Proms exploited for arts propaganda campaign
As musicians we are dismayed that the BBC has invited the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra to play at the Proms on 1 September. The IPO has a deep involvement with the Israeli state – not least its self-proclaimed “partnership” with the Israeli Defence Forces. This is the same state and army that impedes in every way it can the development of Palestinian culture, including the prevention of Palestinian musicians from travelling abroad to perform.
Our main concern is that Israel deliberately uses the arts as propaganda to promote a misleading image of Israel. Through this campaign, officially called “Brand Israel”, denials of human rights and violations of international law are hidden behind a cultural smokescreen. The IPO is perhaps Israel’s prime asset in this campaign.
The Director of the Proms, Roger Wright, was asked to cancel the concert in accordance with the call from the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott (PACBI). He rejected this call, saying that the invitation is “purely musical”.
Israel’s policy towards the Palestinians fits the UN definition of apartheid. We call on the BBC to cancel this concert.
(k/t = DaphneAnson)
Seems there may have been some slight contretemps. And they went choral, too. And there's this piece.
All in all, from the signatories above, seems Jacobson's ASHamed Jews are still at work - an excerpt from The Finkler Question:
Born a Jew on Monday, he had signed up to be an ASHamed Jew by Wednesday and was seen chanting, 'We are all Hezbollah' outside the Israeli embassy on the following Saturday."...Every other Wednesday, except for festivals and High Holy-days, an anti-Zionist group called ASHamed Jews meets in an upstairs room in the Groucho Club in Soho to dissociate itself from Israel, urge the boycotting of Israeli goods, and otherwise demonstrate a humanity in which they consider Jews who are not ASHamed to be deficient. ASHamed Jews came about as a consequence of the famous Jewish media philosopher Sam Finkler’s avowal of his own shame on Desert Island Discs. “My Jewishness has always been a source of pride and solace to me,” he told Radio Four’s listeners, not quite candidly, “but in the matter of the dispossession of the Palestinians I am, as a Jew, profoundly ashamed.” “Profoundly self-regarding,” you mean, was his wife’s response. But then she wasn’t Jewish and so couldn’t understand just how ashamed in his Jewishness an ashamed Jew could be.
And he explained:
That I know of, there is no Jewish media philosopher named Sam Finkler nor any anti-Zionist group meeting regularly at the Groucho Club. They exist only in the pages of my new novel, The Finkler Question, and any relation between them and real people or organisations is of course coincidental. Though the ASHamed Jews are a satiric invention, my novel is not primarily a satire...For many Jews and non-Jews in this country Israel has become a figure of speech, the occasion for wild and whirling words, a pretext for bottling up or setting loose emotions which originate somewhere else entirely.
I began writing the The Finkler Question in 2008 but it came to the boil for me in the early months of 2009 at the time of Operation Cast Lead, as a consequence of which, or as a consequence of the reporting of which – for it, too, like everything else to do with Israel outside Israel, was figmentary – England turned into an uncustomarily frightening place for Jews. I am not speaking only of the physical threats and even damage that some Jews endured, attacks on persons, synagogues, cemeteries, the Jew-hatred expressed by primary school children etc, but of that anti-Zionist rhetoric which, in its inflatedness and fervour – a rhapsodic hyperbole growing more and more detached from any conceivable reality – was so upsetting in itself. You do not have to be punched in the face to feel you’ve been assaulted: intellectual violence is its own affront.
And let's present more satire:
Why I’m an ashamed Jew -
Yep, you read right.
I’ve had to admit it.
I can’t live a lie any longer.
I’m deeply, deeply ashamed.
Ashamed of being Jewish?
No way. I’m very proud to be Jewish and a member of the Jewish people.
Ashamed of Israel? Wrong again. I’m proud of Israel’s achievements. I worry about its policies, sometimes; I’m concerned, sometimes, about some of its actions and those of some of its citizens, but I could say the same for Britain and I’m still proud to be British.
So why am I ashamed?
I’ll tell you.
I’m ashamed of Jews who say they are ashamed to be Jews or Jewish.
I don’t hear Palestinians coming out to declare they are ashamed to be Palestinian and denounce suicide bombs or missiles.
I don’t hear Arabs writing they are ashamed to be Arabs because of Al Qaeda or Sudan or Yemen.
I don’t hear Muslims forming groups of shame because of what Sunni does to Shia, or 9/11, or 7/7, or Madrid, or Mumbai.
I don’t know of any Ashamed Catholic groups forming because of the paedophilia apparently rife in Catholic clergy.
In fact I know of no other group of people who so often announce their ashamedness to be who they are as Jews do.
And you know what?
It makes me ashamed.
I’m an ashamed Jew who is ashamed of ashamed Jews. If that’s a paradox, so be it. And I’m not ashamed to declare my shame...
Are we the only people on earth to suffer so from our own?