Thurston Moore declares support for Israel boycott over ‘brutal human rights violations’

Former Sonic Youth frontman explains why he cancelled a gig in Tel Aviv this April

Thurston Moore has become the latest artist to boycott Israel over what he calls the nation’s “brutal human rights violations”.

Moore was booked to perform in Israel’s second largest city, Tel Aviv, earlier this year, but later cancelled the gig without offering an official explanation. The former Sonic Youth frontman has now confirmed that he pulled out of the planned concert to show support for the BDS movement, which describes itself as “a call for a campaign of boycotts, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel until it complies with international law and Palestinian rights”.

“It was with serious deliberation that I eventually arrived at the personal conclusion that to perform with my band in Israel was in direct conflict to my values,” Moore explained in a statement to The Quietus. “With the realisation that a cultural and academic boycott is central to its purpose in exposing a reality of brutal human rights violations – including those accompanying Israel’s discriminatory laws and occupation of the West Bank – I felt the need, with humility, to cancel the engagement.”

Moore added later in his statement: “With apology and thanks to everyone I work with professionally, as this decision incurs difficult rectification, and to every individual with a wish to hear us play live, I’ve made the decision, with certitude, to fully acknowledge the dedication of the boycott until the time comes for it to be unnecessary.”

In May, Lauryn Hill cancelled a show in Israel after failing to book a corresponding concert in Palestine. Other artists to have pulled out of planned gigs in Israel recently include Lana Del Rey, Pixies, Neil Young, Gorillaz and Klaxons.