In the hyper-politicized world we live in, it should come as no news that each one of our actions, choices, and decisions carries their own load of consequences that can affect not only ourselves but also the people and communities around us— especially when it comes to dealing with the land we‘d rather not name. This week, French-Algerian rapper Heuss L’Enfoiré revealed plans to organize an exclusive concert in Jaffa — aka Tel Aviv — and the news understandably generated a whole lot of noise and controversy as you could have imagined.
With people on both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict weighing in on the decision, some (we’ll let you guess who) praised the rapper, born Karim Djeriou, for bringing his music to a whole new audience, while others accused him of turning a blind eye to the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land and ignoring the dire plight of an entire segment of society.
On social media, many internet users have called for a total boycott of the rapper. What’s more, as the announcement prompted strong and clear-cut reactions in his native Algeria, public figures and prominent organizations from all over the political spectrum are collectively requesting authorities to strip the 30-year-old artist from his North African citizenship as well as ban him from ever stepping foot back in his motherland in the future.
Union Algerienne, a popular online community, took to Twitter to threaten the chart-topping singer with legal action if the concert does indeed take place, claiming that he “regularly promotes the use of drugs and debauchery (while claiming to be Algerian), and is participating in a lobbying operation that violates Algerian diplomacy in favor of the oppressed Palestinians.”
🇵🇸(🇮🇱) – Alors que le gouvernement de l’extrême droite israélienne poursuit ses crimes de guerre et ses annexions illégales, Heuss L'Enfoiré annonce fièrement son concert à Tel-Aviv organisé par le fils du lobbyiste pro-sioniste Arié Bensemhoun, le 11 mai prochain.
Ce rappeur… pic.twitter.com/O6zzcStlDc
— Union Algérienne ☪︎ (@UnionAlgerienne) April 22, 2023
This action takes place within a context that remains more than just tense between Palestinians and occupying forces, with whom only a handful of nations, including Algeria, are yet to have normalized diplomatic relations due to their colonial policies and against-international-law stances.
The rapper has not yet responded to calls for a boycott from his pro-Palestinian audience, but his decision to perform in Jaffa has sparked a wider conversation about the role of artists in political activism and the responsibility they have in considering the political and social implications of their actions. Some argue that by performing in Israel, Heuss L’Enfoiré is complicit in the oppression of the Palestinian people, while others believe that he should have no say in the matter at all. Ultimately, the decision to boycott or engage with Israel is a deeply personal one, but given the countless amount of atrocities committed in the past century, we can only hope that he will rethink his upcoming appearance and stand in solidarity with Palestine and Palestinians by canceling the upcoming event altogether.