When 21-year-old popstar Lorde caved in to activists’ pressure and canceled her Tel Aviv performance for political reasons, the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement regarded her decision as a victory. BDS, which advocates for an academic, cultural and economic boycott of Israel, listed Lorde’s move as one of the organization’s “top 30 moments of 2017.”
For this and similar victories, the anti-Israel movement may receive a Nobel Peace Prize later this year.
A member of the Norwegian parliament, Bjørnar Moxnes, nominated BDS for the award in early February, explaining that the movement aims to “end Israeli violations of Palestinian human rights and international law.”
After Moxnes announced the nomination, a member of the Israeli Knesset, Sharren Haskel, from the Likud party, sent a letter to the Norwegian ambassador to Israel and to several Norwegian lawmakers, writing that she was dismayed. “BDS is not a peace-seeking movement. On the contrary, it is an anti-semitic movement that seeks to demonize the State of Israel, undermining the peace process,” wrote Haskel in the letter.
In his statement, the Norwegian member of parliament failed to specify how the ongoing boycott has contributed to the peace process in the Middle East, or how it has succeeded in improving the lives of the Palestinian people.
Alongside with a largely ineffective call for an economic boycott of Israeli products and companies, the movement has often made headlines for its cultural boycott calls. Lorde, for instance, gave up on her Tel Aviv concert in December of last year, declaring herself an “informed young citizen.” (Surprisingly, though, the artist has not cancelled her upcoming concerts in Moscow and Saint Petersburg.)
Back in 2013, Alicia Keys refused to cancel a show in Tel Aviv, writing to the New York Times: “Music is a universal language that is meant to unify audiences in peace and love.” Also Radiohead, Guns and Roses, Justin Bieber, and many more chose to perform last year.
Members of parliaments, heads of state, university professors, as well as previous winners, may all submit nominations for the prestigious prize, whose committee announces the year’s winner in October.
Simone Somekh is a New York-based author and journalist. He’s lived and worked in Italy, Israel, and the United States.