Anger as Spanish punk band accused of antisemitism to perform at music festival

A line in one of Ska-P's songs imply that Israelis have become like Nazis


A coalition of Jewish groups have called for a popular punk band accused of making antisemitic remarks in one of their songs to be dropped from performing at a festival. 

Spanish punk band Ska-P is scheduled to play at the Tollwood Festival in Munich on July 15. In Germany, the group has become established in the punk scene.

The band was founded in 1998 in Madrid and they are known for their socially critical, anti-fascist songs.

However, the alliance of Jewish groups argues one of the band’s songs is antisemitic and anti-Zionist.

Ska-P’s track “intifada” — a tribute to the Palestinian struggle against Israel — was cited as unacceptable because of a line which implies that Israelis have become like Nazis.  

In the lyrics, the song proclaims: “The victims have become executioners, they turn their insides out.”

In the letter, the alliance also says the song asserts that Jewish victims of the Shoah were turned “into perpetrators” and consequently “held responsible for the ‘colonisation’ of Palestine.”

The letter, translated from German, goes on to say: “Works of art are of course free to take up political themes and formulate an attitude. 

“And, of course, criticising the Israeli government and its policies in the occupied territories is legitimate. 

“But where it acts in such a sub-complex, blame-blaming, and demonising manner towards the Jewish state, it is no longer art, but propaganda.

“We consider it unspeakable that this band is offered a stage in Munich. We therefore ask you to uninvite them again and to cancel the concert.”

The letter was signed by the Left Alliance against Antisemitism in Munich, the Association of Jewish Students in Bavaria,  the Association of Jewish Students in Bavaria (VJSB), the Association of German Sinti and Roma in Bavaria and the Young Forum of the German Israeli Society in Munich (JuFo).

In a statement, organisers of Tollwood refused to cancel Ska-P’s appearance and stressed the song was not on the band’s setlist at present.

They added: “In addition, the festival stands for freedom of expression and freedom of art within a democratic framework.”

The band was also asked not to play the song at the concert, festival representatives went on to say. They have not yet responded to this request.

In a statement posted on Facebook, the band denied they were antisemitic. They wrote: “Wow, at this point some gossip in Germany is calling us antisemites.

“No, we are not antisemites. From our atheism we respect all religious people whatever their religion, not religions itself since we believe that you will never be able to think freely if you grow up between dogmas and indoctrination.

“Being anti-Zionist is not being antisemitic.

“We know the history and we know the persecution to which the Jewish community has been subjected throughout time, especially in World War II, we have always declared ourselves anti-fascists and we have songs that reflect it, that's why we ourselves will never accept Zionism."

"Beware of lies and manipulations, which are now the order of the day." 

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