web analytics
April 1, 2015 / 12 Nisan, 5775
At a Glance
News & Views
Sponsored Post


‘Cultural Intifada’ As Artists, Celebrities Cancel Israel Plans


JERUSALEM – Actress Meg Ryan’s decision to cancel her appearance at this week’s Jerusalem Film Festival didn’t garner the same attention in Israel as British rocker Elvis Costello’s nixing his Israel concert this spring.

Both, however, were a reminder to Israelis that in the eyes of much of the world, Israel’s politics and culture are inseparable.

The cancellations were part of a string that Israel has experienced over the past few months, including appearances by the indie rock band The Pixies, singer Devendra Banhart, alternative rockers Gorillaz, the British band the Klaxons and American soul singer Gil Scott-Heron.

In February, rock legend Carlos Santana withdrew from a sold-out performance reportedly due to pressure from pro-Palestinian groups.

Israelis have taken to calling this a “cultural intifada” – borrowing a term used by the Palestinians to describe their uprisings against Israel.

“Intense pressure is being applied to foreign artists not to come to Israel,” prominent Israeli promoter Shuki Weiss, who has brought such top-name acts to Israel as Madonna and Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters, told the Israeli business daily Globes.

After The Pixies canceled last month, Weiss called it “cultural terrorism.”

“I am full of both sorrow and pain in light of the fact that our repeated attempts to present quality acts and festivals in Israel have increasingly been falling victim to what I can only describe as a form of cultural terrorism which is targeting Israel and the arts worldwide,” Weiss wrote in a statement.

The most recent high-profile cancellation, by Ryan, came right after Israel’s deadly May 31 interception of the Gaza-bound, Turkish-flagged aid flotilla, which left nine passengers dead. A day later, Ryan’s staff e-mailed the Jerusalem Film Festival to say she would not be able to attend. Reports that actor Dustin Hoffman also canceled an appearance at the festival were unfounded; Hoffman had never been scheduled to attend the event.

When Costello canceled his two concerts in Tel Aviv at the end of June, he said the decision was “a matter of instinct and conscience.”

In a message posted on his website, Costello wrote, “There are occasions when merely having your name added to a concert schedule may be interpreted as a political act that resonates more than anything that might be sung and it may be assumed that one has no mind for the suffering of the innocent.”

The cancellations have frustrated Israel’s music lovers, producers and friends.

Israeli filmmaker Joseph Cedar, whose 2007 movie “Beaufort” received an Academy Award nomination for Best Foreign Language Film, told JTA that the refusal of artists to perform in Israel is a kind of collective punishment of the culture-loving public – often the very public that is “extra critical of Israeli policies.”

Cedar said that while he believes a boycott is “a legitimate way for an artist to express his political views,” they should be political views the artist has consistently and publicly held.

Some artists appear to be concerned that their performances in Israel will be perceived as a political endorsement of Israel’s policies.

When Banhart canceled a pair of Tel Aviv performances two days before their mid-June dates, a message posted on the artist’s website read: “We were coming to share a human and not a political message but it seems that we are being used to support views that are not our own. We will be overjoyed to return to Israel on the day that our presence is perceived and reported on as a cultural event and not a political one.”

Asked what the Israeli Sport and Culture Ministry is doing to stem the tide of cancellations, a ministry spokesman said “nothing.”

The cultural boycott of Israel has spread beyond the borders of the Jewish state. Last month, a popular Bob Dylan fan site began blocking users inside Israel in what the Danish site operator called a “cultural boycott” in response to the flotilla incident.

Israel has faced similar situations in the past. During the second intifada in the early 2000s, numerous artists canceled appearances in the country due to security concerns.

Still, many acts are going through with their scheduled performances. Some, like the British rock group Jethro Tull, are taking pains to draw distinctions between culture and politics.

After coming under pressure from pro-Palestinian groups such as the U.S. Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, Jethro Tull reaffirmed that it would be playing three concerts in Israel in early August.

Front man Ian Anderson said in a statement linked to the concert dates that he has “long maintained the position that culture and the arts should be free of political and religious censorship and a distance kept between them.” Anderson also said he would donate his concert proceeds to charities promoting coexistence.

Others have been more unabashedly warm toward Israel. In mid-June, Elton John, who has donated money to Israeli causes, played before an enthusiastic crowd.

“Shalom, we are so happy to be back here! Ain’t nothing gonna stop us from coming, baby,” the singer told the crowd. “Musicians spread love and peace, and bring people together. That’s what we do. We don’t cherry-pick our conscience.”

Musicians Rod Stewart and Rihanna also performed in Israel last month. And on Sunday, Ynet reported that American singer Missy Elliott announced that after pressure to cancel her July 15 show in Tel Aviv, she will arrive in Israel a day early to tour the country with her entourage of dancers and crew.

(JTA)

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “‘Cultural Intifada’ As Artists, Celebrities Cancel Israel Plans”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.
Obama Stops Punishing Egypt for Dumping Muslim Brotherhood Prez
Latest News Stories
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.

Obama finally stops punishing Egypt for overthrowing the Muslim Brotherhood’s Morsi

Hezbollah  terror group shows off its arsenal in Lebanon.

The IDF will have hard choices to make in the next war with Hezbollah.

Chaim Topol as Tevye the Milkman

Chaim Topol, has been awarded the Israel Prize for lifetime achievement.

20th Knesset Opening Session

The Knesset opening session was buzzing with new faces, as 39 new Members of Knesset joined their veteran colleagues in the swearing in ceremony.

The Temple Institute renacted the entire Pesach sacrifice ceremony.

“On days like today we want these children to feel the joy that any normal child experiences on their bar mitzvah.”

A family. 7 Children. An indescribable tragedy. How do they go on? How do we react? And what lessons are we supposed to learn?

More than 40 refugees were killed in a Saudi-led air strike while PA office accuses Israel crime by building homes.

The military implicitly admits to having improperly allowed a missionary group to indoctrinate soldiers.

Talks are likely to extend beyond Obama’s self-imposed deadline that he had said he won’t change.

The Iranian regime is hard up for propaganda, but maybe it is prophesying the future.

The Arabs rolled burning tires and three rocks at soldiers at the central Gaza security fence.

The Histadrut national labor union and the Federation of Israeli Employers have agreed to raise the minimum wage to 5,300 shekels ($1,334) by 2017, approximately half the average salary in Israel. The employers and the union previously agreed to a three-stage hike in the minimum wage. The latest agreement adds a fourth stage whole pegging […]

The clowns are back in town while ringmaster Netanyahu tries to tame the beasts.

A Reuters poll shows that America is increasingly polarized, especially about President Obama.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu continued to lash out at a possible “bad deal” with Iran Monday and said, “The agreement being formulated in Lausanne sends a message that there is no price for aggression and on the contrary – that Iran’s aggression is to be rewarded.” Netanyahu said in a statement: The moderate and responsible […]

More Articles from Marcy Oster
Arab-Crowds-033012

JERUSALEM – If pro-Palestinian calls for a so-called Global March to Jerusalem are heeded, thousands of Arabs from the West Bank, Gaza, Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan and Syria could converge on Israel’s borders.

Aftermath of Grad rocket attack on center of southern Israeli city of Ashkelon.

JERUSALEM – Egypt announced that a cease-fire it brokered between terrorist groups in Egypt and Israel went into effect at 1 a.m. Tuesday, but several rockets and mortar shells fired from Gaza exploded in Israel after the announcement.

JERUSALEM – In the aftermath of the deadliest fire in Israel’s history, Israelis this week set to the task of burying the dead, cleaning up and figuring out what exactly went wrong – and who is to blame.

JERUSALEM – Actress Meg Ryan’s decision to cancel her appearance at this week’s Jerusalem Film Festival didn’t garner the same attention in Israel as British rocker Elvis Costello’s nixing his Israel concert this spring.

JERUSALEM – Actress Meg Ryan’s decision to cancel her appearance at this week’s Jerusalem Film Festival didn’t garner the same attention in Israel as British rocker Elvis Costello’s nixing his Israel concert this spring.

JERUSALEM – With nations around the world condemning Israel for the deaths of nine activists aboard a Gaza-bound ship, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu canceled a planned visit to the White House.

JERUSALEM – Coming as a self-described “pilgrim of peace,” Pope Benedict XVI vowed to fight anti-Semitism and called for a Palestinian state in the moments after his arrival in Israel for a five-day visit.

JERUSALEM – Coming as a self-described “pilgrim of peace,” Pope Benedict XVI vowed to fight anti-Semitism and called for a Palestinian state in the moments after his arrival in Israel for a five-day visit.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/global/cultural-intifada-as-artists-celebrities-cancel-israel-plans/2010/07/14/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: