Sunday, November 30, 2008
In a recent post entitled "anti racist blogging
," Nadia at no snow here
writes, in part:
but i guess one thing that is important to point to (and a thing that was and continues to be a source of confusion for many young arabs coming up) is that larger u.s. people of color culture doesn't include arabs, and often actively excludes us. i thought, maybe this was because of how the u.s. census categoriezes us, maybe because so many of us have sadly assimilated into whiteness, or maybe because of ways arabs are positioned as rich in media outlets, i don’t know. it seems like a total disconnect to me that one could watch a movie with a brown, bearded "foreign" man speaking a different language and holding white people hostage and regard that person (and his u.s. counterparts) as white. but after two years in the "anti racist" blogosphere i figured out that it is not that we are too "white" for u.s. people of color, but that we are just too fucking outlaw and a lot of ya'll can’t handle it because
our issues are too dangerous; you want safety. and after all i have experienced i’ve truly come to believe this. you’re more concerned with "anti-semitism on the left" than the reality of war (war is torture, rape, murder and desctruction)–there are wars going on, people are dying, but ya'll are more concerned about white people's feelings than about the actual systematic physical destruction of the people we love in other countries AND the systematic institutionalized racism we face. fuck you.
Just about a year and half ago Nadia wrote
Last week I stumbled upon a great zine entitled “The Past Didn’t Go Anywhere: Making Resistance To Antisemitism Part of All of Our Movements” (via Josh Russell). It is available for download in both digital and printout formats (I recommend reading it before reading the rest of this post.) This is a must read for EVERYONE. The writers of the pamphlet did a great job breaking down so many issues in a clear, concise and engaging way. They went into the history of Jews in Europe, the history of antisemitism, antisemitism on the left ...
I hope Nadia's post signifies a new willingness to call bullshit on the "anti-Semitism on the Left" racket. After all, the Anti-Semitism Industry
is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Holocaust Industry
or vice versa--I always forget which.
Any way, people of color are generally subject to the same racist media garbage about Arabs and Muslims that White folks
get and if I've learned anything it's that being oppressed is no inoculation against being an oppressor. The "anti-Semitism on the Left" racket is about ensuring that critiques of racism and other forms of oppression don't get turned against Zionism and Jewish supremacism.
Nadia didn't seem very receptive when I ripped the "great zine" in "Rosenblum's Myths of 'Anti-Semitism'--Part 1
." She said I was "way off base." I hope she's willing to reconsider that and the extent to which she has also bought into the "anti-Semitism on the Left" racket. We'll see.
Labels: critical thinking, identity, racism, US politics, Zionism
Friday, November 28, 2008
The photo below comes from "Kristallnacht in Hebron
" in a recent edition of Al-Ahram Weekly
Labels: Israel, Jewish violence
Today, in Ann Arbor, ten people challenged indifference and defeatism to protest against the US-backed siege of 1.5 million people in the Gaza Strip
by Egypt and Israel. Signs protesting the policy of starvation and US aid to Israel were held for two hours at a busy downtown intersection while shoppers streamed past on a clear, if brisk, day.
175 people accepted leaflets. Some to the following rap:US tax dollars are paying to starve children in Gaza.
Please help them.
End the siege of Gaza.
The leaflets explained
the situation in Gaza and had suggestions on how to help end it. There were honks, waves, and shouts of support. Others thanked us for what we were doing.
A small handful of people apparently thought the holiday yesterday was Halloween because they said monstrous things such as "I hope more children starve in Gaza." Some indicated the illegal, murderous siege of Gaza was justified because five Jews had been killed in Mumbai, India (and, oh, some other people died
, too--about 150 but we know who really matters
). Pretty scary stuff. Pretending to be demons or televangelists, a couple just told us to go to hell.
Mark your calendars for Jewish Witnesses for Peace and Friends
upcoming annual protest outside the Ypsilanti Marriott at Eagle Crest on December 11. The local propaganda and fund-raising arm of the Zionist terrorism network, the Jewish Federation of Washtenaw County
, is bringing in NPR and Fox media personality Mara Liasson
for their Main Event 2008
. Remember, it's never too late to challenge indifference and defeatism.
Labels: anti-Zionism, Palestine, resistance, US politics
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Organize to stop apartheid dance troupe's North America tour Michelle J. Kinnucan, The Electronic Intifada, 25 November 2008
The Batsheva Dance Company of Tel Aviv is touring the US and Canada in January, February, and March, 2009. A recipient of public financing since the 1990s, the dance troupe is clearly an Israeli apartheid cultural institution. Writing October 26, 2008, in The Independent of London, Jenny Gilbert reports that the dance company is "funded by Israel's government, its performers include none of Arab extraction, and it is 'proud to be considered Israel's leading ambassador.'"
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.
In the summer of 2006, Israel turned Lebanon into a free-fire zone and killed over a thousand Lebanese civilians and wounded thousands more. Just a few weeks later, in October 2006, Dance Magazine asked Naharin: "How does the current conflict between Israel and Lebanon affect you as an artist?" He responded that "I don't separate my artistry from my life. My life and my work is all one thing. I'm affected by what's going on, of course." Later in the same interview Naharin noted, "We have two Israeli soldiers in our junior company." and "I don't like that people think Israel: war, guns, army."
A 1998 Dance Magazine article recounts that the Batsheva Dance Company was founded 1964 by Baroness Batsheva de Rothschild, a scion of the wealthy international banking family. Grand uncle Edmond James de Rothschild and his son, James Armand, bankrolled Jewish colonization of Palestine "with a lavish munificence" starting in the late 1800s. First cousin once removed Lionel Walter is the "Lord Rothschild" to whom the infamous Balfour Declaration -- committing the British government to "view with favor the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people" -- is addressed.
According to a profile of Batsheva de Rothschild on the web site of the Jewish Agency for Israel, she "was born in London in 1914" and "grew up in Paris" nevertheless she settled in Israel in 1958 or the 1960s (accounts vary). The 1998 Dance Magazine story reports Rothschild "served in Israel as a driver when her car was mobilized for the Yom Kippur War of 1973" and supported Jewish colonization of Palestine by providing "housing for newcomers in the early 1950s."
To return to the Gilbert article, she reports that at a London performance this fall by the dance company, "protesters tried to persuade customers to boycott the show." Early next year, human rights activists will have an opportunity to follow their fine example and demonstrate solidarity with the Palestinian people by honoring their requests for boycotts of Israel. The 2004 Palestinian Call for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel called "upon our colleagues in the international community to comprehensively and consistently boycott all Israeli academic and cultural institutions as a contribution to the struggle to end Israel's occupation, colonization and system of apartheid." In 2005, 171 "Palestinian political parties, unions, associations, coalitions and organizations" representing "Palestinian refugees, Palestinians under occupation and Palestinian citizens of Israel" urged "international civil society organizations and people of conscience all over the world to impose broad boycotts and implement divestment initiatives against Israel similar to those applied to South Africa in the apartheid era."
It is a testimony to how seriously Israelis take the international Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement that one of the country's leading media outlets would cover the story of a related protest against the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra in Ann Arbor, MI, a day before it happened. On 15 November 2008, Ynet, the online version of the Yedioth Ahronoth, published "Pro-Palestinian group: Cancel Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra's Michigan concert." Critics of the BDS movement like to downplay its significance and "effectiveness" but the growing significance and effectiveness of this nonviolent movement is exactly what most terrifies Zionists and their allies and also explains why efforts such as the one in Ann Arbor cannot be completely ignored by the Israeli media or American Zionists.
Omar Barghouti recently wrote that "pragmatically speaking, the BDS process has proved over the past few years that it is among the most effective forms of civil, non-violent Palestinian resistance to Israeli colonial and apartheid regime." It is imperative that those working for justice in Palestine start organizing now to persuade those hosting the Batsheva Dance Company to cancel the upcoming performances.
The Batsheva Dance Company is currently scheduled to perform in Houston, TX; Purchase, NY; 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. For details and updates on the dance company's schedule please 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 and she can be contacted at email@example.com. 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).
Labels: BDS, boycott, resistance, University of Michigan, Zionism
With gross receipts of $91,442, according to their 2007 IRS 990, one wonders what Ann Arbor's Interfaith Council for Peace and Justice is doing with that money. Granted, there are plenty of individuals in this city that make far more money than that every year but as budgets for local peace organizations go, $91,000 is nothing to sneeze at.
In any case, the organization's IRS 990s from 2005-2007
give some clues. Average spending on "THREE MAJOR APPEALS ANNUALLY" and the monthly newsletter was over $25,000 in each of the last two years. The 990s also show that spending on salaries as a percentage of gross receipts jumped from 48.4% and 46.8% in 2005 and 2006, respectively, to 67.2% in 2007. The salary increase from 2006 to 2007 was 35.7%. This came even as gross receipts dropped by about $5,000 in the same period.
Perhaps the salary boost was a reward for Director Chuck Warpehoski's
diligent, if dishonest, effort to expel the ICPJ's Middle East Task Force. In late 2006, Ian Macgregor, who was hired as part of a special fund raising effort linked the two, reportedly saying
"The conflict with METF" was "affecting fundraising abilities."
The report of Warpehoski's visit to the Beth Israel Congregation's Board of Directors meeting
on May 30, 2007, is interesting, too. It says, "He spoke about his group's work and some missteps regarding the Middle East situation." Missteps, indeed, but we got that all worked out didn't we Mr. Chuckles?
is a local bastion of Zionism and, just coincidentally, the 'spiritual home' of ICPJ's current president, Ruth Kraut
. In 2007, the synagogue sponsored a trip to Israel where they dutifully posed their children with armed Israeli soldiers
. In response to a national anti-torture banner campaign
last summer the synagogue didn't display a banner but Rabbi Rob Dobrusin gave a sermon
that helpfully explained how to defend the use of torture as "a justified act of self-defense". Neato!
But I digress. What inspired this rant was seeing a leaflet for an upcoming event. The ICPJ is hosting "a Dinner & Movie event" featuring a screening of Knowledge is the Beginning
about the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra. Instead of putting those $91, 000 to work for peace and justice, ICPJ does insipid stuff like this so that organizers and participants can feel warm and fuzzy about themselves and each other while actually accomplishing virtually nothing.
And in case you think I'm way off-base in thinking that showing this film isn't peace work then consider the remarks of conductor Daniel Barenboim
in the Guardian
(UK) last July: " 'The Divan [orchestra] is not a love story, and it is not a peace story,' he says in conversation at La Scala. 'It has very flatteringly been described as a project for peace. It isn't. It's not going to bring peace, whether you play well or not so well.' "
If the orchestra isn't "a project for peace" then I hardly think one can claim that showing a movie about it qualifies. Disturbingly, the Divan orchestra also seems to function as a sort of way station for young Israeli Jews such as Doron Alperin
, Noa Ayali
, Amichai Grosz, and Kyril Zlotnikov
in or going to or from the Israeli military.
Zionists have brutally occupied Palestine for sixty years and the ICPJ still can't bring itself to take a stand for justice or peace in Palestine. Thus, in its special "interfaith" way, ICPJ exemplifies the concerns of the late William Sloane Coffin
I think the bright flames of Christianity are now down to smoldering embers, if not ashes, of feeling comfortable. The church is pretty much down to therapy and management. There's really little prophetic fire. ... we have mediocre politicians, and the clergy is pretty mediocre also. ... The greatest recession in this country is not economic; it's spiritual. And so the great biblical mandates of pursuing justice and seeking peace are shortchanged.
Labels: Beth Israel, Interfaith Council for Peace and Justice, torture, Warpehoski, Zionism
Monday, November 24, 2008
Recieved via e-mail:
In the US, Thanksgiving Day is a traditionally a day of feasting and giving thanks to God. In the Gaza Strip in Palestine, bread is a staple food that people usually get fresh from a local bakery. This supply lasts only a day or two. This is not much different from the days when Jesus taught his followers the words: "Give us this day our daily bread."
Egypt and Israel have virtually cut off the flow of people, food, medicine, fuel, and other goods into and out of the Gaza Strip. With the financial, diplomatic, and military backing of the United States government, 1.5 million people are being subjected to collective punishment in violation of international law. On Saturday, November 22, 2008, the United Nations announced that half of Gaza's bakeries were closed due to lack of electricity, fuel, or grain. Remaining bakeries have begun grinding second-rate wheat, usually fed to farm animals and birds, due to grain shortages. Human wheat supplies ran out last weekend as Israeli and Egyptian border guards turned away truckloads of donated food and medication, according to Abd An-Nasser Al-Ajrami, the head of the Gaza Strip Society of Mill Owners.
The Friday after Thanksgiving is traditionally one of the busiest shopping days of the year, many people will have the day off from work. On that day, you are invited to join members of the Middle East Task Force of Ann Arbor at the corner of Liberty and Main street in Ann Arbor from 3 PM until 5 PM as we nonviolently protest. We will draw attention to the siege of Gaza by holding signs in support of human rights in Palestine and by passing out leaflets (see attached and below).When
: Friday, November 28, 2008Time
: 3 PM to 5 PMWhere
: Corner of Liberty and Main, Ann ArborOur children are in danger. ... it’s a real hell here. People are starving, in very bad condition, starving in darkness. And in silence. There is a kind of international silence towards what’s happening here. We need a real reaction from the international community to what is happening here, real action, not just words and statements.
–Amjad Al Shawa, Director of the Palestine Network of NGOs in Gaza qtd. in "Gaza Strip: starving in darkness
" by Kristen Ess. Palestine News Network
. 11/19/08.Last week we were unable to feed 60,000 of Gaza's neediest refugees due to our warehouses running out of food. UNRWA supplies half of Gaza's population of 1.5 million people with emergency rations, and 20,000 people are fed per day when there are adequate supplies.
–John Ging, Director of UN Relief and Welfare Agency qtd. in "On Top of Humanitarian Disaster, A News Blackout
" by Cherrie Heywood. Inter Press Service
END THE SIEGE OF GAZA NOW!
The US-backed regimes of Israel and Egypt have sealed the Gaza Strip's borders. Most of the Gaza Strip is without power due to lack of fuel, and the United Nations has been forced to stop food distribution to those in need. The humanitarian situation is dire for the people in the Gaza Strip, most importantly the children. Gaza is home to 1.5 million Palestinians, 80% of whom are refugees denied by Israel the right to return to the homes from which they were expelled by the Zionist occupation in 1948.
Demand an End to the Siege of the Gaza Strip
and the Occupation of All of Palestine!
Organize Street Actions and Protests
Call/Write the Media and Your Congressional Representatives
Organize Community Meetings and Delegations
to Religious Leaders and Educators
Donate to Help the People in Gaza!
To contact your congressional representatives, go to http://www.congress.org/congressorg/home
To contact the media, go to http://newslink.org
To donate and help the people in the Gaza Strip, go to http://www.al-awda.org/donate.html
and simply follow the instructions. Indicate that your donation is for the GAZA EMERGENCY FUND.
BREAK THE SIEGE OF GAZA NOW!
DON'T DELAY! TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE!
This leaflet sponsored by the Middle East Task Force of Ann Arbor. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Labels: anti-Zionism, Palestine, resistance, US politics
Sunday, November 16, 2008
For an hour this afternoon
seventeen human rights activists demonstrated
, once again, that Israeli apartheid and the Egyptian and Israeli stranglehold on Gaza will not go completely unprotested in Ann Arbor. They bore witness that the Palestinian call for broad boycotts against Israel
will not go completely unheeded.
Others, valuing more highly the good opinion of polite society
, joined the racist, the uninformed, and the indifferent and did something else. The sin of Sodom comes to mind:
This was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy. Ezekiel 16:49
As they walked up the steps to the Hill Auditorium, many of the concert-goers were offered a leaflet and greeted with this rap:
Please boycott racist orchestras.
God gave you a conscience--time to use it.
Children are starving in Gaza.
A few were moved, most were not. In addition to the occasional responses of "Fuck you" and "Go to hell" from the cultured, well-heeled patrons of the arts entering Hill Auditorium, a man identifying himself as a reporter from a Detroit newspaper had something to say. The man, who was not protesting, felt empowered to complain about a sign that read "Zionists are Racist Nazis" or words to that effect.
Oblivious to the very real parallels
, not to mention documented collaboration
, between Zionists and National Socialists, this sensitive soul was concerned that these words were 'harmful' to the cause. You are confused, my friend, no person who ever truly cared about justice or truth abandoned the struggle just because of someone else's offensive words. The people who do quit in such cases are those who are in it for some other, probably selfish, reason and not because they care about oppressed people.
I mean, for example, can you imagine a truly committed abolitionist abandoning the cause because of the words of Frederick Douglass in his great speech, "What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?
" He said:
What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July? I answer: a day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim. To him, your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty, an unholy license; your national greatness, swelling vanity; your sounds of rejoicing are empty and heartless; your denunciations of tyrants, brass fronted impudence; your shouts of liberty and equality, hollow mockery; your prayers and hymns, your sermons and thanksgivings, with all your religious parade, and solemnity, are, to him, mere bombast, fraud, deception, impiety, and hypocrisy - a thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace a nation of savages. There is not a nation on the earth guilty of practices, more shocking and bloody, than are the people of these United States, at this very hour. ... You profess to believe "that, of one blood, God made all nations of men to dwell on the face of all the earth," and hath commanded all men, everywhere to love one another; yet you notoriously hate, (and glory in your hatred), all men whose skins are not colored like your own.
Douglass spoke well earlier in the same speech when he said:
At a time like this, scorching irony, not convincing argument, is needed. O! had I the ability, and could I reach the nation's ear, I would, to-day, pour out a fiery stream of biting ridicule, blasting reproach, withering sarcasm, and stern rebuke. For it is not light that is needed, but fire; it is not the gentle shower, but thunder. We need the storm, the whirlwind, and the earthquake. The feeling of the nation must be quickened; the conscience of the nation must be roused; the propriety of the nation must be startled; the hypocrisy of the nation must be exposed; and its crimes against God and man must be proclaimed and denounced.
One is reminded, too, of Dr. King's observation in his "Letter from a Birmingham Jail
First, I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro's great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen's Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to "order" than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: "I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods ... " Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.
The principle holds true today.
Labels: BDS, boycott, Palestine, resistance, University of Michigan
Saturday, November 15, 2008
It is a testimony to how seriously Israelis take the international Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement
against their apartheid country
that one of the Jewish state's leading media outlets would cover the story of a protest in Ann Arbor, MI, USA that hasn't even happened yet. On Saturday, Ynet
, the online version of the Yedioth Ahronoth
, which has the largest circulation of any Israeli newspaper, published "Pro-Palestinian group: Cancel Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra's Michigan concert
" (see below).
Critics of the BDS movement like to downplay its significance and "effectiveness" but the growing significance and effectiveness of this nonviolent movement is exactly what most terrifies Zionists and their lackeys
and also explains why efforts such as the one in Ann Arbor tomorrow
cannot be completely ignored by the Israeli media or American Zionists
. Be sure to also check out the revealing comments on the Ynet article page
Pro-Palestinian group: Cancel Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra's Michigan concert
Middle East Task Force of Ann Arbor says any attempt by University Musical Society to develop ties with Israeli orchestra amounts to 'condoning Israeli apartheid', urges condemnation of Israel's 'racist and discriminatory practices'
Published: 11.15.08, 09:03 / Israel Culture
A Pro-Palestinian group has called on the University of Michigan to cancel a scheduled performance by the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra (JSO), saying it would constitute a "violation of the calls for broad boycotts against Israel until it recognizes the Palestinian people's inalienable right to self-determination and fully complies with international law."
In a letter to University Musical Society President Ken Fischer, the Middle East Task Force (METF) of Ann Arbor said "since the JSO is one of the primary promoters and exporters of Israeli cultural life, one of its functions is to boost Israel's image on the world stage. In this way, the truth about the Israeli occupation of Palestine becomes suppressed, and its institutionalized attacks on Palestinian cultural heritage are ignored. Any attempt by the US hosts of the tour to develop ties with this Orchestra, therefore, amounts to condoning Israeli apartheid.
"As such, we call upon the JSO's scheduled hosts to be mindful of the appeal issued in 2006 by Palestinian filmmakers, artists and cultural workers … to end all cooperation with Israeli art, film and cultural organizations and institutions sponsored by the Israeli government," the letter read.
"We urge the hosts to condemn Israel for its racist and discriminatory practices, rather than condoning them. Finally, we call upon all American citizens of conscience to support the call by the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee and to boycott all cultural institutions supported by the apartheid Israeli state."
METF said it would hold a non-violent protest outside the Hill Auditorium on the night of the performance, scheduled for November 16.The group quoted JSO Conductor Leon Botstein as saying that the orchestra was "very international, with a very wide age range and a very wide political span - from extreme left to extreme right - and I admire the civility with which it handles itself", and added that "oddly enough for an orchestra that hails from Jerusalem, a city where Palestinians make up about one-third of the population, there are, apparently, no Palestinians in the orchestra."
In the letter METF also mentioned the Batsheva Dance Company, which is scheduled to perform in the US in February, 2009, calling it "an Israeli apartheid institution."
METF cited an article published by the London-based Independent, which said "Batsheva is hardly a political entity, but it's funded by Israel's government, its performers include none of Arab extraction, and it is proud to be considered Israel's leading ambassador."
JSO said in response that its management had met with Palestinian dignitaries from east Jerusalem about a year ago to discuss new ways to cooperate.
Labels: anti-Zionism, BDS, resistance, University of Michigan
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 www.ums.org.
UMS will proceed with the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra and Batsheva Dance Company performances as scheduled.
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
Labels: BDS, University of Michigan, Zionism
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Reposted from Next Year in al-Quds
To download a leaflet (PDF) of this post, click here
When the elephant has his foot on the tail of the mouse, and you say you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality. —Archbishop Desmond Tutu as qtd. in A Passion for the Possible by William Sloane Coffin, p. 36.
IN SUPPORT OF THE BOYCOTT OF THE JERUSALEM SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA
The University Musical Society is bringing the Israeli government-sponsored Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra (JSO) to perform in the Hill Auditorium on the University of Michigan campus in Ann Arbor on Sunday, November 16th. This concert and the UMS hosting of it violate the calls of Palestinian civil society for broad boycotts, including cultural and academic boycotts, against Israel until it recognizes the Palestinian people's inalienable right to self-determination and fully complies with international law.
- Please call or write UMS President Ken Fischer (734-647-1174, email@example.com) and ask him to cancel the JSO concert and the February 14-15, 2009, recital by the Israeli government-sponsored Batsheva Dance Company of Tel Aviv.
- Please join other people of conscience and faith as we nonviolently protest outside the Hill Auditorium on Sunday, November 16, 2008, at 3:00 PM (concert starts at 4 PM).
Don't give the stage to Israeli Apartheid! Boycott the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra!
"The Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee (BNC) calls on the hosts in the fourteen American cities where the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra is scheduled to perform between October 26, 2008 and November 16, 2008 to rescind their invitations to the Orchestra. We urge the hosts to support the Palestinian civil society's call for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel, including the boycott of Israeli cultural institutions. …
"Since the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra is one of the primary promoters and exporters of Israeli cultural life, one of its functions is to boost Israel's image on the world stage. In this way, the truth about the Israeli occupation of Palestine becomes suppressed, and its institutionalized attacks on Palestinian cultural heritage are ignored. Any attempt by the US hosts of the tour to develop ties with this Orchestra, therefore, amounts to condoning Israeli apartheid.
"As such, we call upon the Orchestra's scheduled hosts to be mindful of the appeal issued in 2006 by Palestinian filmmakers, artists and cultural workers … to end all cooperation with Israeli art, film and cultural organizations and institutions sponsored by the Israeli government.
"We urge the hosts to condemn Israel for its racist and discriminatory practices, rather than condoning them. Finally, we call upon all American citizens of conscience to support the Palestinian BDS Call, and to boycott all cultural institutions supported by the apartheid Israeli state."
Sponsored by the Middle East Task Force of Ann Arbor. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information on the JSO and the Batsheva Dance Company, go to: nextyearinalquds.blogspot.com
For more information on the global boycott of Israel go to: www.pacbi.org or bdsmovement.net
Update: Apartheid Orchestra Protested
Labels: anti-Zionism, BDS, boycott, Israel, resistance, University of Michigan
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Reposted from Next Year in al-Quds
The Middle East Task Force
of Ann Arbor, Michigan is organizing a nonviolent protest outside the Hill Auditorium
on Sunday, November 16, 2008, at 3:00 PM in support of the boycott of two Israeli cultural organizations touring the US. Both organizations will be hosted by the University Musical Society
(UMS), based in Ann Arbor. The rationale for the boycott is adequately developed in the letter to UMS President Ken Fischer here
. The purpose of this post is to provide more information about the two organizations in question, the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra (JSO) and Batsheva Dance Company (BDC).
According to a recent article
on the ardently pro-Israel web site
The orchestra was founded in the 1940s as an adjunct to BBC radio in Mandatory Palestine, and became the Kol Israel (Voice of Israel) national radio orchestra with the establishment of the State of Israel. In the 1970s, it was expanded and became the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, Israel Broadcasting Authority (IBA).
In the same article it is revealed that the "IBA now provides NIS
6 million of the JSO's annual NIS 9 million budget, with the remainder coming from the Friends, the Municipality of Jerusalem, the Ministry of Science, Culture and Sport, and independent income." Elsewhere, it is stated that "the Friends" provide 15% of the JSO budget, indicating that Israeli government agencies provide somewhere between 66.7% and 85% of the JSO's budget.
JSO Conductor Leon Botstein brags that the JSO is, "very international, with a very wide age range and a very wide political span - from extreme left to extreme right - and I admire the civility with which it handles itself". Oddly enough for an orchestra that hails from Jerusalem, a city where Palestinians make up about one-third of the population, there are, apparently, no Palestinians in the orchestra. As ISRAEL21C reports, "About 40% of JSO's players come from the former Soviet Union, 25% are native-born Israelis, 10% come from the US, a significant contingent from Romania, along with Greece, Germany and Japan." Of course, it may be that some of the "native-born Israelis" are Palestinians.
No matter, though, it's clear from its history and funding that the JSO is a creature of Zionism
and the Jewish state. As the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee
(BNC) has declared, "Since the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra is one of the primary promoters and exporters of Israeli cultural life, one of its functions is to boost Israel's image on the world stage. In this way, the truth about the Israeli occupation of Palestine becomes suppressed, and its institutionalized attacks on Palestinian cultural heritage are ignored."
Likewise, the Batsheva Dance Company is an Israeli apartheid institution. An October 26, 2008, article in The Independent
of London reports:
On Tuesday night at Sadler's Wells, secret service officers were seen checking under the seats. The next night outside Riverside Studios, protesters tried to persuade punters to boycott the show. What contemporary dance company could possibly merit such attention? An Israeli one, apparently. Batsheva is hardly a political entity, but it's funded by Israel's government, its performers include none of Arab extraction, and it is "proud to be considered Israel's leading ambassador".
According to a 1998 article in Dance Magazine
, the BDC was founded 1964 by Batsheva de Rothschild of the wealthy banking family
. Although she "was born in London in 1914" and "grew up in Paris" she settled in Israel
the same year she started the BDC. Rothschild also "served in Israel as a driver when her car was mobilized for the Yom Kippur War of 1973" and supported "housing for [Jewish] newcomers [to Israel] in the early 1950s". According to Dance Magazine
, the BDC "has relied on public financing
" since the 1990s.
Labels: BDS, boycott, Israel, resistance, University of Michigan, Zionism
Friday, November 07, 2008
Received via e-mail:
***PLEASE FORWARD***Additional contact info for Ken Fischer
November 5, 2008
Ken Fischer, email@example.com
President, University Musical Society
Dear Mr. Fischer:
I am writing to ask you to please cancel the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra concert and the Batsheva Dance Company recital, hosted by the University Musical Society (UMS) on November 16, 2008, and February 14-15, 2009, respectively. My request to you does not come on my own behalf or initiative but is a response to several calls by Palestinian civil society organizations.
In 2004, there was the Call for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, which said, in part: "We, Palestinian academics and intellectuals, call upon our colleagues in the international community to comprehensively and consistently boycott all Israeli academic and cultural institutions as a contribution to the struggle to end Israel's occupation, colonization and system of apartheid, by ... Refrain[ing] from participation in any form of academic and cultural cooperation, collaboration or joint projects with Israeli institutions" (emphasis in original).
In 2005, 171 Palestinian civil society organizations issued another call which reads, in part: "We, representatives of Palestinian civil society, call upon international civil society organizations and people of conscience all over the world to impose broad boycotts and implement divestment initiatives against Israel similar to those applied to South Africa in the apartheid era." Late last month, the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee (BNC) specifically called for organizations which, like the UMS, are hosting the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra "to rescind their invitations to the Orchestra" and "to support the Palestinian civil society's call for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel, including the boycott of Israeli cultural institutions".
In hosting these two Israeli cultural institutions (both Israeli government-sponsored)--the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra and the Batsheva Dance Company--the UMS is clearly flouting the will of Palestinian people as expressed in the three boycott calls detailed above. I hope you will seriously consider what you can do for justice and peace in Palestine-Israel. It behooves those of us who want to see an end to the conflict to not blithely dismiss the nonviolent efforts of Palestinians.
You may recall that Archbishop Desmond Tutu spoke in Ann Arbor recently. As Archbishop Tutu has indicated, international boycotts and divestment against the South African apartheid state were two tools that South African people asked us living here in the US to apply. I am old enough to have been part of that movement and remember spending hours in a shanty town set up on the University of Hawaii campus to support divestment and educate people about the plight of Black South Africans. There were very few of us and the effort often seemed futile but together with like-minded people across the world and, most importantly, along with the crucial efforts of South African people themselves we made a difference and apartheid was ended in South Africa.
I believe that Israeli apartheid can be ended, too, but it is up to every person of conscience to do what they can to help Palestinians to nonviolently end Israeli apartheid. Without our support for justice and peace the dying and suffering will be needlessly prolonged. To put some numbers to it, in 2008 alone, according to the Israeli human rights organization B'Tselem, Israelis had killed 434 Palestinians, 86 of whom were minors, as of October 21st. The respective figures for Israelis killed by Palestinians were 30 and 4. For these sixty years now, violent and other deaths of Palestinians at the hands of Israelis have far exceeded Israeli deaths. This has been made possible by the crucial diplomatic, military, and economic support of the United States.
There may be Palestinian-Americans who will downplay the significance of the Palestinian boycott calls detailed above. I remind you that these are mostly materially comfortable people who no longer reside in their homeland. Moreover, there have always been collaborators who viewed the struggles and suffering of their own people with a jaundiced eye when it suited their own selfish interests. There's nothing new about that but before you fall prey to the views of such folks please at least consider contacting the BNC and the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel--I have copied them on this e-mail.
You and I both know that Zionists in our community will be outraged if you even consider honoring the boycott calls; you may have been contacted by them already. But, in the end, it is up to you to decide what kind of person you are and what values you have. If you've gotten this far then I thank you for your consideration of my appeal.
Michelle J. Kinnucan
Mr. Ken Fischer
University Musical Society
Burton Memorial Tower
881 North University Avenue
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1011Update
: Ken Fischer Replies to BDS Request
Labels: BDS, boycott, University of Michigan
Derbyshire’s Law: ANYTHING WHATSOEVER said by a Gentile about Jews will be perceived as antisemitic by someone, somewhere.
Source: John Derbyshire. "Wrestling with Derbyshire's Law: Yes, I'm afraid of offending Jews." February 27, 2007. Jewcy.com.
Labels: free speech, Jewish supremacism