Should hip-hop boycott Israel?
I heard the news yesterday that David Banner is headed over to Iraq to perform for the troops, and I thought to myself, Really? But I thought David Banner was the one rapper who went to college.
The idea of artists going over to the Middle East to perform had been on my mind this week already, because earlier this week I read Artie Lange's Too Fat Too Fish, part of which discusses his trip to Afghanistan to perform for the troops, and because I've been reading up on the BDS movement against Israel - BDS standing for boycott, divestment, and sanctions.
A couple of weeks ago, when I discussed, both here and on my own site, what Israel just did to Gaza, as well as my "beef" with Peter Rosenberg over the fact (notice my use of the term fact here) that his father is a member of the Israel Lobby, I was surprised to realize the sheer level of solidarity with the Palestinian cause in the hip-hop community, and I think the BDS movement against Israel coud very well be one of the defining causes of our time, not unlike the movement to end apartheid in South Africa back in the 1980s.
I'll have to expand on this at a later date, once I've had the time to conduct the sufficient research, including how we can go about being active in this movement. For example, which, if any of these "hip-hop" clothing lines should we not be supporting? I've got a few ideas, and I think you know which ones I'm talking about, but I don't want to fly off half-cocked. Nullus. Plus, I'm thinking this might be the kind of movement I might have to conduct primarily on my own site. Which is not to suggest that anyone at XXL is in favor of apartheid. (Calm down, guys!) I'm just saying.
One thing I will point out is that I was surprised to read, in my preliminary research into this matter, that I'm actually a little bit behind the curve on this movement, as far as the hip-hop community is concerned. Which was actually nice to know, despite the fact that it was somewhat of a blow to my oh, so fragile ego, in that it goes to show, like I was saying, the widespread support for this movement in hip-hop.
I remember reading, a while back, that Snoop Dogg canceled a show he agreed to play in Israel, and at the time, because I'm still traumatized by the events of 9/11, thinking he might have been afraid that, if he did play the show, some angry Palestinians might show up and throw rocks at him. But now that I think about it, I realize I might have been mistaken. Why would angry Palestinians be allowed to attend a Snoop Dogg show in Israel in the first place? You know how ridonkulous the security apparatus is over in Israel.
Snoop Dogg, for his part, claims there were "contractual differences." But I wonder if he figured he'd just say that, so as not to offend the people who own his record label. What's the likelihood that there was really a problem with his contract, after a Palestinian group already called for him to respect the boycott? At the risk of employing a harmful stereotype... c'mon, you know them Israelis could have come up with some extra money, if it meant avoiding a PR kerfuffle.
I wouldn't be surprised if Snoop Dogg really did purposely observe the boycott. Over the past couple of years now, he's been gradually emerging as one of the most conscientous members of our community - from his insightful comments in the wake of the Imus incident, to his support for death row inmate Stanley "Tookie" Williams. Could it be all of the weed he smokes? You know how potheads are alway down for a good cause, even if they have know idea what it's about.