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October 23, 2014 / 29 Tishri, 5775
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NJ Woman: ‘Show Alicia Keys Support for Supporting Israel’

"We can use our wallets to punish as well as to reward. If we can close it to attacks on the Jewish state, we can also open it in friendship," Abramson said about showing appreciation to Keys for performing in Israel despite pressure to withdraw.
Alicia Keys will be singing in Tel Aviv on July 4, 2013, despite pressure on her to withdraw.

Alicia Keys will be singing in Tel Aviv on July 4, 2013, despite pressure on her to withdraw.
Photo Credit: Lori Lowenthal Marcus

Helene Fragman Abramson has been a careful observer of events in the Middle East for as long as she can remember.  Most of the time, Abramson grinds her teeth about the raw deal that Israel gets in the mainstream media, in academia, and – sometimes – in the arts.

That’s why Abramson was so thrilled to read that Rhythm & Blues singer Alicia Keys refused to cave to pressure from a fellow African American artist, writer Alice Walker, who tried to pressure Keys into cancelling a scheduled appearance in Israel on July 4.

Abramson thinks everyone who wants Keys to know that people support her principled position – but who cannot be in Tel Aviv to hear her and show their appreciation in person – should purchase one of Keys’ CDs or songs on July 4.

It’s a small gesture, but it will make a big statement.

“It seems to me we keep rewarding people who seek our demise,” Abramson told The Jewish Press on Monday, June 3. “I do my best to put my money where my mouth is, and that is not always so easy.

“Point is, we can use our wallets to punish as well as to reward.  If we can close it to attacks on the Jewish state, we can also open it in friendship.”

It is not easy for people in the entertainment industry to resist public calls by older, famous people, to shun a person or a land vilified with the worst calumny, that of racism; many artists and other celebrities have been unable to resist the call.

Alice Walker, the 69-year old author, is best known for her novel The Color Purple 31 years ago.

But in the past few years Walker has become infamous for her single-minded hatred of Israel and her efforts to strangle the Jewish State through economic and political boycotts.  In 2011, Walker sailed aboard the “Audacity of Hope,” seeking to puncture Israel’s lawful blockade of Gaza.  She refused to allow her best-selling novel to be translated into Hebrew, and she attempted, along with fellow Israel-hating artist rock musician Roger Waters, to prevent the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra from performing at Carnegie Hall in October, 2012.

Most recently, Walker wrote a letter which she posted on the Internet, calling on Alicia Keys to cancel her scheduled singing appearance in Tel Aviv, Israel. Walker was not content to merely call Israel an apartheid country.  She told Keys Israel is “unbelievably evil,” “greedy” and “cruel,” and that it is responsible for a great deal of global suffering.

The response from Keys came swiftly: “I look forward to my first visit to Israel. Music is a universal language that is meant to unify audiences in peace and love, and that is the spirit of our show.” A Facebook page was set up to thank Keys.

And Abramson is suggesting everyone go one step further.

So on July 4 – or leading up to it – everyone who wants to thank Alicia Keys for standing tall and seeking to ‘unify audiences in peace and love’ should buy an Alicia Keys CD or tune either online or in stores.

Abramson said, “I am so grateful that Keys has not succumbed to pressure from fellow artists, the very people who should appreciate Israel.  Half of them would not have been able to develop their craft in most of the neighboring Arab and/or Muslim nations.

“I decided that I would buy an Alicia Keys CD on the date of her performance as a way of saying thanks.  I posted it on my Facebook page and asked others to share the idea.”

About the Author: Lori Lowenthal Marcus is the US correspondent for The Jewish Press. She is a recovered lawyer who previously practiced First Amendment law and taught in Philadelphia-area graduate and law schools.


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19 Responses to “NJ Woman: ‘Show Alicia Keys Support for Supporting Israel’”

  1. Daniel Sass says:

    As many of you know, Alecia Keys has resisted a significant amount of international pressure to boycott her show in Israel. A woman named Helene Fragman Abramson came up with the brilliant idea that we should show tangible support for those who very publicly voice their support for Israel. As such, I have created an event on July 4th for EVERYBODY in the world to purchase Alecia Keys music (online or in stores / single song or full CDs). Even if I do not go the Alecia Keys concert, I do want to show my support and say thank you.

    http://www.facebook.com/events/192156830940177/

    PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE SHARE WITH ALL YOUR LISTS AND FRIENDS. It would be wonderful if this grew to the point that it would receive world media coverage.

    P.S. I have still not recovered from the Pixies ignorantly canceling their Israel show.

  2. Cherie Lewis says:

    I have long been a fan of her music. I am now a fan of her as a person of courage.

  3. another brilliant idea from the desk of helene abramson! go helene go. am yisroel chai!

  4. another brilliant idea from the desk of helene abramson! go helene go. am yisroel chai!

  5. While we should be happy that Alicia Keys didn't give in to the bigotry of those who called her to boycott Israel, I think that it is wrong to open a campaign thanking her for her "support for Israel" – because we should not cooperate with the anti-Israel camp in making performance in Israel an issue of supporting Israel or supporting the Palestinians. Alicia Keys did not and should not support Israel by play in Israel. She should play music for her fans, whoever they are, and she should definitely not boycott a liberal democracy like Israel. By emphasizing her "support" we are risking forcing her to choose a side in the conflict and to reflect her choice by a decision to perform in Israel. These two are completely separate issues, and it might be that eventually Alicia would not want to perform because she doesn't want to take sides.
    Please be more careful with this issue – thank her for not boycotting Israel, but don't make her feel she took sides in a political conflict!

  6. Anonymous says:

    I received notice that I have been banned from the Huffington Post. I checked my postings; they do not include inappropriate language as others do. If any thing I may have commented too often. Your reporter did a story on me when I was president of Rabbis for Romney. I enjoy the discussions and postings on your site and would appreciate an explanation. The only thing I can think of is that I posted against the Holocaust Claims Conference as well as Rabbi Schreier and Muslims touring Auschwitz. If the Muslims complained, there was no foul language and as a child of Holocaust survivors I can speak out against extremist Muslims who are against Israel and America. I do not want those extremists praying for my dead siblings and other relatives at Auschwitz. It was the Mufti of Jerusalem who was in charge of an SS division for the Nazis. Is there anything here that would warrant my being banned. Please have the courtesy to email me.

    Rabbi Dr. Bernhard Rosenberg

  7. Alan Kardon says:

    Sorry she did make a decision. It is a very brave decision. Now if they want her to visit and perform in Arab countries than you have a point. I bet that she will not be welcome after this decision. 2 thumbs up for Alicia Keyes.

  8. The point is that we should refrain from making the connection between performing in Israel and supporting Israel. That's exactly what BDS wants! Alicia and other artists are welcome to perform in Israel regardless of their positions on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The conflict has nothing to do with her performance, and this should be the message.

  9. Linda Estrada says:

    For SURE , I'M A SENIOR AND DONT KNow her music , but I will remind myself to do that on JULY FOURTH 'FOR SURE

  10. phoneman says:

    It is great that Ms. Keyes rose above others that preach hate and made her own decision to perform and to see the truth for herself.

  11. Grace Acosta says:

    Ms. Keys is incredibly talented, and anyone who gets the chance to see her live should do so!

  12. Christopher Ibrahim says:

  13. Amit Sappir says:

    The problem is that the pro palestinian propaganda is relentless. They keep posting their lies on her wall pressuring her not to come. Should we stand by and let them telling their lies with no interference?

  14. viiiivee Palestiiiinee screeeeww ISrahell

  15. viiiivee Palestiiiinee screeeeww ISrahell

  16. viiiivee Palestiiiinee screeeeww ISrahell

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