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October 20, 2014 / 26 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Alicia Keys’

NY Daily News: Brava to Alicia Keys’ Refusal to Bow to BDS

Monday, June 17th, 2013

“Brava to Alicia Keys,” declares an editorial in Monday’s NY Daily News, hailing the 14-time Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter “for standing up for truth and cultural freedom in refusing to join the insidious campaign to delegitimize Israel.”

Keys will be performing in Tel Aviv on July 4. As she was booking the venue, several leading figure in the BDS movement, seeking to punish Israel for “victimizing the Palestinians” in ways that have been compared to the South African apartheid regime (although a famous South African politician recently chastised the BDS activists for cheapening the memory of the South African suffering by comparing it to the benign conditions of Arabs in the European-style Israeli democracy (Give ‘Em H-E Double Toothpicks, Mr. Meshoe!).

Author Alice Walker urged Keys in a letter posted online to join the boycott of Israel. “Writing as an older black woman to a younger woman who was born to a black father and a white mother, Walker, 69, addressed Keys, 33, with words that were as offensively condescending as they were smugly muddleheaded,” noted the Daily News editorial.

“Keys would have none of it from a person who is one step above a lunatic shouting anti-Semitic canards on the street. She told The New York Times, ‘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.’

Brava, indeed!

USA Today Joins Effort to Persuade Alicia Keys to Boycott Israel

Friday, June 14th, 2013

As if it wasn’t enough to have the once-famous novelist Alice Walker publicly claim that the young rhythm and blues singer Alicia Keys will suffer mortal soul decay if Keys goes ahead with her plan to sing in Israel, which Walker and her minions refer to as an Apartheid State, and a huge Internet and petitioning effort to similarly dissuade her, now the national American newspaper USA Today has lent a helping hand.

In a “news article” printed on Wednesday, June 12, USA Today‘s music critic, Steve Jones, cut and pasted nearly the entire press release sent out the day before by the US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel.

The press release/news article told USA Today‘s readers that a “delegation representing more than 500 organizations” delivered a petition with “12,000 signatures” to the New York office of Keys’ non-profit Keep a Child Alive which provides support to children and families devastated by AIDS in Africa and India.

The USCACBI petition lists many of the worst-lies-about-Israel-that-Israel-haters-love-to-repeat, such as that Israel is an Apartheid State and that it is a systemic abuser of “Palestinian human rights, and even that Keys’

performance is legitimizing a country that systematically undermines her nonprofit’s mission, that ‘every person has the right to health care and that all children deserve a future.’ Israel routinely denies Palestinians health care and systematically destroys the futures of Palestinian children, denying their rights to education and health care, and regularly arresting Palestinian children and then torturing the vast majority of them.

There is no mention in the USA Today article that Israel routinely treats not only hundreds of Arab Palestinian children and adults a year, but that it does so even for the children of terrorists as well as the terrorists themselves, as any quick Internet search would quickly reveal.

An Internet search that took less than five seconds produced information that more than 100,000 Arab Palestinians were treated in Israeli hospitals in 2011.  More than 4 million other results also showed up for the simple search “Israel treats Palestinians hospitals.”

Incidentally, that same search revealed that more than 100 Arab Palestinian doctors work in Israeli hospitals – there goes the Apartheid lie, for anyone who might be interested in truthful reporting.

The USA Today article does not put quotes around the following, which is in Jones’s “article”:

In response to Israel’s large-scale abuses of Palestinian rights, Palestinian Civil Society launched a call for a global campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions of Israel in 2005, modeled on the call by black South Africans for a boycott of apartheid South Africa that helped bring an end to the racist system.

The press release/USA Today article goes on to recount the names of other artists who have been successfully intimidated – eagerly or otherwise – into believing the worst about Israel and who have cancelled their performances in Israel.

Columnist Jeffrey Goldberg was apparently the first to notice the similarity between the press release and the article, and tweeted it on Thursday.  The Algemeiner also took note.

Thus far Keys has remained firm and plans to perform in Tel Aviv on July 4.  There are some social media efforts to support Keys in this position, including this Facebook page, “Alicia Keys Plays for Peace in Israel,” and an inspired effort by a New Jersey woman described in an earlier Jewish Press article, urging supporters to buy Keys’ music worldwide on the day of her Tel Aviv concert.

Alice Walker at 92nd Street Y: Tight Security, Squelched Interview

Wednesday, June 12th, 2013

The day before pop music star Alicia Keys rebuffed the appeals of author Alice Walker and Pink Floyd band member Rogers Waters to cancel her upcoming performance in Israel, Walker herself benefited from the Jewish community, which gave her a platform to promote her work.

On May 30, the 92nd Street Y in New York City hosted Walker, an activist with the anti-Israel boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement, at a book-signing for her new collection of poetry, The World Will Follow Joy, and her new book of meditations, The Cushion in the Road.

Before the book signing, the 92Y stage was the setting for a dialogue between Walker and playwright Eve Ensler for a dialogue that was mutually adoring, with each singing the other’s praises.

Outside the event on Lexington Avenue in Manhattan, the response of the Jewish community to the use of 92Y as a venue for an anti-Zionist was tepid. A small, noisy group of perhaps 20 people, mostly elderly, demonstrated against Walker’s appearance.

Lannie Grauman, one of the few younger protesters, said she was raising her voice to make clear that a Jewish organization should not provide a venue for an avowed hater of Israel.

“Walker spreads lies about Israel,” she said.

Police arrived when a confrontation between a screaming protester and a Walker supporter threatened to erupt into physical conflict. Security was tight – even people coming into the 92Y lobby were interrogated.

Della Johnson awaited a friend on the landing outside the entry doors. Johnson said she “simply wanted to see [Walker] in person,” and was not keeping up with Walker’s political opinions.

Those opinions – including Walker’s positions concerning Israel, her support of the BDS movement, or her participation in the attempts to break Israel’s legal blockage of Gaza – found no expression during her time on stage. The love-fest began with Ensler’s pronouncement that “it feels right,” as the two clasped hands.

“I honor this woman,” Ensler said.

Walker and Ensler conducted a polite, philosophical dialogue about “humanity,” with frequent expressions of high regard for each other’s work.

The few questions allowed from the audience were submitted in writing, on cards supplied and collected by ushers. The questions were thoroughly filtered – any possibility of Walker being challenged on Israel was eliminated.

When the staged segment was finished, the two authors sat together. “This is a book signing,” announced 92Y’s director of security.

“If you don’t have a book you have to leave,” he added.

There were no exceptions. Lorri Schwartz, a therapist who had been invited to attend by an Ensler associate, was summarily escorted out of the book-signing line, forced to purchase a book in order to have a moment of conversation with Ensler.

After each purchaser of an Ensler or Walker book had received an autograph, Walker agreed to answer several questions from JNS.org.

Asked why she refused to allow Israeli publisher Yediot Books to translate The Color Purple into Hebrew last year, Walker responded, “It was translated [into Hebrew] before there was a boycott [of Israel]. So it’s already there.”

Explaining her rationale behind boycotting Israel, Walker said that in her experience, “boycotts are ideal for such situations in which you refuse to employ violence.”

“You know, we went through this in the [American] South,” she said. “We went through this in South Africa and it’s the only option…because Israel has been very brutal in occupying Palestinian land and its mistreatment of Palestinian people. Have you been to Gaza? You see what has been done to the people?”

Before Walker could respond to the point that Gaza City is actually highly developed and residents there enjoy a comfortable lifestyle, Beverly Greenfield, director of public and media relations for 92Y, attempted to interrupt the conversation.

But Walker continued.

“I would stop my government from giving the Israeli government so much money,” she said. “We need the money here. Our schools are a mess – they’re closing them down. Our hospitals are terrible. You know, the poor communities are in such suffering. We need the money that we have been giving to Israel all these years. It’s not right. There’s no way you can make it right.”

As Walker continued to express her views, 92Y’s Greenfield, who monitored the entire interview, again interrupted. “This is not the place for this,” she said, before shutting down the interview.

(JNS)

NJ Woman: ‘Show Alicia Keys Support for Supporting Israel’

Tuesday, June 4th, 2013

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.”

Pro-Israel New Yorkers Protest 92nd St Y’s anti-Israel Speaker

Saturday, June 1st, 2013

“She can say whatever she wants, but not in ‘our’ building,” was Manhattan attorney Robert Sidi’s response when finding out that the 92nd Street Y was hosting vocal Israel-hater novelist Alice Walker.

Sidi was explaining to The Jewish Press why he showed up Thursday night, May 30, to stand outside the 92nd Street Y and protest the fact that a Jewish institution, built and maintained with funds from Jewish charities, was providing a platform to someone who “denounces, denigrates and demonizes Israel.”

About a dozen pro-Israel New Yorkers joined Sidi last night, protesting the appearance by Alice Walker at the Y.  Walker was at the 92nd St Y to promote a recent publication of a book of poetry and to talk “about her activism and her writing, her conflicting impulses to retreat into inner contemplation and to remain deeply engaged with the world.”

Lainee Cohen Grauman and her husband Jonathan Grauman told The Jewish Press that they only found out about Walker’s appearance at the 92nd Street Y two days before the event.

“It really riled me,” Lainee Cohen Grauman said. “I liked her book, The Color Purple, but her politics and anti-Israel activities are  horrible.”  Grauman ticked off several anti-Israel positions Walker has taken: “she was on the flotilla to break the blockade of Gaza, she tried to stop Carnegie Hall from hosting the Israeli Philharmonic, and now she is trying to get Alicia Keys to back out of her appearance in Israel.”

Alicia Keys is a popular R & B singer scheduled to appear in Tel Aviv in July.  In a public letter Alice Walker called on Keys to pull out of her commitment to perform in the Jewish State.

In the letter Walker wrote to Keys, “It would grieve me to know you are putting yourself in danger (soul danger) by performing in an apartheid country that is being boycotted by many global conscious artists.”

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.

This is actually a wonderful opportunity for you to learn about something sorrowful, and amazing: that our government (Obama in particular) supports a system that is cruel, unjust, and unbelievably evil. You can spend months, and years, as I have, pondering this situation. Layer upon layer of lies, misinformation, fear, cowardice and complicity. Greed. It is a vast eye-opener into the causes of much of the affliction in our suffering world.

Grauman tried to call the 92nd Street Y administration to ask why they were providing a forum for Alice Walker, but finally gave up after  being repeatedly foiled by the switchboard.  Not only could she not speak with anyone, she could not even leave a message.

“It was important to show up outside the Y for two reasons,” Jonathan Grauman told The Jewish Press. First, it is important to send a message to the Y and to other Jewish institutions – they need to be put on notice that there are members of the Jewish community who do not want Jewish communal dollars spent supporting enemies of Israel.  And second, we want Alice Walker to know that we are aware of her anti-Israel message and she will not go unchallenged.”

Both Graumans concurred that it was important to go out and challenge falsehoods against Israel. “Walker’s insistence that the land belongs to the Palestinians is not just anti-Israel, it is a rejection of 2000 years of Jewish history,” Jonathan Grauman explained.

Richard Allen is the head of JCC Watch, which sent out the original notice about Walker’s appearance at the Y.

“It is shameful that the 92nd Street Y is diverting Jewish community money for anti-Israel activities,” Allen told The Jewish Press. “There has been a pattern – first with [BDS activist] Roger Waters and now with Alice Walker.  And all of our efforts to speak with the 92nd Street Y administrators have been met with closed doors, closed ears and closed minds.”

The Israel supporters who showed up outside the 92nd St Y last night to protest Walker’s appearance had a rare opportunity: as she approached the entrance to the Y at about 8:00 p.m., they were able to engage Walker in discussion about what they claim are her severely twisted and untrue assertions about Israel.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/pro-israel-new-yorkers-protest-92nd-st-ys-anti-israel-speaker/2013/06/01/

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