New York venue cancels show by Israeli band ‘The Jews,’ citing their name

Brooklyn Monarch concert hall tells Hayehudim that there is a problem with ‘the political nature of the band’s name’

Israeli rock band 'Hayehudim' performs during a live concert in the Magesta Festival in Elma, Zichron Yaakov, on June 15, 2019. (Yahav Gamliel/Flash90)
Israeli rock band 'Hayehudim' performs during a live concert in the Magesta Festival in Elma, Zichron Yaakov, on June 15, 2019. (Yahav Gamliel/Flash90)

A concert venue in Brooklyn has canceled a scheduled performance by an Israeli band, reportedly saying it wanted to avoid a “politically charged” event.

The Brooklyn Monarch venue told hard rock group HaYehudim — Hebrew for “The Jews” — that there was a problem with “the political nature” of their name, according to reports that cited an explanation given to the band.

The incident came amid spiking antisemitism around the world against the backdrop of the ongoing war between Israel and the Palestinian terror group Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

The war started with a devastating Hamas attack on Israel that killed some 1,200 people and saw 253 kidnapped by terrorists to Gaza. A soundman for the band, Guy Illouz, was kidnapped from the Supernova rave and later died in captivity in the Strip.

HaYehudim was booked to play at the Brooklyn Monarch next month as part of a US tour.

“I’m very sorry but we can’t accommodate you,” the Monarch allegedly wrote to a band representative, according to reports citing an unverified message that circulated on social media. “My partners got back to me regarding the political nature of the band’s name, and we as an entertainment space in New York prefer to avoid politically charged events or actions.”

A statement on behalf of the band said: “HaYehudim bears its name with pride and always advocates for cultural freedom and the love of humanity. Precisely in this period, we will not give up and will proudly give the concert tour in the United States against all the antisemites.

“In recent weeks, we have experienced serious manifestations of antisemitism in the heart of ‘American progress’ — New York City. It is chilling and painful to hear about cancellations of shows by a band that has been creating Israeli-Jewish rock for almost 30 years, due solely to the fact that they are Jewish.”

Other dates in the US tour include New York on May 30 and Los Angeles on June 6.

HaYehudim was established in the early 1990s and has sold 200,000 albums in Israel.

Other artists have also faced cancellations since the war started.

On Tuesday a  Philadelphia-area movie theater screened an Israeli documentary by court order after the theater’s Jewish director tried to call the screening off.

Also, three concerts by American Jewish rap musician Matisyahu have been canceled in response to the threat of pro-Palestinian, anti-Israel protests.

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