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‘The Shondes’ singer Louisa Solomon endorsed BDS, so– DC JCC cancels her band’s gig

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Louise Solomon

Louise Solomon

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and those who feel alienated from Judaism, but as long as they try to control conversation on Israel and maintain this outdated party line, they will lose that battle,” says Solomon.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 It’s a real disappointment and disrespect to have the invitation withdrawn now.”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:

Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of

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11 Responses

  1. LeaNder on April 3, 2014, 12:27 pm

    Interesting, the violin instead of a lead guitar makes an interesting sound. Thanks for the lyrics, I have to admit that for me that was quite helpful. ;)

    • DICKERSON3870 on April 3, 2014, 7:40 pm

      RE: “Interesting, the violin instead of a lead guitar makes an interesting sound.” ~ LeaNder

      MY REPLY: Yes, it reminds me a bit of Mackenzie Gault playing the viola for the group Flobots.

      Flobots, White Flag Warrior featuring Tim McIlrath [VIDEO, 03:41] –

      • LeaNder on April 4, 2014, 10:42 am

        thanks, Dick, is it OK if I shorten your name and forget about the numbers? ;)

      • JLewisDickerson on April 4, 2014, 2:44 pm

        My name currently is John Lewis-Dickerson (a/k/a John L. Dickerson). You can call me John or whatever.
        My first nickname was Bubber (the closest my one-year-older sister could initially get to saying brother) which eventually morphed into Bubba.
        While in college during the Vietnam War, I became known as “Tunnel Rat”, because in the event I had lost my student deferment I very likely would have been sent by the army down into the Viet Cong’s tunnels (since I was fairly small).
        This should give you plenty of options.

  2. Chu on April 3, 2014, 1:50 pm

    Hipsters need a voice that represent something else besides slackerdom. Someone like Louise could wake up the blase mass.

  3. oneof5 on April 3, 2014, 5:49 pm

    Great tune.

    I’d love to hear a studio version … highly produced – with the right tweaks, it could really become quite a popular anthem …

    • Ellen on April 4, 2014, 4:23 pm

      absolutely. With a well produced version and as you say, the right tweaks, it has tons of potential. Great lyrics as well.

      A talented producer and studio time is extremely expensive. Maybe it will be picked up by an artist with means and the courage and character of Solomon.

  4. Nevada Ned on April 3, 2014, 8:14 pm

    I really hope the band advertises their next concert as



    If this publicity brings notoriety and “buzz” to the band, it may backfire on the censors.

    I hope!

  5. piotr on April 4, 2014, 10:00 am

    This week, the plutocracy is the theme in the light of Supreme Court decision to defend human rights of very rich people who wish to support their favorite parties with millions of dollars in more ways than were already available. * So I would like to comment from this perspective.

    The Jewish Community Center is an abstract entity that does not have wishes, likes and dislikes. People there do. People who invited Shondes to perform were either total morons who did not notice that Shondes was vocal in defense of Palestinian rights for many years**, or they care only about the fact that they are cool Jewish kids doing very nice music. I suspect the latter. Only after the program was out and some baleful eyes took a note the disinvitation came. So we have “little people” who operate JCC and the powerful watchers who can bring them to heel any time they feel like it. Now, how does it relate to the theme of plutocracy? Just a conjecture, but the power of the watchers may be related to money.

    Footnote *: “In its majestic equality, the law allows rich and poor alike to contribute 3600 dollars to an unlimited number of political candidates”.

    Footnote **: Even a relatively clueless person would check the repertoire of a band when considering an even featuring that band, and this is very easy in the age of internet.

    • LeaNder on April 4, 2014, 10:37 am

      piotr, I love you. ;) Don’t worry, a lot of others here too.

      I suspect the latter.

      Me too. Random pick of my second associative mind-wave. If there wasn’t Israel, in a purely hypothetical world were the conservative camp hadn’t heaved Hitler on his dictator throne or a series of other things had been prevented, would there be Jewish community events like: Jewish soul meets black rhythm. Ok, I know that slaveholders feared drums, but maybe the title could educate wider circles a bout this fact?

      “little people”

      To what extend are we all servants? Or the majority are serving “little peoples”? … And what exactly does this mean concerning our main ideological export: bringing freedom to the world at large. (Yes, I should have more time to mediate on the last sentence, that was a random pick too. :))

  6. UpSIDEdown on April 4, 2014, 1:57 pm

    I had the chance to tell her today how so many of us are proud of her. She was truly grateful to hear those words of appreciation.

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