A British pro-Israel lobby group has launched a campaign demanding music streaming service Spotify to remove British-Iraqi rapper Kareem Dennis, also known as Lowkey, from the platform over his pro-Palestine stance and condemnation of the Israeli occupation.
The campaign group, ‘We Believe in Israel’ has called for Spotify to remove “dozens of instances of problematic material,” including Lowkey’s Long Live Palestine – Part 2 rap. According to a news outlet Jewish News,, the group pointed to lyrics of Lowkey’s song in which he says it’s about time we “globalised the Intifada.”
Intifada is an Arabic word that means a civil uprising in the Palestinian context.
Director of the pro-Israel group Luke Akehurst said in a statement, “Spotify has a responsibility to uphold its platform rules which quite clearly state that content promoting, threatening, or inciting violence is unacceptable. Our research has identified dozens of such breaches, and we expect timely action to be taken.”
Akehurst called Lowkey’s music particularly offensive and accused him of inciting violence towards Jews and Israelis.
“This coordinated campaign is an extension of the brutalisation of the Palestinians. Palestinians are routinely arrested by Israel for posts on social media, even children. Dareen Tatour spent almost a year in occupation jail for posting a poem on her Facebook,” Lowkey told Middle East Eye last week.
“The attempt to remove my music from Spotify by a group which was birthed and cultivated by BICOM (Britain Israel Communications and Research Centre), worked with the Ministry of Strategic Affairs and publicly identified itself as an Israel lobby group is ultimately an own goal for the apartheid state.
“Artists and musicians should never have to fear threats to their livelihood or person for the music they make. We will not be silenced on Palestine, not now, not ever,” added the rapper.
Celebrities and activists have spoken in Lowkey’s favour and have called for Spotify to “not buckle to pressure groups,” and remove the rapper's music from the platform.
The letter sent to the streaming service was signed by Palestinian activists Mohammed el-Kurd, model Anwar Hadid, Pink Floyd lead vocalist Roger Waters and actor Mark Ruffalo among others.
The rapper also received great support from social media users.
“Attacking freedom of speech and expression has been a tool used by the Israeli Occupation to control the narrative and silence the oppressed,” said one user.
This was not the first time Lowkey has faced pressure for his pro-Palestine stance.
Earlier this month, the Cambridge University Palestine Society was forced to postpone a talk by Lowkey following a campaign by the Cambridge University Israel Society on campus.