Dear Macy Gray,
I’ve publicly declared that I won’t give up on you and I intend to keep to my resolution. You keep on asking how not playing in Israel will help the situation. You seem to believe that you are nothing but a 4 minute escape for people (the majority of which, as I explained in my last letter, are soldiers). I believe in each of our endless ability to change the reality around us. But in order to do so, we need to see the reality for what it is. This is what my letters to you are about. This is what the 20 Days to Macy Gray Facebook Project is about. It’s an opportunity for people to empower each other. I hope you’ll allow us to bring back your faith in yourself, that your voice matters, and that you can change this harsh world for the better, for the long run, and not only for the 4 minute duration of a song.
I have to be honest, I can’t help but feel slightly cheated, because my last letter to you was a direct reply to your blog post. A detail was missing from your statement: You forgot to mention you were talking with one of Israel’s professional propagandists, Consul General of Israel in Los Angeles, Jacob Dayan.
I fear this letter may not be as compelling as the last, since I haven’t gone through an especially traumatic experience in the past two days, and as a result, I’ll probably be less personal. Nevertheless, I hope you’ll still give me at least half the time you gave Dayan (maybe my sparkling humor will compensate for a less personal tone). I don’t know what you talked about and I don’t ask to know, but I know what bugs me about Dayan, and I’d like to share it with you.
Dayan vs. BDS
Here’s a BDS fact: The Israeli government perceives the BDS campaign as an existential threat. Every bit of its PR efforts (over $27M a year) are focused on fighting it. Interestingly enough, when you look into The Consulate General of Israel in Los Angeles’ web page, it seems that their game-plan is point-by-point counter BDS:
1. Academic Affairs
2. Community Relations
3. Cultural Experiences
4. Government & Politics
5. Economic Cooperation
Academic boycott? Check! Whitewash criticism? Check! Cultural Boycott? Check! International sanctions? Check! Economic divestiture? Check!
There you have it. BDS in 5 simple steps. Think about it, Macy, the Consul General’s job is to sell Israel. The Consulate General of Israel in Los Angeles gets paid to make me look bad. Allow me a moment of self-back-patting; I make Jacob Dayan look bad for no extra charge. I do it for the simple joy of knowing that my actions will expose injustice in this war-ridden land. So I bring you some facts about Dayan and what he stands for. Please ask yourself Macy, if this is the establishment you want to support and take money from? Ask yourself how you feel about this above picture, that’s now being paraded by an abusive entity, in order to show the world that its actions are acceptable?
Dayan vs. Water Rights
In 2009 Amnesty International issued a full report covering how the state of Israel has military control of water resources, which it systematically withholds from the Palestinians. A year later, to Dayan’s professional dismay, a National Geographic photo exhibition about water, didn’t focus on (-in Dayan’s words-) “Israel’s role in pioneering water technology and advancing water management in the world,” (something I wrote about at length, if you’re so inclined) but on highlighting the inequalities of water usage and control between the state of Israel and the Palestinian people. Professionally pissed off, Dayan wrote the following about the exhibition:
… manufactures an outrageous fiction wherein Israel is depicted as stealing and hoarding water while her neighbors suffer from drought. This is not only false, but the exact opposite is true…
A professional propagandist for the state, can only speak for its perceived merits. Not only does he refrain from speaking of its faults, he lies about them with a straight face.
Dayan Supporting “Cast Lead”
More than 1400 Gazan Palestinians were brutally killed by the Israeli army in a period of 22 days. [351-357] To be fair 13 Israelis were killed as well: 3 were civilian,10 were soldiers, 4 killed each other with the euphemism of “friendly fire”.  Specifics of Palestinian statistics are disputed; Though it’s clear that the majority of the dead were civilians, non of the organizations can agree on the exact numbers. The counting problem lies in the fact that Palestinian fighters are civilians (these are Palestinians who- oddly enough- thought they’d be able to liberate themselves from the 3rd most highly armed army in the world with a few smuggled hand guns and home made rockets), so among the approximately over 300 dead children, no one is sure which 13 year old was part of armed liberation, was just “aiding and abating” it (scouting, for example), or was just going to school.
This blood-fest was endearingly called “Cast Lead”, after a traditional Hanukkah song- the Jewish holiday that was being celebrated at the time. What does Dayan have to say about the wanton bombardment of children, women, men and the elderly in the most densely populated area in the world, by the military force that’s enclosing them in there, in the first place?
The recent conflict in Gaza wasn’t a war between Israelis and Palestinians, nor between Israelis and Arabs, but a clash of civilizations pitting Israel against Iran and extremist groups supported by the Islamic state… Iran is the one common denominator to those three challenges, and it is in this light that you have to see what happened last month between Gaza and Israel… Israel’s 2006 battle with Hezbollah militants in Lebanon makes the Gaza conflict the second and latest war between Israel and Iran…
What does bombing Iran and Lebanon have to do with bombing Gaza? How is bombing children a holy war “between civilizations”? Never mind logic, we can always generalize Gazans (of which more than half are children) as “terrorists” and bomb them.
Dayan Supporting the Flotilla Killings
On May 31st ,2010, 9 international activists were killed by the Israeli army, in international waters, on the aid ship bound for Gaza, Mavi Marmara. The UN report found that:
The circumstances of the killing of at least six of the passengers were in a manner consistent with an extra-legal, arbitrary and summary execution. ~170
What does Dayan have to say for Israel’s defense? That’s right! He calls the activists “terrorists.” Then he claims there’s no humanitarian crisis in Gaza. Which sounds a bit silly, when the next sentence is about Israel’s “ample electricity, food, medical supply, water” to Gaza. Also, since pasta , construction materials, coriander and toys are considered by israel to be a “security threat”, his next statement about Israel’s offer to deliver the goods itself, leaves me (and understandably the activists on board) in serious doubt.
Then Dayan claims Israel didn’t know what was in the ships, even though the cargo has been inspected by parties that can legally be held accountable. Then he claims the people of the Mavi Marmara were exceptionally violent and that the Israeli soldiers were actually armed with paint guns. If so, one must ask how 9 people were found with bullets in their body?
The next lie is that 2 soldiers were wounded by gunfire. This would suggest that the activists were armed. How do I know this is a lie? When the UN asked for evidence from the state of Israel, this is what happened:
The Mission has found no evidence to suggest that any of the passengers used firearms or that any firearms were taken on board the ship. Despite requests, the Mission has not received any medical records or other substantiated information from the Israeli authorities regarding any firearm injuries sustained by soldiers participating in the raid. Doctors examined the three soldiers taken below decks and no firearm injuries were noted. Further, the Mission finds that the Israeli accounts so inconsistent and contradictory with regard to evidence of alleged firearms injuries to Israeli soldiers that it has to reject it. ~116
Since Dayan’s piece is rather redundant, I’ll end this little episode with Israel’s official PR policy, uttered in Dayan’s words, of blaming the victim, demeaning Muslims around the world, and creating a fear campaign around Iran (the next Iraq? The next Afghanistan?):
Israel wants nothing more than to see the Gazan people thrive and not live under the oppression of Hamas. I urge the world to organize a flotilla of hope. A flotilla that will put pressure on the catapult behind the Islamic fundamentalist hate campaign, the consequences of which are thousands of casualties around the world, most of whom are, ironically, of Muslim descent. We need to assemble a flotilla of hope against the hate, violence and radicalism that is being spread by Islamic fundamentalists, spearheaded by Iran.
Dayan Supporting the Occupying Army
It’s worth starting with the fact that the Israeli army is funded by the United States at 3 billion dollars a year and then some. That crazy amount (that could be used to fund free healthcare and equal education for every child in the US) doesn’t stop Dayan’s “holy war” talk. And Dayan doesn’t just talk- he walks the walk. As the Consul General of Israel in Los Angeles he supports the success of lavish gala fundraising dinners for the occupying army of Israel, in the company of war criminals such as exiting Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi [not an official UN document] and ex-IDF Deputy Chief of Staff, Maj. Gen. Moshe Kaplinsky (speaking of economic sanctions, today Kaplinsky is the CEO of the company Better Place Israel, which operates in the occupied territories).
There’s much more to say about Jacob Dayan and his active responsibility in whitewashing military occupation and apartheid, but I think the point is made. I’d like only to add that Dayan is just a cog in the multi-million dollar PR machine that is Israel. The choice is yours: Do you support this, by entertaining people who live by Dayan’s example? Or do you refuse to entertain apartheid?
As for me, Macy, and the few other Israelis, like myself, who have the privilege to go see your show. We forfeit this privilege, because we’ll be busy witnessing kidnappings in Nabi Saleh that same night. I don’t want a 4 minute peace, Macy. I want to sleep at night.
With faith in you still,