Turnstile drummer issues statement regarding decision to play in Israel after backlash:
“I fully acknowledge the colonialist, apartheid state of Israel and am verily against the Israeli government’s systematic oppression of Palestinians. I believe that special interests of economic-military-industrial powers cause this aggression — and that ethnic hate speech distracts us from this issue. I believe that to erode cultural conflict, it is critical that we make an effort to connect with people. I support the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement and any effort to nonviolently pressure Israel’s government to grant Palestinians basic human rights. I also believe in playing a DIY hardcore show to Israelis. I believe this aligns with the ideology of the BDS movement, and does not violate its integrity. I believe in getting paid nothing to travel across the world so that I can connect with people who are also frustrated with their government’s imperialist militaries.
I believe in the power of hardcore-punk music as a subversive force against power structures. Being in a touring American band has given me the privilege to enter Israel and have a voice. For over six decades, Palestinians have not been able to enjoy such a privilege. We will be playing one show in Tel Aviv. The next day we we will be visiting Palestine and meeting with Palestinian activists. Turnstile will use this opportunity to spread awareness and to start discussions — to examine human rights organizations more carefully, and to explore the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as a whole.
I try to keep politics off of social media. But I have realized it is irresponsible not to make a clear political statement about Turnstile’s decision to play Tel Aviv. Turnstile is not an overtly “political band”. Our music focuses on introspective change and growth. However, playing Israel is an inherently politically charged action and we will treat it as such. Thank you to the socially progressive promoter of our show and the punks of Tel Aviv. Thank you to everyone who has reached out to share their opinions and ideas. Thank you to everyone who has answered our calls and responded to our questions. In the last 72 hours we have spoken with American, Israeli, and Palestinian journalists, filmmakers, conflict resolution activists, cultural educators, close friends, and complete strangers. All of us in Turnstile have become more informed of this exceedingly complex sociopolitical issue. Every Palestinian we have spoken to is supportive of us coming to the Middle East and putting forth effort to connect with real humans, instead of solely relying on the internet as an educational tool.
I believe the most productive action is to travel places, meet people, and start dialogue. So please feel free to message me or to approach me at a show and start a conversation.
P.S. Here are links to just a few of the many humanitarian organizations and publications that are out there. I’d like to grow and modify this list with the help of the hardcore community at home and abroad. Every voice should be heard. Thank you : )”