BDS Calls For Boycott Against German Clubs

Berlin's ://about blank, Golden Pudel in Hamburg and Leipzig's Conne Island have all, BDS says, responded negatively to DJs and artists that supported last year's DJs For Palestine campaign

The Palestinian Campaign For The Academic And Cultural Boycott Of Israel (PACBI), which oversees the ongoing Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against the Israeli government, is calling for a boycott of three German venues.

A statement released by BDS late last week said that Berlin’s ://about blank, Golden Pudel in Hamburg and Leipzig’s Conne Island "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". The statement also accuses all three venues of participating in "glaring and persistent anti-Palestinian and anti-Arab racism".

Chiefly amongst BDS’ accusations against the venues is their decision to cancel events hosting artists that had spoken out in support of the BDS movement as well as last year’s DJs For Palestine campaign. Amongst those to be affected by the fallout of supporting that campaign was Berlin queer-femme collective Room 4 Resistance, which had been hosting parties at ://about blank before promptly having a night cancelled by the club’s owners following their expression of support for the BDS movement.

BDS’ statement also points to Conne Island’s sharing of an Israel Defense Forces (IDF) recruitment call through their website. You can read the full statement here.

Golden Pudel tweeted a response in German to the call for boycott over the weekend. It reads: "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 a more extended statement with Resident Advisor, reading: "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."

Representatives of Conne Island have not yet publicly commented on the call for boycott.

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