Ken Loach adds to support for a British band who’ve stood up to Israeli bullying

Ken Loach and The Young Fathers
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A Scottish band, the Young Fathers, has been bullied to drop its support for Palestinian human rights. But support for its refusal to bow to this pressure is growing. And internationally renowned artists, actors, and activists – including director Ken Loach – stand in solidarity.

This all comes amid a push to raise awareness of Israel’s treatment of Palestinians following its recent massacre of protesters in Gaza.


The Ruhrtriennale music festival in Germany has threatened to cancel a Young Fathers performance in August “unless they publicly renounce the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement for Palestinian rights”.

The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) called this move “McCarthyite“:

As did Artists4PalestineUK:

PACBI is integral in leading the BDS movement, which is a “Palestinian-led movement for freedom, justice and equality” which “upholds the simple principle that Palestinians are entitled to the same rights as the rest of humanity”.

According to Electronic Intifada:

It appears that Young Fathers is being targeted because it is one of a number of acts that withdrew from last year’s Pop-Kultur Festival in Berlin, over that festival’s acceptance of sponsorship from the Israeli embassy.

The festival’s director also called the BDS movement “stupid” and “anti-Semitic”. In response, PACBI said:

Conflating opposition to Israeli policies – illegal settlements, ethnic cleansing, apartheid, etc. – with anti-Jewish bigotry is a form of anti-Palestinian racism that is intended to silence critics of Israel. 

Support for the Young Fathers, meanwhile, is growing.


The hashtag #SupportYoungFathers is pulling support from international artists, because there’s a growing movement which opposes Israel’s treatment of Palestinians.

Renowned filmmaker Ken Loach previously spoke out about Radiohead’s 2017 gig in Israel. And Loach’s Twitter account has now shown support for the Young Fathers by highlighting screenwriter Paul Laverty‘s comments:

Loach also joined hundreds of public figures this week in speaking out against Israeli plans to “forcibly transfer thousands of Palestinians” in the West Bank.

Others who have shown support for the Young Fathers include Harry Potter actor Miriam Margolyes, artist and writer Molly Crabapple, and Sonic Youth guitarist Thurston Moore:

Cultural boycott

PACBI has also been key in leading a cultural boycott of Israel because as it explains:

Israel overtly uses culture as a form of propaganda to whitewash or justify its regime of occupation, settler-colonialism and apartheid over the Palestinian people.

Celebrities, sports people, and artists can easily become complicit in this propaganda because:

they help to create the false impression that Israel is a “normal” country like any other. The absolute majority of Palestinian writers, artists and cultural centers have [also] endorsed the cultural boycott of Israel.

Shakira recently pulled out of a gig in Israel, and Argentina’s football team also cancelled a ‘friendly match’. Support and awareness for BDS is clearly growing:

Artists like Portishead are also adding their support:

“Drunk with impunity”

There is a long way to go – the situation in Gaza is horrific and Palestinians all over face discrimination on a daily basis. But there are signs of hope as the cultural boycott grows:

The more we stand in solidarity with groups like the Young Fathers, the more this movement will grow. And as it grows, Israel will find it harder to hide its crimes from the world.

Get Involved!

– Support the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign. Also find out more about the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement. And see previous Canary articles on Israel.

– If you are an artist, add your name to the Artists Pledge for Palestine.

–  Support artists who’ve taken a stand against Israel. If you follow other musicians set to play there this year, send them messages on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook asking them not to perform.

Featured image via Georges Biard/Wikimedia and Paul Hudson/Flickr

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