Archive for the ‘Music, Poetry, Events’ Category

A Jafra volonteer looks at piles of debris during a cleaning campaign

A Jafra volonteer looks at piles of debris during a cleaning campaign

WRITTEN BY Claudia Avolio

In Yarmouk people are busy cleaning the streets of trash and rubble, Starting from the constant work of the Jafra Foundation in the camp, a dialogue evolves between the protagonists: the trash and a camp scraper.

In Arabic, one of the words describing garbage is zubala and it comes from a verb – zabbala – that means to manure, to fertilise. Cleaning the streets of Yarmouk of garbage and rubble activated in my mind an image of what this Arabic root brings with it: zibl, the manure itself. As if those streets received from the gesture of being unburdened a new substance. Something will allow them to grow better in this return to how they were before, even under this siege. And this happens, for me, in the embrace that the scrapers (which made me think of The Crying of the Excavator by Pier Paolo Pasolini, written in 1956) make in their efforts to attend to garbage and rubble to take them away.

That poem by the Italian poet Pier Paolo Pasolini entitled “The crying of the excavator” (1956) in the incipit of which these verses seem to give no way out: “Only to love, only to know / counts – not having loved, / not having known. It’s anguishing / to live a consummated  / love. The soul stops growing”. This image for me comes now in contact with an opposing, regenerative force, which lies in the way Jafra Foundation constantly renews its efforts in the streets of Yarmouk so that “the soul that stops growing” as mentioned in the poem starts to grow again once it is free from the garbage.

To the youth of Jafra and to the new metaphorical fertiliser its efforts are giving to the streets of Yarmouk goes this short dialogue that hopes to be just a soft countermelody to their amazing work and love for the camp.

volunteers removing rubble and garbage from the devastated camp

volunteers removing rubble and garbage from the devastated camp

“Jafra Foundation has been working in the cleaning of Yarmouk Camp since the municipality stopped functioning at the beginning of 2013. Since that time, the Jafra cleaning team works to clean Yarmouk Camp from the garbage and the rubble that was accumulating in the camp to protect the civilians from all kinds of sickness that they were vulnerable to because of the accumulating garbage in the streets.

Jafra will continue working in Yarmouk Camp to help the people there, as we belong to all the vulnerable people in all the streets.

WHENEVER DEATH SURROUNDS US

WE CHOOSE TO CELEBRATE LIFE

Jafra shall continue to the end.”

(from the video of Jafra Foundation https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m8Vpy2M3jBo )

“You can dig up anything, time: hopes

passions. But not these pure

forms of life…”

(from “The cry of the excavator” (1956) – by the Italian poet Pier Paolo Pasolini)

the scraper: We must leave now.

the garbage: I am ready.

the scraper: You will not forget.

the garbage: Never. Their gestures have made a cast of this concrete

the scraper: Even after the concrete collapsed.

the garbage: It knows all the names of those who hit it.

the scraper: And the faces of who will take care of its children. Of the walls that will be built.

the garbage: I met the streets. I heard it all. All of it.

the scraper: I must take you away. For their sake.

the garbage: Because you are the soul transforming weight into space. Your arm that raises me is the last accusation. I am your raised hand, asking for permission to speak. For those who lost this right.

the scraper: Taking you away from here is my freedom finding again its way home.

the garbage: From the corners of these sidewalks I desired to be a tree and I couldn’t. With heavy branches made of black bags I stretched to the sky, with the wind. Looking for a passage, saying: “I am here”.

the scraper: Now that you leave, life will try to come closer to the soil.

the garbage: That same life is asking to be heard. And hasn’t got any fear.

the scraper: Only those who chase life must be scared of it.

the garbage: Because life is still here. You give birth to it pushing me faraway.

the scraper: While you are leaving, a trace remains that feeds the seeds. Paths grow up after your departure.

the garbage: Wings of light dust. The fine dust becomes light again and doesn’t make people sick anymore.

the scraper: With the breath of the streets came back to the surface after a long time holding its breath.

the garbage: I was calling you and saw you appear with your youth.

the scraper: Through their efforts, through the contagion of ideas, I realized I wouldn’t stay still. That every street was waiting for me and my youth to be there.

the garbage: They breed these streets with you. In the struggle of the arms that defeat carelessness.

the scraper: The sun will come and sit here, in the place you used to occupy.

the garbage: While you’re taking me away, the space starts to offer an opportunity.

the scraper: In this embrace of ours the street regenerates.

the garbage: The street walked by your youth, the street they will not abandon.

the scraper: Whatever happens, they’ll take care of it.

Click on “Like” on its Facebook page and support Jafra Foundation https://www.facebook.com/Jafra.Foundation?fref=ts

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agnes (1) (StWC) invited Mother Superior Agnès Mariam de la Croix to speak at its November 30 International Anti-War Conference. Fellow guests included MPs Diane Abbott and Jeremy Corbyn and journalists Owen Jones and Jeremy Scahill.

Responding to a firestorm of protest, Jones and Scahill vowed to boycott the event if the Syrian-based nun spoke alongside them. Eventually she decided to “withdraw” from the conference and StWC issued a statement without explanation. Nor did it divulge why anyone would object to a Syrian cleric’s participation in an ostensibly pro-peace event.

Here are some reasons why we consider Mother Agnès-Mariam’s inclusion in an anti-war event to be a “red line” for opponents of conflict. Despite contrary claims, she is a partisan to—rather than a neutral observer of—the war in Syria.

Mother Agnès claimed that the Syrian opposition faked films of Bashar al-Assad’s 21 August 2013 sarin-gas attack on Ghouta in the suburbs of Damascus. In her 50-page dossier on the horrible events of that fateful morning, she wrote that the dead, gassed children documented in those videos “seem mostly sleeping” and “under anaesthesia.”

According to Father Paolo Dall’Oglio, a Jesuit priest exiled by the Assad regime for speaking out against its suppression of peaceful protests and currently a prisoner of al-Qa’ida’s Syrian affiliate, ISIS, Mother Agnes “has been consistent in assuming and spreading the lies of the regime, and promoting it through the power of her religious persona. She knows how to cover up the brutality of the regime”.

Moreover, Syrian Christians for Peace have denounced Mother Agnès for claiming there had never been a single peaceful demonstration in Syria. The also accused her of failing to disburse any of the money she raised in the name of their beleaguered community. They have asked “that she be excommunicated and prevented from speaking in the name of the Order of Carmelites.”

Having a massacre denier and apologist for war criminals like Mother Agnès speak alongside respected journalists such as Jeremy Scahill and Owen Jones is not only an insult to them and their principles. It is also, more insidiously, a means of exploiting their credibility and moral authority to bolster hers, both of which are non-existent.  No journalist should be sharing a platform with Agnès when she stands accused of being complicit in the death of French journalist Gilles Jacquier by his widow and a colleague who accompanied him into Homs during the trip arranged by Mother Agnès in January 2012.

Given that her UK speaking tour is still scheduled to last from the 21st to 30th November we, the undersigned, feel compelled to express our profound and principled objections to those who give a platform to a woman condemned by Syrian pro-peace Christians for greasing the skids of the regime’s war machine.

Signatories:

  1. Prof. Gilbert Achcar, SOAS
  2. Assaad al-Achi, Local Coordination Committees in Syria
  3. Rime Allaf, Syrian writer
  4. Omar al-Assil, Syrian Non-Violence Movement
  5. Hussam Ayloush, Chairman, Syrian American Council
  6. Noor Barotchi, Bradford Syria Solidarity
  7. Mark Boothroyd, International Socialist Network
  8. Kat Burdon-Manley, International Socialist Network
  9. Clara Connolly, Human Rights lawyer
  10. Paul Conroy, photojournalist
  11. Donnacha DeLong, National Union of Journalists
  12. Hannah Elsisi, Egyptian Revolutionary Socialist
    Raed Fares, Head of Kafranabel Media Centre
  13. Naomi Foyle, writer and co-ordinator of British Writers in Support of Palestine
  14. Razan Ghazzawi, Syrian blogger and activist
  15. Christine Gilmore,  Leeds Friends of Syria
  16. Golan Haji, poet and translator
  17. Marcus Halaby, staff writer, Workers Power
  18. Sam Charles Hamad, activist
  19. Nebal Istanbouly, Office Manager of the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces (SOC) in the UK
  20. Tehmina Kazi, human rights activist
  21. Ghalia Kabbani, Syrian journalist and writer
  22. Khaled Khalifa, Syrian writer
  23. Malik Little, blogger
  24. Amer Scott Masri, Scotland4Syria
  25. Margaret McAdam, Unite Casa Branch NW567 (pc)
  26. Yassir Munif, sociologist and activist
  27. Tom Mycock, Unite shop steward (pc)
  28. Maryam Namazie, Spokesperson, Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain and Fitnah – Movement for Women’s Liberation
  29. Tim Nelson, Unison Shop Steward (pc)
  30. Louis Proyect, Counterpunch contributor
  31. Martin Ralph, VP Liverpool TUC (pc)
  32. Ruth Riegler, co-founder of Radio Free Syria, Syrian International Media Alliance
  33. Mary Rizzo, activist, translator and blogger
  34. Christopher Roche and Dima Albadra, Bath Solidarity
  35. Walid Saffour, Representative of the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces (SOC) in the UK
  36. Gita Sahgal, Centre for Secular Space
  37. David St Vincent, contributing writer and editor, National Geographic Books
  38. Reem Salahi, civil rights lawyer
  39. Salim Salamah, Palestinian blogger
  40. Yassin al-Haj Saleh, Syrian writer
  41. Richard Seymour, author
  42. Bina Shah, author and contributor to the International New York Times
  43. Leila Shrooms, founding member of Tahrir-ICN
  44. Luke Staunton, International Socialist Network
  45. KD Tait, National Secretary, Workers Power
  46. Peter Tatchell, human rights campaigner
  47. Paris Thompson, International Socialist Network
  48. Hassan Walid, Anas el-Khani and Abdulwahab Sayyed Omar, British Solidarity for Syria
  49. Robin Yassin-Kassab, author and co-editor of Critical Muslim
  50. Qusai Zakariya, activist from Moadamiyeh, Syria
  51. Nisreen al-Zaraee and Wisam al-Hamoui. Freedom Days
  52. Tasneem al-Zeer, activist
  53. Razan Zeitouneh, human rights lawyer

    originally published on: http://pulsemedia.org/2013/11/20/open-letter-to-the-stop-the-war-coalition/

Nomen omen

from PULSE – A few weeks ago, while I was in al-Arakhib after the 11th ethnic cleansing attempt (yesterday was the 15th), I was interviewed by the Israeli Channel 10 culture editor, about Vanessa Paradis’ cancellation of her performance in Israel. Only one of the sentences I uttered in the 15-minute interview was included in the segment, and the rest is somewhere on the Channel 10 editing floor. So in an act of preservation, I’d like to paraphrase a part of the interview:

Channel 10 culture editor: “OK, so Vanessa Paradis canceled, do you really think anybody cares?”

Myself: “You came all the way to al-Arakhib to ask me that, I think it’s pretty effective.”

Macy Gray Draws The Picket Line

Macy Gray’s initial words of condemnation showed her to be someone who understands, to an extent, that Israel is practicing apartheid. This created a situation in which the international community expected her to act in moral accordance with her words. We all worked very hard to help her understand the meaning of occupation and apartheid, but we failed. We also failed to show her why she has a responsibility, beyond her performance, towards the Palestinian people. Though Gray had tried to offer a plethora of unacceptable “solutions” that would allow her to continue the show, (like doing the show in combination with going to the West Bank, as she published on her official blog) we had failed in getting her to do the one thing she had to do: Not perform.

Though I repeat that we’ve failed, I’d like to make it clear that due to her actions, it’s clear that Gray actually has no real understanding of the situation and how her actions, as innocent as they may seem, are in fact lending her face to injustice. As if performing in the “White City” wasn’t enough, Gray had followed up with a list of things that not only don’t help, but they actually exasperate the situation. I feel it’s important to follow these actions, so that maybe other artists will be more informed in the future (not to mention us “little people” who guide them in the process).

I’ve written about Gray’s meeting with the Consul General of Israel in Los Angeles. It’s most crucial to understand the international artist’s role in whitewashing of Israel’s atrocities and creating an illusion of “business as usual.” The Israeli government has always made an effort to bring international artists to Israel. The artist’s name gives the state a sort of unofficial sponsorship- a vote of support- which is good for “the market”. The D in BDS is about divestiture from Israeli companies that profit from the occupation, or from Israeli institutions that enable, forward, or whitewash the occupation. One way to achieve this goal is to directly inform international companies where their money is going, another way is to erode Israel’s “sexy” image, by taking away its star-studded aura, which artists such as Madonna, Paul McCartney, Elton John, and now Macy Gray, provide.

It’s important to add that Gray’s meeting with the Consulate is direct cooperation with the government of Israel. She has already violated the boycott, before she even stepped on the “holy soil”. However, even this could have been rectified, had Gray came out with a public statement that her good name has been used for Israeli state propaganda. As expected, this “seemingly innocent” meeting has made good use of Gray, as the Consulate proudly plastered a picture of gray and Consul, Jacob Dayan, on the front page of its website, accompanied by a press release and a Facebook release.

Not recognizing the pattern, after a sour experience with the Israeli government, Gray came to Israel and met a currently undisclosed member of Knesset, in the Knesset building. Of course the violation of BDS is obvious, but she furthered the propaganda on her Twitter page with these following statements:

Seeds of Illusion

If that statement wasn’t enough to get Israel a few more business deals, then we can look into her meeting with “Seeds of Peace”. I wonder who set this meeting up, because as we’ve seen in the case of the Cape Town Opera, meeting with Palestinian organizations after performing in Israel isn’t an option. More so, when the organization is an Israeli-Palestinian organization that promotes an illusion of balance, and more so, when the organization is American (government and corporations) funded, such as the case of Seeds of Peace.

On the face of it, the organization is impressive. A mixed population of children, both Israeli and Palestinian (and other conflict regions, but allow me to focus), are taught “leadership and coexistence skills” within the context of the “conflict”. It’s very exiting to see a program which teaches kids things like economics and gender within the prism of politics. However, with the sterilized language on the website (no “occupation” to be found) and the program’s focus on trust building games between strangers that fake mutual trust in a sterilized environment, one must ask, how will these kids be able to be effective in the real world, when their education was based on a fictional balance between their situations? I highly doubt that an Ashkenazi Israeli young woman faces the same economic problems and obstacles that a Gazan young woman faces, for example.

Beyond the questionable content and context of Seeds of Peace, there’s the highly dubious list of funders:

USaid- A US federal government agency “[extending] assistance to countries recovering from disaster, trying to escape poverty, and engaging in democratic reforms.” The question remains: Is this before, or after they give 3 billion dollars worth of military aid to Israel, on an annual basis? Before or after it brought democracy to Iraq? And this is what USaid, who’s busy donating to Gaza with one hand, is busy doing with its other hand:

The end of the year downturn [for the Israeli economy] was caused by a combination of factors. The violence in Israel and the West Bank and Gaza led to a steep drop in the number of foreign tourists. Construction and agriculture were hurt by the sudden loss of Palestinian workers, unable to travel to jobs in Israel because of closures imposed by the Israeli military. A drop in economic growth in the United States led to a lower level of exports. Finally, the steep drop on the stock exchange resulted in a decrease in the rate of new foreign investment in Israel.

How does USaid solve this?

THE USAID PROGRAM: The United States, acting through the USAID, will provide $720,000,000 in FY 2002 funds to Israel as a cash transfer. These funds will be used by Israel primarily for repayment of debt to the United States

Who would have ever thought masturbation can be profitable outside the porn industry…

ExxonMobil – I was once told by an ethical investing consultant that the biggest donators on the planet, are the most harmful corporations. Now this makes sense, if you just think about the sheer size of these corporations. This manipulation that these corporations practice is, of course, what allows them to continue destroying every green patch of this little earth (also metaphorically speaking). ExxonMobil, which I doubt needs an introduction, trades in fossil fuels and is ranked “sixth among corporations emitting airborne pollutants in the United States”. It’s responsible for catastrophic oil spills, endangering the wildlife and the funding of skepticism of global warming. In addition to environmental damage, ExxonMobil is neck-deep in human rights violations, from denying LGBT employees same-sex partner benefits, to it’s hand in oil-rich governments around the world, creating military unrest, leading to torture, murder and rape. Indeed, is this economics of politics taught to our precious seeds of peace?

Carlson Wagonlit Travel- CWT is a travel agency with branches all over the world. Its branch in Israel is run by the Israeli travel agency Ophir Tours, which exclusively provide travel services to the Association of Americans and Canadians in Israel (AACI), which is sponsored by the Jewish National Fund, thus taking an active part in Judaizing Israel (“Aliya”), ethnically cleansing the Bedouin population from the south of Israel, and whitewashing Israel’s brutal past of ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians.

Clean Like Pros – A cleaning company run by the Singer family. The Singers are active in the Jewish Federation of Ocean County, an offshoot of the Jewish Federations of North America, who’s top partner is the Jewish Agency.

Toll Brothers – A house building company who’s list of contributions could have melted my heart, had it not included that infamous excuse for idleness The Anti Defamation League.

The content and list of donors leaves very little room to speculate about Seeds of Peace using Palestinian youth (and other marginalized young people of color around the world, as well as in the United States) as tokens for a cynical game that furthers a capitalist, imperialist American agenda, which never doubts it’s commitment to its arm in the Middle East, Israel. Don’t believe me? Just check out the Seeds of Peace Advisory Board of Directors list:

T.H. George H. W. Bush

T.H. William Jefferson Clinton

Her Majesty Queen Noor

H.E. Shimon Peres

Dr. Sa’eb Erekat

(A word to Sa’eb Erekat: Who needs Al Jazeera leaks?!)

The Show Can’t Go On

Not only did Gray meet all the wrong people, she went on with her show and in it included a lavish donation of a motorcycle  to United Hatzalah, an Israeli emergency medical organization, which also receives motorcycles from non other than the most notorious settlement in all of the occupied territories, Hebron.

United Hatzallah funded by Hebron settlement. Ceremony held in the Cave of Patriarchs.

Panic in the Knesset

Without a doubt, the combination of Vanessa Paradis (and Johnny Depp along with her) canceling and the possibility that Macy Gray may cancel, as well, propelled the Knesset into action. You’d think that the “Boycott Prohibition” bill ( that will be passed tomorrow), criminalizing BDS criticism and activity in Israel, would be enough for the only democracy in the Middle East, but it seems that they just can’t get enough of the BDS jive [limited by my translation]:

I don’t know what our legal abilities are to act against these boycotts, but if we’re silent, we allow these things to happen… it’s very important that we raise our voice against this issue, especially when we’re talking about organizations that come from within Israel.

These are the words of Kadima’s MK Ronit Tirosh. In this same meeting, she also said [limited by my translation]:

The problem isn’t with specific organizations that boycott Israel and try to have impact, but about the use of different social networks in order to pressure the artists themselves on a personal level and even the people around them, like members of the band and roadies. We’ve asked the ministry of culture to take the issue of utilizing social networks from the Israeli side, too, in the face of the pressure they are exposed to, and an artist, who needs fans, has to recognize the extent of his hurt he causes his fans in the state, and maybe, as a result he’ll reweigh the cancellation.

Tirosh may not know the extent of her legal abilities to counter the BDS movement, but not for lack of trying. She’s just one of the MKs to be behind the “Boycott Prohibition” bill:

…a proposal to outlaw any nongovernmental organization that provides information to foreign or international bodies that leads to war crimes accusations against the government or the army.

The proposed legislation would apply to NGOs that provide information directly to accusers, or to NGOs that put information in the public domain that leads to such accusations… For the lawmaker behind the bill, Ronit Tirosh of Kadima, it is a necessary move to “end the rampage” by organizations that are trying to “subvert the state.”

Other MK’s also had some bright ideas [limited by my translation]:

Yisrael Beitenu MK, Alex Miller, head of the Culture and Education Committee, is planning to create a cross-ministry committee of the Foreign Affairs, Culture and Treasury ministries, who’s purpose will be to create an insurance policy to compensate (with my tax money) the Israeli producers, that bring the acts to Israel, who’s act bailed on them for “ideological motives”. He also added that he’ll join MK Tirosh in a law proposal to ensure this. He also called on the ministries of Foreign Affairs and Culture to build a joint strategy in dealing with the “delegitimization phenomenon of Israel in the culture world”. Lastly, he called on the producers to use the services of the ministries of Foreign Affairs and Culture, let them know about cancellations, so that consulate representatives can apply pressure on the artists.

Alon Barr, Director of Culture Ties of the Foreign Affairs Ministry:

…the boycott phenomenon is well known from the fields of commerce, academia, and international jurisdiction [prosecution] of IDF officers. “The way I deal with it is with an effort to propagate Israeli culture abroad and to encourage cooperation between Israeli artists and artists abroad. If we had more funds, we could do more.

Beit El settlement establisher, founder of Gush Emonim, responsible for doubling the Jewish population beyond the Green Line, National Union member, Arutz Sheva executive director, and Law of Boycott Prohibition initiator, Ya’akov Katz, in his capacity as a fair and balanced media man had this to say:

There are a few dictators of the Israeli media… that systematically stand behind organizations that boycott artists in Israel.

Shas MK, Nissim Zeev, had little to add, except the word “incitement”.

Of course, no Knesset conference, dealing with threats to Israel’s existence, would be complete without a member of the Re’ut Institute. In his capacity of “National Security team leader”, Eran ShayShon added:

..our job is to create a differentiation between legitimate criticism and delegitimization.

The BDS movement has come a long way. Thanks to Macy Gray all the crazies came out of the woodwork. While the “Boycott Prohibition” bill was proposed last summer, only tomorrow will it be passed. From a movement of the most impoverished and oppressed, that for 60 years couldn’t get the time of day from the media, Palestinians of the Occupied Territories are now changing Israeli legislation.

To watch with subtitles in English, click CC at the bottom right.

My friends at the Italian-Palestinian youth group “Wael Zuaiter” shared this incredible new creative initiative that was partly organised by the Italian NGO “Vento di Terra” (http://www.ventoditerra.org/). It’s the first Web TV program from the refugee camp of Qalandia and these kids ready to share pieces of their daily experiences with us. Armed with one camera (and they need more, so anyone who can help, please do!) we’ll get a child’s view of things, which is just as important a view as an adult’s if not more important! It just went on line two days ago, a few bugs need to be worked out before it is up and running to full capacity but it looks promising!

http://nuke.kalandiachildren.com/PressKit/tabid/487/Default.aspx


 

http://nuke.kalandiachildren.com/

Without a shadow of a doubt, Marcy Newman is one of the best bloggers on Palestine. It’s hard to top her sensitivity, observant eye, humour, culture and humanity. I wanted to write again about One Voice, but she did a much better job than I ever could, so please read this incredibly informative article about this “grassroots movement” (sic) that is really just the cover for Zionist exclusion of Palestinians from their homeland and continued denial of their rights. http://bodyontheline.wordpress.com/ Marcy is da girl!

how about no voice!

here is a group i would love to silence. it is called “one voice.” i say: how about no voice! apparently it is old, but someone tweeted it today so i just learned about it. this group is quite skilled in masking who they really are about (this is the first clue that it is a hardcore zionist organization dedicated to preserving the racist, zionist, colonist, terrorist state). to start with the term “one voice” is a sort of euphemism, i think, for some sort of unified solution and masks their goal of continuing the zionist colonization of palestinian land. you can get some idea of who they are from their faq page:

How is OneVoice different from other ‘peace’ groups?

We are dedicated to conflict resolution. Israelis and Palestinians at a grassroots level want to find a resolution to this conflict and agree in broad terms on the parameters for that resolution. They do not necessarily like or love each other, but they recognize that to guarantee their own freedom, security, and viability, they have to assure the same for the other side. We are committed to mobilizing people behind this belief to effect real change. We are a grassroots, non-partisan, joint Israeli-Palestinian organization – not imposing ideas from above, but helping people on the ground to find and frame their own answers.

Why do you believe in a two-state solution?

OneVoice does not have its own views on how a peace agreement should look – we are simply codifying the views of the masses, and building off of the groundwork laid by past agreements and proposals, which are accepted by the majority of Israelis & Palestinians as the basis for negotiating a two-state solution. The vast majority of Israelis and Palestinians, according to all major polls, agree that a two-state solution is the only way to end this conflict.

Is it really a parallel movement? Are both sides really represented?

This is the most commonly asked question by people on both sides. Each side perceives that the other lacks a contingent of moderates willing to lead their people to compromise. Exactly the same amount of money goes into programming in Israel as it does in Palestine.

What many people are unable to see, which we uniquely can, is that whether on the left or on the right, Israeli or Palestinian, the overwhelming majority on each side would choose co-existence and mutual respect over co-extermination and mutual ruination. In spite of any apprehension or skepticism they share, they ultimately express a commitment and desire to participate with us.

Is this an attempt to impose a Western solution on a uniquely Middle Eastern problem?

The OneVoice solution is coming from the Middle East; it is not being imposed on anyone. Hundreds of Palestinians and Israelis were involved in its inception and now more than 600,000 are members. OneVoice is shaped according to what people who live in the region believe will work. In this regard, we provide a neutral gateway towards consensus that is not linked to any existing entrenched power. OneVoice is a non-biased, grassroots platform that derives its legitimacy from popular participation.

first of all, the notion that this is some sort of grassroots movement that palestinians support is 100% hooey. sure, maybe they have a few collaborators on board (read: those who support american-zionist colonialism here), but that does not mean that the majority of palestinians support this initiative. i can tell you point blank: they do not. there is no clear position on the most important issues, like the right of return, for instance, and they treat palestinians here as if these are only people who live in the west bank–not in 1948 palestine, not in refugee camps in lebanon, jordan, syria, not in the diaspora. of course they cannot because if they were to do so they would have to deal with the right of return. and they do not.

but what is most telling, i think, is the page that lists the board members. the “honorary board” lists palestinians who normalize and who are completely discredited and disrespected among palestinians like saeb erakat. he is as bad as his cohorts on this list like zionnazis martin indyk and dennis ross. it also lists jim zogby who, like ziad asali who sits on the trustees advisory council, do a great job promoting the zionist agenda in the u.s. the rest of the names, one can safely assume, are there to do the zionists’ bidding to ensure that palestinian refugees never have the right of return and that their bantustan situation will continue to increase. make no mistake about it: if indyk and ross are on board we can expect a disastrous outcome for palestinians. period.

then you look at their “parners” page you will notice that they have all sorts of organizations that masquerade as “neutral,” but are really fronts for zionist propaganda–organizations like middle east web as well as arab american organizations that are complicit with the zionist agenda in the u.s. like american task force on palestine. and, perhaps, the real clue is in the organizations that promote normalization (read: force palestinians to be as submissive as possible in their own oppression so zionists can steal more land and murder more palestinians); these groups include: the geneva initiative and ipcri.

how these groups got on the website is another question–whether they support its work or not, for instance. apparently, when the organization began they just put various groups on the website without asking for permission first. they did this with the middle east children’s alliance (meca), and as soon as people at meca found out and requested that they remove their name and logo. apparently, they did not understand that meant meca was not interested in their so-called “peace” initiative and someone at this “one voice” group asked them to send out some email to meca’s list. when they said no, meca got this email, which i quote with permission:

Dear XXXX,

Thank you for your elaborated answer. I find it hard to understand why would you choose not to support an organization that calls for a non violent solution based on 2 states and rapid negotiations, but I guess it is your choice.

PS. Children not living under occupation are also bedwetting and have nightmares, whether it is because of missiles flying over their heads and on their houses for the last 7 years or because of suicide bombers and terrorism. Life and the reality in the Middle east is not as one sided as you portray. The apartheid analogy is nothing more then a propaganda tool, that has nothing to do with reality, and is used to take advantage of peace-seeking people, with historical guilt, by demonizing Israel and the Israelis. What you see in the media is only the bloody stories that sell. They are not always true, and more importantly they are far from being all the story or even a big part of it.

Yours,
Sefi Kedmi

typical zionist answer: the think that the bias is against the them. yet another way of deflecting attention from the reality of their daily thieving and murderous colonial project. ben white had an excellent critique of this pseudo-”peace” initiative in the guardian two years ago, which is worth reading:

We’ve had Live 8 and Live Earth, and this week, albeit on a smaller scale, we almost had One Million Voices. Organised by the OneVoice group, the declared aim was to bring together Palestinians and Israelis in simultaneous events in Tel Aviv, Jericho, London, Washington and Ottawa to voice support for the “moderates” and call for a negotiated two-state solution.

The plans fell through, amid bitter claim and counter-claim, as artists lined up for the Jericho event cancelled, and the Tel Aviv concert followed suit. This followed grassroots pressure by Palestinians who objected to what they see as yet another attempt to promote a false peace that fails to address the structural injustices driving the conflict.

Indeed, despite the peace rhetoric – and the claim that they represent a unique popular call – OneVoice’s approach suffers from the same flaws that have bedevilled official “peace” efforts from Oslo to the Quartet. Such errors were amply demonstrated in Seth Freedman’s column, which implied that the main obstacle to peace is the “extremism” that exists on both sides.

This interpretation of the situation in Palestine/Israel is only possible through a heavy airbrushing of history and a fundamental misreading of the present. Strikingly, the Tel Aviv concert was scheduled to take place in Hayarkon Park – the same location where, almost 60 years ago, the Palestinian village of Jarisha was wiped off the map by Jewish armed forces.

Its residents shared the same fate as almost 800,000 other Palestinians, expelled from what became Israel and prevented to this day from returning home, their land confiscated. Yet official OneVoice material gives the impression that the conflict only began 40 years ago, when Israel occupied the rest of Palestine (the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem).

Condemning the “extremist minority” of both sides sounds laudable. Of course, “both sides” use violence, and of course, there is hatred and religious extremism among both Palestinians and Israelis. The crucial point, however, is that Israel has all the power. Israel is occupying and colonising Palestinian land, not the other way round. Palestinian cities are besieged by a modern, hi-tech Israeli army and subjected to closure, raids and bombardment – not the other way round.

Zionist colonisation is not the preserve of a fanatical fringe in Israel – it is fundamental to the state’s identity and practice. As Martin Luther King said: “Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.” Since Israel continues to show no intention of relinquishing its role as colonial overlord, it’s no good to condemn “both sides”, as if there is equality between occupier and occupied.

Unsurprisingly, those with intimate firsthand experience of this apartheid are under no illusions about the usefulness of toothless “peace processes”. Earlier this week, the UN human rights envoy for the Occupied Palestinian Territories, John Dugard, condemned the Quartet for failing to safeguard Palestinian rights. The BBC’s Tim Franks noted that many diplomats and officials based in the region “would agree with Mr Dugard’s political analysis” yet refrain from agreeing publicly.

The language of moderation is all the rage, from OneVoice to Condoleezza Rice, from the aborted peace concerts to the forthcoming November peace conference. It’s a seductive dichotomy; on the one side are those who light the flame of peace, who strive for a “mass awakening” to the “forces of light and friendship and love”. On the other side are the extremists who threaten, smear and mislead; they are wickedly intransigent – they stifle, snuff out hope and burn flags.

But what is a “moderate”? In recent times, “moderate” has been applied to some rather unlikely characters in the Middle East. For the US, UK and Israeli governments, these include states like Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan. None of these permit much genuine freedom of expression; all of them oppress opposition movements. In fact, Saudi Arabia is one of the world’s most repressive regimes.

It seems “moderation” has nothing to do with whether you refrain from the torture of political activists or the flogging of “deviants”, and everything to do with your obedience to US policies and Israeli interests. That is what unites the Saudi royals, the Egyptian president and the Jordanian king.

Meanwhile, groups like ISM, and Another Voice are condemned by Freedman and OneVoice as “extremists” out to “eradicate the other side”, and accused of making unnamed and unspecified threats. Yet these groups are committed to the defence of human rights and international law, and are made up of tireless Israelis, Palestinians and internationals. Their categorisation as “extremists” then, is actually a reflection of their refusal to accept sugar-coated apartheid or well-meaning platitudes that serve the status quo.

It may be an uncomfortable truth, but peace for both peoples comes no closer if the fundamental power disparity between Israel and the stateless, occupied and dispossessed Palestinians is obscured. Confronting the vested interests that perpetuate Palestine’s conquest may not win you awards from Jordanian monarchs or praise from the US state department; but it ultimately brings you a lot closer to peace.

as for kedmi thinking that apartheid does not apply, i think we would do well to look at omar barghouti’s recent article on the subject, which i quote from, in part, below:

Israel’s repressive and racist policies in the 1967-occupied Palestinian territory have been recognized as constituting apartheid by a host of opinion leaders such as Archbishop Desmond Tutu, former US president, Jimmy Carter, and former UN Special Rapporteur for human rights, Prof. John Dugard, among others. In the same vein, former Israeli Attorney General, Michael Ben-Yair, wrote in a 2002 article in Ha’aretz describing Israel’s regime in the OPT, “We enthusiastically chose to become a colonial society, ignoring international treaties, expropriating lands, transferring settlers from Israel to the occupied territories, engaging in theft and finding justification for all these activities. … In effect, we established an apartheid regime in the occupied territories….” [36]

However, the applicability of the crime of apartheid as defined in UN conventions to Israel itself has, for the most part, been either inadvertently glossed over or intentionally ignored as an explosive subject that has every potential to invite the vengeful wrath of powerful pro-Israel lobbies. Regardless, one cannot but examine the facts and analyze Israel’s system of governance accordingly.

The strongest argument given by — sometimes well-meaning — experts who dismiss the apartheid label for Israel is that the analogy between Israel and South Africa is not exact and, in many respects, Israel’s oppression is even more severe, demanding a different designation altogether. The problem with this argument is that it assumes, quite incorrectly, that apartheid is a South African trademark and, therefore, that every regime accused of practicing apartheid must be shown to be identical to South Africa’s apartheid regime of yesteryear. Apartheid, however, although brought to world attention and given its name by the racist regime in South Africa, has been recognized by the UN for decades as a generalized crime with a universal definition.

The Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid of 1976 defines apartheid [37] as “similar policies and practices of racial segregation and discrimination as practised in southern Africa” which have “the purpose of establishing and maintaining domination by one racial group of persons over any other racial group of persons and systematically oppressing them, in particular by means such as segregation, expropriation of land, and denial of the right to leave and return to their country, the right to a nationality and the right to freedom of movement and residence” (Article II). The similarity to South Africa is cited not as a condition but in recognition of its status as a historic precedent.

As a recent in-depth strategic position paper [38] published by the Palestinian BDS National Committee states, Israel’s origins, laws and policies against the Palestinian people fit to a large extent the definition of apartheid. The conceptual origins of Israel’s unique form of apartheid are found in Zionism, a racist European ideology that was adopted by the dominant stream of the Zionist movement (World Zionist Organization, Jewish Agency, Jewish National Fund, among others) in order to justify and recruit political support for its colonial project of establishing an exclusive Jewish state in historic Palestine. Political Zionists dismissed the indigenous population of Palestine as non-existent in the famous Zionist slogan of “a land without a people;” making this a self-fulfilling prophecy, Zionist forces forcibly displaced 750,000-900,000 Palestinians from their homeland and destroyed hundreds of the depopulated Palestinian villages in an operation termed “cleaning the landscape” that lasted until 1960. [39]

Israel’s regime over the Palestinian people amounts to apartheid precisely because it displays many of the main features of the crime as defined by international law:

1. Racial discrimination against the indigenous Palestinian people who became citizens of the State of Israel was formalized and institutionalized through the creation by law of a “Jewish nationality”, which is distinct from Israeli citizenship. No “Israeli” nationality exists in Israel, and the Supreme Court has persistently refused to recognize one as it would end the system of Jewish supremacy in Israel. The 1950 Law of Return entitles all Jews — and only Jews — to the rights of nationals, namely the right to enter “Eretz Yisrael” (Israel and the OPT) and immediately enjoy full legal and political rights. “Jewish nationality” under the Law of Return is extraterritorial in contravention of international public law norms pertaining to nationality. It includes Jewish citizens of other countries, irrespective of whether they wish to be part of the collective of “Jewish nationals,” and excludes “non-Jews” (i.e., Palestinians) from nationality rights in Israel.

2. The 1952 Citizenship Law [40] has created a discriminatory two-tier legal system whereby Jews hold nationality and citizenship, while the remaining indigenous Palestinian citizens hold only citizenship. [41] Under Israeli law the status of Jewish nationality is accompanied with first-class rights and benefits which are not granted to Palestinian citizens.

3. The Israeli Status Law of 1952 authorizes the World Zionist Organization/Jewish Agency and its subsidiaries, including the Jewish National Fund, to control most of the land in Israel, for the exclusive benefit of Jews. In 1998, the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, CESCR, expressed [42] grave concern about this law and stated that large-scale and systematic confiscation of Palestinian land and property by the State and the transfer of that property to these agencies constitute an institutionalized form of discrimination, because these agencies by definition would deny the use of these properties to non-Jewish citizens of the State.

4. Return of Palestinian refugees and Internally-Displaced Persons (IDPs), as required by international law, has been prevented by means of force and legislation on racist grounds. Simply because they are not Jews, Palestinian refugees were excluded from entitlement to citizenship in the State of Israel under the 1952 Citizenship Law. They were “denationalized” and turned into stateless refugees in violation of the law of state succession. Their land and other property were confiscated by the State. The approximately 150,000 Palestinians who remained in Israel after the 1948 Nakba were placed under a military regime (1948 – 1966) similar to the regime currently in place in the OPT.

For decades, racial discrimination against Palestinian citizens of Israel in every vital aspect of life has been the norm. From land ownership to education to health to jobs to housing, the indigenous Palestinians have been denied equality by the State’s laws and policies. For instance, they are not allowed, to buy or rent land in about 93% of the state lands of Israel. [43] To this date, polls consistently show overwhelming majorities of Israeli Jews standing in opposition to full equality with the indigenous Palestinians in the state. [44] So the fact those Palestinians can vote, unlike their black African counterpart under South African apartheid, becomes almost a formality, a tokenism of sorts, clearly designed to project a deceptive image of democracy and fend off well-justified accusations of apartheid. [45]

Even in cancer research [46], Israeli apartheid is strongly present. In June 2001, the Health Ministry published a map of the geographical distribution of malignant diseases in Israel during the years 1984-1999. The report did not include a single Palestinian community in Israel, with the exception of Rahat, ostensibly due to “budgetary problems.” This research is particularly important because, in Israel, only when a correlation is shown between the presence of polluting sites and the incidence of malignant disease is it possible to prevent installation of new hazards, or demand tighter environmental standards. By intentionally omitting Palestinian towns in its extensive cancer mapping, the Health Ministry has indirectly given a green light to polluters to relocate to Palestinian towns inside Israel — not to mention in the OPT. The results of such health apartheid are ominous. In the past three decades the rate of malignant diseases in the Palestinian population in Israel has risen 3 to 4 times higher than among the Jewish population. A spokesperson for the Israeli Center against Racism commented, “The report has produced two different groups. One, an overprivileged group, whose lives are dear to the state and to the Health Ministry; a second, whose lives are of no importance to the state.”

This discrimination must be seen in the wider context of Israel’s perception of Palestinians by leading Israeli politicians, intellectuals, academics and mass media outlets as a “demographic threat” that needs to be dealt with resolutely; thus the rise of openly fascist parties in the recent parliamentary elections. Echoing a popular view in Israel, a ranking academic, Major General (reserve) Shlomo Gazit from the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies, preaches: “Democracy has to be subordinated to demography.”[47] And now, the fanatic right Israeli leader, Avigdor Lieberman, and his supporters are saying democracy has to be subordinated to loyalty to Jewish supremacy.

The complicity of Western governments in all this horrific violation of international law and basic human rights has led many analysts to view the role of the West as profoundly flawed, both morally and legally. The comprehensive impunity enjoyed by Israel has allowed it to project itself and to act as an uncontrollable “mad dog” — an image advocated by Moshe Dayan decades ago and endorsed most recently by Israeli military historian, Martin Van Creveld [48] — in an attempt to make the Palestinians submit to its colonial will, to accept slavery as fate.

This criminal impunity and categorical denial of rights, more than anything else, were the main motivation behind the Palestinian BDS campaign.

Since 9 July 2005, Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions have been advocated by virtually the entire Palestinian civil society everywhere as an effective form of solidarity that has a real potential to bring about an end to Western complicity with Israel and, therefore, to Israel’s occupation, colonization and apartheid. During and ever since Israel’s criminal war on Gaza, Palestinian civil society has stood more united than ever in urging people of conscience all over the world to hold Israel accountable for its crimes by treating it as South Africa was under apartheid rule. In response, unions, academic groups, faith-based organizations, political parties, social movements and others have adopted creative, context-sensitive and sustainable BDS campaigns, from South Africa to Norway, from Australia to Canada, from Britain to Venezuela, and even from the podium of the President of the UN General Assembly. [49]

Israel’s state terrorism in Gaza, enabled by virtually unlimited support from the US and Western governments in general, was a key catalyst in spreading and deepening BDS around the world, prompting advocates of Palestinian rights to feel that our South Africa moment has finally arrived. Israel is now widely perceived, at a grassroots level, as an international pariah that commits war crimes with impunity and that needs to be held accountable to international law and basic principles of human rights.

for readers who are too racist to take the word of a palestinian, how about a jewish south african man who lived through apartheid in south africa and who has witnessed it in palestine as well? ronnie kasrils also published a piece this week comparing the two regimes:

It is by no means difficult to recognize from afar, as Verwoerd had been able to do, that Israel is indeed an apartheid state. Verwoerd’s successor, Balthazar John Vorster visited Israel after the 1973 October War, when Egypt in a rare victory regained the Suez Canal and Sinai from Israel. After that Israel and South Africa were virtually twinned as military allies for Pretoria helped supply Israel militarily in the immediacy of its 1973 setback and Israel came to support apartheid South Africa at the height of sanctions with weaponry and technology – from naval ships and the conversion of supersonic fighter planes to assistance in building six nuclear bombs and the creation of an arms industry.

For the liberation movements of southern Africa, Israel and apartheid South Africa represented a racist, colonial axis. It was noted that people like Vorster had been Nazi sympathizers, interned during World War II – yet feted as heroes in Israel and incidentally never again referred to by South African Zionists as an anti-Semite!. This did not surprise those that came to understand the true racist nature and character of Zionist Israel.

Time and space does not allow further elaboration, but it is instructive to add that in its conduct and methods of repression, Israel came to resemble more and more apartheid South Africa at its zenith – even surpassing its brutality, house demolitions, removal of communities, targeted assassinations, massacres, imprisonment and torture of its opponents, collective punishment and the aggression against neighboring states.

Certainly we South Africans can identify the pathological cause, fuelling the hate, of Israel’s political-military elite and public in general. Neither is this difficult for anyone acquainted with colonial history to understand the way in which deliberately cultivated race hate inculcates a justification for the most atrocious and inhumane actions against even defenseless civilians – women, children, the elderly amongst them. In fact was this not the pathological racist ideology that fuelled Hitler’s war lust and implementation of the Holocaust?

I will state clearly, without exaggeration, that any South African, whether involved in the freedom struggle, or motivated by basic human decency, who visits the Occupied Palestinian Territories are shocked to the core at the situation they encounter and agree with Archbishop Tutu’s comment that what the Palestinians are experiencing is far worse than what happened in South Africa, where the Sharpeville massacre of 69 civilians in 1960 became international symbol of apartheid cruelty.

for those of you who want to know what palestinians want and what serves their interests you can check out these websites:

one state democratic group

and

global boycott, divestment, and sanctions movement

PS: i meant to post this last night but it slipped my mind. the reason this old organization is on my mind now is because it is in the news:

Sir Paul McCartney officially joined the International Board of Advisors of the OneVoice movement, a grassroots organization aiming at broadcasting the views of what it calls the “overwhelming majority” of moderates in both Israel and Palestine.

The Board of Directors already includes actors Danny DeVito and Jason Alexander, as well as international dignitaries and political figures like Dennis Ross.

McCartney met with OneVoice Israel Chairwoman Irit Admoni Perlman during his visit to the region in September and was later asked to join the board, according to the statement.

“They told me that the vast majority of people in both societies are moderates and simply want a better life for their families and themselves,” a statement from the organization quoted McCartney as saying, “This gave me great hope that, one day, people like them will help to bring about a peaceful resolution to the troubles in the area. I am, therefore, happy to lend my support in this way to the cause of peace.”

notice that not only did mccartney ignore the boycott and come to the israeli terrorist state, but he also ONLY met with an israeli terrorist, not any palestinians. but his group represents both sides–as if there can be two sides when you have the colonizer and the colonized.

Our beloved brother in the struggle and dear friend Adib lost a precious member of his family last week. We join his family in condolences and publish this beautiful poem in loving memory of another Palestinian who died without seeing his homeland once again. (artwork by Ben Heine)

“In the memory of my brother Elias who left us on Friday March 6th without fulfilling his dream to see his homeland liberated, may God give him the pleasure to see it from the other world…” Adib S. Kawar

 

عندما تكون فلسطينياً

 When you are a Palestinian

By: every Palestinian

  When you are a Palestinian…

No sleeping no awakening…

No work… no resting…

No conscience… no unconsciousness

Without the remembrance of Palestine…

And what was Palestine…

And what Palestine came to be…

And what Palestine shall be…

When you are a Palestinian…

An Arab you are in your homeland…

And out of your homeland…

You shall be stirring different sentiments…

Sometimes ones of pity…

Others of sorrow…

Sometimes of solicitude…

And mostly of admiration…

When you are a Palestinian…

You shall have a strong memory…

You shall remember the number of sand grains…

On the shores of Palestine…

The echoes of the chanting of each “muezzin”…

The ringing of Nazareth and Bethlehem bells…

The laughter of each Palestinian Arab baby…

You shall remember the seawater’s colors…

The taste of sleeping…

The smell of the first rain on Palestine’s soil…

Also you shall remember these dark nights…

With their wild beasts’ sounds and movements…

You shall remember the smell of death…

Mixed with that of gunpowder…

The whispers of passion of your concern…

They shall not be…

Or that of the stock market index…

Nor a festival here and there…

And the length of nights…

Or days that never break…

Even whether the year be twelve months…

Or even twelve watermelons…

And even astronauts landing on the moon or not…

Or should the moon descend to them…

Whether one party or another wins election or loses them…

Or the rise of a new state or the fall of another…

All that concerns you is that Palestine was stolen…

And it should return liberated…


فَبِقُدسِنا الغرّاءُ تَكمُنُ عِزّتي

 

احياء لذكرى شقيقي الحبيب الياس الذي فارقنا يوم الجمعه السادس من آذار 2009 من دون تحقيق حلمه الدائم، على أمل أن يحقق له الله هذه الأمنية الهدف في الدنيا الآخرة فيرى فلسطين محررة

 

عندما تكون فلسطينيا

 

بقلم: كل فلسطني

 

عندما تكون فلسطينياً

فلا صحو ولا نوم

ولا عمل ولا راحة

ولا وعي ولا غيبوبة

بدون ذكرى فلسطين

وما كانت عليه فلسطين

وما صارت إليه فلسطين

وما ستصير إليه فلسطين

 

عندما تكون فلسطينيا

 

ستكون غريباً في وطنك.. وفي خارج وطنك

ستكون مثاراً لمختلف المشاعر

ستكون مثاراً للشفقة حيناً

ومثاراً للحزن حيناً

ومثاراً للاهتمام حيناً

ومثاراً للإعجاب أحياناً

عندما تكون فلسطينياً

 

ستتمتع بذاكرة قوية

ستذكر عدد حبات رمل البحر

وصوت كل مؤذن

وضحكة كل طفل

 

ستذكر لون الفجر..

وطعم النوم..

ورائحة المطر وستذكر ايضاً..

تلك الليالي السوداء

بأصوات وحوشها وحركاتهم

ستذكر رائحة الموت الممزوجة بالبارود

وستذكر زغاريد الثكالى

 ونواح العذارى عندما تكون فلسطينياً

 

 

لن تعنيك كلمات العشق..

ومؤشرات البورصة العالمية

ومهرجانات تقام هنا وهناك

ولن يعنيك أن يطول الليل ..

 أو يختفي للأبد النهار

ولن يعنيك أن يكون العام اثنا عشر شهراً

أو اثنتا عشرة بطيخة

 لن يعنيك أن يصعد البشر إلى القمر..

 أو ينزل هو إليهم

لم يعنيك خسارة حزب في الانتخابات ..

 وفوز آخر

لن عنيك قيام دولة..

وسقوط أخرى

كل ما يعنيك هو أن فلسطين سُلبَت ويجب أن تُعـــــــاد

The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel has this to say about Mira Awad, the Palestinian-Israeli artist performing with Noa at the Eurovision Song Contest:

PACBI — Ramallah, Occupied Palestine, March 8, 2009

Palestinian artists and intellectuals in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip are disappointed by the news of your intention to represent Israel in the Eurovision Song Contest. The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) is writing to urge you not to participate on behalf of Israel in this contest.

To represent Israel in the Eurovision Song Contest will serve to polish the international image of an aggressive occupying state that has long been engaged in ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity. It will communicate to the rest of the world that Israel’s war crimes and violations of international law are acceptable to us as Palestinians! May we remind you of some of the actions of the state you will be representing: the ethnic cleansing of more than 750,000 Palestinians in 1948; the subjugation of 3.6 million Palestinians to a system of occupation and apartheid in the West Bank and Gaza Strip since 1967; the long history of extra-judicial killing of Palestinian leaders and activists; the imprisonment of tens of thousands of Palestinians since 1948; the building of the apartheid wall; the recent vicious attack on occupied Gaza and the murder of more than 1,440 people (of whom at least 400 were children).

Your performance in this contest will be telling Palestinians that their suffering – the product of colonialism and racism – doesn‘t matter. You will be giving a slap in the face to each and every Palestinian singer, musician, artist, filmmaker, writer, poet, as well as regular Palestinians, who have to struggle to overcome Israel’s deliberate efforts to silence their voice.

You may feel that it is important for you to represent Israel to demonstrate the full spectrum of Israeli society, which includes Palestinians living in Israel. This is utterly misguided. Until Palestinians living within Israel have full rights and do not suffer systemic discrimination and violation of their human and political rights, Israel has no right to portray itself as a healthy, multicultural society. And until it ends its occupation of Palestinian lands and complies with international law, it should be boycotted by all artists. You must realise that if you participate in such a high-profile event you will be seen not only as an individual singer, but as the representative of other Palestinian artists as well as Palestinians at large. Can you not see that by representing both occupier and occupied you will shatter the Palestinian message to the rest of the world?

It is also particularly appalling to us that you plan to perform alongside the singer Achinoam Nini, who has issued a letter blaming Israel’s brutal attack on the Gaza Strip on Hamas. She wrote: “I can only wish for you that Israel will do the job we all know needs to be done, and finally RID YOU of this cancer, this virus, this monster called fanaticism, today, called Hamas.” These words demonstrate that Nini expresses the colonial attitude of the occupier; she blames the victims for trying to defend themselves and she thinks she knows what is better for the victims than they do themselves – even if this means killing 1,440 and injuring more than 5,300 people.

The small Israeli minority who truly understands the colonial nature of Israel and its actions could not remain silent. Udi Aloni, Israeli film director replied to her: “You use your loving words in the service of your conquering people and call upon the Palestinians to surrender in a tender voice. You bestow upon Israel the role of liberator. Upon Israel – that for over 60 years has been occupying and humiliating them.”

Your singing partner has justified the indiscriminate killing of Palestinians, actions which led the UN agencies and human rights organizations to call for war crimes investigations. What is worse, now you will be a partner in this justification, in front of the entire world. Whether you like it or not, your performance will be used to help Israel whitewash its atrocities in the Gaza Strip.

As you may know, virtually all Palestinian filmmakers, artists and cultural figures have called on their colleagues worldwide to boycott Israeli cultural and arts institutions due to their complicity in perpetuating Israel‘s occupation and other forms of oppression against the Palestinian people. In response, in the past months, throughout the world, groups of artists, singers, film-makers, students and academics, have consolidated their efforts to show solidarity with the occupied Palestinians, to condemn Israel‘s war crimes and its apartheid regime, and to call for effective political action such as boycotts, divestment drives, and sanctions (BDS).
We call upon you, as a Palestinian, to at least emulate the actions of artists, including Bono, Snoop Dogg, Bjork and Jean-Luc Godard, who have taken action to ensure they are not perceived to support Israel’s actions until it fulfils its obligations under international law and fully recognizes Palestinian rights.

Palestinian artists have also written to you urging you not to participate in this event. They note: ‘Israel‘s image as a ‘democratic‘, ‘enlightened‘ and ‘peace loving‘ state is what allows the international community to support it. Your participation in the Eurovision is participation in the Israeli propaganda machine. Every brick in the wall of this phony image allows the Israeli army to throw 10 more tons of explosives and more phosphorus bombs. We are sure that you also see these images and cry…. Please Mira, for the children of Gaza and for the future of every child in this land – Arabs and Jews – don‘t be an accomplice to the killing machine.”

We add our voice to theirs and are hopeful that you will decide not to take part in this contest. We trust you are able to understand that your contribution will be used to endorse and justify the actions of the colonial Israeli government and army in the Gaza Strip. We hope that a decision based on principles will override professional advancement and career considerations.

Yours truly,

PACBI
http://www.pacbi.org/etemplate.php?id=966
info@boycottisrael.ps
www.pacbi.org

 

Posted on 08-03-2009

Thanks to Artists Against Apartheid http://www.artistsagainstapartheid.org/?p=53

When the war gets tough, Israel brings out that magic word that they seem to have a unique understanding of: “peace / Shalom”. That word which to any normal person means harmony, tolerance, end of violence and condemnation of destructive acts that cause suffering doesn’t mean the same thing to the average Israeli, who is basically a hardcore warmonger in sheep’s clothing. “Peace” to a normal person means good things, things we see our children paint, like blue skies, rainbows and people who are in harmony with man and the environment. To an Israeli, it means something entirely different. And that is why, in a moment when Israel has driven the million and a half human beings into a hell of suffering and starvation, then decided to bomb the living daylights out of them and destroy their lives and possessions, they bring out their weapons of mass persuasion, their Hasbara pros who are able to sing and talk about love and peace, while on the other side of the mouth they are spouting words of intolerance and accusations. Noa is called to the front lines each time there is a nasty bit of reality that involves her country, and this time, she’s been a busy little bee and getting busier.

Years ago, I used to be a fan of Noa. I saw her on the Festival of San Remo, and found her performance original and thought she had a special talent. I didn’t really care that she was Israeli, she seemed somewhat a-political. (Nowadays she sounds like a warbly Celine Dion, but this is the market, and she is part of it). But, times change and if someone is Israeli, given what Israel is, they have two choices, it seems: to embrace that Israeliness until the bitter end or to cast it off. Israel can’t leave anyone indifferent, given that it’s involved in occupation and war, and their performers, writers and “intellectuals” know they are showcasing the political agenda of their country. Noa never fails to come up with the goods, and I will explain some of her recent exploits, after a brief introduction.

For quite a long time, Israel has been dishing out one atrocity after another. It almost defies the imagination of where to begin in a timeline, there is simply too much that disgusts anyone with a conscience. Yet, let’s get close to home, very close to home, and go back only as far as the 2006 war against Lebanon. If there was a cruel and evil war, that was surely it. From Cluster bombs to bombing milk factories and power plants, roads, bridges and hospitals, not to leave out dropping bombs on convoys of families who were told to flee lest they be bombed within their homes, Israel left no stone unturned in their horrifying range of violence. Funnily enough, Noa appeared on TV in Italy a few times that month, once in a “fashion show” where she sang “Shalom” while images of the “poor settlers leaving Gaza in tears” were projected behind her. Yes, it was a shock, that this was the message: Israelis suffer. Then she and Gil Dor did a song on the evening TV news, she made a few more appearances just to bring the point home.

It kind of reminded me of something that happened this January. As Europeans know, 27 January is Shoah Memorial Day week month year. Yes, it starts some time on the eve of the 26th of January and then it ends on the eve of the 27th of January a year later. It is this way each year. And, when there is a bloodbath Israel is making happen, the celebrations are not only for about an hour a day, but from dawn till dawn. I must mention a memorable moment. I was on the phone with a friend in the West Bank and we were trying to get information about a mutual friend of ours, who we knew lived near the police station that was destroyed in the first bloody day of Israeli air raids. No one had been able to reach him and it won’t be hard to imagine the fear we had. Of course, any civilians suffering in a war is bad, but there is a difference when you know your loved ones are in the middle of it. It is a nightmare. In the other room, my husband was offering coffee to his colleagues who are rescue volunteers like he is. They turned on the news and during the height of the destruction in Gaza, all that could be reported was one Shoah item after another. It was pretty striking, the way reality was so different from what the mass media was proposing. I heard one of the ambulance drivers, someone who has no interest in politics at all, say, (and it really only works best in Italian…) “più porcate si fanno, più giorni della memoria ci mettono”, which roughly translates to: the more horrible things Israelis do, the more Holocaust Memorial Days they give us.” Yes, someone who doesn’t follow these things was able to understand the connection, there’s really no other excuse for the massive bombardment of Jewish victimhood and Israeli flags that we see especially in moments of horror against Arab peoples. Reality and Hasbara are two worlds that can never cross the divide.

So, where did Noa enter into all of this? She came to hasbara rescue in a major way: through internet in her “letter to the Palestinians” where she told them that the war was necessary in order to get rid of the bad guys (Hamas). Many people were utterly disgusted by this total lack of comprehension that this war was as dirty and filthy as it gets, that she can no longer pretend to be about peace when she is justifying the slaughter of innocents, which was precisely what she was doing. In fact, Juliano Mer Khamis and others initiated a petition to have her NOT sing a charity gig for Gazan children (published here https://wewritewhatwelike.files.wordpress.com/2009/02/noa-thumb21.jpg2009/01/21/ban-achinoam-nini-noa-from-participating-at-gaza-charity-event/) and she pulled out, but then, she was called to sing her peace song and talk about how wonderfully peaceful she was on the worst television talk show in Italy, that of Fabio Fazio, who is sure to have one Israeli a week during wartime, people like Grossman, (sometimes appearing twice in one war  month!) Well, right now, Noa is going to be the Israeli entry to the Eurovision song contest, Yawn. Which is of course OF COURSE having her sing a song about the theme Israelis are the world experts on, Peace. How much ya wanna bet she becomes the victim-darling-peace advocate… yes, reality and hasbara are worlds apart.

If you’d like to see Noa’s current vision of peace, check out her site this week where she talks about the Israeli elections. Sure, they didn’t go the way she (a leftist, she tells us) would have preferred but still : LEIBERMAN AIN’T HAMAS!  And how bad is Hamas? Seeing that Noa moans about Israel being condemned by “Jew-haters” and “anti-Semites”, calling people who do this spreading INCREDIBLE propaganda (she spreads Hasbara…. different stuff, you don’t question hasbara, folks, unless you want to be insulted, bombed or occupied). Reminds me of when I saw Magdi Allam, a nutbar pro-Israel journalist. He said that those responsible for the war in Iraq were the “peace movement people who gave Saddam the hope that there was a way out of the war, and thus made him confident”. Yes, that kind of thinking is what Noa engages in: the “right” won because there was just so much nasty PROPAGANDA by Jew-haters going on. IT’S OUR FAULT! (OH, I’m getting into her style of shouting out things in all caps… sorry!)

Read it to believe it: the voice of peace. This post requires no commentary. Her hatred and Islamophobia speaks for itself. Hell, it could have been written by the ADL itself or anyone in The Israel Project, the MFA or any propaganda organ for Israel at all. It has a little something for everybody! http://www.noasmusic.com/index.asp

Hello all.

A few words about the Israeli elections and where things stand now, from my point of view:

Though i voted left, as always, I am not surprised by the results of the Israeli elections.

I am proud to live in a democratic country which has given voice to the people, even when i am unhappy with the result. I am proud to say that the ONLY party that was ever deemed illegal in Israel was KACH, lead by Kahana, the fanatic Jewish right wing party. Raam and Tal , two Arab parties who support Iran and refuse to recognize Israel as a homeland for the Jews, who don’t even make their party’s declaration of principles available in Hebrew, are kept in the Knesset. They are PROTECTED by the Israeli supreme court.

The Israeli election results, however saddening, were obvious, amongst other things, in the face of the INCREDIBLE propaganda spread around the world by the ENORMOUS amount of Anti-Semites and Jew- haters who are bent on destroying Israel. When the Israeli population sees the lies spread around, the hypocrisy of the world who sees Israel as the aggressor rather than a country acting in self defence, a world whose eyes are blind to the killing and the massacres by the MUSLIM fanatics of the Palestinian people, of Fatah, of women who dare to raise their head, of ANYONE who does not agree with them, when the Israeli people who number 7 million, 1.5 million of them Arabs, see around them 1.5 BILLION Arabs, with hardly ONE voice raised in peace, compared to the ENDLESS Israeli and Jewish voices raised in peace, then it is clear that the elections will go right.

A challenge for you:

Try Googling ’peace organizations’, see the endless, endless peace organizations based in Israel, Arabs and Jews together, and Jews everywhere in the world (the only one in Lebanon is in Lebanon, MICHIGAN!).

Then Google “Jewish terror´and see what you find….

Now, Google “Arab peace organizations…”, ?????????????

and Google “Arab/Muslim terror”……!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

By the way, Meretz, a very sane and liberal left wing organization who supports 2 states for 2 people, has supported both of Israel’s operations, in Lebanon and Gaza. Of course they have, because Meretz know very well that Israel was acting in self defence against fanatic, cruel, Nazi-like organizations, the Hamas and Hezbollah, who are holding innocent people captive, Arabs and Jews as one, and using them as human shields in their death-loving Jihad.

Why don’t you spend some time looking at THIS?

and THIS?

and THIS?

and for a thorough report, THIS:

and the list goes on and on.

I would like to say again:

both sides have failed to make peace, and now both sides have become more extreme, especially the Muslim side. Fortunately, Lieberman and his friends, which i care nothing for, can never compete with the death loving fanatics on the other side.

Now it is up to both sides to state their intentions for peace, recognition, co-existence and compromise.

I would like to raise my voice in support of peace, equal rights for all Arab citizens in Israel, equal rights for all Jewish people in all Arab countries, co-existence between Jews and Arabs in Israel and everywhere, Palestine alongside Israel in peace, prosperity and freedom.

Who will join?

And finally: The international community would do well to stop pointing fingers in such an unintelligent, not to say hateful, anti-Semitic and down-right stupid way, and start getting both sides to the table to start working out a deal.

All the best

Noa

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3679680,00.html
hear the songs here:: one of them “YOU and ME still ALIVE”
part of the lyrics.. sure, she can sing that, not those who she approved the slaughter of! How ironic, not to say sickening.

In “There must be another way” we hear this: And I cry I cry for both of us… (after you’ve said that there was a Cancer to Get Rid of, how DARE you, Noa, you hypocrite).
Faith in the Light is the most traditional Noa-esque song, and it offers this bit, “Where can we go from here, sister, it’s been one long night. Tell me that we’re here to stay and that we can set things right….” sick. You are here to stay Noa, but thousands, including babies too small to speak, are no longer here to stay, thanks to support from you!
“Second Chance” has these beads of wisdom: “Every second is a second chance.”
All of this restores my belief that the only good thing to ever have come out of Eurovision was Abba… At least they were sincere.

I saw this a few days ago, and only now had time to post it up. I have read a lot about the film, we even published an article Gilad Atzmon had written regarding it, but this review is so good, it should be read by everyone. That Waltz With Bashir is propaganda (slick, financed by Israel, used for didactic purposes with a million dollar investment in a Viewer’s Guide) was no secret… When the Director was brought here to promote it, during the heat of the Gaza War, he had not a word to say about that war. It was shocking coming from someone who claimed to be making a statement. BUT this is the state of Israel Peaceniks… they don’t really mean it, but they want you to think they do! Thanks Mr Levy for this exceptional review!

Gideon Levy / ‘Antiwar’ film Waltz with Bashir is nothing but charade
By Gideon Levy, Haaretz Correspondent 

Everyone now has his fingers crossed for Ari Folman and all the creative artists behind “Waltz with Bashir” to win the Oscar on Sunday. A first Israeli Oscar? Why not? 

However, it must also be noted that the film is infuriating, disturbing, outrageous and deceptive. It deserves an Oscar for the illustrations and animation – but a badge of shame for its message. It was not by accident that when he won the Golden Globe, Folman didn’t even mention the war in Gaza, which was raging as he accepted the prestigious award. The images coming out of Gaza that day looked remarkably like those in Folman’s film. But he was silent. So before we sing Folman’s praises, which will of course be praise for us all, we would do well to remember that this is not an antiwar film, nor even a critical work about Israel as militarist and occupier. It is an act of fraud and deceit, intended to allow us to pat ourselves on the back, to tell us and the world how lovely we are. 

Hollywood will be enraptured, Europe will cheer and the Israeli Foreign Ministry will send the movie and its makers around the world to show off the country’s good side. But the truth is that it is propaganda. Stylish, sophisticated, gifted and tasteful – but propaganda. A new ambassador of culture will now join Amos Oz and A.B. Yehoshua, and he too will be considered fabulously enlightened – so different from the bloodthirsty soldiers at the checkpoints, the pilots who bomb residential neighborhoods, the artillerymen who shell women and children, and the combat engineers who rip up streets. Here, instead, is the opposite picture. Animated, too. Of enlightened, beautiful Israel, anguished and self-righteous, dancing a waltz, with and without Bashir. Why do we need propagandists, officers, commentators and spokespersons who will convey “information”? We have this waltz. 

The waltz rests on two ideological foundations. One is the “we shot and we cried” syndrome: Oh, how we wept, yet our hands did not spill this blood. Add to this a pinch of Holocaust memories, without which there is no proper Israeli self-preoccupation. And a dash of victimization – another absolutely essential ingredient in public discourse here – and voila! You have the deceptive portrait of Israel 2008, in words and pictures. 

Folman took part in the Lebanon war of 1982, and two dozen years later remembered to make a movie about it. He is tormented. He goes back to his comrades-in-arms, gulps down shots of whiskey at a bar with one, smokes joints in Holland with another, wakes his therapist pal at first light and goes for another session to his shrink – all to free himself at long last from the nightmare that haunts him. And the nightmare is always ours, ours alone. 

It is very convenient to make a film about the first, and now remote, Lebanon war: We already sent one of those, “Beaufort,” to the Oscar competition. And it’s even more convenient to focus specifically on Sabra and Chatila, the Beirut refugee camps. 

Even way back, after the huge protest against the massacre perpetrated in those camps, there was always the declaration that, despite everything – including the green light given to our lackey, the Phalange, to execute the slaughter, and the fact that it all took place in Israeli-occupied territory – the cruel and brutal hands that shed blood are not our hands. Let us lift our voices in protest against all the savage Bashir-types we have known. And yes, a little against ourselves, too, for shutting our eyes, perhaps even showing encouragement. But no: That blood, that’s not us. It’s them, not us. 

We have not yet made a movie about the other blood, which we have spilled and continue to allow to flow, from Jenin to Rafah – certainly not a movie that will get to the Oscars. And not by chance. 

In “Waltz with Bashir” the soldiers of the world’s most moral army sing out something like: “Lebanon, good morning. May you know no more grief. Let your dreams come true, your nightmares evaporate, your whole life be a blessing.” 

Nice, right? What other army has a song like this, and in the middle of a war, yet? Afterward they go on to sing that Lebanon is the “love of my life, the short life.” And then the tank, from inside of which this lofty and enlightened singing emanates, crushes a car for starters, turning it into a smashed tin can, then pounds a residential building, threatening to topple it. That’s how we are. Singing and wrecking. Where else will you find sensitive soldiers like these? It would really be preferable for them to shout with hoarse voices: Death to the Arabs! 

I saw the “Waltz” twice. The first time was in a movie theater, and I was bowled over by the artistry. What style, what talent. The illustrations are perfect, the voices are authentic, the music adds so much. Even Ron Ben Yishai’s half-missing finger is accurate. No detail is missed, no nuance blurred. All the heroes are heroes, superbly stylish, like Folman himself: articulate, trendy, up-to-date, left-wingers – so sensitive and intelligent. 

Then I watched it again, at home, a few weeks later. This time I listened to the dialogue and grasped the message that emerges from behind the talent. I became more outraged from one minute to the next. This is an extraordinarily infuriating film precisely because it is done with so much talent. Art has been recruited here for an operation of deceit. The war has been painted with soft, caressing colors – as in comic books, you know. Even the blood is amazingly aesthetic, and suffering is not really suffering when it is drawn in lines. The soundtrack plays in the background, behind the drinks and the joints and the bars. The war’s fomenters were mobilized for active service of self-astonishment and self-torment. 

Boaz is devastated at having shot 26 stray dogs, and he remembers each of them. Now he is looking for “a therapist, a shrink, shiatsu, something.” Poor Boaz. And poor Folman, too: He is devilishly unable to remember what happened during the massacre. “Movies are also psychotherapy” – that’s the bit of free advice he gets. Sabra and Chatila? “To tell you the truth? It’s not in my system.” All in such up-to-the-minute Hebrew you could cry. After the actual encounter with Boaz in 2006, 24 years later, the “flash” arrives, the great flash that engendered the great movie. 

One fellow comes to the war on the Love Boat, another flees it by swimming away. One sprinkles patchouli on himself, another eats a Spam omelet. The filmmaker-hero of “Waltz” remembers that summer with great sadness: It was exactly then that Yaeli dumped him. Between one thing and the other, they killed and destroyed indiscriminately. The commander watches porn videos in a Beirut villa, and even Ben Yishai has a place in Ba’abda, where one evening he downs half a glass of whiskey and phones Arik Sharon at the ranch and tells him about the massacre. And no one asks who these looted and plundered apartments belong to, damn it, or where their owners are and what our forces are doing in them in the first place. That is not part of the nightmare. 

What’s left is hallucination, a sea of fears, the hero confesses on the way to his therapist, who is quick to calm him and explains that the hero’s interest in the massacre at the camps derives from a different massacre: from the camps from which his parents came. Bingo! How could we have missed it? It’s not us at all, it’s the Nazis, may their name and memory be obliterated. It’s because of them that we are the way we are. “You have been cast in the role of the Nazi against your will,” a different therapist says reassuringly, as though evoking Golda Meir’s remark that we will never forgive the Arabs for making us what we are. What we are? The therapist says that we shone the lights, but “did not perpetrate the massacre.” What a relief. Our clean hands are not part of the dirty work, no way. 

And besides that, it wasn’t us at all: How pleasant to see the cruelty of the other. The amputated limbs that the Phalange, may their name be obliterated, stuff into the formaldehyde bottles; the executions they perpetrate; the symbols they slash into the bodies of their victims. Look at them and look at us: We never do things like that. 

When Ben Yishai enters the Beirut camps, he recalls scenes of the Warsaw ghetto. Suddenly he sees through the rubble a small hand and a curly-haired head, just like that of his daughter. “Stop the shooting, everybody go home,” the commander, Amos, calls out through a megaphone in English. The massacre comes to an abrupt end. Cut. 

Then, suddenly, the illustrations give way to the real shots of the horror of the women keening amid the ruins and the bodies. For the first time in the movie, we not only see real footage, but also the real victims. Not the ones who need a shrink and a drink to get over their experience, but those who remain bereaved for all time, homeless, limbless and crippled. No drink and no shrink can help them. And that is the first (and last) moment of truth and pain in “Waltz with Bashir.”

WRITTEN BY Michelle J. Kinnucan

An Israeli apartheid dance troupe started its North America tour in Houston on Wednesday, January 28, 2009. Between then and March 1, 2009 it will go to fourteen more American and Canadian cities. That troupe, the Batsheva Dance Company, is currently scheduled to perform in Purchase, NY on January 30-31 and then it’s on to (in order): Princeton, NJ; Philadelphia, PA; Pittsburgh, PA; Chicago, IL; Columbus, OH; Ottawa, ON; Ann Arbor, MI; Minneapolis, MN; Vancouver, BC; Santa Barbara, CA; San Diego, CA; Los Angeles, CA; and New York, NY.

As I wrote in The Electronic Intifada last November, the Batsheva Dance Company has been a recipient of Israeli public financing since the 1990s. According to a report in The Independent of London, the dance company has no Arab performers and is “proud to be considered Israel’s leading ambassador.” As I also wrote, “Ohad Naharin, the dance company’s current Director, served in the Israeli army. In a 2005 interview with a Canadian newspaper, Naharin stated that ‘I continue to do my work, while 20 km from me people are participating in war crimes … the ability to detach oneself from the situation — that is what allows one to go on.’ Needless to say, the victims of Israeli ‘war crimes’ cannot avail themselves of the luxury of detachment.” It is particularly egregious that the Batsheva Dance Company is scheduled to perform in Vancouver, British Columbia as part of the 2009 Cultural Olympiad in the run up to the 2010 Olympic Games. Since when is polishing the image of a violent, racist state part of the Olympic spirit?

As Omar Barghouti, a Jerusalem-based freelance choreographer, cultural analyst, and founding member of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (www.PACBI.org) said last month in The Dance Insider: No Israeli dance company “has ever taken a position calling for an end to the occupation, not to mention recognizing UN-sanctioned rights of the refugees or ending racial discrimination against the state’s ‘non-Jewish’ citizens … none of [the dance companies] has ever challenged reserve service in the occupation army, despite the fact that punishment for doing so is minimal in Israel (unlike Germany in the ’30s, say). … Those same dancers are part-time occupation soldiers, manning roadblocks, protecting colonies, evacuating homes and demolishing them, killing children and letting pregnant women die at checkpoints by preventing ambulances [from passing through], letting young bleeding youth bleed to death without medical aid, etcetera. What a bunch of liberal dancers! And what do their institutions do? Nothing.”

I urge American and Canadian Palestinian solidarity activists to use letters, petitions, leaflets, demonstrations, signs, and other nonviolent means to encourage cultural organizations and their patrons to boycott the Batsheva Dance Company and to raise awareness of Israel’s crimes and the BDS campaign to liberate the Palestinian people. Local campaigns are already well underway in Ann Arbor, Pittsburgh, Chicago, and other cities, plus the newly formed U.S. Campaign for the Academic & Cultural Boycott of Israel is spreading the word, too. As Desmond Tutu used to say during the struggle against South African apartheid–which also employed BDS, including cultural boycotts–it’s time join the winning side, the side of justice. Today, that side is the side of the Palestinian people.

For more details on the dance company’s performance schedule please go here or check the web site of their North American booking agent, H-Art Management, at www.h-artmanagement.com/calendar.html.

Michelle J. Kinnucan is a member of Middle East Task Force of Ann Arbor. Click here to contact her. Her writing has previously appeared in CommonDreams.org, Critical Moment, Palestine Chronicle, Arab American News, and elsewhere. Her 2004 investigative report on the Global Intelligence Working Group was featured in Censored 2005: The Top 25 Censored Stories (Seven Stories Pr., 2004) and she contributed a chapter to Finding the Force of the Star Wars Franchise (Peter Lang, 2006).

UPDATE FROM JULIANO MER KHAMIS
Hi, we were informed by Achinoam’s Nini manager that she and Mira Awad won’t be performing tomorrow at the Solidarity event with the children of Gaza.
Call to Kill the Parents and Volunteer to Sing for the Children
We, the undersigned, demand that Achinoam Nini be barred from participating in the Gaza charity event scheduled for Friday, January 23, 2009  at “Levontin 7” in Tel Aviv

 

In an open letter to the Palestinian people, Israeli singer Ahinoam Nini wrote:
“I can only wish for you that Israel will do the job we all know needs to be done, and finally RID YOU of this cancer, this virus, this monster called fanaticism, today, called Hamas.”
 
Hebrew
 
English
 
Today, after her wish has been fulfilled, and the Israeli army “GOT RID” of over 1300 Palestinians, over 400 of them children, over 100 of them women, and injured more than 5000, Ahinoam Nini wants to share the stage at a charity performance for the sake of Gaza’s children?

 

There is no limit to your hypocrisy, Noa. You supported the war which orphaned these children, and now you want to play “Mama Theresa” and help them out? How cynical can you be? Thousands of children were crippled physically and emotionally for the rest of their lives in a war that not only did you not protest, you vocally justified. Maybe you can increase your popularity and try to wash your bloody hands by making headlines on the backs of these children, but you will not be able to clear your dirty conscience.

Not unless you recognize that an occupier has no moral right to tell an occupied people what to do, including what leadership it can or cannot democratically elect. Not before you recognize that the real “virus” or “cancer,” to use your ill-willed words, the “monster” is the ongoing occupation and the oppression that comes with it. anything it spawns, is its own doing. The real fanatics around here, Noa, are the people who think that they have the right to inflict so much harm and damage and pain to a besieged and beleaguered and disenfranchised people.

send adhesions to Juliano Mer Khamis children.gaza3@gmail.com