on deleting madonna & other boycott news

although i tried to work it out so that my internet would be up and running by the time i got back to jordan, that has not turned out to be the case. i have tried two different companies here–one kuwaiti, one jordanian–and neither gives me a singal. the third and fourth option, well that’s my next post so you’ll have to wait to read about that. but all this is to day that for the next couple of weeks in particular, if you want to follow boycott news you should follow the u.s. campaign for the academic and cultural boycott of israel site via your news readers and twitter. many of you know that i also do that website; given that internet cafe time is challenging during ramadan (don’t forget to boycott those zionist terrorist colonist dates! ) for a number of reasons, on days when i can only manage a couple of hours that’s the blog i’ll be updating first.

but while i am on the subject of boycott i have a confession to make. since i was about fourteen years old i have had a secret love of madonna’s music. not all of it. not all of the time. but it was one of my closeted guilty pleasures in life. (i don’t have many.) over the past few years, enabled by the invention of mp3s and also the fact that i move so much, i no longer have any cds, just mp3 files of music i like (most of which is political). so, when macy gray had her event with the zionist terrorist colonist consolate in los angeles last year, i deleted her from my computer. likewise i did the same for madonna a few weeks ago. and here’s why:

1. During Monday’s whitewashing concert appearance in Tel-Aviv, Madonna made empty references to peace, before wrapping herself in the Israeli flag:

“I truly believe that Israel is the energy center of the world. And I also believe that if we can all live together in harmony in this place, then we can live in peace all over the world.”

Meanwhile in Gaza on Monday, fishermen were attacked by Israel “Defense” Forces for…fishing. Apparently, they failed to live “in harmony” well enough.

here is the above-referenced appalling video (if you can hold your cookies…) :

2. Any political malaise that she may have risked evoking among Israelis dissipated when she was handed an Israeli flag by one fan. Madonna used it to make her final parade on the stage draping herself in Israel’s national blue-and-white colours and displaying where her sympathies lie.

There was certainly none of the controversy she had aroused on her previous two stops, in Romania and Bulgaria.

In Sofia, the Orthodox clergy berated her for showing disrespect to Christianity. In Bucharest, she was booed for criticising discrimination against the Roma (gypsies) of Eastern Europe.

Midway through the show, breaking away from the carefully scripted performance, Madonna expressed her deep affection for Israel: “I shouldn’t have stayed so long away,” she told the adoring crowd. Her last concert here was in 1993.

The 51-year-old entertainer has long claimed a special bond with the Jewish state. For more than a decade, she’s been flirting with the Kabbalah, the essence of Jewish mysticism, and has even adopted a Hebrew name, Esther.

In the run-up to the first of her two shows, Israeli radio stations played Madonna hits round the clock. On Army Radio, a DJ quipped, “Tonight, Aunt Esther is playing at Yarkon Park.”

Brought up as a Roman Catholic, Madonna wrote in advance of her Israeli tour in an article for Israel’s best-selling newspaper, Yediot Achronot, that the study of Kabbalah helps her understand life better.

3. Madonna is reportedly spending the Sabbath eve at Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s home.

Y-Net reported Friday that Madonna will light the sabbath candles and will spend time with Netanyahu’s children at the official residence in Jerusalem.

The pop singer, who sold out two Tel Aviv concerts, this week toured Jerusalem’s Old City and Tsfat, the seat of Jewish mysticism in northern Israel.

and this is why i’m psyched about artists against apartheid’s new propabanda site (basically a s^(* list of musicians who don’t abide by the boycott):

The artists listed here have committed to performing in Apartheid Israel, in disregard of the Cultural Boycott of the State’s ongoing human rights violations, apartheid rule, and expropriation of land from indigenous inhabitants.

To cover its extreme racism, massacres, and flagrant violations of Human Rights and International Law, the Zionist State of Israel relies heavily on propaganda “Branding Efforts”, spending Millions of Dollars per year on public relations campaigns, and encouraging “whitewashing” events such as concerts by these International Artists:

Leonard Cohen
Sponsor: Israel Discount Bank (which also finances settlements on stolen Palestinian land)

MGMT

Madonna

Faith No More

Dinosaur Jr.

Lady Gaga

Kaiser Chiefs

Calexico

Depeche Mode

Pet Shop Boys

Macy Gray

Suzanne Vega

Steve Vai

These artists may be drawn by extraordinarily high performance fees, or the desire to “sing for peace”. However, the cultural effect of their appearance is to assist the Israeli ministries in their efforts to normalize of Israeli Apartheid, while disregarding the non-violent struggle for equal rights and justice in Palestine-Israel.

If you are an artist interested in coordinating with the non-violent resistance to colonialism and apartheid, please refer to the Guidelines for Applying the International Cultural Boycott of Israel recommended by the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) before booking your tour.

i can proudly say i do not have a single mp3 song with any of the above apartheid supporting musicians.

and, the other big story on the boycott news front–with those adhering to it and respecting it, that is–is about the toronto film festival:

The Toronto Declaration: No Celebration of Occupation

An Open Letter to the Toronto International Film Festival:

September 2, 2009

As members of the Canadian and international film, culture and media arts communities, we are deeply disturbed by the Toronto International Film Festival’s decision to host a celebratory spotlight on Tel Aviv. We protest that TIFF, whether intentionally or not, has become complicit in the Israeli propaganda machine.

In 2008, the Israeli government and Canadian partners Sidney Greenberg of Astral Media, David Asper of Canwest Global Communications and Joel Reitman of MIJO Corporation launched “Brand Israel,” a million dollar media and advertising campaign aimed at changing Canadian perceptions of Israel. Brand Israel would take the focus off Israel’s treatment of Palestinians and its aggressive wars, and refocus it on achievements in medicine, science and culture. An article in Canadian Jewish News quotes Israeli consul general Amir Gissin as saying that Toronto would be the test city for a promotion that could then be deployed around the world. According to Gissin, the culmination of the campaign would be a major Israeli presence at the 2009 Toronto International Film Festival. (Andy Levy-Alzenkopf, “Brand Israel set to launch in GTA,” Canadian Jewish News, August 28, 2008.)

In 2009, TIFF announced that it would inaugurate its new City to City program with a focus on Tel Aviv. According to program notes by Festival co-director and City to City programmer Cameron Bailey, “The ten films in this year’s City to City programme will showcase the complex currents running through today’s Tel Aviv. Celebrating its 100th birthday in 2009, Tel Aviv is a young, dynamic city that, like Toronto, celebrates its diversity.”

The emphasis on ‘diversity’ in City to City is empty given the absence of Palestinian filmmakers in the program. Furthermore, what this description does not say is that Tel Aviv is built on destroyed Palestinian villages, and that the city of Jaffa, Palestine’s main cultural hub until 1948, was annexed to Tel Aviv after the mass exiling of the Palestinian population. This program ignores the suffering of thousands of former residents and descendants of the Tel Aviv/Jaffa area who currently live in refugee camps in the Occupied Territories or who have been dispersed to other countries, including Canada. Looking at modern, sophisticated Tel Aviv without also considering the city’s past and the realities of Israeli occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza strip, would be like rhapsodizing about the beauty and elegant lifestyles in white-only Cape Town or Johannesburg during apartheid without acknowledging the corresponding black townships of Khayelitsha and Soweto.

We do not protest the individual Israeli filmmakers included in City to City, nor do we in any way suggest that Israeli films should be unwelcome at TIFF. However, especially in the wake of this year’s brutal assault on Gaza, we object to the use of such an important international festival in staging a propaganda campaign on behalf of what South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, and UN General Assembly President Miguel d’Escoto Brockmann have all characterized as an apartheid regime.

This letter was drafted by the following ad hoc committee:

Udi Aloni, filmmaker, Israel; Elle Flanders, filmmaker, Canada; Richard Fung, video artist, Canada; John Greyson, filmmaker, Canada; Naomi Klein, writer and filmmaker, Canada; Kathy Wazana, filmmaker, Canada; Cynthia Wright, writer and academic, Canada; b h Yael, film and video artist, Canada

Endorsed by:

Ahmad Abdalla, Filmmaker, Egypt

Hany Abu-Assad, Filmmaker, Palestine

Mark Achbar, Filmmaker, Canada

Zackie Achmat, AIDS activist, South Africa

Ra’anan Alexandrowicz, Filmmaker, Jerusalem

Anthony Arnove, Publisher and Producer, USA

Ruba Atiyeh, Documentary Director, Lebanon

Joslyn Barnes, Writer and Producer, USA

John Berger, Author, France

Dionne Brand, Poet/Writer, Canada

Judith Butler, Professor, USA

David Byrne, Musician, USA

Noam Chomsky, Professor, USA

Guy Davidi Director, Israel

Na-iem Dollie, Journalist/Writer, South Africa

Igor Drljaca, Filmmaker, Canada

Eve Ensler, Playwright, Author, USA

Eyal Eithcowich, Director, Israel

Sophie Fiennes, Filmmaker, UK

Peter Fitting, Professor, Canada

Jane Fonda, Actor and Author, USA

Danny Glover, Filmmaker and Actor, USA

Noam Gonick, Director, Canada

Malcolm Guy, Filmmaker, Canada

Mike Hoolboom, Filmmaker, Canada

Annemarie Jacir, Filmmaker, Palestine

Fredric Jameson, Literary Critic, USA

Juliano Mer Khamis, Filmmaker, Jenin/Haifa

Bonnie Sherr Klein Filmmaker, Canada

Paul Laverty, Producer, UK

Min Sook Lee, Filmmaker, Canada

Paul Lee, Filmmaker, Canada

Yael Lerer, publisher, Tel Aviv

Jack Lewis, Filmmaker, South Africa

Ken Loach, Filmmaker, UK

Arab Lotfi, Filmmaker, Egypt/Lebanon

Kyo Maclear, Author, Toronto

Mahmood Mamdani, Professor, USA

Fatima Mawas, Filmmaker, Australia

Tessa McWatt, Author, Canada and UK

Cornelius Moore, Film Distributor, USA

Yousry Nasrallah, Director, Egypt

Rebecca O’Brien, Producer, UK

Pratibha Parmar, Producer/Director, UK

Jeremy Pikser, Screenwriter, USA

John Pilger, Filmmaker, UK

Shai Carmeli Pollak, Filmmaker, Israel

Ian Iqbal Rashid, Filmmaker, Canada

Judy Rebick, Professor, Canada

David Reeb, Artist, Tel Aviv

B. Ruby Rich, Critic and Professor, USA

Wallace Shawn, Playwright, Actor, USA

Eyal Sivan, Filmmaker and Scholar, Paris/London/Sderot

Elia Suleiman, Fimmlaker, Nazareth/Paris/New York

Eran Torbiner, Filmmaker, Israel

Alice Walker, Writer, USA

Thomas Waugh, Professor, Canada

Howard Zinn, Writer, USA

Slavoj Zizek, Professor, Slovenia

and if you want a real treat check out an amazing artist and musician who has an amazing vision and history. here is an interview with the incomparable harry belefonte and avi lewis on al jazeera’s fault lines:

common enemies?!

in palestine it is eid al fitr, a time of celebration. for jews in the zionist state it is new year’s eve. these holidays happen to overlap this year, but somehow barack obama thinks that only jews are worthy of holiday greetings:

“As families come together to mark the High Holy Days, upholding a proud Jewish tradition,” Obama said.

“Let us all rededicate ourselves to the task of repairing this world for our children and grandchildren, and to working to achieve peace and security for Israel.”

no such eid mubarak extended to palestinians. and yet i continue to receive emails from palestinian american friends asking that i support obama. i refuse to submit to this ridiculous american concept of the “lesser of two evils” when voting. there are two other great choices: mckinney and nader. for if obama were actually concerned with “peace” he would realize that real peace does not come from imprisoning an entire population, as is the case now for all of us living in the west bank. there is a complete closure so that the jews can celebrate their holiday. while we are imprisoned:

A total closure of Palestinian-Israeli borders has been put in place by the Israeli army for the duration of the Jewish New Year Rosh Hashanah.

The closure means absolutely no Palestinians are permitted to leave the Israeli controlled West Bank and Gaza Strip, except in “humanitarian cases,” who have to contact the Israeli Civil Affairs Department.

The measures were announced by Radio Israel on Monday morning, and will remain in effect until Wednesday.

meanwhile, over in the 51st state a u.s. presidential debate took place in al quds:

As the Thursday debate, organized by the American Israel Action Coalition (AIAC – like AIPAC without the P), took place eight time zones and a full day ahead of the scheduled first encounter between McCain and Obama, it was entirely unclear whether the real debate would take place at all. Back in the Old Country (in this case, Ole Miss), onetime Navy pilot and former POW John McCain had called a campaign time-out, flying off to Washington to single-handedly save the United States from economic ruin, and leaving the Friday debate in Mississippi firmly in the lurch.

Far and away, the Jerusalem debate set the standard for gaffes, with Schorer using the unfortunate term “final solution” in front of a room full of elderly Jews when speaking on the issue of final status negotiations with the Palestinian Authority. Zell managed to hurl choice cuts of fine kosher republican red meat, and in his closing remarks managed to refer to the Democratic candidate by his full name, drawing up “Hussein” to sinister and foreboding effect. Schroder, for his part, seemed to hold back and fumble, at one point saying the U.S. and Israel must stop “Iraq from getting nuclear weapons” and later accidentally referring to Hezbollah as a country.

and after the state of israel’s flag was raised in my hometown of los angeles, macy gray sang the u.s. national anthem (after, of course, the zionist state’s national anthem was sung). time to start writing letters, deleting her from your ipod, and putting pressure on the singer. she should know better.

but there is more disturbing news from here. i linked to a story the other day that seemed to be way of the mainstream news media’s radar. but now it seems to have hit. it is clear that the u.s. military now has a presence in beer seba:

The US has supplied Israel with a powerful long-range radar system that would provide an extra early warning in case of an Iranian missile attack, it was confirmed yesterday.

Israeli officials said the equipment was flown in last week along with 120 American staff and has been set up at an air force base in the southern Negev desert.

It is believed to be the first time American personnel have been stationed in Israel since the 1991 Gulf war, when Patriot anti-missile batteries were deployed – to little effect – against Iraq’s Scud missiles. In spite of the close strategic relationship between the two countries, Israel has traditionally preferred to staff its own defences and not depend on foreigners.

the timing of this is interesting as aipac seems to have been defeated in congress in its bid to push the u.s. to bomb iran:

In a significant and highly unusual defeat for the so-called “Israel Lobby,” the Democratic leadership of the US House of Representatives has decided to shelve a long-pending, albeit non-binding, resolution that called for President George W. Bush to launch what critics called a blockade against Iran.

House Congressional Resolution (HR) 362, whose passage the powerful American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) had made its top legislative priority this year, had been poised to pass virtually by acclamation last summer.

But an unexpectedly strong lobbying effort by a number of grassroots Iranian-American, Jewish-American, peace, and church groups effectively derailed the initiative, although AIPAC and its supporters said they would try to revive it next year or if Congress returns to Washington for a “lame-duck” session after the November elections.

but my fear at the moment actually has nothing to do with iran–not that it ever did. rather, it has to do with an article that came out yesterday revealing the depths of which israeli-american influence here with respect to colonial divide and rule policy has infested the minds of members of particular political factions. laith sent me this scary piece by khaled amayreh yesterday, which is beyond disturbing:

Nahom Barnea is a prominent Israeli journalist and regular columnist at the mass-circulation newspaper, Yediot Ahronot. On Friday, 19 September, he revealed shocking details of a recent “security coordination” meeting between Israeli and Palestinian security commanders. Barnea, well known for his journalistic reliability, attended the meeting which took place at the Israeli occupation army’s West Bank headquarters at the settlement of Beit El near Ramallah. The following is a verbatim translation of Barnea’s report as published in Yediot Ahronot:

“They (the PA security commanders) arrived at the IDF headquarters Sunday night, passing through the ‘Court roadblock,’ only a 3-minute-drive from Ramallah. They drove through the road leading to the old Beit El settlement, going through the gate of the former Jordanian camp which houses the Command of the Judea and Samaria Brigade.

All of them were dressed in civilian attire with the exception of the Inspector-General of the Palestinian Police. They were eight commanders, all of them veteran Fatah leaders. This is the last chance for the generation that came from Tunis to retain their grip on power before Hamas could take over and devour everything.

The commander of the Israeli Defense Forces in the West Bank, Major-General Noam Tiv’on wanted to invite them to a meal to break the day’s fasting. However, the agenda of the encounter was disrupted for reasons having to do with the failure of the Israeli army to suppress settler riots (near Nablus) and the death of a Palestinian boy by Israeli army bullets the next day, which eventually forced the guests to break their fast at their homes.

Well they did. The discussion would have wasted a lot of time had it been carried out at the food pantry prepared by the Israeli army. Tiv’on and the head of the Israeli civil administration in the West Bank, Major-General Yoav Mordechai wanted to present to the Palestinian commanders the plan- Jenin-2 for the deployment of PA forces in City.

The Israeli commanders asked their Palestinian counterparts for their permission to allow a journalist to attend the meeting. The Palestinians concurred. In fact, I was the only journalist allowed to attend the meeting. However, because of my presence and essentially because of the sense of urgency on the Palestinian part, the meeting assumed different directions with excessive extents.

Shocking words

Contrary to conventional belief, journalists hate to be surprised. They think they know every thing and that which they don’t know is not considered especially important. I was surprised by the things that the Palestinian security commanders uttered. I was also surprised by the tone of their voices.

The gist of their argument is that a violent confrontation between Fatah and Hamas will take place in January of 2009. On the 9th of January Abu Mazen’s presidential term will expire. He is determined to stay in office until January 2010. We can’t rule out the possibility that Abu Mazen will declare the Gaza Strip a “rebellious province”

The Palestinian security commanders asked their Israeli counterparts to join them in preparing a field plan and train their forces and supply them with weapons.

I have never heard such an excessive willingness on the part of the Palestinian Authority to work with Israel, except for a small period in the Spring of 1996.

Following the meeting, I told one of the Israeli commanders who was in the hall “this is just talk. Aren’t you worried that the followers of Fatah would disappear at the decisive moment as they did in Gaza?” “No,” he said. “Prior to the Gaza events, they didn’t know what would happen to them. But now they do.”

Abu al Fath is the commander of the General Security Apparatus of the Fayyad government. It represents the main military force of the Palestinian Authority. Abu al Fath is the most senior and highest ranking officer among the heads of the Palestinian security agencies.

“There is no conflict between us,” he told the Israeli army commanders. “We have a common enemy.” Abu al Fath commenced the meeting with a complaint about the settler rampage (near Nablus). The way he related to the riots was interesting. He went on saying that “this makes things more difficult for us, especially in dealing with ordinary Palestinians. You must have law and order just as you expect us to have law and order. I will do all I can to prevent the occurrence of operations (against you.). You realize that we are much better than before. Thanks to our operations, the Israeli army needs to carry out lesser operations.

Hamas: our common enemy

Abu al Fath went on: “there is a huge strife going on in preparation for January, 2009. Abu Mazen is adopting the peace-line and you should bolster his position. Release juvenile prisoners, this is very important. Remove the roadblocks and dismantle the settlements. I want to ask you to allow us to deploy a regiment from Jericho to Hebron. I know there is a problem with the settlers in Hebron and the frictions spots there. I have no intention to enter these spots. The regiment will operate in the villages of Southern Hebron.

Major-General Kivon replied: “I am quite happy with what you have said. The local commanders of both sides should meet and reach an agreement on this. However, Colonel Mordechai warned the Palestinian officer, saying that “the deployment of the regiment in Hebron should take place Friday night lest they collide with the settlers.” Abu al Fath said: “No problem. We are moving against Hamas even during the month of Ramadan.”

At this point, the head of the Fayadh government’s military intelligence, Majed Faraj began talking: “We are in the midst of a very difficult battle. There is an Arabic proverb: ‘the sea is before us and the enemy is after us.’ We don’t even have a sea. We have decided to fight the battle until the end. We have decided to put all our problems on the table. Every thing is clear. No game-playing. Hamas is the enemy, and we have decided to wage an all-out war against Hamas. And I tell you there will be no dialogue with Hamas, for he who wants to kill you, kill him first. You have reached a truce with them, but we won’t do so. To be honest, we behaved differently in the past.

Faraj went on boasting: “Now we are taking care of every Hamas institution in accordance with your instructions. Lately you gave us the names of 64 institutions, and we have already dealt with fifty. Some of these institutions have been closed down, others we have changed their administrations. We have also seized their money (Israel referred to the PA 150 bank accounts suspected of belonging to terrorist organizations while the PA closed 300 other accounts).

“I have two observations: In the past we thought a thousand times before entering a mosque, but today we enter any mosque whenever deemed necessary. Don’t understand from this that you are allowed to enter the mosque. On the contrary, we can enter the mosques precisely because you don’t. We also can enter the campuses of universities, including the Islamic University in Hebron. We are making utmost efforts and even if success is not 100%, motivation is 100%”

Following Faraj’s remarks, Hazem Atallah, the Inspector-General of the Palestinian Police Forces spoke: “Until the end of the year, we will enter into a confrontation with Hamas. Khalid Meshal said Abu Mazen’s government wouldn’t be legal after the 9th of January, hence we should bet ready for the confrontation. ”

Hussein al Sheik, head of the civilian affairs department in the Fayadh government said “this is very important. Hamas doesn’t have a military power in the West Bank, but it has the power to get people onto the streets.” Attallah addressed the Israeli commanders: I am talking about a comprehensive plan, if we enter the next year without being fully prepared, nothing will be left except arguing over who was responsible for the defeat, we, or you, or the Americans.

Mordechai assured him, saying: we will form a joint team, we will help you with the training and military gear. The Palestinians complained that a Canadian shipment of truncheons for the police was still being withheld at the Ashdod Port. Tiv’on assured them that “we will hand it over to you.”

thanks laith for sending me the above article. it is really unbelievable the depths to which fatah and the israeli terrorist forces have normalized, collaborated. this is beyond what edward said predicted (see earlier posts this past week). this is colonialism. eid mubarak.