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Pete Seeger Leaves Behind Complicated Legacy on Israel

Pete Seeger, who died on Monday, supported BDS more than Israel.

Pete Seeger, who died on Monday, supported BDS more than Israel.
Photo Credit: Anthony Pepitone

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Legendary folk singer and political activist Pete Seeger, who died on Monday in New York City at the age of 94, left behind a complicated if not questionable legacy when it came to Israel.

Famous for 1960s hits like “If I Had a Hammer,” “Turn, Turn, Turn,” and “Where Have All the Flowers Gone,” Seeger was also well known for speaking out for worker’s rights and participating in the civil rights movement.

He drew headlines in 2011 for coming out in support of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, expressing support for the BDS group Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD).

According to an ICAHD press release, Seeger had donated portions of the royalties from his 1960s hit “Turn, Turn, Turn” to the group.

On the other hand, Seeger participated in an online peace rally for the Arava Institute, an environmental academic program in Israel, in 2010. However, after discovering that Arava had ties to the Jewish National Fund, Seeger said, “I support the BDS movement as much as I can.”

 

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17 Responses to “Pete Seeger Leaves Behind Complicated Legacy on Israel”

  1. Steven Plaut says:

    Seeger's real lyrics: If I had a hammer, then I'd also have a sickle…..

  2. Good musician and "useful idiot" for the cause.

  3. Good musician and "useful idiot" for the cause.

  4. Sylvia Klein says:

    His passing will leave us the legacy of his music. His political views, especially on DBS of late, should be laid to rest with his body.

  5. wonderful music and deeply committed to america and its freedoms. he was 92 in 2011. the brain can only deal in absolutes at that age. age has its inexorable decline just like illness.

  6. Anthony Kent says:

    In a Jewish paper, we can tend to judge people in one dimension: was he for us or against us? Peter Seeger was a good man who did – and created – many good things. Nobody is perfect.

  7. I agree. Pete Seeger was for peace between all people. Moreover, if there was complete peace, there wouldn't be the problem of the boycott or subsequent BDS.

  8. Agree with Sylvia Klein. He was a musician…but doubtfully understood the reality of the Middle East, as meany other "celebrities". Some of them become activist for the "flavour of the mont"..That is marketing.

  9. Not everyone agreed with Seeger, but a lot of us liked his music.

  10. Charlie Hall says:

    Seeger retracted his support for BDS three days after he endorsed it. He never did say what he did believe in terms of boycotts prior to his death.

  11. Charlie Hall says:

    Seeger retracted his support for BDS three days after he endorsed it. He never did say what he did believe in terms of boycotts prior to his death.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Seeger was a lifelong member of the Communist Party, and he followed the Communist line about Israel as he did on all issues. The laudatory eulogies for Seeger in the press have omitted ention of his Communist allegiance. He was a good folk singser, but not a helpful political influence

  13. Seeger left the Communist Party some time in the 1950s, as did most members, after the excesses and crimes of Stalin became known to them.

  14. Kind of Ironic donating royalties form Turn Turn Turn (a song taken from Ecclesiastics) to an Anti-Israel group.

  15. shame he was anti semetic

  16. I agree with you…ironic

  17. Alan Family-schechner says:

    anti Israel? anti Israel demoliship Palestinian houses isn't anti Israel, it's anti racism.

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