://about blank and Golden Pudel have responded to the pro-Palestinian group.
The Palestinian Campaign For The Academic And Cultural Boycott Of Israel (PACBI), which leads the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, has called for a boycott of three German venues.
In an August 15th statement, BDS described Leipzig venue Conne Island, Hamburg club Golden Pudel and Berlin's ://about blank as "demonstrat[ing] glaring and persistent anti-Palestinian and anti-Arab racism." The statement continues: "All three are complicit in promoting Israel's regime of apartheid, settler-colonialism and occupation and shielding it from criticism and accountability in accordance with international law."
BDS points to the clubs' cancelling of artists who supported last year's #DJsForPalestine campaign as evidence of "glaring and persistent anti-Palestinian and anti-Arab racism," saying the clubs are "engaging in censorship, intimidation and outrageous suppression of freedom of expression." BDS further specifies Conne Island's posting of a Israel Defense Forces (IDF) recruitment call and ://about blank's cancellation of a Room 4 Resistance party that was originally scheduled for September 15th, 2018.
Resident Advisor reached out to the three clubs for their response to BDS's statement. Golden Pudel posted their comment in German via Twitter on Saturday, which has been translated.
It is a good reflection of the public handling of this topic if we get attacked equally by BDS supporters and BDS opponents for abstruse reasons. The magazine "Titanic" (political satire magazine) could not have made it up any better.
We are taking this as a compliment and keep going our own ways.
://about blank shared the following statement with RA.
The current call for boycott by the "Campaign for the academic and cultural boycott of Israel" (PACBI) against subcultural leftist places like the Golden Pudel Club, Conne Island and ://about blank is fully in line with BDS's strategy of polarisation, separation and demonisation. Unfortunately, several (pop)cultural events and festivals were affected by this in the past years when being targeted by the BDS movement.
We will not respond to this strategy of provocation, particularly as the accusations derive from the obsessive worldview promoted by the BDS campaign which divides the world into friend or foe. ://about blank will furthermore not take a one-sided position in the Middle East conflict, as we already expressed in September 2018:
"When we founded ://about blank, it was clear to us: Even a politically oriented techno club that putters around with numerous contradictions cannot be the place where such a highly complex and contentious conflict like the one concerning Israel and Palestine is negotiated. We are cognizant of the fact that there are multiple perspectives, arenas of discourse, experiences, and personal backgrounds attached to this distressing conflict—which is why we are not adopting a partisan position."
Rather, we focus on direct exchange, listening to each other, and recognizing different backgrounds and contexts. We are convinced that this is essential for finding a way out of the dilemma, and to contribute to a productive discussion at eye level instead of being caught in an endless loop on social media. Last week, for example, a discussion night took place at ://about blank which was part of the event series "The Amplified Kitchen." There, a diverse audience including Israeli, Palestinian, queer, inter- and anti-national positioned persons of club culture engaged in a discussion with each other, recognized and respected differences, discovered similarities and held a controversial face-to-face debate.
We will continue on this path.
://about blank, 19.08.2019
*Please note that this statement is the translated version of the original German statement. It was neither translated nor checked by a professional translator or a native speaker. [Clarification: This addendum is part of ://about blank's statement to RA.]
Conne Island has not replied to RA's requests for comment. We will update this story if we hear back.
Following the 2018 #DJsForPalestine social media campaign, which began after several DJs removed themselves from the lineup of Israel's Meteor Festival, there have been more high-profile clashes between German clubs and festivals and the artists and promoters who have vocalised solidarity with Palestinians. In January, Leipzig club Mjut cancelled a performance by Jerusalem In My Heart after the Montreal-based group expressed support for BDS. Last month, Brian Eno, Ben UFO, The Black Madonna and Gavin Rayna Russom joined 100 other public figures in signing a letter that criticised Düsseldorf festival Open Source for cancelling Talib Kweli over his support of the BDS movement.
Read our in-depth feature on BDS and club culture, in which seven people—including an employee of ://about blank—present their perspectives on the cultural boycott of Israel.