the Scottish PSC, who provided an online facility for forwarding letters protesting Burdon’s breaking of the boycott, published a disclaimer of allegations of threats broadcast by the Israeli media. These threat allegations are second-hand, emanating from a supposed letter from Burdon’s management to supporting band, T-Slam (or Tislam). T-Slam band member Yair Nitzani served in the Israel Defense Forces as a broadcaster on Galei Zahal, and later on the show Ma Yesh (What’s Up) on Israeli Army Radio.

The US Campaign for Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (USACBI) has also disclaimed allegations of threats to Burdon.

‘Although we and our allies urge artists not to cross the international picket line by performing in Israel, and although we make sustained efforts to educate performers about the reason for boycott, we have not and never will issue any threats against anyone who does not heed the boycott call. Recent claims of threats from ex-Animals singer Eric Burdon in an article published by Ha’aretz are vague and unsubstantiated. We do not know if they are made up by media hostile to the BDS strategy, or by artists and/or their agents, or if they are inflated reports of remarks made by individuals who do not represent the movement. USACBI advances the BDS movement not through threats, but rather by exposing Israel’s wrongs, and promoting non-violent ways to redress them, and achieve the rights of the Palestinian people.’

Israel’s Haaretz reported:

Former lead singer of The Animals Eric Burdon on Tuesday announced he is cancelling his planned concert in Israel, citing threats. According to his personal manager Marianna Burdon, he was pressured not to perform in Israel and ultimately chose to cancel the concert, which was to take place August 1.

“We are under increasing pressure, including many threatening emails that we are receiving on a daily basis. I wouldn’t want to put Eric in any danger” his manager wrote in a letter to Israeli members of Tislam, the band Burdon was scheduled to perform with.

Burdon told two of the band members who he met with in Vienna last week that he was subject to threats not to perform, but insisted that “people cannot be denied music. Everyone needs music and it has nothing to do with current politics. Everyone has the right to entertainment, regardless of their situation or the politics of their country.”

A previous Haaretz Hebrew story does not mention ‘threatening emails’, but rather phrases the supposed written allegations expressed to T-Slam by Burdon’s manager, Marianna Burdon as “strong pressure not to perform in Israel and they chose to cancel the scheduled appearance for fear of his life.” [Google translation]

The Haaretz City Mouse appears to have published news of Burdon’s cancellation first, with a headline “Because of political pressure: Eric Burdon cancelled his appearance in Israel“. This story goes onto say:

“His manager, Mariana Burdon, wrote today that “we are under growing pressure, including a large number of emails that come to us on a daily basis, I would not want to put Eric in danger.” [Google translation]

In the same Mouse story, the support band, T-Slam issued normalising hasbara in response to the cancellation.

“To appear with Eric Burdon, one of the founding fathers of rock and roll, was for us a dream almost come true. It pains us that despite his personal promise to us, he succumbed to foreign pressure and cancelled the appearance. Continue to strive to bring to Israel musicians we appreciate and create a bridge of peace through music. [Google translation]”

A spokesperson for the Facebook group Eric Burdon: Bring Down Apartheid, Boycott Israel commented on T-Slam’s response in Mouse:

“This seems to suggest the article is not attributing any weight to the claims of threats but that it was a political pressure, thus Burdon being confronted with the facts about the Israeli apartheid and ethnic cleansing as well as being informed of the call for boycott.”

Later, reasons for Burdon’s cancellation were distorted further by the UK independent, who quoted Israel Radio:

‘However, in a statement, Mr Burdon’s management, said: “We’ve been receiving mounting pressure, including numerous threatening emails, daily. The last thing I intend do is put Eric in jeopardy.” The nature of the threats is unclear, but according to Israel Radio this morning, Mr Burdon was not willing to risk his life to come to Israel.’

Kadaitcha has attempted to contact Burdon’s manager for clarification, and at time of publication has received no response.

Following Burdon’s cancellation announcement, Israel’s propaganderists, Avi Mayer and Ido Daniel swiftly moved into action, maliciously attempting to smear the BDS movement by associating it with the unsubstantiated death threats.

This is not the first time unsubstantiated allegations of ‘threats’ have been used against the BDS campaign. Previous attempts by Israel’s hasbarists to dilute the impact of BDS on cancellations and performances with fictitious smears have included BDS campaigns on Paul McCartney, who played, dubstep artist Joker, who cancelled, metal band Arch Enemy, who played, Irish band Dervish, who cancelled, and Joy Harjo, who went ahead with her tour.

Ali Abunimah documented hasbarist smears against BDS attempts to persuade Joy Harjo to cancel:

‘An Israeli government-sponsored student hasbara (state propaganda) group called “What Is RAEL,” claimed victory in a tweet at what it called a “#BDSFail” and also claimed on its Facebook page, without offering any evidence, that Harjo had been subjected to “ugly threats from BDS activists – calling her to boycott Tel-Aviv University and its students.”’

Ironically, Ido Daniel, a board member from Whatisrael, and purveyor of recent smears above against the BDS campaign for Eric Burdon to cancel, has issued real threats against BDS activists.

“I believe it is time to expose the true face of anti-Semites who hide behind the guise of political correctness and other whitewashed expressions and exact an economic and personal cost from them. We must show the BDS activists that boycott and incitement have a price.”

That Israel’s propaganderists devote so much energy to attacking BDS and BDS activists is an important indicator that this Palestinian-led campaign to achieve freedom, justice and rights for Palestinians from apartheid, settler colonial Israel is succeeding.

Related Links

Time of Israel:

But his manager later wrote to Tislam to state that the show was off. “We are under increasing pressure, including many threatening emails that we are receiving on a daily basis. I wouldn’t want to put Eric in any danger,” his manager wrote, in comments released by Tislam on Tuesday.

In a statement, Tislam said, “To appear with Eric Burdon, one of the founding fathers of rock & roll, was an almost dream come true. We’re sorry that despite his personal assurance to us, that he bowed to pressure and cancelled his concert.”

Libel on Forbes

Eric Burdon cancels Israel gig but why?

i’d like to see some of these “nasty emails”


Tislam published a statement Tuesday saying Burdon’s manager had informed it the singer would not appear, Israel Radio said.

“We are under increasing pressure, including many threatening emails that we are receiving on a daily basis. I wouldn’t want to put Eric in any danger,” the manager said.

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