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On Boycotting Israel

There are a lot of Nazi comparisons being thrown around these days. Where might they be most accurately directed?

boycot philharmonic

I am happy to say that Britain still has some exports. Sad to say, they include vicious anti-Israel boycotts and propaganda. Take developments from the past couple of weeks alone.

In recent years the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra (IPO), among other Israeli musicians, has found it increasingly difficult to perform in Britain without being subjected to interruption and protest. At last year’s BBC Promenade concerts, the highlight of the musical year in London, protestors repeatedly interrupted the IPO’s performance. The orchestra – under Zubin Mehta – carried on, but each piece on the program was at some point marred by shouting, protest songs and more.

A year earlier the Jerusalem String Quartet had its performance at the Wigmore Hall repeatedly halted by the forward reconnaissance unit of the UK’s anti-Israel brigade. There, as at the Proms, the collection of anti-classical music bravehearts sang witless anti-Israel songs of their own invention to ensure that the quartet could not play its program of Ravel and Mozart. The Wigmore Hall protestors were entirely Jewish, the Albert Hall ones mainly so, thus causing a collective sigh of despair and a smacking of hands on foreheads by sane Jews everywhere.

As though to show how swiftly bad behavior can spread, last week it was the turn of protestors in New York to oppose the IPO. Among the chants of the protestors were “Oboe, trumpet or bassoon, apartheid is out of tune” and “IPO gets no ovation, ambassador for occupation.”

If, like me, you ever labored under the misunderstanding that orchestras exist to play music and that music is an international language which brings peace and understanding between people – and all that jazz – then you are clearly unaware of the new low that Israel’s opponents have sunk to. Music today may still be an international language, but it is best listened to only once you have ascertained that none of the woodwinds section is Zionist. Or the strings. Or brass. A single self-hating Jew in the percussion section, playing the triangle for instance, might be permissible. But otherwise it should be boycott, boycott, boycott. Sing it loud: “No Israelis is our tune, is that a Jew on third bassoon?’ ‘We’d like a word with that bearded drummer, from where we stand he could be a frummer.”

The dozens of New Yorkers from the New York Campaign for the Boycott of Israel (or NYCftBoI for short) who disrupted the Carnegie concert claimed that the Israeli state is engaged in “apartheid policies against the Palestinian people” and that no amount of world-class musicianship can “cover up the injustice that Palestinians face.”

Which leads one to wonder what they do think is acceptable. Both North Korea and Iran have symphony orchestras. Or at least Iran did until this month when the mullahs boycotted it for us, after not having paid the musicians for three months. Music, apparently, is Zionist – or at least Western music is, which to hard-line mullahs is evidently the same thing. Anyhow, this strikes me as a shame. Personally I would love to have heard it – and the North Korean symphony as well. If the latter could ever be persuaded to visit London or New York – and provided that their musicians didn’t perform – as is their management’s wont – with background montages of nuclear tests, I would welcome them with great enthusiasm. Indeed I would regard listening to their playing and applauding them enthusiastically as a noteworthy demonstration to them that I recognize a difference between their government and themselves.

Iranian state forces may shoot students, hang gays from cranes and seek to annihilate a whole people, but I should think it very strange if anyone thought that the appropriate response would have been to shout anti-Iranian abuses at their national orchestra or question the very existence of their country during the piccolo solo. Likewise, if the North Korean National Symphony Orchestra were engaged in a rendition of their beautiful national tune, Arirang, I would think it not only the height of bad manners but exactly the wrong moment to start hollering about their government’s creation of multi-generational concentration camps and violation of the non-proliferation agreement.

In both of these cases the sin is real. Iran and North Korea actually are states that practice the most vile oppression of their people. Israel does not. Yet it is orchestras from Israel, string-quartets from Israel and, indeed, dance-troupes from Israel that are threatened and vilified where it would be the height of bad manners and, in fact, powerful statecraft to oppose orchestras from real totalitarian societies.

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24 Responses to “On Boycotting Israel”

  1. :

    This week, at a time when one million people in Israel are targeted for hundreds of aerial attacks launched by the Gaza regime , a new Israel Advocacy Task Force has been spawned.

    The Israel Advocacy Task Force will address issues of the day that Israel has to cope with on a daily basis.

    Let’s begin with Arab education.

    Contrary to the widely publicized notion that the Palestinian Authority and UNRWA intended to incorporate Holocaust education in their schools, there has never been a plan for a Holocaust curriculum in any UNRWA or Palestinian Authority school.

    Michael Kingsley-Nyinah, director of the executive office of UNRWA said clearly: “I am writing to clarify that there is no ‘Holocaust curriculum’ as such in UNRWA schools and there are no plans to introduce one.”.

    There is, however, one aspect of the new Palestinian Authority educational system in that does deal to the Holocaust.

    In all Palestinian Authority schools, students learn from Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s PHD, which he wrote 28 years ago at Moscow University entitled “The Other Side: The Secret Relations between Nazism and the Leadership of the Zionist Movement.”.

    Abbas’s thesis: the Zionist movement initiated murder of the Jews in Europe.

    The time has come to ask that everyone who funds the Palestinian Authority educational system – beginning with the US Congress – condition money to the PA on the immediate cancellation of their "holocaust curriculum".

    With the genesis of the new session of US Congress in January, The Israel Advocacy Task Force will escort experts on Palestinian Authority and UNRWA education to make presentations for staffers the Middle East Subcommittee of the US House Foreign Relations committee, in tandem with the Center for Near East Policy Research in Jerusalem, http://www.IsraelBehindTheNews, com, ;directed by investigative journalist and community organizer David Bedein.

    To that end, The Israel Advocacy Task Force is seeking sponsors to cover the cost to hire and escort the experts.

    Meanwhile, the time has come for everyone who reads this memo to contact people of influence to demand that the PA and UNRWA cease and desist from the greatest lie perpetrated against the survivors of the Nazi Horrors…applying the principle that a lie repeated often enough will become believable.

    RABBI DR. BERNHARD ROSENBERG, founder and chairman.

  2. Rc Fowler says:

    The fact that Jews would be boycotting Israel–is no surprise to me–many Jews have been traitorous Godless whores for thousands of years–they even supported Adolph Hitler and some of them were given honorable Aryan status.

    Israel needs to clean up its own house–two good places to start would be stopping the mass murder of the Jewish unborn and stopping the homosexual agenda in Israel.

  3. Frank Meade says:

    What a crap article. Your justification to not boycott Israel is because there are worse countries in the world with greater repression and they are not being boycotted? Really, that is part of the premise of your argument. You would compare activists to Nazi's and Jew's who disagree and fight against Zionism? It is this kind of thinking and rationalizing that has brought the world to a place where Zionism is no longer tolerated and Israel has been exposed for it's war crimes against Palestine. Keep talking buddy for you are only helping the cause against Zionism and Israel Aparthaid.

  4. Charlie Hall says:

    Sorry Frank, but by accepted international standards, Israel is a free country that treats its citizens with the respect due citizens of a free country. Compare its record to that of its neighbors and the contrast is even more striking.

  5. Charlie Hall says:

    Israel's abortion rate is actually among the lowest in the free world. It documents the reasons for abortions and about 40% would actually be permitted according to many poskim.

    And if you want to try to find a place that has stopped the "homosexual agenda" you should move to Gaza.

  6. Frank Meade says:

    Contrasting is irrelevant and a sorry attempt at justification and you do not need to tell me about Israel. I have been there, many, many times and there isn't any respect or equality with Arab Israeli's. To say so is a blatant lie. Because there may be more totalitarian repressors in neighboring nations in no way can or should condone Israel's policies towards occupied Palestine or with it's own non Jewish residents. If you going to give me an argument, give me an educated and honest argument Charlie!

  7. Frank Meade says:

    Also by international standards Israel is in reproach by many human rights organizations for their actions internally and regarding the Palestinian Territories. I can cite the references if you like, can you cite your references? Also as far as citizens this is a loaded and questionable term when referring to Israel which could lead to an entire discussion of it's own however if you want to use the term in the Israeli meaning you may be right only because many are denied citizenship, people whose families were in Palestine before Israel was granted the land by England the exit of Brittish troops. There only crime was being Arab, Palestinian or should I say not Jewish.

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