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News > World

Viggo Mortensen, Chomsky Sign Letter in Defense of Pro-Palestine BDS After Germany Crackdown

  • Hollywood actor Viggo Mortensen is best known for his role as Aragorn in The Lord of the Rings.

    Hollywood actor Viggo Mortensen is best known for his role as Aragorn in The Lord of the Rings. | Photo: New Line Cinema

Published 28 June 2018

A total of 79 artists, academics, and producers wrote a public letter condemning Ruhrtriennale censorship against BDS supporters. 

Massive Attack, Patti Smith, Danny Glover, and Viggo Mortensen were among the 79 international artists, writers and producers who condemned the German arts and music festival Ruhrtriennale’s attempt to “censor” Scottish band Young Fathers over their support for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement for Palestinian human rights.

Spain's Navarre Region Endorses Pro-Palestine BDS Movement

"We are disturbed by attempts in Germany to impose political conditions on artists supporting Palestinian human rights. We are glad that the international outcry has convinced the Ruhrtriennale arts festival to reverse its repressive decision to cancel a performance by the Young Fathers," the letter published in The Guardian reads.

The band’s concert was cancelled in mid June after refusing to heed a request by the festival organizers who had asked the band to distance themselves from the BDS movement.

Stefanie Carp, the festival’s artistic director, said in a press release June 13 that “the Ruhrtriennale distances itself in all forms from the BDS movement and wishes to have absolutely no connection with the campaign.”

The band responded saying Carp’s decision was “wrong and deeply unfair.”

Shortly after, international support for the band by renowned artists like Roger Waters, Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore, and Brian Eno was made public and the band was re-invited to the festival.

The public letter signed also by academics, including Judith Butler,  Noam Chomsky, Angela Davis,  Naomi Klein, and Israeli historian Ilan Pappe warned that “conflating nonviolent measures to end Israel’s illegal occupation and human rights violations with anti-Jewish racism is false and dangerous.”

“While we may hold diverse views on BDS, we are united in considering it a lawful exercise of freedom of expression(, they) have been used worldwide, including against apartheid in South Africa and the Jim Crow segregation laws in the US,” the letter concluded in a open defense of the BDS movement.

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