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Young Fathers decline invitation to re-join Ruhrtriennale festival line up

By | Published on Thursday 28 June 2018

Young Fathers

Young Fathers have turned down an invitation to re-join the line up of Germany’s Ruhrtriennale festival.

The hip hop trio were dropped from the event’s bill because of their support for the pro-Palestine ‘Boycott, Divestment And Sanctions’ movement. BDS is a campaigning group that says it is working “to end international support for Israel’s oppression of Palestinians and pressure Israel to comply with international law”.

Discussing that decision last week, the festival’s Artistic Director Stefanie Carp said: “I again wish to stress that, in my view, criticism of the current policy of the government of the State of Israel is not automatically anti-Semitic”. However, she added, “I personally reject boycott in connection with Israel, but also in other contexts [too], and especially in the field of art. Artists do not represent nations or ideological discourses”.

That said, and despite Young Fathers refusing to distance themselves from BDS, Carp added that she now wanted the band to play her event again. She said: “I wish to invite the Young Fathers again to the concert in Bochum on 18 Aug 2018, although I do not share their attitude to the BDS”.

She went on: “I believe that we need to allow the different perspectives and narratives, because this openness is the dramaturgic credo of our programme. I therefore have to defend the freedom of the arts, and do not, under any circumstances, even indirectly, wish to exercise censorship”.

However, a rep for the festival has now told The Guardian that the band have turned down the new invitation and so will remain off the line up.