Today, The Guardian published an open letter signed by 103 notable individuals including musicians Brian Eno and Peter Gabriel, director Boots Riley, and actor Mark Ruffalo denouncing the organizers of the Open Source Festival in Düsseldorf, Germany for disinviting Talib Kweli, leading to the cancellation of his German tour. The festival allegedly withdrew its invitation for Kweli to perform after he refused to condemn the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement for Palestinian rights.
The BDS is described as a campaign promoting various forms of boycott against Israel until Israel makes specific actions regarding its occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, including withdrawal of its forces, removal of the separation barrier in the West Bank, and granting full equality to Arab-Palestinian Israeli citizens. The signatories of the open letter state that they “hold diverse views on BDS,” but “concur with 240 Jewish and Israeli scholars who recently wrote that ‘the three main goals of BDS — ending the occupation, full equality to the Arab citizens of Israel and the right of return of Palestinian refugees — adhere to international law.”
Talib Kweli is a naturally outspoken activist and scholar on top of being a renowned and respected veteran rapper, and has been known to share his unapologetic and sometimes controversial views on subjects from racism to domestic abuse to social justice. He currently hosts a weekly interview series, People’s Party With Talib Kweli, on Uproxx.
The full list of 103 signatories supporting him in the face of Open Source’s decision to drop him from the festival lineup includes activists, actors, authors, DJs, filmmakers, poets, producers, singers, fellow rappers, writers, and visual artists.