By Bijan Bahmani

Information for those applying for covered California who have the old green card aka permanent resident cards that don’t have an expiration date and card number (light pink color card that only has an alien number).
Covered Ca has two required boxes when filing that require a card number and expiration date. Covered CA chat answered that the following place holders should be used.
Card number: 2229999999999
Expiration date: 12/31/9999

 Keywords:  obamacare health care, card number, green card, immigration, immigrant, california care, I-551, expiration date, card number (or “without card number” and “without expiration date”), Permanent resident card, resident alien card,  required fields, required box, boxes, required boxes /Covered CA, Covered California, covered california, covered ca. covered CA, 

Why We Cared about the Plantation and Needed an Apology:

A Letter to Ani DiFranco

By Indigo Violet

We bought your records, attended your shows, struggled with your white feminist and queer fans looking askance at us at your concerts. We thought you were an ally. And, now this.

What hurts for us feminists of color is that we went out on a limb to support you, and that in this historical moment when we say “Ani, please don’t have a retreat on an Old South plantation that glorifies its past. We can’t be there. We can’t do anything righteous there. We can only be hurt there,” you respond by lecturing us for being angry and bitter and by refusing to stand in solidarity with our pain. That YOU, the righteous babe, are re-enacting some of the most terrible patterns in white feminism hurts. It hurts because we’ve been organizing, writing, theorizing for years and years, trying to exorcise racism and white supremacy from our feminist movements, wanting white women to join us in that intersectional fight that would liberate us all. It hurts because we deal with racist assaults and racist blindness from the wider society ALL THE TIME, along with sexism, heterosexism, classism, queerphobia, transphobia, ablelism . . . We are living the legacy of the horror of this country. The horror is in the national consciousness that denies the facts of racism. The horror is in the law, economy, the education system, the prison industrial complex, in health care, our neighborhoods, on our streets, in our homes, our relationships, our psyches, and for those of us who are committed to struggle, it is in our politics and art. We’re trying to fix shit.

Imagine you’re a (black) girl just trying to finally come clean, knowing full well they’d prefer you were dirty (gracious— not bitter, not hurt, not angry) and smiling. . .

We need you to fix shit with us.

A friend, Premadasi Amada, wrote this on your Facebook fan page. This friend speaks my mind:

Ani DiFranco, with your insulting excuse for an apology you are now making your bed with all the white folks who are yelling at Black people and women of color: ‘reverse racism’, ‘stop whining’, ‘get over it’, ‘stop being angry’, etc.  Ani, you’re responsible for responding to and reigning in the disgusting expressions of white privilege and hate being spewed by your white fans. The time is now. Also, it’s unfathomable that anything about this has to be explained. You have enough Black women and women of color generally telling you what was wrong with it and how you what you did hurt. Which part of all that leads you to not say you are sorry? You need to listen and apologize rather than complaining and lecturing. This isn’t about you and your feelings Ani.

We need you to fix shit and say something different than what you said. If progressive white folks can’t fix shit, if feminist artists and activists can’t address shit for real, come clean for real about the intricate, longstanding and ongoing pain of race, racism, and white supremacy then there is no hope whatsoever for this America.

© Indigo Violet, December 31, 2013

Links to other articles on this issue:

“In a banner year for non-apology apologies, singer-songwriter Ani DiFranco non-apologized this weekend for renting out an old Louisiana slave plantation to host a songwriting workshop. The event, now canceled, was billed as a “Righteous Retreat” and charged attendees $1,000 to sleep in a tent for four nights and learn about “developing one’s singular creativity” while DiFranco and her friends led jam sessions. The “captivating setting” was to be Nottoway Plantation and Resort in White Castle, Louisiana, a 64-room, 53,000-square-foot antebellum mansion and sugar plantation”



The social-justice songstress has canceled the event—but the mess is of her own making._______________________________

“The decision had spurred angry posts across the web. Ninjacate wrote on Groupthink: “It really blows my mind that anyone in Ani DiFranco’s camp had to have it explained to them that luxuriating for a weekend at a site where mass murder and forced incarceration took place for centuries IS A BAD F—— IDEA. And I know this will seem like a stretch, (but I promise it’s not) I genuinely believe that this kind of attitude is directly related to the prevailing world-wide idea of anti-blackness.”


Folk singer Ani DiFranco pulled the plug on a coming retreat at a former plantation outside of New Orleans after fans voiced outrage over the location of the event.


“It’s not like I hadn’t given any thought to how it would feel to spend four days writing songs with my Ideas Colleagues on an infamous slavery site. We were going to bring really good vibes with us. Vibes of compassion, and also transformation, which as everyone knows is how you heal a plantation.

But there will be no vibes now. I am taking my vibes and my ideas and my compassion and I am going home to my Tempurpedic mattress because of your negative and unfortunate energy.”



An open apology note from Ani DiFranco.


Christian Entitlement

Comments on an article, because there’s so much more to say on the topic.
By Emma Rosenthal

When an article was recently posted on  Christian “Privilege”   and then circulated on Facebook, I added a few of my own observations and experiences.  I kept coming back to the article to as more and more examples of Christian entitlement came to me.  So I decided it was time to put them into my own list.

This sort of bigotry is very much rooted in white supremacy, manifest destiny, imperialism and conquest. This isn’t really about “faith”, as the article that inspired my list, suggests. It’s very much about culture and domination.  Christian privilege extends to secular life and nonreligious practices. The article itself embodies Christian privilege, in asserting that non-Christians’ faith is the subject of marginalization.  One often does not escape these marginalizing attitudes simply by converting. Often persecution is cross generational, ethnic and racialized.

1. Tests, classes, schedules, the beginning of the school year, programs  will be considered  in scheduling in academic calendars so as not to conflict with your holidays and important events.

2. Negative opinions of your faith aren’t translated into actual policy or institutions that limit you or your access to opportunities and services.

3. The cultural aspects of your faith, or the faith aspects of your culture won’t be minimized, conflated or dismissed.

4.  You won’t be racialized and subjected to systemic racism (including government harassment, profiling, incarceration, genocide) because of your faith or lineage.

5. You won’t be assumed to be a 5th column, loyal to an outside entity.

6. Your religious identity or affiliation will be seen as an indication of virtue and not as dangerous, mysterious, magical, exotic, heretical, dishonest or untrustworthy.

7. If you are a teacher, you won’t be told “i don’t know how you can teach my child.” (i actually have had children pulled out of my class by their parents for this reason, and i’ve heard other Jewish teachers say the same thing. )

8. Your children won’t constantly be told by classmates that they are damned for all eternity and will burn in hell.

9. Because of your faith, you won’t be assumed to be good at some professions, dominating some and untrustworthy in others.

1o. (Despite evidence to the contrary, when it comes to global conquest) you won’t be accused of attempting  world domination and imposing your values, beliefs and religious mandates on the whole world.

11 People who carry out violent acts, won’t be assumed to be from your religious group, even when they are, and when they are, even when religion is the motivator for the act, it won’t be held against you and your entire group.

12. You can use the word crusade like it is a good thing, a generic word simply in reference to an impassioned campaign, as if it has no historic reference to brutality, murder, conquest or genocide.

13. No one asks you where your horns and tail are. (yes. that.)

14. You won’t be seen as a foreigner or outsider, no matter how many generations your family has lived in a particular geography.

15. Your secular appreciation of your holidays, traditions and events aren’t considered superfluous, extraneous or insincere.

ByEwuare X. Osayande

This article was originally published in
People of Color Organize! and is not currently available on that site. We are republishing it here, under the principles of fair use policies,  to make available this important contribution on the nature of anti-racism. -cafe intifada“My friends, I have come to tell you something about slavery – what I know of it, as I have felt it. When I came North, I was astonished to find that the abolitionists knew so much about it, that they were acquainted with its effects as well as if they had lived in its midst. But though they can give you its history – though they can depict its horrors, they cannot speak as I can from experience …”

    Frederick Douglass, 1841

In the past decade or so, we have witnessed the rise of critical race studies, even something called Whiteness Studies. With the rise of Whiteness Studies on college campuses across the country has come the resurgence of whites as so-called experts on all matters pertaining to race. Among the most popular of them is the anti-racist speaker Tim Wise, who has become a regular presence on the college lecture circuit as well as in the media in the past few years. He has even been deemed the leader of the anti-racist movement by some of these very media outlets.

As Black liberationist, abolitionist, anti-racist and social justice activists, we would be wise to use this moment to ask some critical questions of ourselves and the state of the movement for racial justice in the U.S. We are thus compelled to critically engage Tim Wise and what his apparent popularity represents both in symbol and substance. In so doing, we confront the two fundamental issues in this work of eradicating racism: internalized oppression and white privilege.

Wise’s popularity among liberal whites is not that surprising to me. What is surprising is the level of popularity he’s gained within segments of the Black community. Some have even gone as far as to view him as some kind of Great White Hope. What is most curious about this apparent Black fascination with Wise is that when I hear certain Black people and other people of color refer to him, they talk about him in the same way they would talk about the first time they saw a white guy dance, rap or dunk a basketball. By internalizing the stereotypes of Blackness as defined by the white racist imagination, we have, in turn, embraced a codified image of Blackness. Thus, when we see white people cross the race-tracks and engage in behavior that has been deemed “Black,” we react with a kind of cultural “shock and awe.” In the case of Wise it is a little more complicated than that. Wise isn’t being acknowledged for his ability to sing or dance “like a Black person” but for his willingness to cross the tracks of race discourse and out whiteness – the ultimate racial taboo.

There is this sense among some of us that because he speaks against racism, he must be all right. And as such, he has garnered the coveted “ghetto pass,” a symbolic gesture given to those whites considered “down” with Black people. But we have seen what happens when whites feel they are “in like Flynn” with our people; they get right racist and condescending (remember Bill Clinton during the 2008 Presidential campaign?). In effect, they become even whiter. Therefore, let us insure that Wise’s “pass” doesn’t enable him to bypass critical inquiry that could benefit the movement and, maybe, even Wise himself.

What this fascination fails to take into consideration is the fact that white people have been speaking out against racial oppression since the first slave ships docked in the colony of Virginia. We should be past such elementary appreciation. When we fail to hold whites who proclaim an anti-racist stance to a higher standard, all we end up with are whites talking about how bad racism is. Mouthing off against racism is not going to end racism, no matter how loud and boisterous the bombast becomes. We have to get beyond this almost worship-like praise for what, in the end, are but baby steps in the long march against white supremacy.

Don’t get me wrong, I do not have a problem with white people speaking out against racism or Black people acknowledging white people working against racism. But when that acknowledgment precludes or is prioritized over and beyond our acknowledgment of ourselves, then we have a problem. That problem is called internalized oppression, a symptom of the very system we are working to defeat. Therefore, Black people giving uncritical praise or consideration to our white allies actually works toward our continued oppression. Remember how some of our people who were blinded by whiteness used to say: “The white man’s ice is colder”? Well, it seems these days that that same internalized oppression is at play in some who believe that the white man’s anti-racist analysis is more accurate than our own.

When I ask such persons what makes Wise’s commentaries so unique or revolutionary, they become quiet. For in truth, there is nothing new in Wise’s analysis. If anything, it is an analysis born of the blood struggle for Black liberation and racial justice throughout American history. Our ancestors may not have used terms like “white privilege.” Instead, they just called it what it was and is: white supremacy. (Imagine a white anti-racist saying, “I’m going to use my white supremacy to help people of color.”) Nonetheless, white privilege has become the watch-word of the movement. Yet, for the most part, it has been used as a means for white anti-racists to point the finger at “those” whites or navel gaze and wallow in a guilt that doesn’t produce results. Overall, it has the tendency to takes us away from addressing the real issue head on – whiteness itself and the ideology of white supremacy that gives whiteness whatever power and meaning it currently holds.

In the case of Tim Wise and other leading white anti-racists, we can accurately pin-point the state of the anti-racist movement by unpacking the white privileges they, themselves, hold and benefit from.

The first of these white privileges is one I have already addressed: The ability to paraphrase and/or otherwise exploit the analysis of Black liberation struggle and have it received by others as though it were their own. In the past decade or so, there has grown a cottage industry of books written by white people talking about their whiteness and their awareness of racism. When these white authors fail to acknowledge the debt they owe to the blood struggle of people of color in this country as they often do, they practice a form of racism that keeps that history erased from the consciousness of this country. This enables the white establishment to bypass Black people and hold up their own as authorities on the race question.

Another white privilege Tim Wise and other white anti-racists carry is the ability to emotionally express their views about racism without having that expression dismissed as “angry” or “too emotional”. When Wise speaks passionately and fervently about racism, his expression is understood as a sign of a person standing up for what he believes. As such, it is championed even when he is derisive or sardonic in his remarks. When we, people of color activists, speak passionately about racism, we are maligned and ridiculed as being angry, militant, even hateful and dangerous. If we wish to be heard (let alone understood), we are expected to speak calmly and politely about our experience and analysis regarding racism. Otherwise we are demonized. White moral indignation is justified. Black moral indignation is vilified. This has long been the case.

The third white privilege that Tim Wise and other so-called white anti-racists enjoy is the privilege of being honored for their anti-racist work as their Black activist counterparts and other activists of color are denounced and derided. Case in point: Several years back I spoke at a school in Massachusetts for their annual Dr. King Day commemoration. As I spoke about King’s legacy and the ongoing struggle for racial justice, I was met with outright hostility from the students gathered in the auditorium. The following year I would be contacted by an Arab faculty member at the school. She would inform me that for that year’s King Day event, the school decided to invite Tim Wise to address the student body. She went on to inform me that Wise was received with profound admiration by the very same students that heckled me the year before. Isolated incident? Chance circumstance? To my knowledge, similar events like this have at occurred on two more occasions since.

On one of the other occasions, I was contacted by a Black student organization that had to petition a reluctant administration to gain the necessary approval to invite me to speak. Just one semester following my presentation they would inform me that Tim Wise had just spoken at their school, where he received the red carpet of administrative respect and welcome. When this occurred at a third school, a Vietnamese student emailed me and rhetorically but sincerely asked, “Isn’t this what Tim Wise is supposed to be against?”. In all three cases, persons and groups that reached out to me expressed a level of frustration at witnessing the hypocrisy of the institutions they were working at or attending.

Let me make it clear here that I am not airing this to complain about my personal experiences. I do it because I know that I am not the only one who is experiencing this kind of racism. I am also addressing it here because in one of the cases I’ve mentioned, it actually worked to undermine the efforts of students who had organized to hold their university accountable. Over a four-year period, I worked diligently with these students and their allies. During this time of dedicated training, they all became adept anti-racist activists. They were a small but formidable band of students ready and prepared to take the university to task on its stated and unstated policies toward students, faculty and staff of color. The very year they planned to confront the university administration with their agenda, word got back to some key university officials. And in true duck and cover fashion, the administration brought in Wise with much publicity to avoid addressing the students and their demands. The entire campus turned out and the university was able to present itself as champions of diversity. Thus, when the students brought forward their demands, the university was able to side-step them by claiming that they were on top of it given their experience with Wise. Of course they were lying, but the students no longer had leverage as the campus community felt that they had done enough by bringing Tim Wise to speak.

This is just one example of the ways that white anti-racists who are not in accountable relationships with activists of color can be used to work against the best interests of people of color, whether knowingly or not.

One of the student leaders of this effort would later ask me if I’d be willing to debate Wise. I informed her that I would welcome the opportunity to engage in a constructive conversation with Wise on the state, purpose and direction of anti-racist struggle. The problem with that is that Wise only debates individuals with views more conservative than his own. This way he can continue to promote himself as the most radical anti-racist voice on the scene when he is not – not even among whites. [Noel Ignatiev has called for the outright abolition of whiteness in the face of other whites’ calls for what essentially amount to a kinder, gentler whiteness. By so doing, Ignatiev is taking up the challenge to expose whiteness as a form of status within the capitalist system rather than as a biological or cultural reality, which is how it continues to get passed off as – even within certain so-called anti-racist circles. Such an assertion takes it cue from an observation James Baldwin made many moons ago: “As long as you think you’re white, there’s no hope for you.” If such an end were the aim of the movement, so-called white anti-racists could no longer go around claiming to want to use their white privilege for the good of the movement. Such a claim would be recognized as the nonsense it is.] Like Eminem in “8 Mile” taking on the Black rapper from the suburbs in his effort to establish his street cred and carry the “Blacker than thou” mantle, it seems that Wise takes on conservative intellectuals of color like Dinesh D’Sousa and Ward Connerly to prove he’s “Blacker” (more radical) than they are. That might impress some of Wise’s liberal Black bourgeois friends, but such side-show debates do nothing to bring us any closer to eradicating institutional racism.

It seems that Wise and other anti-racist whites have become higher education’s answer to people of color activists like me. As long as the dissidents are white, these schools are willing to practice the “tolerance” they claim to uphold as beacons of the liberal arts. It has even gotten to the point that nowadays it is not at all strange to see a white person giving the keynote speech for Black History Month. I honestly don’t think that is what Dr. Carter G. Woodson had in mind when he instituted the week-long celebration that would become Black History Month back in 1926. It is bad enough that February, the shortest calendar month of the year, is what Amiri Baraka calls “Black artist employment month.” Now we can’t even count on that. Like our people who are removed from the neighborhoods they grew up in as affluent whites gentrify urban communities, we find ourselves being removed from the one space our ancestors fought for on the calendar. And why is it so difficult for some of us to not see this racial switch as an attack on Black self-determination in much the same way as the current effort to dismiss Black History Month all together?

What can be deduced from these experiences is that there is clear benefit for those with white skin even in the context of anti-racist discourse. There is a distinct inequality in how we are perceived and treated by the white establishment. Despite Wise’s opposition to white supremacy and white privilege, he is a clear beneficiary of both. This is largely due to the fact that, evidently, he is not perceived as a threat to the establishment.

What does this say about Wise? What does this say about the state of the movement? What does this say about the state of racism in our society? White institutions can tolerate anti-racist discourse as long as it is spoken by somebody who looks like them. In fact, such staged discourse becomes a prime opportunity for such schools to present themselves as champions of multiculturalism and diversity even as they continue to enact policies and initiate professional and educational practices that discriminate against students, faculty and staff of color.

By definition, white privilege is not earned. Wise doesn’t have to do anything to gain access to the benefits assigned to the social construct of racialized whiteness. Even his apparent efforts to expose it have not caused the white establishment to banish him or treat him like a person of color. Given that Wise isn’t saying anything new or revolutionary in regards to how to eradicate racism, what accounts for his popularity and celebrity status and the fact that his calendar is filled with engagements for the next few years? His whiteness! The very thing he speaks against. Might this be the ultimate white privilege?

Now I am sure that there are some people reading this who might be saying, “Of course he can’t escape his privilege, we live in a racist society!” No argument here. All the more reason for him and those like him to be held accountable.

When grassroots Black activists speak honestly about racism at colleges across this country, we are not met with open arms by administrators and faculty. And most certainly our calendars are not full for the rest of the year let alone for the next three to five. When we speak, we are often met by the deaf ear of white denial. When Tim Wise speaks, he gets applause, standing ovations, awards and proclamations. The fact that schools can’t “hear” us when I and other people of color speak but will search out and roll out the red carpet for Wise is a statement to a kind of racism that doesn’t get discussed much – if at all – in our work. Despite all of the white anti-racist presentations given over the years at colleges and universities across the country, institutional racism at these schools remains intact. All the while, activists of color continue to be muffled and marginalized. Even in the ghetto of race discourse we remain tenants and never owners of an analysis that is ours to begin with.

One way that whites can be accountable is to stop being enablers to white supremacy by supplanting the voice of people of color with their own. We do not need white people speaking for people of color. Such talk is crass paternalism. My words do not need to be placed through a white filter in order for them to be understandable. Besides, there are some things that get lost in “translation.” If there is work for whites to do on this issue, then let it be work that addresses this deaf ear of white denial. This is a question of power. Whites that do not listen to people of color do not have a “hearing problem.” They fail to hear and to listen because they can. Those that promote the claim that white people speaking for people of color is a positive only coddle such whites in the comfort of their conformity to a way of life that denies, not just the voices of people of color, but our lives as well.

All of the aforementioned privileges taken together provide Wise a pretty formidable platform from which to attract the support of those of us who seek an end to racism. By supporting him, such persons are made to feel as if they are fighting racism. In this vein, he is able to make use of such support from those who will rally to his rescue when he calls on them to defend him with a bevy of “like” button clicks or a hail of 5-star reviews when he has occasioned a derisive remark made by the usual suspect – an avowed white supremacist. Really? Has this become the epitome of anti-racist activism? This would be laughable if we weren’t discussing something as deadly serious as racism. Such “cyber activism” is just another form of white diversion from engaging in actual activist work.

Must I remind us that people of color live our lives under daily assault? Clicking a “like” button is not going to stop the hail of gun-fire that snuffs out the lives of the Oscar Grants and Aiyana Joneses of our communities. Oscar Grant and Aiyana Jones were not militant activists. Jones was just seven years old for God’s sake! They were Black and, according to this system, that was sufficient. Until the movement confronts that realityhead on rather than cry about some nasty review of their book, I have little regard for their “anti-racist” activism. Such attacks from white supremacists should be expected in this work. If I had a dollar for every piece of hate mail I’ve received …. My point is that it comes with the territory. To make noise about it is just self-serving. And that is putting it mildly.

This imbalanced relationship between people of color activists and white anti-racists reinforces the power dynamic of white supremacy even within the movement. White anti-racists have been able to evade accountability on this front due to the fact that they wield power and influence over and beyond people of color activists by virtue of their white-skinned privilege. This is a fact that has dogged our movement since the days of Abolition. And to those who question my right to question Tim Wise or suggest that Wise is beyond critique, I say as Henry Highland Garnet said to the white abolitionists of his day, “If it has come to this, that I must think and act as you do, because you are an abolitionist, or be exterminated by your thunder, then I do not hesitate to say that your abolitionism is abject slavery.”

The fact is that someone like a William Lloyd Garrison, who did far more than Wise with far less than Wise, was critiqued way more harshly than anything I have penned here by his Black contemporaries. Maria Stewart, Frederick Douglass and others within the Black Abolitionist Movement always maintained an analysis that was independent of white abolitionists. Theirs was an analysis based on the life-and-death reality they faced on the daily. And they were quick to check the blurry vision of those who sat upon the lofty heights of their privileged status as whites no matter how well-meaning they may have been. To relinquish that right and responsibility now would be a disservice to my forebears and the example they have left for all of us.

This is a problem that our movement must address. This movement cannot challenge the institutional racism as it is currently positioned or personified. Our people’s movement for liberation and self-determination has resulted in the development of a community of whites who have amassed a working knowledge of the system of white supremacy. Many of them claim to possess a conscious commitment to eradicate racism. Yet there is a lack of critical direction or an expressed unwillingness on their part to take the direction from the lived reality of people of color movements for racial justice.

In order to resolve this, we must first question ourselves and address our failure to anticipate this trend and prepare ourselves for it. Instead of providing an agenda for white anti-racists to engage with us in authentic solidarity, many of us now just get giddy and tickled by the spectacle of whites talking about racism. Our lack of awareness of the lessons learned from past alliances with whites and our apparent unwillingness and/or inability to hold those whites who claim a commitment to anti-racist struggle accountable has resulted in a movement that is largely led by whites.

Black liberation theologian James Cone’s twenty-five year old observation remains true: “Wherever Black people have entered into a mutual relation with white people, with rare exceptions, the relationship has always worked to the detriment of our struggle. From the abolitionist movement of the nineteenth century to the recent civil rights struggle of the 1950s and 60s, whites demonstrated that they cannot follow but must always lead.”

I do not expect or anticipate Wise of his own volition to critically assess himself in the context of Black self-determination and people of color solidarity. Further, I don’t expect Wise to move beyond his lucrative lecture tours to organize a movement of whites that actually confronts systemic racism. After all these years that he has been on the scene, if he were to start such an effort, he would have done so by now. Even so, the fact remains that in the realm of anti-racist struggle, thousands-of-dollars engagements do not constitute activism. They might be materially enriching for him on a personal level, but for the cause he claims to represent, such talk is cheap. And please, lest I find myself inundated with emails from those who idolize Wise, let me state for the record that nothing I have written herein will have any detrimental impact on his ability to make a living. His bank account will not take a dive on the account of my critique. One thing is for certain, he will never have to contend with the daily concerns of activists of color who are attacked and marginalized for speaking our truths and challenging convention in society and within our own ranks.

I’d say it is high time to up the anti-racist ante. In the end, what actually is a white anti-racist? Who defines such? And if that definition comes from a white person, how is that anti-racist? These questions may not be convenient, but us closing our eyes to them doesn’t make the issues they speak to go away. And I am clear that I am not the only one asking such questions. There is an ever-widening circle of committed people of color and white activists that see the hypocrisies and inconsistencies that exist within this work. They, too, are trying, in their own responsible way, to address them. It is time that we bring these questions to the surface, not to denigrate each other, but to strengthen our will and resolve in the spirit of fulfilling our purpose as a movement: the eradication of systemic racism.

Until the movement as a whole is able to adequately address these critical concerns, and people of color are no longer being dismissed and having our truths overlooked or otherwise dissed by those that claim to be our allies, here is a word to the wise: Rather than talk about the white privilege of others, Wise would be wise to simply discuss his own. Not in some general, “I’m a white guy” way either, but in a way that addresses his particular privileges as a white guy talking about racism such as the ones outlined in this essay. There would be no more compelling argument.

Facebook claims it is taking hate speech more seriously. There’s a mechanism for reporting it. Those of us who repeatedly report it, know all too well that the most vile racism, sexism, ableism, white supremacy, personal attacks and bigotry seem to be just fine for Facebook. And the most innocuous comments in opposition seem to be the object of warnings and time outs.

I’m in Facebook jail right now—a 12 hour hold on posting or liking anything, including to my own wall.

What happened?  One of my FB friends posted a link to a page that was racist and homophobic  with the following statement:

“Here’s another hate page: https://www.facebook.com/kastrup.jessica?fref=ts
Unfortunately, it’s in German. It contains such gems as a reference to the “faggot [Schwuchtel]” Arafat who “died of AIDS”. I’ve reported it, as have several others, but like them I expect a reply from FB saying “this is not hate speech”. You can bet that similar sites defaming Jews and Judaism would (rightly) be removed immediately.”

and I commented

“not sure they would be taken down. look at the white supremacist crap that has been allowed to remain up, including attacks on Sylvia Posadas, Karen McRae, Elise Hendricks and myself.”

YUP that’s it. For all the rape jokes, dwarf tossing, racist crap that FB thinks is free speech,  for all of you who have reported some of the most vile personal attacks, who make a habit of calling out hate speech and get that insipid message that FB doesn’t find that the reported comment violates community standards, here it is—this is what it finds offensive:

“not sure they would be taken down. look at the white supremacist crap that has been allowed to remain up, including attacks on Sylvia Posadas, Karen McRae, Elise Hendricks and myself.”

I did take advantage of FBs option to appeal of their decision. I have not yet heard back from them.

In the online form to challenge their decision (see screenshot 3)

I replied to their question,  “what was deleted” I wrote: “i don’t have the text, as you have deleted it. I can send you a screenshot of what you told me was objectionable, but i fail to see how it violates your policies. ”

Where they ask, if I think this is an error, I wrote: “I can’t understand what was in error in that post. i posted that i and others had been targeted for posting against hate speech, and that those hate pages and those targeted were allowed to remain up, while other pages were taken down. seems a bit ironic. the only people named in that thread, were people who had been targeted with me and i am sure none of them reported me. it’s very outrageous that you would silence women who call out harassment. ”

My FB friend reports that FB later responded that it did not find the page he was calling out, to be in violation to FB standards.

So what happened? Well first of all, one of my friend’s FB friends had to have reported me, since that particular post was only visible to his friends. That is, someone found my comment or me objectionable and reported me, and it worked. FB jail for 12 hours.

This brings up a very important issue—one that Sylvia Posadas is painstaking about—calling out infiltrators, particularly populist white supremacists that attempt to infuse Palestine solidarity and social  justice with their racist ideology.  It also brings up the importance of having some idea of who the people are on your list. Some FB actvists just accept anyone onto their friends list, and this is the result—they troll your lists and report and harass your friends.

These are not people with whom we can dialogue. They are provocateurs and infiltrators.  Having friends reported like this has a chilling impact on dialogue. Too many activists have tolerated white supremacy and bigotry in the name of free speech, dialogue, diversity, tolerance, or your own need to have a long ass friends list.

If that’s you, pay attention. This isn’t summer camp. There are big forces opposed to the work we do, especially the work of Palestine solidarity, but social justice in general.  Know your friends, pay attention to what is happening on your wall. Stop allowing bullying and trolling where activists either have to accept abuse or spend inordinate amounts of time responding. Certainly don’t allow personal attacks on activists for raising pertinent issues, and again!!! know your friends

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We Removed Something You Posted We removed this from Facebook because it violates our Community Standards: not sure they would be taken down. Look at the white supremacist crap that has been allowed to remain up, incuding attacks on Sylvia Posadas, Karen MacRae, Elise Hendrick and myself.

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not sure they would be taken down. Look at the white supremacist crap that has been allowed to remain up, incuding attacks on Sylvia Posadas, Karen MacRae, Elise Hendrick and myself.

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This article was previously published by Al Jazeera, and was pulled. For that reason, and under fair use purview, we are reposting the article here. For more information on the censorship of this article by Al Jazeera, go to:  http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/al-jazeera-management-orders-joseph-massad-article-pulled-act-pro-israel

The article has been published on other sites as well. At Cafe Intifada we consider this article to be a significant contribution in understanding the relationship between ideological white supremacy and zionism.

By Joseph Massad

Jewish opponents of Zionism understood the movement since its early age as one that shared the precepts of anti-Semitism in its diagnosis of what gentile Europeans called the “Jewish Question”. What galled anti-Zionist Jews the most, however, was that Zionism also shared the “solution” to the Jewish Question that anti-Semites had always advocated, namely the expulsion of Jews from Europe.

It was the Protestant Reformation with its revival of the Hebrew Bible that would link the modern Jews of Europe to the ancient Hebrews of Palestine, a link that the philologists of the 18th century would solidify through their discovery of the family of “Semitic” languages, including Hebrew and Arabic. Whereas Millenarian Protestants insisted that contemporary Jews, as descendants of the ancient Hebrews, must leave Europe to Palestine to expedite the second coming of Christ, philological discoveries led to the labelling of contemporary Jews as “Semites”. The leap that the biological sciences of race and heredity would make in the 19th century of considering contemporary European Jews racial descendants of the ancient Hebrews would, as a result, not be a giant one.

Basing themselves on the connections made by anti-Jewish Protestant Millenarians, secular European figures saw the political potential of “restoring” Jews to Palestine abounded in the 19th century. Less interested in expediting the second coming of Christ as were the Millenarians, these secular politicians, from Napoleon Bonaparte to British foreign secretary Lord Palmerston (1785-1865) to Ernest Laharanne, the private secretary of Napoleon III in the 1860s, sought to expel the Jews of Europe to Palestine in order to set them up as agents of European imperialism in Asia. Their call would be espoused by many “anti-Semites”, a new label chosen by European anti-Jewish racists after its invention in 1879 by a minor Viennese journalist by the name of Wilhelm Marr, who issued a political programme titled The Victory of Judaism over Germanism. Marr was careful to decouple anti-Semitism from the history of Christian hatred of Jews on the basis of religion, emphasising, in line with Semitic philology and racial theories of the 19th century, that the distinction to be made between Jews and Aryans was strictly racial.

Assimilating Jews into European culture

Scientific anti-Semitism insisted that the Jews were different from Christian Europeans. Indeed that the Jews were not European at all and that their very presence in Europe is what causes anti-Semitism. The reason why Jews caused so many problems for European Christians had to do with their alleged rootlessness, that they lacked a country, and hence country-based loyalty. In the Romantic age of European nationalisms, anti-Semites argued that Jews did not fit in the new national configurations, and disrupted national and racial purity essential to most European nationalisms. This is why if the Jews remained in Europe, the anti-Semites argued, they could only cause hostility among Christian Europeans. The only solution was for the Jews to exit from Europe and have their own country. Needless to say, religious and secular Jews opposed this horrific anti-Semitic line of thinking. Orthodox and Reform Jews, Socialist and Communist Jews, cosmopolitan and Yiddishkeit cultural Jews, all agreed that this was a dangerous ideology of hostility that sought the expulsion of Jews from their European homelands.

The Jewish Haskalah, or Enlightenment, which emerged also in the 19th century, sought to assimilate Jews into European secular gentile culture and have them shed their Jewish culture. It was the Haskalah that sought to break the hegemony of Orthodox Jewish rabbis on the “Ostjuden” of the East European shtetl and to shed what it perceived as a “medieval” Jewish culture in favour of the modern secular culture of European Christians. Reform Judaism, as a Christian- and Protestant-like variant of Judaism, would emerge from the bosom of the Haskalah. This assimilationist programme, however, sought to integrate Jews in European modernity, not to expel them outside Europe’s geography.

When Zionism started a decade and a half after Marr’s anti-Semitic programme was published, it would espouse all these anti-Jewish ideas, including scientific anti-Semitism as valid. For Zionism, Jews were “Semites”, who were descendants of the ancient Hebrews. In his foundational pamphlet Der Judenstaat, Herzl explained that it was Jews, not their Christian enemies, who “cause” anti-Semitism and that “where it does not exist, [anti-Semitism] is carried by Jews in the course of their migrations”, indeed that “the unfortunate Jews are now carrying the seeds of anti-Semitism into England; they have already introduced it into America”; that Jews were a “nation” that should leave Europe to restore their “nationhood” in Palestine or Argentina; that Jews must emulate European Christians culturally and abandon their living languages and traditions in favour of modern European languages or a restored ancient national language. Herzl preferred that all Jews adopt German, while the East European Zionists wanted Hebrew. Zionists after Herzl even agreed and affirmed that Jews were separate racially from Aryans. As for Yiddish, the living language of most European Jews, all Zionists agreed that it should be abandoned.

The majority of Jews continued to resist Zionism and understood its precepts as those of anti-Semitism and as a continuation of the Haskalah quest to shed Jewish culture and assimilate Jews into European secular gentile culture, except that Zionism sought the latter not inside Europe but at a geographical remove following the expulsion of Jews from Europe. The Bund, or the General Jewish Labor Union in Lithuania, Poland, and Russia, which was founded in Vilna in early October 1897, a few weeks after the convening of the first Zionist Congress in Basel in late August 1897, would become Zionism’s fiercest enemy. The Bund joined the existing anti-Zionist Jewish coalition of Orthodox and Reform rabbis who had combined forces a few months earlier to prevent Herzl from convening the first Zionist Congress in Munich, which forced him to move it to Basel. Jewish anti-Zionism across Europe and in the United States had the support of the majority of Jews who continued to view Zionism as an anti-Jewish movement well into the 1940s.

Anti-Semitic chain of pro-Zionist enthusiasts

Realising that its plan for the future of European Jews was in line with those of anti-Semites, Herzl strategised early on an alliance with the latter. He declared in Der Judenstaat that:

“The Governments of all countries scourged by anti-Semitism will be keenly interested in assisting us to obtain [the] sovereignty we want.”

He added that “not only poor Jews” would contribute to an immigration fund for European Jews, “but also Christians who wanted to get rid of them”. Herzl unapologetically confided in his Diaries that:

“The anti-Semites will become our most dependable friends, the anti-Semitic countries our allies.”

Thus when Herzl began to meet in 1903 with infamous anti-Semites like the Russian minister of the interior Vyacheslav von Plehve, who oversaw anti-Jewish pogroms in Russia, it was an alliance that he sought by design. That it would be the anti-Semitic Lord Balfour, who as Prime Minister of Britain in 1905 oversaw his government’s Aliens Act, which prevented East European Jews fleeing Russian pogroms from entering Britain in order, as he put it, to save the country from the “undoubted evils” of “an immigration which was largely Jewish”, was hardy coincidental. Balfour’s infamous Declaration of 1917 to create in Palestine a “national home” for the “Jewish people”, was designed, among other things, to curb Jewish support for the Russian Revolution and to stem the tide of further unwanted Jewish immigrants into Britain.

The Nazis would not be an exception in this anti-Semitic chain of pro-Zionist enthusiasts. Indeed, the Zionists would strike a deal with the Nazis very early in their history. It was in 1933 that the infamous Transfer (Ha’avara) Agreement was signed between the Zionists and the Nazi government to facilitate the transfer of German Jews and their property to Palestine and which broke the international Jewish boycott of Nazi Germany started by American Jews. It was in this spirit that Zionist envoys were dispatched to Palestine to report on the successes of Jewish colonization of the country. Adolf Eichmann returned from his 1937 trip to Palestine full of fantastic stories about the achievements of the racially-separatist Ashkenazi Kibbutz, one of which he visited on Mount Carmel as a guest of the Zionists.

Despite the overwhelming opposition of most German Jews, it was the Zionist Federation of Germany that was the only Jewish group that supported the Nuremberg Laws of 1935, as they agreed with the Nazis that Jews and Aryans were separate and separable races. This was not a tactical support but one based on ideological similitude. The Nazis’ Final Solution initially meant the expulsion of Germany’s Jews to Madagascar. It is this shared goal of expelling Jews from Europe as a separate unassimilable race that created the affinity between Nazis and Zionists all along.

While the majority of Jews continued to resist the anti-Semitic basis of Zionism and its alliances with anti-Semites, the Nazi genocide not only killed 90 percent of European Jews, but in the process also killed the majority of Jewish enemies of Zionism who died precisely because they refused to heed the Zionist call of abandoning their countries and homes.

After the War, the horror at the Jewish holocaust did not stop European countries from supporting the anti-Semitic programme of Zionism. On the contrary, these countries shared with the Nazis a predilection for Zionism. They only opposed Nazism’s genocidal programme. European countries, along with the United States, refused to take in hundreds of thousands of Jewish survivors of the holocaust. In fact, these countries voted against a UN resolution introduced by the Arab states in 1947 calling on them to take in the Jewish survivors, yet these same countries would be the ones who would support the United Nations Partition Plan of November 1947 to create a Jewish State in Palestine to which these unwanted Jewish refugees could be expelled.

The pro-Zionist policies of the Nazis

The United States and European countries, including Germany, would continue the pro-Zionist policies of the Nazis. Post-War West German governments that presented themselves as opening a new page in their relationship with Jews in reality did no such thing. Since the establishment of the country after WWII, every West German government (and every German government since unification in1990) has continued the pro-Zionist Nazi policies unabated. There was never a break with Nazi pro-Zionism. The only break was with the genocidal and racial hatred of Jews that Nazism consecrated, but not with the desire to see Jews set up in a country in Asia, away from Europe. Indeed, the Germans would explain that much of the money they were sending to Israel was to help offset the costs of resettling European Jewish refugees in the country.

After World War II, a new consensus emerged in the United States and Europe that Jews had to be integrated posthumously into white Europeanness, and that the horror of the Jewish holocaust was essentially a horror at the murder of white Europeans. Since the 1960s, Hollywood films about the holocaust began to depict Jewish victims of Nazism as white Christian-looking, middle class, educated and talented people not unlike contemporary European and American Christians who should and would identify with them. Presumably if the films were to depict the poor religious Jews of Eastern Europe (and most East European Jews who were killed by the Nazis were poor and many were religious), contemporary white Christians would not find commonality with them. Hence, the post-holocaust European Christian horror at the genocide of European Jews was not based on the horror of slaughtering people in the millions who were different from European Christians, but rather a horror at the murder of millions of people who were the same as European Christians. This explains why in a country like the United States, which had nothing to do with the slaughter of European Jews, there exists upwards of 40 holocaust memorials and a major museum for the murdered Jews of Europe, but not one for the holocaust of Native Americans or African Americans for which the US is responsible.

Aimé Césaire understood this process very well. In his famous speech on colonialism, he affirmed that the retrospective view of European Christians about Nazism is that

it is barbarism, but the supreme barbarism, the crowning barbarism that sums up all the daily barbarisms; that it is Nazism, yes, but that before [Europeans] were its victims, they were its accomplices; and they tolerated that Nazism before it was inflicted on them, that they absolved it, shut their eyes to it, legitimised it, because, until then, it had been applied only to non-European peoples; that they have cultivated that Nazism, that they are responsible for it, and that before engulfing the whole of Western, Christian civilisation in its reddened waters, it oozes, seeps, and trickles from every crack.

That for Césaire the Nazi wars and holocaust were European colonialism turned inwards is true enough. But since the rehabilitation of Nazism’s victims as white people, Europe and its American accomplice would continue their Nazi policy of visiting horrors on non-white people around the world, on Korea, on Vietnam and Indochina, on Algeria, on Indonesia, on Central and South America, on Central and Southern Africa, on Palestine, on Iran, and on Iraq and Afghanistan.

The rehabilitation of European Jews after WWII was a crucial part of US Cold War propaganda. As American social scientists and ideologues developed the theory of “totalitarianism”, which posited Soviet Communism and Nazism as essentially the same type of regime, European Jews, as victims of one totalitarian regime, became part of the atrocity exhibition that American and West European propaganda claimed was like the atrocities that the Soviet regime was allegedly committing in the pre- and post-War periods. That Israel would jump on the bandwagon by accusing the Soviets of anti-Semitism for their refusal to allow Soviet Jewish citizens to self-expel and leave to Israel was part of the propaganda.

Commitment to white supremacy

It was thus that the European and US commitment to white supremacy was preserved, except that it now included Jews as part of “white” people, and what came to be called “Judeo-Christian” civilisation. European and American policies after World War II, which continued to be inspired and dictated by racism against Native Americans, Africans, Asians, Arabs and Muslims, and continued to support Zionism’s anti-Semitic programme of assimilating Jews into whiteness in a colonial settler state away from Europe, were a direct continuation of anti-Semitic policies prevalent before the War. It was just that much of the anti-Semitic racialist venom would now be directed at Arabs and Muslims (both, those who are immigrants and citizens in Europe and the United States and those who live in Asia and Africa) while the erstwhile anti-Semitic support for Zionism would continue unhindered.

West Germany’s alliance with Zionism and Israel after WWII, of supplying Israel with huge economic aid in the 1950s and of economic and military aid since the early 1960s, including tanks, which it used to kill Palestinians and other Arabs, is a continuation of the alliance that the Nazi government concluded with the Zionists in the 1930s. In the 1960s, West Germany even provided military training to Israeli soldiers and since the 1970s has provided Israel with nuclear-ready German-made submarines with which Israel hopes to kill more Arabs and Muslims. Israel has in recent years armed the most recent German-supplied submarines with nuclear tipped cruise missiles, a fact that is well known to the current German government. Israel’s Defence Minister Ehud Barak told Der SPIEGEL in 2012 that Germans should be “proud” that they have secured the existence of the state of Israel “for many years”. Berlin financed one-third of the cost of the submarines, around 135 million euros ($168 million) per submarine, and has allowed Israel to defer its payment until 2015. That this makes Germany an accomplice in the dispossession of the Palestinians is of no more concern to current German governments than it was in the 1960s to West German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer who affirmed that “the Federal Republic has neither the right nor the responsibility to take a position on the Palestinian refugees”.

This is to be added to the massive billions that Germany has paid to the Israeli government as compensation for the holocaust, as if Israel and Zionism were the victims of Nazism, when in reality it was anti-Zionist Jews who were killed by the Nazis. The current German government does not care about the fact that even those German Jews who fled the Nazis and ended up in Palestine hated Zionism and its project and were hated in turn by Zionist colonists in Palestine. As German refugees in 1930s and 1940s Palestine refused to learn Hebrew and published half a dozen German newspapers in the country, they were attacked by the Hebrew press, including by Haaretz, which called for the closure of their newspapers in 1939 and again in 1941. Zionist colonists attacked a German-owned café in Tel Aviv because its Jewish owners refused to speak Hebrew, and the Tel Aviv municipality threatened in June 1944 some of its German Jewish residents for holding in their home on 21 Allenby street “parties and balls entirely in the German language, including programmes that are foreign to the spirit of our city” and that this would “not be tolerated in Tel Aviv”. German Jews, or Yekkes as they were known in the Yishuv, would even organise a celebration of the Kaiser’s birthday in 1941 (for these and more details about German Jewish refugees in Palestine, read Tom Segev’s book The Seventh Million).

Add to that Germany’s support for Israeli policies against Palestinians at the United Nations, and the picture becomes complete. Even the new holocaust memorial built in Berlin that opened in 2005 maintains Nazi racial apartheid, as this “Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe” is only for Jewish victims of the Nazis who must still today be set apart, as Hitler mandated, from the other millions of non-Jews who also fell victim to Nazism. That a subsidiary of the German company Degussa, which collaborated with the Nazis and which produced the Zyklon B gas that was used to kill people in the gas chambers, was contracted to build the memorial was anything but surprising, as it simply confirms that those who killed Jews in Germany in the late 1930s and in the 1940s now regret what they had done because they now understand Jews to be white Europeans who must be commemorated and who should not have been killed in the first place on account of their whiteness. The German policy of abetting the killing of Arabs by Israel, however, is hardly unrelated to this commitment to anti-Semitism, which continues through the predominant contemporary anti-Muslim German racism that targets Muslim immigrants.

Euro-American anti-Jewish tradition

The Jewish holocaust killed off the majority of Jews who fought and struggled against European anti-Semitism, including Zionism. With their death, the only remaining “Semites” who are fighting against Zionism and its anti-Semitism today are the Palestinian people. Whereas Israel insists that European Jews do not belong in Europe and must come to Palestine, the Palestinians have always insisted that the homelands of European Jews were their European countries and not Palestine, and that Zionist colonialism springs from its very anti-Semitism. Whereas Zionism insists that Jews are a race separate from European Christians, the Palestinians insist that European Jews are nothing if not European and have nothing to do with Palestine, its people, or its culture. What Israel and its American and European allies have sought to do in the last six and a half decades is to convince Palestinians that they too must become anti-Semites and believe as the Nazis, Israel, and its Western anti-Semitic allies do, that Jews are a race that is different from European races, that Palestine is their country, and that Israel speaks for all Jews. That the two largest American pro-Israel voting blocks today are Millenarian Protestants and secular imperialists continues the very same Euro-American anti-Jewish tradition that extends back to the Protestant Reformation and 19th century imperialism. But the Palestinians have remained unconvinced and steadfast in their resistance to anti-Semitism.

Israel and its anti-Semitic allies affirm that Israel is “the Jewish people”, that its policies are “Jewish” policies, that its achievements are “Jewish” achievements, that its crimes are “Jewish” crimes, and that therefore anyone who dares to criticise Israel is criticising Jews and must be an anti-Semite. The Palestinian people have mounted a major struggle against this anti-Semitic incitement. They continue to affirm instead that the Israeli government does not speak for all Jews, that it does not represent all Jews, and that its colonial crimes against the Palestinian people are its own crimes and not the crimes of “the Jewish people”, and that therefore it must be criticised, condemned and prosecuted for its ongoing war crimes against the Palestinian people. This is not a new Palestinian position, but one that was adopted since the turn of the 20th century and continued throughout the pre-WWII Palestinian struggle against Zionism. Yasser Arafat’s speech at the United Nations in 1974 stressed all these points vehemently:

Just as colonialism heedlessly used the wretched, the poor, the exploited as mere inert matter with which to build and to carry out settler colonialism, so too were destitute, oppressed European Jews employed on behalf of world imperialism and of the Zionist leadership. European Jews were transformed into the instruments of aggression; they became the elements of settler colonialism intimately allied to racial discrimination…Zionist theology was utilised against our Palestinian people: the purpose was not only the establishment of Western-style settler colonialism but also the severing of Jews from their various homelands and subsequently their estrangement from their nations. Zionism… is united with anti-Semitism in its retrograde tenets and is, when all is said and done, another side of the same base coin. For when what is proposed is that adherents of the Jewish faith, regardless of their national residence, should neither owe allegiance to their national residence nor live on equal footing with its other, non-Jewish citizens -when that is proposed we hear anti-Semitism being proposed. When it is proposed that the only solution for the Jewish problem is that Jews must alienate themselves from communities or nations of which they have been a historical part, when it is proposed that Jews solve the Jewish problem by immigrating to and forcibly settling the land of another people – when this occurs, exactly the same position is being advocated as the one urged by anti-Semites against Jews.

Israel’s claim that its critics must be anti-Semites presupposes that its critics believe its claims that it represents “the Jewish people”. But it is Israel’s claims that it represents and speaks for all Jews that are the most anti-Semitic claims of all.

Today, Israel and the Western powers want to elevate anti-Semitism to an international principle around which they seek to establish full consensus. They insist that for there to be peace in the Middle East, Palestinians, Arabs and Muslims must become, like the West, anti-Semites by espousing Zionism and recognising Israel’s anti-Semitic claims. Except for dictatorial Arab regimes and the Palestinian Authority and its cronies, on this 65th anniversary of the anti-Semitic conquest of Palestine by the Zionists, known to Palestinians as the Nakba, the Palestinian people and the few surviving anti-Zionist Jews continue to refuse to heed this international call and incitement to anti-Semitism. They affirm that they are, as the last of the Semites, the heirs of the pre-WWII Jewish and Palestinian struggles against anti-Semitism and its Zionist colonial manifestation. It is their resistance that stands in the way of a complete victory for European anti-Semitism in the Middle East and the world at large.

Joseph Massad teaches Modern Arab Politics and Intellectual History at Columbia University in New York. He is the author of The Persistence of the Palestinian Question: Essays on Zionism and the Palestinians.

(Update 1/5/13:  Stanley Jordan announces on his Facebook page that he’s not going to be performing at the Red Sea Jazz Festival, that his performance has been cancelled. )

Via Facebook Stanley Jordan made the following declaration about his intention to cross the picket line of BDS, after a lengthy discussion of his initiation, on his Facebook wall, earlier that month.Here is the link to that previous thread, which has also been chronicled in this blog’s previous post:https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=316499341791766&id=14690024059&comment_id=1654054&notif_t=share_reply

And here is the link to the thread provided in this post:


Stanley Jordan · 13,640 like this

Monday at 9:59pm ·

  • Concerning my appearance at the Red Sea Jazz Festival:After a spirited online discussion and much deep soul-searching, I have decided to honor my commitment to perform at the festival. I had received numerous messages from supporters of the Palestinian people requesting that I cancel my appearance and boycott the festival, so I opened an online thread in order to discuss the matter.Our discussion revealed a crisis whose depth was even far greater than I had known, and I felt compelled to help. Like many others, I am deeply dedicated to the cause of world peace, and this situation goes against everything anyone with a heart could ever condone. However, after much consideration I concluded that the best way I could serve the cause would be to do my performance as scheduled, but separately organize an event in a major city in the United States to raise funds and awareness of the plight of the Palestinian people. The time frame will be in September or October 2013.To those who participated in the discussion: I was very impressed by your intelligence and passion and by the generosity of your time and energy in dialoging with me and educating me on this major humanitarian crisis. I was deeply moved by the information you provided, and I want to make sure that your time and effort goes to a good cause. In particular, I am concerned at how few of my countrymen in the United States are aware of the dimensions of this crisis. Some of you who joined the discussion are living it every day and I want you to know that I have heard you and I will dedicate this year to making sure that many more hear you as well. You can follow my twitter feed at http://www.twitter.com/stanley_jordan for announcements concerning this event. If any of you would like to be involved you may contact my publicist, Edie Okamoto, at eokamoto@riovida.net, phone: 1 (323) 274-7744 ext. 3. This concert will be the most important thing I do this year and I would love to have your help. Thank you very much and Happy New Year.

    13Like ·  · Share
    • 90 people like this.
    • Sylvia Posadas So sorry you cannot fully support Palestinian people at this time. You have not been requested to give charity, but support for their ethical choice of tactic. In time, perhaps you will understand what ‘solidarity’ really means.
    • Emma Rosenthal I hope you put real thought into this concert, understanding that by crossing the picket line, you limit the people who will trust you and join you in your proposed event. Palestinian civil society has made it clear it does not want charity. It wants solidarity. There is no honor in honoring a brutal regime. None at all. If you do have this concert, chose carefully who you raise funds for. Too often westerners feel empowered to determine for others what is in their best interests. This is often referred to as White savior syndrome, though it isn’t that specific. Donating to groups that are nominally for peace but instead normalize oppression might make you feel good, but may hurt the people you claim to be “helping.” This is not work of ego or flight of thought. It takes years of dedication and effort, with little thanks. 

      I do worry that you will be very disappointed in yourself once you have actually participated in this event. You may be doing your own spirit great injury.
    • Wren Tyree Stanley, I am proud that you did not allow your emotions and other’s emotions keep you from following your own path. I know it is difficult because you love your fans and you don’t want to disappoint them. Keep believing in yourself and let the universal language of music bring about healing in that area and in the whole world.. Hope you don’t mind me sharing some Annie to put some perspective on this issue. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LRIm5ufzMd4
    • Rima Najjar Dear Stanley:
      Having more or less communed with you for the past few days along with so many wonderful people with whose dedication I am utterly floored – reached out to you, poured out my heart to you, begged a little – though I am no beggar and I don’t want anyone’s charity, even if I need it – having done all that, I am hurt and disappointed with your decision (really cut up to be honest) – but it is your decision, as we have said all along. So I will say goodbye for now and take refuge in the strong and righteous words that so many have written. I hope you keep the thread on your FB up and invite your readers to take a look at it.
    • Brian Kelly You should cancel! Re-read some of the hundreds of comments and let them unsettle your decision! You have a responsibility to cancel and respect the call by Palestinian civil society for boycott.

      Don’t perform in Israel!!

    • Emma Rosenthal By emotions, do you mean empathy?
    • Andrew Wirth Dear Mr Jordan, congratulations on demonstrating the courage, independence and of openness of mind to recognise and respond to the humanity – the civil society – on both sides of this conflict. Indeed both sides need to recognise the human needs of the other- and support one another in taking the steps and the risks required to resolve this peacefully. Survey after survey has demonstrated that the great majority of Israelis seek peace based on a two state arrangement – there are many obstacles to achieving that both on the Israeli and Palestinian sides. Isolating the musical and broader cultural community and progressive elements in israeli society is the exact opposite of what is needed to build confidence and further the goals of peace.
    • Brian Kelly “Washing one’s hands of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless means to side with the powerful, not to be neutral.” – Paulo Freire
    • Jennifer Killen Maybe you should first pay a quiet visit, as an ordinary person – but remember when you go to Israel do not mention that you intend to visit Palestine or you may end up in gaol not at the festival.
    • Samira Barghouthi Stanley Jordan, I had the very strong feeling of what your plan was (not to cancel) and that is when I had earlier asked you the question of “..why you started this discussion forum”. At the time you gave a very convincing answer, “…to get educated…”. And apparently the information provided to you was very generous, that is to say the least. Sadly, you did not read the posts your self but you were rather given a summary by whoever is reading the posts. The problem with this technique is you get the summary manipulated and biased by the opinion of the one person reporting. You are not a very hard working student as you do not tend to your own notes but rather rely on short hand. Palestinians DO NOT WANT your concerts or singing or funds raised from your work. If you could not honor the struggle and you ignore the boycott call then do not bother. Anyhow, you are the kind of person who is too occupied and absorbed in ones small circle to ever see a bigger picture. Think big in human life and not $$$.
    • Alexandra Ferentinos Wren, it’s interesting you bring up Annie Lennox. It reminded me how her ex-husband, Israeli film and record producer Uri Fruchtmann is a Patron of a branch of the BDS-supporting ICAHD (The Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions): http://uk.icahd.org/articles.asp?menu=6&submenu=2&site=J&article=560

      And as for Annie Lennox herself: http://www.haaretz.com/culture/annie-lennox-i-have-no-interest-in-going-to-israel-1.318380

      May I say to everyone, if you ever get the chance to attend a talk by ICAHD’s Jeff Halper please do so, you won’t regret it and there are many videos on youtube where you can hear him too.
    • Emma Rosenthal ^ booo yah!
    • Steve Brammell It seems that all the others commenting here are trying to shame you regarding your decision to play in the country of Israel. I applaud you. There will be peace when the obstructionists accept the right of Israel to exist as the homeland of the Jewish people. Then, and only then, will the “two state” solution come to pass.
    • Caroline Francisco “Throughout history, it has been the inaction of those who could have acted; the indifference of those who should have known better; the silence of the voice of justice when it mattered most; that has made it possible for evil to triumph.” (Haile Selassie)
    • Elise Hendrick I love how the leading zioscab argument is that BDS will isolate “progressive segments of society”. What little there is in the reactionary mess that is Israeli society that can be called progressive is SUPPORTING BDS (or at least quite sympathetic to it).
    • Elise Hendrick ” There will be peace when the obstructionists accept the right of Israel to exist as the homeland of the Jewish people”

      So the obstructionists are those who call for equality and oppose institutionalised racism, and the “peace loving” people are the ones who want to be the first-class citizens in a society with second- and third-class ones as well.
    • Elise Hendrick How many of these bogus racist arguments can we name before they trot them out? I’ll start:

      “The Palestinians already have a homeland – Bophuthatswana.”
    • Sylvia Posadas Newspeak ‘peace’ – when the oppressed submit to being crushed by the boot of ‘peaceful’ racists.
    • Steve Brammell The state of Israel was created by the United Nations, along with the state of Palestine. The Arabs immediately attacked and took the land the UN had specified for Palestine. The two state solution would be a reality today if not for the intransigence of the Muslim world who looked to Hitler to solve the “Jewish Problem” and then allied themselves with that grand anti-Semite Joseph Stalin. Hundreds of thousands of Jews were also dispossessed of their homes in Arab countries after the creation of Israel. Stop the campaign to kill the Jews and you will have the peace you claim you want.
    • Raymond Deane You have slapped the Palestinian people in the face, and now propose to replace solidarity with charity. But I’m sure you feel a nice glow of self-satisfaction.
    • Raymond Deane Interesting that on this thread the pro-apartheid hasbaroids are coming out from under their stones, whereas they were nowhere to be seen on the previous one.
    • Matt Graber Stanley Jordan, this “discussion” – in which you’ve advanced dishonesty and ignorance – and the decision to perform at the Red Sea Jazz Festival will haunt you in 2013. You still have several weeks to cancel your performance at the Red Sea Jazz Festival, and for the sake of the Palestinian people and the sake of the future of all colonized peoples and lands, I truly hope you will consider the insight which we have shared and cancel the performance.

      Don’t tell us that you’re concerned about the “plight of the Palestinians”. We don’t want to hear any more lies from you.
    • Steve Brammell Your “insight” comes from your distorted and prejudiced perspective. If the Arab world wanted peace, it would happen in an instant and the Palestinians would have their rightful homeland. Don’t you find it interesting that one of the most popular books in the Arab world today is the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion”?
    • Elise Hendrick Steve Brammel has provided another example of the sort of racist “arguments” I was talking about – the “history does not exist, and therefore I can make it up as it goes along argument”. Note that the colonisation of Palestinian land, and everything else that happened pre-1948, doesn’t exist in Brammel’s rewrite of history, and that the people calling for equal rights are referred to as calling for the killing of Jews, despite the fact that many of us ARE Jews and by no means suicidal.
    • Sylvia Posadas There are now 11.6 million Palestinians who are denied rights due to their homeland being subjected to zionist settler colonialism – 4.4 million Palestinians reside in Gaza and the West Bank without human and political rights, 1.4 million Palestinians live in Israel as second class citizens discriminated against by 43 racist Israeli laws, 5.5 million are refugees in Arab countries, and 655,000 are refugees in other states, not allowed to return to their native lands by apartheid criminal Israel.

      Palestinians want their full rights to which they are entitled under international law. It is insufficient to placate their oppressor, to encourage it to continue its heinous abuse and offer bandaids, to ignore the Palestinian tactic for liberation for which they have called for support from the global community. There is no excuse for racism. None at all. Stanley, you have time to change your mind, learn some more about the implications of performing at a concert sponsored by the apartheid state which is every bit as onerous as if one performed at Sun City, and cancel.
    • Carl Perkins Mr Jordan, I am a musician in the UK and have followed your work for many decades. I have also followed the plight of the Palestinians, but am not greatly knowledgeable about the history of the situation. What I do know is what Israel is doing is on par with Nazism, Apartheid and the oppression suffered by black people in both the UK and US, as well as my parent’s country of birth (Jamaica) prior to the Civil Rights Movement. Speaking of which, Martin Luther King and Malcolm X protested and gave their lives so that you and I would have the freedom not to help evil men with their racist agendas. I know money isn’t easy to come by in the music industry in this digital age. However, life has been cheapened by capitalists who have put their wealth before the right of children to live without fear of a bomb falling on their bedroom or playground. By doing this festival in Israel you are showing support for the murder of Palestinian children. After many years of being inspired by your work, today I will no longer be one of your supporters. Human life comes before music and one’s opportunity to line one’s deep western pockets.
      Tuesday at 12:37am via mobile · Edited · Like · 14
    • Adel Minkara I can’t believe that till this day most of american citizens don’t know shit about what’s really happening in the world and especially in the middle east. I guess the US (and the Israeli)government is doing a great job keeping the people busy with themselves( either enjoying life or dying to make a living) … no need to argue with the pro israeli people here , I know enough about your history and our history. it was great seeing you Mr Jordan in Beirut, I guess we’ll never be able to see you again because after this performance you will be banned to enter the Arab countries (except Jordan and Egypt). Good luck and thank you for your support.
    • Daniel Hicks steve brammel i dont know what dimension your history comes from but it sure is interesting,first of all stalin himself was jewish,although i suppose its possible he hated his own kind,second go check out some “statistics” i know i know everybody hates those lol to see just who is really suffering in this conflict,i can tell you its not the jewish people who are being murdered by the hundreds,quite the opposite actually.
    • Raymond Deane Stanley sees the situation as “a major humanitarian crisis”. This means that he disregards the political realities, and is merely concerned with the discomfort that it has caused, is causing, and will continue to cause the Palestinian victims of western-backed Israeli settler-colonisation. Similarly, Stanley considers it an appropriate response to give a concert “to raise funds and awareness of the plight of the Palestinian people”. Presumably the funds will be used to provide the victims with some cast-off clothes from white American liberals, and maybe some sticking-plasters with which to dress the wounds of the oppressed. Stanley is unimpressed by the fact that Archbishop Tutu, Nelson Mandela and other veterans of the South African anti-Apartheid struggle have said that Israel’s occupation is “worse than Apartheid”, or that Angela Davis has said it’s “worse than Jim Crow”. The Zionists who were cleverly filtered out of the earlier discussion (but no doubt carefully read – although perhaps Stanley’s publicist kept his attention from some of the more vicious and lunatic contributions) are now showing up and, as is their wont, lying through their teeth about the origins and character of Israel’s colonisation of Palestinian lands and dispossession of Palestinian people. However, Stanley can repeat to his liberal fans (as he has done ad nauseam) that he has engaged in “a spirited online discussion and much deep soul-searching”, although he has not given a single rational response to any of the arguments made in the course of that discussion, nor displayed any evidence of “deep soul-searching”. All in all, a profoundly cynical exercise.
    • Daniel Hicks the israeli government is no better then americas or countless others they are corrupt and yes even evil,tha majority of it not all of it,and no i am not referring to many of its citizens who are just regular good people living there lives.however i have no problem with stanley jordan playing there i consider music to be neutral in every way and it should be welcome everywhere and have as little politics involved as possible,although messages of peace and acceptance and all that are of course welcome.
    • Raymond Deane And a postscript: when Zionists rabbit on about “peace”, what they actually mean is “pacification”.
    • Daniel Hicks then again i am not there and cant say how they feel,i do know its the palestinians who are suffering and being killed far more then the jewish people of israel are that much is undeniable.
    • Adel Minkara we don’t need charity we need artists who can be like Mr Waters 
    • Nathalie Mermet-Grandfille Stanley, in the end it’s just a concert and you are a brilliant musician, not a politician. Go give people your gift, who knows who’s heart it will change.
    • Tali Shapiro Stanley Jordan, we actually talked about your options in the discussion. I personally made it very clear to you that you can do whatever you like, including your proposed event in a major city in the United States to raise funds and awareness of the plight of the Palestinian people. The time frame will be in September or October 2013. I’ll hold you to that, and the only excuse not to come good on your promise is because no Palestinian organization is willing to take your money, and even then, you still have a responsibility of raising awareness. 

      That said, we discussed what isn’t legitimate. What isn’t legitimate-as many others said before me, but unlike what I thought before, always bears repeating- is to decide for the oppressed what “best serves their cause”. It is not legitimate to perform with the Eilat Dead Sea Jazz Festival, when you know perfectly well that it is a part of the mechanism of apartheid (I guess this link bears repeating as well http://pulsemedia.org/2012/12/25/israel-2012-the-question-of-a-nation-what-does-culture-have-to-do-with-politics-part-2/). 

      Now I’ve been at this for a long time, I understand that in reality, while very uncomfortable, a musician can cancel even 3 days before the showhttp://www.billboard.com/news/israeli-raid-on-gaza-bound-flotilla-draws-1004097608.story#/news/israeli-raid-on-gaza-bound-flotilla-draws-1004097608.story You’ve got about 3 weeks. That’s 3 weeks to learn the subject thoroughly. 3 weeks to un-complicate whatever is complicated. So I’ll resend my recommendations, and just like you take time out for meditating, you can take time out for meditating on this this subject, because no, it is not OK:

      Occupation 101 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1rSd9HuPZYU (you’ll find parts 1-10 on the sidebar) or you can try the updated version of this movie Road Map to Apartheid (If you can’t find it athttp://www.youtube.com/movie/roadmap-to-apartheid, then you can purchase it at http://roadmaptoapartheid.org/purchase/ , or find a screening near youhttp://roadmaptoapartheid.org/screenings/)
      Peace, Propaganda and The Promised Land http://www.youtube.co/playlist?list=PLA167244AFCB71BF7
      Al nakba http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bm7dMhE80dw

      I’ll also recommend you continue learning about BDShttp://www.bdsmovement.net/call You can read a page a day, and I’m pretty sure you’ll start getting the idea by the end of the week.

      I also recommend my own blog posts, which I don’t tend to do, but it’s relevant, so you can understand why, where I come from, culture is subservient to apartheid politics, unless you make a very conscious choice to do otherwisehttp://pulsemedia.org/author/tali99/
    • Zoë Lawlor Well Stanley Jordan, you have chosen to cross the picket line, to ignore the Palestinian call to boycott and to play for an apartheid STATE sponsored event. You don’t get to throw crumbs from the table when you decide to ignore the voices of the oppressed. I thought all along that you would do this but I really wanted to be wrong and, with these brilliant posters, tried my best to show you how important your act of solidarity could be. That you decided to play in the face of all the information, the discussion, the outpourings, the truth, presented to you in the last while says everything to me. Solidarity is what people of dignity want, charity is what those ignoring it throw instead.
    • Zoë Lawlor And just so you have one more idea of what the state you are playing for plans for the Palestinians for 2013 and every year:” At dawn today the Israeli army demolished the home of Ra’fat Issawi, brother of hunger striker Samer Issawi.” There is no love and light in apartheid. the love and light comes from solidarity and struggling together.
    • Leen Barghouti Someone ironically posted an Annie Lennox music video to support Stanley Jordan’s decision to perform in Israel.

      Annie Lennox has repeatedly refused to perform in Israel until Israel abides by International law and supports the call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions. She is in solidarity with the Palestinians, so your use of an Annie Lennox song to put in context Stanley Jordan’s decision to play in Israel is terribly ironic.

      I guess you should follow Lennox’s stance, and not use music to support the continuous oppression of Palestinians.
    • Ken Carpenter Playing your music and sharing your talent is not something you need to explain, or apologize for, to anyone. If some wish to boycott for political ends, it is their right, but only theirs..
    • Monique Buckner While you are at the Red Sea Jazz Festival, enjoying your turn-about attitude to apartheid, maybe you can pay a visit to the fence north of Eilat that prevents refugees from Africa seeking their human right to asylum. Israeli politicians refer to these people as “cancer”, “rapists”, “a security threat”, “diseased”.
    • Matt Graber Stanley Jordan, given what you have told us in the other thread, it is highly suspect that you were ever sincerely interested in conversation, discussion, and debate on your performance at the Red Sea Jazz Festival. If you, or whoever it was that was pulling the strings, were actually honestly giving consideration to the boycott, why did you privilege some voices in private conversations while ignoring some of those on the thread?

      For the sake of honesty, I encourage you to share with us the private conversations which you had. Otherwise, the conversations over the course of the last week paint a characterization of Stanley Jordan as a dishonest person.

      What do you have to hide?
    • Alexandra Ferentinos Leen, that Annie Lennox video also featured one Nelson Mandela: 

      “…we know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians.”

      Here’s the reference to the quote on the ANC’s official website:http://www.anc.org.za/show.php?id=3384
      Address by President Nelson Mandela at the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, 4 December 1997, Pretoria
    • Matt Graber Stanley Jordan, I know that you have already said that you are NOT contractually obligated to the State of Israel right now. But yet, according to a sample contract between artists and the Israeli government released in 2008, THAT may be exactly what you are contractually obligated to tell us. How do we know that you are not lying?

      Paragraph 13: “The service provider will not present himself as an agent, emissary and/or representative of the Ministry.”

      Note that this is a sample contract between the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Israeli artists playing abroad in 2008, so it may be quite different from yours, Stanley. But I use it as an example of what artists agree to when employed by the Israeli government, which will employ you through the Ministry of Culture and Sport and other festival promoters.
    • John Brown Play your heart out The music you create is awesome and inspiring Don’t let anyone or anything stop you from utilizing your talent Be safe in your travels Thank you for sharing your gift with us Our prayers are with you and yours
      Tuesday at 5:53am via mobile · Like · 1
    • Janet Green The best way to end human rights abuses is to ignore the call of those suffering said human rights abuses ……….
    • Dror Dayan I am very sorry to hear that. I know you think you are doing the right thing, but it saddens me to see that so much good will and communication has fallen on deaf ears. Make no mistake: by deciding to go along with the concert and reducing the emancipatory, independent palestinian call for a boycott to a mere request for charity and money, you are doing the palestinian cause a great injustice. I am very happy and proud of the way you choose to discuss and communicate this issue, but am deeply disappointed and saddened by the way you choose to understand the situation and to go about it when all´s been said. I hope you will reconsider, since the palestinians have no use in a concert in the far away united states. They have use for brave people standing next to them in their rightful claims and strategies. I wish you all the best and better decisions in the future.
    • Maru Garrido Eres grande Stan, como músico y mucho más como persona. Feliz año.
    • Jay Hunt Way to go, I applaud you!
    • Emma Rosenthal Asking someone to participate in a boycott is not letting “anyone or anything stop you from utilizing your talent “. He’s welcome to play any number of places. We even offered to help him find other venues, just not one used by the state to justify a brutal regime. (Actually, asking an artist to apply their talents to normalizing oppression, IS a mis-utilization of talent!) Artists, celebrities have voice and read the rest of us do not have. Participating in the boycott would be a great utilization of those talents. Just saying!
    • Nathaniel Ellis Stanley Your music is awesome! You are a blessing every time and every were you play.
    • Steve George You are not only a great musician bur also a great man. Not many would find a way so honor their commitments and their beliefs.
    • Xoch Ipilli Boycott Stanley’s music/future shows. He should cancel his gig, because music isn’t free to everyone under Israel Apartheid. Your indifference will be met with much resistance. From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free!
    • Anne Key Stanley Jordan, please spare us the condescending comments such as “I was very impressed by your intelligence and passion and by the generosity of your time and energy in dialoging with me and educating me on this major humanitarian crisis.” The Palestinians don’t have the luxury of time and freedom, nor do they wish to be patronised. By deciding to go ahead with your performance, you have chosen to ignore the voices of the oppressed and to side with the oppressor. Shameful.
    • Besos y Abrazos, con Raquel y Jose – 97.7 FM Music should have no borders and should not be politicised. I applaud Stanley for his consideration and I think it is the best decision. Remember that in any conflict there are always two truths to the matter. Both parties are right and guilty at the same time. In order to resolve any conflict you have to yield from both sides.
    • Rabab Abdulhadi Thanks but we can’t accept this tit-for-tat offer. It is not about even-handedness. We do not need charity and monetary compensation for doing the right thing.What we need from you is a principled stand against Israeli oppression, settler colonialism and Apartheid.

      You are right that a lot of “good” people in the US do not know about the details. And we are ready to work with all to educate. The solution however is not to continue to engage with injustice. The only moral position to take is to refuse to legitimize injustice.

      While I don’t want to highlight the distinction between the 67 and the 48 occupations, this festival is being organized on land occupied in 1967, which is (even by US standards) occupied territory. You should really withdraw if you want to do the right thing. I hope that your conscience will speak louder than a contract you’ve signed.
    • Gabriel Ash Thanks for being impressed with our “intelligence.” I am on the other hand, less than impressed with your honesty. It was clear that you wanted to make this decision from the beginning. That’s fine. People often enter discussions with starting positions they wish to defend. I appreciate that you entered the discussion anyway. However, you then held a second discussion behind our back, and you pointedly ignored getting information about the kind of economic exchange with the state of Israel you will be a willing part of.
    • Eric Stanley Pretending to care about honoring BDS while really just creating Facebook traffic, BEST PR move of 2012!! Sadly I now know who you are, but luckily don’t have to hear your music.
    • Gabriel Ash Thanks for noting that the so-called “situation” in Palestine “goes against everything anyone with a heart could ever condone.” What does that says about your heart? Since you will not only condone it, but provide your good name to make others condone it ? In the end, you used your concern and your art and your “spirituality” as excuses for acting to please yourself.
    • Kali Akuno Let me add my voice to all those who request that you cancel this show.
    • Gail Nelson Just days prior to singing as the headlining act at another festival in Israel, the great Cassandra Wilson cancelled. She stated her decision stemmed from a desire to support Palestinians’ civil rights. Cat Power also cancelled a gig in Israel. Theater director Peter Brook called off an event in Israel saying it is his own free choice to do so. http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/cassandra-wilson-cancels-holon-concert-joining-artistic-boycott-of-israel-1.414039
    • Gabriel Ash some artists have principles, some don’t, some would like to have had but still don’t.
    • Alexandra Ferentinos Gail, interesting ending to that article:

      “While many artists have canceled appearances in Israel over the past few years for political reasons, it seems that many only develop their political awareness on the matter after they sign the contracts to perform. Promoters are now introducing clauses to protect against such cancelations, stipulating that the artist is aware of possible political pressure to cancel their appearance.”
    • Elise Hendrick I suppose the question of the hour is: Are we to understand that Stanley Jordan now regrets having called on artists to boycott Sun City?
    • Gabriel Ash Elise Hendrick: They were obviously less spiritual in those days.
    • Elise Hendrick And it’s worth noting in this context that, since Sun City was in the supposedly autonomous “homeland” of Bophuthatswana, playing Sun City was a lot closer to playing Ramallah than Eilat. Playing Eilat would be like playing a venue in Pretoria or Capetown.
    • Andrew Kadi What a shameful decision.
    • Emma Rosenthal One wonders, since he now understands that the situation is even worse than he imagined, what difference those of us who so impressed Stanley by our “intelligence and passion and by the generosity of (our) time and energy in dialoging with (him) and educating (him) on this major humanitarian crisis”: could have made in shaping his decision. Some of us suspected from the beginning that it was an exercise to demonstrate false altruism. Where’s the love and light in that?
    • Elise Hendrick Some people LOVE to abdicate moral responsibility even in the LIGHT of compelling facts.
    • Emma Rosenthal Apparently. And it would seem that that’s what is called not letting one’s emotions get in the way. sigh
    • Elise Hendrick I just noticed that his statement completely omits that he received numerous messages from PALESTINIANS and Palestinian organisations, including PACBI themselves, asking him to cancel.
    • Sylvia Posadas I LOVE the way principled human rights activists who embrace the Palestinian-led call for BDS on this thread cast LIGHT on the situation. It’s disappointing there are still those whose eyes are blinkered by a false belief that art is removed from such worldly concerns as politics, despite clear evidence that the Israeli state uses all culture as propaganda to obscure its crimes. Performances funded by the Israeli state are disassociated with the state’s apartheid political aims in a stunning magical disappearing act.
    • Elise Hendrick Not only that, there’s this extremely pernicious notion that it is a good and proper thing for art to be in a separate realm from the one in which people actually live their lives. It’s extremely elitist.
    • Sylvia Posadas I thought Andy Warhol deconstructed such sanctimony decades ago, Elise, with his Campbell’s soup can piece.http://www.moma.org/collection/object.php?object_id=79809
    • Elise Hendrick So many people have gone after it. Personally, I’ve always loved what Víctor Jara said:

      “I am a worker in the field of music. I’m not an artist. One day, the people themselves will decide whether I’m an artist. For now, I am a worker in the field of music, a worker with a very clear position on the side of the people who are struggling for a better life.”
    • Sylvia Posadas Your Jara quote reminds me of what art critic Robert Hughes said, Elise, posing the ironic question: “What does one prefer? An art that struggles to change the social contract, but fails? Or one that seeks to please and amuse, and succeeds?”
    • Emma Rosenthal This whole dialogue, especially with the dismissal as negative, of those of us who fight for peace and justice, with the missive, dismissal “light and love”, as if discussing negative realities creates them. it’s the epitome of the opiate of the elite– to ignore the ugliness that is the foundation of their comfort. How much money is Stanley and his publicist making from this trip? How much does someone’s conscious cost, these days? When it was announced that Stanley was meditating, I had hoped it was for the courage to do what he knows in his heart is the right thing to do. I mean if we take him at his word that he was truly perplexed at the beginning of the discussion, and we take him at his word, that by the end of it, he realized things were worse than he had even imagined. 

      But it would seem that meditation was more of an anesthesia against a broken bone, than the actual healing of the break, the opium den of iniquity.
    • Sylvia Posadas And more pithiness from Hughes: “The greater the artist, the greater the doubt. Perfect confidence is granted to the less talented as a consolation prize.”
    • Elise Hendrick Sylvia: To me, the question is who one’s trying to please and amuse. If I can only please and choose one person or group of people at a time, I certainly know who I want to take comfort and joy from what I do
    • Sylvia Posadas Elise, I’m not sure that those who consciously seek to please or amuse regard such weighty questions which would suppose a social conscience as relevant.
    • Elise Hendrick Yeah, there are definitely quite a few people who will sell themselves to whoever’s offering money. Take Elton John, who actually played the wedding of virulent homophobe Rush Limbaugh a few years ago.
    • Sylvia Posadas Elton John, who played apartheid Israel refusing to ‘cherrypick’ his ‘conscience’ also said ‘I’ve only been interested in the artistic side of life.’
    • Alexandra Ferentinos Elton John who played Sun City:

      Elton’s SA tour jogs memories of Sun City gigs – 12 January 2008

      As ageing British popstar Elton John prepares for the start of what has been billed his first tour of South Africa at the weekend, locals were recalling his real first in front of South African audiences at the height of apartheid 25 years ago. 

      “Don’t miss the chance to see Elton John and his band, LIVE in SA,” a press release issued by the concert promoter Big Concerts urged, presenting the tour as a first. 

      But thousands of South Africans have already hopped and bopped to Sir Elton’s Crocodile Rock, packing out a series of his concerts at the infamous Sun City casino complex north-west of Johannesburg in October 1983. John’s appearance at Sun City came at a time of growing mass resistance to apartheid in South Africa following the establishment of the United Democratic Movement, a non-racial coalition of civic, church, student, worker and other groups. While the UDM and the African National Congress were trying to topple the racist system Sun City’s brazen boss Sol Kerzner was trying the break the cultural boycott of South Africa by attracting top acts to his hilltop resort. 

      If Elton John can claim today he never played in South Africa it’s because Sun City back then was located in Bophuthatswana – one of the nominally independent, overcrowded “homelands” where the apartheid state dumped millions of blacks. Yet to play Sun City, dubbed Sin City by whites who travelled there to gamble and ogle topless dancers (pleasures denied them in puritanical South Africa) was to recognize the puppet “homelands” in a way the international community never did. 

      “Bop was a joke,” says art critic Diane de Beer, who attended several concerts at Sun City during the 1980s. “It was right in the middle of South Africa. If anyone looked at a map they would have known.” Musicians like Frank Sinatra, Rod Stewart, Elton John and Queen who chose to play along with the Bop farce did so, according to de Beer and fellow critic Peter Feldman, because they were paid top dollar to perform there. 

      “They used to say ‘We are doing it for our fans, we are not politicians’ but the truth is they didn’t care. They were being paid millions to perform there,” says Feldman, who interviewed Elton John and Queen, among others, for Johannesburg’s Star newspaper. 

      For South African pop fans the arrival of big international acts was like manna from heaven. “When Sol Kerzner starting bringing in those top guys it was huge. People here were so hungry (for contact with the outside world),” de Beer recalls. Sinatra was the first big performer to appear in Sun City’s Superbowl in 1981. Elton John’s mind was made up after he was flown out to the resort in July 1983 to surprise his buddy Rod Stewart onstage. “He was blown away by the place. He had a really good time,” according to Hazel Feldman, Sun City’s former entertainment director. While Feldman cannot remember exactly how many shows he performed that October – between eight and 10 – she’s adamant the tickets – more than 50,000 in total – sold out. 

      Throughout the 1980s headline acts, including British rock group Queen and Canadian-born crooner Paul Anka, flocked to Sun City. Their complicity, unwitting or otherwise, in the apartheid system so outraged one group of artists calling themselves Artists United Against Apartheid they recorded the hit single Sun City in 1985, vowing never to play there. 

    • Samira Barghouthi Stanley’s musical therapy is so powerful it could recirculate the lost-Palestinian blood into the victims’ veins and bring the murdered Palestinians children to life! CONGRATULATIONS STANLEY for the super power you seem to have acquired. One question, have you been able to negotiate higher fees for your gig? Have the Israelis doubled your fees in return for your promise to proceed? That would be blood money, you know!
    • Emma Rosenthal Just say “love and light” after you’ve totally dismissed the pain and suffering of others when you are specifically and uniquely in a position to act on their behalf or benefit from their misery.
    • Alexandra Ferentinos Those who did NOT play Sun City:

      Stanley Jordan, those such as yourself who were involved in the Artists United Against Apartheid project should be proud you were on the right side of history. I hope you will endeavor to learn more in the coming three weeks and change your decision.
    • Clar Ni H-Eidhin Shame on you
    • Reem Abdelhadi There is no honour in committing to this performance. There is no honour to committing to genocide and apartheid. If your deep soul searching lead you to this conclusion, I much fear for your soul. You use mild words… this is not a ‘situation’. A situation is when you find yourself in a somewhat awkward social position. This is a human catastrophe, where hundreds of innocent lives are brutally taken, homes are destroyed, and a whole nation is imprisoned inside a big wall. you do not have to do to organise an afterthought of a performance. all you have to do is not to support the oppressive racist military regime.
    • Colm O Cinnseala Settlements in West Bank are for Jews only. Israel operates a system of different laws for Jews and Gentiles. There are even roads and buses that are banned for the use of non-Jews (Gentiles). In courts Palestinian are judged by Jewish judges never the other way around. Only Palestinians are imprisoned by Jews never the other way around. Only Palestinians are controlled by Jews at road checkpoint, never the other way around. I could go on but it boils down to a simple truth – Israel operates a policy of apartheid in the West Bank. Its your call Stanley.
      21 hours ago · Like · 3
    • Brian Kwoba Thank you to all the articulate voices that have put your time, effort, and passion into this discussion. I have learned so much from all the posters on this thread and the last one and my only regret is that I didn’t find out about this sooner.
      Stanley, I used to look up to you, and study your music as an aspiring jazz guitarist. I appreciate that you opened a space for dialogue here. That is something most artists do not do. And perhaps we did not do enough to explain to you the relationship between the ‘inner/spiritual’ and ‘outside/material’ dimensions of this situation. 
      At the same time, as a BLACK man from Chicago, you should know what systemic racism look and feels like. And you should know how it masks itself behind “liberal” and “progressive” packaging. That is what the Israeli government is going to do with you and your artistry: use it to cover up all the violence and oppression that is is dispensing on a daily basis. 
      I used to look up to you, but now I have to wonder how much blood money you’re being paid by the Israeli government in exchange for your complicity in whitewashing and ‘normalizing’ the image of that murderous and criminal regime.

      SHAME ON YOU for crossing the picket line organized by one of the most oppressed people in the world. 
      Don’t be an Uncle Tom for apartheid!
      14 hours ago · Edited · Like · 3
    • Hala Khamis Nassar You just cannot have the cake and eat it too.!!
      12 hours ago · Like · 1
    • Elise Hendrick Using new-agey platitudes like “negative energy” and “love and light” to dismiss oppressed people’s calls for solidarity is basically the same as telling the woman on the beach who asks for a few hundred pesos so she can get something to eat to piss off because she’s in your sun. Either way, the idea is that all this talk of justice and oppression and struggle is really messing up your personal good-vibes bubble.
      11 hours ago · Like · 1
    • Fatima Husseni Thank you for honoring your commitment to your fans and your music.
    • Paola Bacchetta There is no “honor” in supporting Israel. This position of keeping Israel happy while promising to throw crumbs to Palestine later sounds quite self-serving. Do you not think it is a bit arrogant to imagine you can determine what to do for Palestinians, who have long analyzed the situation and formulated their own terms of struggle? Palestinians have asked for a boycott, not publicity stunt charity.
      6 hours ago · Like · 2
    • Sandeep Bakshi Yay Paola, I learn so much from you, thanks for taking is up!

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