Macy Gray, I Don’t Want a 4 Minute Peace!

Dear Macy Gray,

Macy Gray visits with Consul General of Israel, Jacob Dayan in Los Angeles, as BDS activists around the world plea with her not to entertain apartheid.
Macy Gray visits with Consul General of Israel, Jacob Dayan in Los Angeles, as BDS activists around the world plea with her not to entertain apartheid.

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.

Continue reading “Macy Gray, I Don’t Want a 4 Minute Peace!”

An Eyewitness’ Letter to Macy Gray

Dear Macy,

Border Police officers arresting Ouday Tamimi. Picture credit: Bilal Tamimi from Joseph Dana's blog
Border Police officers arresting Ouday Tamimi. Picture credit: Bilal Tamimi from Joseph Dana's blog

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:

Continue reading “An Eyewitness’ Letter to Macy Gray”

The Reut Report: Taking Over the World – One Antisemite at a Time

The Reut Blog banner - The image of "beautiful, tolerant, modern, iconic Israel"

The Reut Institute sent their “National Security Team” for a whole year in London; conducted interviews with over 150 people (“experts and activists from a range of fields”); Studied biology, economics, terrorism, the internet and Frank Sinatra. All this in order to investigate the BDS movement. They wrote a report, mouthfully titled “Building a Political Firewall against the Assault on Israel’s Legitimacy: London as a Case Study” and this is their conclusion:

Hamas Did It Because They Want to Destroy Israel!

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It Doesn’t Take a Nobel Laureate to Understand the Complex and Seemingly Unsolvable Phenomena of Apartheid

Spot the Nobel Laureate

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.

Continue reading “It Doesn’t Take a Nobel Laureate to Understand the Complex and Seemingly Unsolvable Phenomena of Apartheid”

New Israeli Report: Israeli Banks are Principal Beneficiaries of the Illegal Settlements

The branch of Bank Poalei Agudat Israel of First International Bank in the settlement of Modi’in Illit ~Photo: Who Profits, April 2009.

According to a new report by Who Profits, a research project that exposes Israeli and international corporate involvement in the occupation:

“The banks are well aware of the activities carried out with their financial assistance.”

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Not Playing Anymore – Israeli Theatre Actors Rise Up

“Ariel’s Center for the Performing Arts – Ariel’s residents have always benefited from a rich variety of local facilities and services. These services have traditionally rendered Ariel the focal point of life in the region, and earned it the title of Capital of the Shomron. The city’s Center for the Performing Arts is yet another addition to life, culture and excellence in the heart of Israel.” (from the Ariel website)

It’s no news by now that Israel is constructing a culture center in the illegal Ariel settlement. It’s not surprising that Habima, Israel’s national theater company, was scheduled to preform there. It is, however, refreshing that actresses and actors from Habima and other leading theater companies, the likes of the Cameri, signed a letter to Culture Minister, Limor Livnat, refusing to preform in the Occupied Territories.

Of Boycotts and Green Bans

Sixty/Thirty-six is a big number for any one sector in Israel, not to mention for any dissent in Israel, at all. I can’t say the actor’s letter doesn’t spark hope in me as to a growth in dissent in Israel (they’ve been joined by non-theatre people of the arts), but one mustn’t get carried away. The Guardian reported:

“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.”

Continue reading “Not Playing Anymore – Israeli Theatre Actors Rise Up”

Law of Boycott Prohibition

Note: The following article ignores said law’s implications on Palestinians. To read a compressive article on that, I recommend Band Annie’s Weblog.

Israelis calling for support of the Palestinian call for BDS are under attack from all sides. Whether it be the media, private people in the name of some seriously disturbing organizations [Hebrew], government members, or as of late: Law makers taking fascism in Israel up a notch.

The Weapon of Mass Destruction Called “Email”

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:

  1. Ending its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantling the Wall;
  2. Recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and
  3. Respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN resolution 194.

Continue reading “Law of Boycott Prohibition”