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’ll say it again, I truly appreciate that you took your contemplations public. I can tell by what you write that you’ve been thrown into a world that its intensity is unknown to you. I write to you consistently because your heart is on your sleeve, and even though you seem to have made up your mind, I feel the doubt in every public utterance you make.
I’ll introduce myself; My name is Tali Shapiro. I’m an Israeli citizen and I just came back from the village of Nabi Salleh in the West Bank and read your latest blog post. I’m an activist that joins the weekly demonstrations in the village. There are weekly demonstrations in many villages. Though it’s a part of a movement for Palestinian human rights, each village wakes to dissent for individual reasons. Nabi Sallah has had its land annexed by the near by Halamish settlement and its water spring closed off from them by military force. Ever since then, they’ve been demonstrating.
Demonstrations in the occupied Palestinian territories come with a heavy price. Whether its the wounded and dead, or the constant harassment. Nabi Saleh has been subject to military closure, houses sprayed with putrid water (another method of “crowd dispersal”), night raids, arrests of activists (regardless of age), and torture which includes threats, beatings and contorted body positioning.
I write to you as I come back from one of these night raids. I live in Tel Aviv by choice. I choose to come to a war zone at night, to witness exactly what is being done in the name of my security:
At the end of October, 40 Nobel Laureates decided to collaborate with an overtly Zionist institution and write a dubious-at-best (Fisking will begin momentarily) public statement, denouncing the academic and cultural portion of the initiatives of the growing world-wide BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement. Their claims were not new to us, in the movement, nor did they inspire any serious debate, or new thought. Though the statement in itself merited no intellectual response, the mere stature of its authors elicited a response from PACBI (the Palestinian campaign for the Academic & Cultural Boycott of Israel). That said, in the spirit of the free exchange of ideas (and my obsession with taking talkbacks way too seriously), I’d also like to reply to the [n]obel Laureates.
On Ethics and Axioms
“Always shocked but never surprised” has become a mantra to me in the past couple of years. I’ve grown to understand my reality as a place (or rather a twilight zone) where shocking events often happen and ignorant statements are often made, and all without the blink of an eye. No guilt, no shame. No accountability.
“Dozens of Israeli actors, playwrights and directors have signed a letter refusing to take part in productions by leading theater companies at a new cultural center in a West Bank settlement, prompting renewed debate over the legitimacy of artistic boycott.”
I’m a signed and active member of the group called BOYCOTT! Supporting the Palestinian BDS Call from Within. This group is a non-profit, non-governmental group of citizens of Israel (some Jews, some Palestinians). It’s what you might call a tactical, one-track group, that will probably break up (under this title) as soon as our goal is fulfilled.
What’s our goal? Well, contrary to what the common belief in Israel is, it’s not the isolation of Israel- that’s just the means. As we endorse the Palestinian call “as is”, the goals are clearly stated in the call:
Ending its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantling the Wall;
Recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and
Respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN resolution 194.