Saturday, November 15, 2008

Ken Fischer Replies to BDS Request

Below is the November 14, 2008, response of University Musical Society President Ken Fischer to a request that he honor the calls of Palestinian civil society groups to boycott all Israeli academic and cultural institutions. You will notice that he does not directly respond to the arguments of the request put to him, except, to indicate that the performances will not be cancelled. There's not even a demonstration that Fischer has learned the "art of moral anguish."

What could he say though? Yes, I know that Israel and its Egyptian 'peace partner' are imposing illegal collective punishment on more than a million people in Gaza by deliberately depriving them of vital food, medicine, and fuel supplies but the show must go on? Yes, I know that Israelis have killed 86 Palestinian children this year, as of October 21st, but my Board and I think Palestinians will be better off if we ignore their BDS calls, stay the course, and continue to bring Israeli performers to Ann Arbor as if nothing is happening? Yes, rescinding the invitations is the right and ethical thing to do but I like my job and local Zionists would scream bloody murder and cut our funding if I acted like I had both a conscience and a spine? No, he won't say those things and so it goes, another 'good German' plays his part in the slow genocide against Palestinians.
Dear Ms. Kinnucan,

I received your message below.

UMS seeks to build bridges through the arts as we strive to foster greater understanding, appreciation, and respect for one another through our presentation of a diversity of cultural expressions from throughout the world. Highlighting this season’s events is our Performing Arts of the Arab World series, which includes a number of outstanding Palestinian, Algerian, Iraqi, Jordanian, Moroccan, Lebanese, Kuwaiti, Syrian, Egyptian, and Tunisian artists. UMS is also presenting dance, theater, and music performances by artists and ensembles from Great Britain, Japan, Canada, South Africa, China, Iran, Armenia, Brazil, Germany, Mongolia, Spain, Cuba, Estonia, Azerbaijan, Hungary, Israel, Korea, Sweden, Russia, Austria, Norway, India, Australia, Finland, and the U.S. For more information on the 2008-09 season, please visit our website at

UMS will proceed with the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra and Batsheva Dance Company performances as scheduled.


Ken Fischer

Kenneth C. Fischer
University Musical Society
University of Michigan
Burton Memorial Tower, Suite 300
881 North University Avenue
Ann Arbor MI 48109-1011
Off ph: 734-647-1174
Fax: 734-764-6199

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