Will Justin Bieber boycott Israel?

0 Posted by - February 1, 2011 - Blog, Screen, Sound

UPDATE: The Bieber BDS video has been censored by YouTube! Stay tuned as we investigate who’s behind this attack on art and activism. You can continue to share the video through Vimeo, who respect fair use and tolerate criticism of apartheid regimes.

If only Justin Bieber would listen to his luscious locks, he would do the right thing and cancel his upcoming concert in Israel in solidarity with the people of Palestine.

At least that’s the message in BDS Bieber, the latest music video by Canadian filmmaker John Greyson. The slick parody of Bieber’s hit song “Baby” combines clever lyrics, hilarious animation, and the unlikeliest of Bieber impersonators to make a impassioned plea for the Biebs to cancel his April 14 perfomance in Tel Aviv.

We’ve featured some of John Greyson’s films here in the past, such as Vuvuzela and Covered, so we’re thrilled to be offering you the world premiere of BDS Bieber right here on Art Threat.

Bibi and the Biebs

After previewing an early cut a couple of days ago, we had a few questions about how Justin Bieber himself might react to seeing this video. Fortunately, John was more than willing to humour us and provide his insight into the mind of a young pop star:

Bieber is kind of image conscious. Do you think he’ll like this video or be offended?

I think he’ll like it. Justin was born in my hometown of London, Ontario, and we Londoners (e.g. Rachel McAdams, Sir Frederick Banting, Ryan Gosling, Guy Lombardo) are known for our love of campy satire, especially when it’s tied to a good cause, and especially when it features clever puns on Nair. Besides, there’s already dozens of ‘Baby’ parodies on YouTube, but this is the only one with Badboy Bibi Netanyahu dressed up like a Chippendale dancer.

Since he’s only sixteen, do you think there’s a chance he might actually change his mind and cancel the concert in Israel?

Why not? He’d be joining Santana, Snoop Dogg, Elvis Costello, Bjork, the Pixies, Gil Scott Heron… the dozens of musicians who’ve heeded the boycott call and cancelled their Israel concerts, in the wake of the 2009 war on Gaza and last year’s flotilla massacre. The Biebs has used his music to speak out against poverty, and in support of Haiti — so why not justice for Palestine?

If Bieber’s hair could talk, what would it be telling him?

It would whisper (in a soft, persuasive, herbal-conditioner-sort-of-manner): “The music boycott in South Africa helped defeat apartheid back in the eighties. Today the music boycott against Israel can help achieve a lasting peace. Listen to your hair — respect the boycott call.”

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