Jewish Voice for Peace sent out the following press release:
DC Jewish Community Center cancels THE SHONDES concert due to lead singer’s views on Israel and Palestine.
Brooklyn rock group The Shondes (Exotic Fever Records), whose critically-acclaimed 2013 album “The Garden” was praised by mainstream and Jewish press alike, were scheduled to headline the Washington Jewish Music Festival on June 2, but the DC Jewish Community Center (DC JCC) has now reneged on their invitation, citing lead singer Louisa Solomon’s past comments on Israel, specifically her support for the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) Movement. The band was approached by the JCC last fall and completed contract negotiations earlier this winter, only to be informed last week that the concert would be canceled. The Shondes will play at the Black Cat as scheduled, joined by the Baltimore and DC chapters of Jewish Voice for Peace.
“Jewish institutions want to appeal to younger Jews and those who feel alienated from Judaism, but as long as they try to control conversation on Israel and maintain this outdated party line, they will lose that battle,” says Solomon. “Given how candid I have always been about my political views, and that I’ve been engaged in Palestine solidarity activism for over a decade, I was thrilled when we were asked to perform, thinking it signaled a move toward inclusivity. It’s a real disappointment and disrespect to have the invitation withdrawn now.”
This is at least the third instance in recent months of the DC JCC giving in to right wing extremists. They significantly downgraded Theater J’s production of “The Admission” and reneged on an invitation to author David Harris-Gershon’s invitation to speak there.
Robbie Dembo from Jewish Voice for Peace-DC said: “As we are seeing through the Open Hillel movement on college campuses, an openness around BDS is what young Jews crave and are demanding. There is growing Jewish support for Palestinian rights and the BDS movement; for many Jews of conscience these are hugely important ethical positions in line with Jewish teachings on justice, peace, and tikkun olam. The DC JCC’s decision is a disgrace, and we are proud to partner with the Shondes on the June 2 event.”
Shondes violinist Elijah Oberman adds “It is now widely acknowledged that views on Israel vary dramatically among Jews, so it’s a huge step backwards for the JCC — which is supposed to serve the entire community — to effectively blacklist a huge segment of it. There shouldn’t be a political litmus test for community membership, but the show will go on, without the JCC.”
Here’s the Black Cat.
Here’s the Shondes’ site.
Be sure to check out this powerful Shondes song:
Here are the lyrics: