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!
(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. )On December 24, Stanley Jordan made the following statement on his Facebook wall, asking for information to assist him in deciding how to respond to requests that he honor the BDS picket line of Israeli apartheid. While in the end, Jordan decided to cross the picket line (see the next entry on this blog), what ensued was an amazing discussion of the issue of solidarity, tactics and history of the Palestinian struggle for human rights and against Israeli settler colonialism and Western imperialism.https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=316499341791766&id=14690024059++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Stanley Jordan · 13,603 like this

December 24 at 9:22am ·

  • I’ve received several messages from people requesting that I cancel my performance at the Red Sea Jazz Festival in Israel. I promised a detailed response, so here it is. I would like to start a dialog right here to discuss this topic. Next to global warming the Middle East conflict is the biggest issue of our time, and it’s too important for black-and-white responses that ignore the nuances. And we truly need an open dialog with a spirit of mutual compassion for everyone involved. For my part, I want to use my talents and energies in the best possible way for the cause of peace. This purpose is deeply ingrained in my soul’s code, and I’ve known it since childhood. So the only remaining question is: How can I best accomplish this goal? I invite you all to weigh in. I’d like to start the discussion by recommending a wonderful book called, “Embracing Israel/Palestine: A Strategy to Heal and Transform the Middle East,” by Rabbi Michael Lerner. I’ve been reading a lot on this topic but this book stands out for me because it resonates with my own feelings. I encourage everyone to read it as background for our discussion. And please keep your comments clean and respectful. Let’s model the type of dialog that will eventually lead to a solution.http://www.amazon.com/Embracing-Israel-Palestine-Strategy-Transform/dp/1583943072

    Embracing Israel/Palestine: A Strategy to Heal and Transform the Middle East


    A major modern conundrum is how the Arab/Israel conflict remains unresolved and, seemingly, unresolvable. In this inspirational book, Rabbi Michael Lerner suggests that a change in consciousness is crucial. With clarity and honesty, he examines how the mutual demonization and discounting of …
    1Unlike ·  · Share
    • Chuck Aring chilling thoughts Mr. Jordan. thank you for being you.
    • Annemarie Parrish Peace happens! Healing happens, and music is a great tool for peace!
    • Paul Fisher Hi Stanley, it’s been a while since we’ve seen each other, hope all is well with you and your family!

      Obviously the path to peace is prohibitively long and complicated, and deserves everyone’s energy, so I’ll add my 2 cents with this – my Mom was involved in helping to build the organization Seeds of Peace, who’s charter is to develop positive relationships between children from opposing backgrounds (initially Palestinians and Israelis, and now many many more nationalities and backgrounds), with the thinking that if they grow up respecting the differences among them instead of seeing them as divisions, Peace has a chance. See more here:


    • Patrizia Meloni Stanley….it’s very good!
    • John Diamond It’s Christmas. Good Tidings to all. May we have Peace on Earth. Thank you for helping, Mr. Jordan.
    • Jay Hunt Do not cancel!!! Play music, that’s what you do. In times of stress music is a great reliever healer. My favorite of yours has always been your rendition of Stairway to Heaven. It brings a good peaceful feeling to everyone in the room! Play on!!
    • Cynthia Farrell Music for peace! May God be with you and your family/friends as you travel to Israel.
    • Darren Miller Be a musician and play, let the politicians deal with that stuff.
    • Eric Geller Definitely go to Israel. If you start boycotting middle eastern countries, think about how every other country there treats its women and minorities.
    • Neno Svrzikapa Let your guitar do the talking  , and if you get invited to play in Palestine one day you should play there too.
    • Heather Angeloff Go where your heart leads you.
    • Lilo Chachamovits You know Mr. Jordan a few years ago I started looking for an answer to the following question: What does the words Human Being means? I got to only one satisfying answer: Human Being means Being Human. You see, it’s a verb which means action, something that we need to do actively. 

      I believe Peace is something that we need to find, and it takes a lot of action (as in Being Human) to get to it. Unfortunately, in my opinion, we are looking to the wrong place in order to find it. The outer world is a reflection of the inner world. What happens in the world is merely an image of what’s happening inside of us. Peace will be made by people who already found it. Who have found already inner peace. This way the work that needs to be done is to put all our efforts to evolve spiritually and achieve the conscious state which we refer to as Human Beings…get rid of our egos.

      Music can be a true expression of love and of someone’s inner self. It’s a powerful language of spirituality, which allows us to clean our thoughts and connect our mind with our heart, bringing a true understanding of life, of purpose, of peace…and you are a master in pouring your whole soul into your music and into your playing. 

      I live in Israel and I was a volunteer at the Peres Center for Peace. They have many wonderful projects involving Palestinians and Israelis…but I’m quite sure that they are still lacking a music project there. I believe that a partnership between you and them would allow the development of a pilot music project focused completely on promoting peace. And with this case model it would be able to spread the project all over the world, bringing warmth and care to a lot of people.

      I was involved with social business and sustainability projects for a while when I lived in Brazil. I had the dream that I could help change the world, I wanted to live in a better world, I actually can see this magical place people refer to as paradise happening right here, right now. By reading what you wrote here I felt you can see the same. 

      I realized that in order to change the whole world we simply need to change ourselves. I would love to be involved in a project like this. You are welcome to come for a cup of tea in my house when you are here in Israel.
      May the inspirational flows keep on blowing through your soul.
    • Stanley Jordan I’d like to hear from someone who supports the boycott. And perhaps there is more than one boycott organization–I really don’t know. My question is: What is the goal of the boycott, and what evidence do you have that my cancelling my show would help that cause?
    • Maury Peiperl Play on Stanley; your music will mean more for peace than your silence.
    • Meir Rivkin Dont punish your fans, they deserve u
    • Dan Sants Hello Stanley … This is Dan from Praia do forte, we met briefly at the backstage of tamar one day before your presentation on saturday! Wanted to quickly express my comment on this … Id see it better if you were there, at least being there you have the power of the word, of sending them a message about this situation! All though Im a little desapointed with atitude of Isreale towards keeping building the jewish housing, and desrespecting the UN, I believe that it is at times like this when we musician can somehow influence people with our music! The same music that makes someone come from playing on the street to be playing for the world and changing it in a way! You could def help much more by being there than being away from there! Tudo de bom, feliz natal! DS
    • Uragoner Too 1 Thessalonians 5:2 For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.
      3 For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.
      4 But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.
      5 Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.
    • Judy Haus Bradley I believe both parties are right in their feelings, beliefs, and desires. I don’t think politics or politicians will ever solve it. I believe it will be solved when the common people on both sides take over and decide to work it out between them. Play, Stanley! You can be a positive force for peace with your music and your message.
    • Vittorio Malatesta Play for Israel, play for Palestine the day after, and let them understand that they love the same things.
    • Cameron Keys Perhaps you could meet with the other excellent musicians at the Red Sea Jazz Festival and see if the artists could improvise a collective statement of solidarity among cultures. This could be done before, during, or even after the festival. Perhaps you could request that the concert promoters place an open invitation to local pillars of the jazz community (on all sides and in-betweens of the cultural conflict) who would join in your expression of solidarity? Those are my constructive proposals.

      Since the festival is so near at hand, it would be disrespectful to the concert promoters and fans to back out. To justify cancelling your performance I think it would be necessary to make a big stink, i.e. to make a rather elaborate ceremony of the cancellation so that it has maximum impact. But that is assuming someone could persuade or convince you that cancellation would accomplish something tangible in this elaborately difficult circumstance. 

      I could play Devil’s Advocate, since no one else is forthcoming. A common argument goes like this: Israeli leaders have a choice between expansion and security. They have faced this choice many times since the 1970s. Each time they have chosen expansion, which has perpetuated insecurity. UN Security Council Resolution 242 offers a way forward that all involved parties have expressed some agreement with. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Nations_Security_Council_Resolution_242) With the UN granting Palestine “non-member observer state” status through a democratic vote in November 2012, now is the time to move forward toward a “just peace”. However, Israel has since this time announced initial plans to move forward with settlements in disputed territory, which is counter-productive and unnecessary. You should therefore cancel your performance at the Red Sea Jazz Festival as a formal acknowledgement of the unacceptability of this Israeli policy. 

      Cancellation in itself will not produce benefits commensurate with the costs to your fans. If you simply cancelled without an eloquent and powerful justification, your reputation in the eyes of promoters and fellow musicians would also suffer unnecessarily. 

      I very much like the work Erik Truffaz did with electronic musician Murcof.


      United NationsSecurity Council Resolution 242 (S/RES/242) was adopted unanimously by the UN Security Council on November 22, 1967, in the aftermath of the Six-Day War. It was adopted under Chapter VI of the United Nations Charter.[1] The resolution was sponsored by British ambassador Lord Caradon an…
    • Art Zasadny Play! Music spreads love…
    • Cameron Keys Of course, the situation I describe in the Devil’s Advocate argument is far too simple to account for reality. In truth, UN 242 is not an unambiguous or univocal document. For example, if Israel ceases expansion and claims that UN 242 is the reason for its decision to cease expansion, this opens the flood gates (from Israel’s perspective) related to territorial disputes that affect several million Israelis currently living in areas of Judea and Samaria. Further, UN 242 seeks freedom of navigation and ‘peace within secure and recognized boundaries’, which are abstract terms that mask immense disputes. Israel claims that freedom of navigation entails defenselessness; and the secure and recognized boundaries associated with arrangements prior to the 1967 Six-Day War are not recognized as secure or acceptable by Israel. Thus, if Israel backs off on the rhetoric of expansion, these long-standing conflicts emerge once again, and Israel’s rhetorical stance and physical security are perceived to weaken. This explains in part why Israel continues to choose expansion: because, from the perspective of their leadership, the alternative to expansion is not actually security, as many (such as Chomsky) have claimed.
    • Cameron Keys I wonder also what John Zorn would do if he was in your shoes, Stanley. …
    • Stanley Jordan Although Michael Lerner is a rabbi, his book is very balanced. I like the idea of searching for a spiritual solution. So far we’ve relied only on military, political and economic solutions- That approach has not been sufficient, and much of it has even been counterproductive.
    • Sue Gemmell Of interest: The Peace Factory connects between people in the middle east, see http://letthemtalk.org/


      peace, technology, poetry
    • Matthew Peter Morgan Thank you and I agree. There is only the spiritual evolution left to shift. How else can we get through without using physical force? We must continue the spiritual discipline that will then move the rest of the people in this direction.
    • Elise Hendrick We can start by respecting what is in effect a picket line called for by the occupied Palestinian population themselves.

      One of the key planks of the Palestinian call for boycott, divestiture, and sanctions is a clear opposition to any form of normalisation, by which they mean “encounter sessions” and other feel-good “dialogues” that do not explicitly acknowledge and seek to overcome the racist oppression of the indigenous Palestinian population.

      The language of “conflict” is misleading in the extreme, which is its purpose. The idea is to give the false impression of two equal sides who just don’t get on well. The reality is that one “side” has the 4th most deadly military in the world and has created an elaborate system of racist laws and “facts on the ground” in order to gradually destroy any semblance of social cohesion in the indigenous population.
    • Bob Perillo Yeah, the 4th most deadly military in the world, and backed by the world’s remaining superpower. Some “conflict.”
    • Gabriel Ash Hello Stanely, first, thanks for reaching out and trying to learn more about the question. I am an one of the many involved in organizing BDS campaigns. I am also a Jewish citizen of Israel, but I no longer live in Israel. I would like to make below a number of comments. 
      The conflict in Palestine does not have “two sides.” It is a situation of severe and overwhelming oppression of the indigenous people of Palestine by a colonial state. In the same way that you wouldn’t talk about “two sides” in relation to slavery, apartheid in South-Africa, or the genocide of native-Americans . Of course, in each of these cases, those who were engaged with apology for maintaining the oppression claimed otherwise, and the same is true in the case of Israel. So that’s the fundamental political divide. To say that that “two sides” is a wrong perspective is not to deny that Israelis exists, are human, have lives, etc. It means one thing, that the burden of ending the oppression is on Israel. Therefore, the challenge “to make peace” is misleading. True peace can only mean, as Martin Luther King defined it, “the present of justice”. The primary role of any person of conscience as I understand it is to put pressure on those who benefit from injustice to relent and open the possibility of justice and equality. That is the only road to peace. 
      BDS is a picket line, put by Palestinians who asked you, me, and everyone in the world who cares for justice to put that pressure by, among other things, boycotting Israel. I recommend the following detailed analysis about the role of culture in politics. http://www.pacbi.org/etemplate.php?id=2080
      You ask, how you can act as an artist to use your music in the cause of peace. The first task, it seems to me, is to listen. But in listening, please do not forget that your ability to listen is slanted by the medium. Being on facebook, for example, is not a neutral fact. It takes money, access to technology and free time to be able to converse with you on facebook, and the same is true on every other media. The voice of the oppressed is by definition the one that is less loud, less easy to hear, because part of oppression is of course the denial of access to those resources, and also because oppression is “normal” and therefore supporting it is comfortable. Please take that in consideration. If you listen passively, you will hear “both sides”, but in fact, you will hear the voice of power, the voice of the neutral buzz that power generates as the background musak of reality. To really listen, you have to listen actively, filtering that power out. 
      By going to play in Israel, you will be crossing a picket line, thus taking a political stand, one of dismissing the appeal of the oppressed. You will be playing in venues that will be segregated. The indigenous people of the land will not be allowed to come to your shows even if they wanted or knew about it. You may bring Israelis any message you want, but the one that they will hear louder is the one that your very presence will convey: your support for the normalcy of the situation, your acceptance that they should have the “right” to enjoy your music, and every other thing good in life, while actively denying it to others. They will also hear the message that you told Palestinians off and that will be an encouragement for doing nothing. As we know from what happened to others, the Israeli foreign minister will publicise your visit and point out that you too ignored the boycott call. You will become a recruit for maintaining the occupation whether you like it or not. 
      I urge you to go visit Palestine, to go play in Palestine, to bring Palestine in your music, but do not participate in official, “normal” business. You will not be bringing peace closer, you will be conveying the message that life goes on, normally, and it’s ok to keep millions of people under the gun while one is listening to music.


      This paper was prepared for the 7arakat Conference: Theatre, Cultural Diversity and Inclusion November  2012 and was first published in the 7arakat conference E:Proceedings. IntroductionInternational artists find themselves standing at a crossroad between their desire to support all forms of artisti…
    • Rima Najjar Dear Stanley:
      I would like to reiterate Gabriel Ash’s point that ‘the conflict in Palestine does not have “two sides.”’ It simply doesn’t – not in the sense that the two sides have legitimate grievances, and in order to resolve them we should hear both sides and find a solution in the middle. I am a Palestinian who does not live in Israel/Palestine simply because I cannot. I don’t have a choice like Gabriel, because I am not Jewish. I hope very much that you will heed the Palestinain call to boycott the event. I believe boycott and divestment is the only chance left for us to effect change in Israel (as happened in South Africa). Israel is officially an apartheid, racist, settler colonialist entity in the heart of the Middle East. The political process will never, ever effect change and the power equation is so uneven. Please help us.

      It’s Chrsitmas, and so here is a song for you from Bethlehem:


      Filmed at the Church of the Nativity by our friends at Ethnographic Media for their upcoming film Little Town of Bethlehem, which follows the story of three …
    • Kevin Hornbuckle The boycott is the only way to peacefully protest Israel’s deadly subjugation of Palestine. Lobbying Israel does not work, nor do appeals to US lawmakers who force us to massively subsidize Israel’s occupation and theft of Palestinian land. The commenters on this thread who are urging a ‘peace from within’ justification to play at the jazz festival are giving spirituality (if you will) a bad name. Solidarity with the peacemakers is materially significant only by supporting the boycott. The bombing of Gaza was a gross, detestable international crime. To play on as if business-as-usual is to be complicit with Israel’s ability to commit more such crimes.
    • Emma Rosenthal Even if you decide to be neutral, you cannot go and perform in Israel. The only neutral position is to not go. Going is an act of complicity, of normalization (as has been well explained by Rima, Elise Hendrick and Gabriel Ash,) If you choose to support the boycott, don’t go, and say why you are not going. If you choose to be neutral, don’t go, and simply say you are not taking a side, have other commitments, can’t make the trip at this time. But under no circumstances is going and being neutral an option.

      Of course we would appreciate the strongest statement in support of human rights possible. But many artists have thought they could simply go in a neutral capacity. Some felt that if only THEY spoke to people from “both sides”, they could bring peace. There have been lots of talks, mostly used as a vehicle to postpone a resolution, while Isreal continues to expand settlements, steal water, land, resources, arrest people without charges or due process, commit exjudicial executions, control an entire subordinate and indigenous population. Dialogue doesn’t create peace unless peace is the intent. and Peace cannot be had at the barrel of a gun.
    • Emma Rosenthal Many artists think they can break down walls by performing, that art alone is transformative. But artists can hold walls up with their art, just as easily, easier in fact, even without that being the intent. A few artists who understood the situation the Palestinians face, felt that they could both break the boycott and support social justice. They found out that they could not. Pete Seeger disappointed many fans who knew him from years of social justice activism. He later realized exactly how his presence in Israel hurt the cause of social justice. 

      ” “I appeared on that virtual rally because for many years I’ve felt that people should talk with people they disagree with. But it ended up looking like I supported the Jewish National Fund. I misunderstood the leaders of the Arava Institute because I didn’t realize to what degree the Jewish National Fund was supporting Arava. Now that I know more, I support the BDS movement as much as I can.” “



      Below is a press release issued by Adalah-NY and the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions. For more background seetheseposts:
    • Rima Najjar Stanley, as you know South Africa’s ruling party (ANC) has officially endorsed Palestine’s Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions campaign against Israel. In September, the Irish parliament voted to ban Israeli settlement imports. Earlier this month, an Israeli newspaper reported that the EU was looking into boycotting settlement goods, after Israel defied calls to stem construction of illegal settlement units in the West Bank. You can help the tide turn.

      The ANC added a clause to its pro-BDS resolution lashing out at Israel’s mistreatment of Africans, which culminated in the mass deportation of South Sudanese from Israel this year: “The ANC abhors the recent Israeli state-sponsored xenophobic attacks and deportation of Africans and request that this matter should be escalated to the African Union.”
    • Tom Pessah Stanley, I’m an Israeli activist who’s been involved in dialogue, protests, political parties, petitions etc since the 1980s. Please don’t disregard our experience: in Israel, just like anywhere else, entrenched interests won’t move out of the way because of “dialogue.” Those profiting from the occupation are well aware of it and still prefer their profits. Playing there won’t change that. But joining the worldwide boycott movement is a valuable non-violent way of building pressure that will eventually create change. Please think of us Israelis as well as show solidarity with the immense suffering of palestinians. It will be really valuable if you take a stand. There is no occupation that ever ended through dialogue alone, with no pressure. Please don’t perform there!
    • Tom Pessah “Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.” frederick douglass
    • Rima Najjar As Tom Pessah says, Stanley, think of both Israelis and Palestinians: “Not only is Israel harming Palestinians, but it is harming itself.” – Desmond Tutu
    • Tom Pessah a palestinian friend of mine is barred from traveling to Jerusalem, the city where she was born. So many are. So many will be missing from your audience if you chose to perform.
    • Rima Najjar Me too, Stanley. I teach at a Palestinian university walled off from Jerusalem, which is literally a few yards away as the crow flies. I am a Palestinian American and was denied entry to the West Bank twice – had to hire lawyers to re-enter. Now I have an entry permit that says, “not permitted to work” and “Judea and Samaria only” – meaning I cannot enter Jerusalem and I am working illegally. My grandfather’s house in Lifta, a village to the north west of Jerusalem, is inhabited by a Jewish family. The rest of the village is in ruins.
    • Cameron Keys I am so glad people have offered serious arguments here. While I find them persuasive, I do not find them yet convincing. It would be equally acceptable to travel to the Festival and call for widespread support of the boycott from the stage — a possibility no one has acknowledged, but one that might be even more powerful. This would allow you the artist the freedom to determine the manner of your involvement: you could play, or not play; remain silent, or speak out. You could literally place yourself in that situation and feel with your own heart in the moment whether it is right to speak out, and if so, how. This is all to say that I am not convinced that your presence at the Festival is inherently a sign of complicity. In fact, your presence has more potency than your absence, for the reasons I have just enumerated.
    • Rima Najjar I am sorry, Cameron, but I find that your own argument is unconvincing. As Emma Rosenthal points out above:

      Many artists think they can break down walls by performing, that art alone is transformative. But artists can hold walls up with their art, just as easily, easier in fact, even without that being the intent. A few artists who understood the situation the Palestinians face, felt that they could both break the boycott and support social justice. They found out that they could not. Pete Seeger disappointed many fans who knew him from years of social justice activism. He later realized exactly how his presence in Israel hurt the cause of social justice. 

      ” “I appeared on that virtual rally because for many years I’ve felt that people should talk with people they disagree with. But it ended up looking like I supported the Jewish National Fund. I misunderstood the leaders of the Arava Institute because I didn’t realize to what degree the Jewish National Fund was supporting Arava. Now that I know more, I support the BDS movement as much as I can.” “
    • Tom Pessah Cameron, crossing the picket line will not be “equally acceptable”, it will be a clear sign of disrespect towards the call of over sixty Palestinian civil society organizations who have called for the boycott, as well as their many supporters around the world. http://pacbi.org/etemplate.php?id=868 I see no reason to ignore them.


      ‎”The end of apartheid stands as one of the crowning accomplishments of the past century, but we would not have succeeded without the help of international pressure– in particular the divestment movement of the 1980s. Over the past six months, a similar movement has taken shape, this time aiming at …
    • Cameron Keys Are Rima and Tom suggesting that the meaning of Stanley’s presence at the Festival would be determined solely by the perceptions of civil society organizations, or Israeli media, etc? What about the freedom of the artist — for example, perhaps Pete Seeger could have done something different at the virtual rally that would have prevented him from looking as if he supported the Jewish National Fund? He could have worn a special t-shirt — simple things like that can change perceptions and change the meaning of an artist’s presence. Let us keep making these good arguments and expressing tensions, I feel we are getting closer to some set of choices that embodies a spiritual solution.
    • Gabriel Ash Cameron Keys: The freedom of the artist is a matter of law. None of the people arguing here have any power to physically or legally prevent Stanely from playing in Israel, and if we had such power, we would not have used it. By asking artists to abide by the boycott call, we do not COERCE anybody, and we do not infringe on any right. The call of conscience is not in opposition to freedom, on the contrary, the only meaning of freedom is the freedom to act in accordance to conscience. So the fact that we are adamantly saying that it would be wrong, morally and politically, for artists to disrespect and ignore the Palestinian request of solidarity, does not undermine the freedom of the artist, on the contrary, it is an appeal to precisely that freedom. Artists can do wrong like anybody else. To point that out is not to infringe on their freedom.
    • Rima Najjar Yes, Gabriel – this would be a moral and political act on Stanley’s part. But Stanley is also concerned with the question of whetther his boycotting the performance will make any practical difference. I just want to say that I believe it will – and not onlly because other measures to get Israel to do the right thing have failed so miserably in the past (backfired, some of them, as Stanley himself puts it), but also because, as a tactic, boycott of this nature coupled with divestment have been shown to be effective in South Africa.
    • Rima Najjar Cameron, speaking of freedom of expression, please see this from Amnesty International:
      Israel anti-boycott law an attack on freedom of expression



      The law makes it an offence to call for a boycott against the state of Israel or its West Bank settlements.
    • June Rugh Stanley, I hope you will take a clear stance against the apartheid state of Israel by respecting the boycott/BDS movement, which was originated by Palestinian organizations and is supported by many forward-thinking Israelis, as well as by many in the United States and throughout Europe – and gaining wider support every day. The venerable folk singer/activist Pete Seeger (age 92) recently decided to endorse the boycott, after doing extensive research. You say that you want to use your talents and energies in the best possible way for peace, which is wonderful. The boycott is a clear, nonviolent way forward to peace *with justice* and I hope that you, as a widely respected musician, will see the profound necessity for supporting it.


      Below is a press release issued by Adalah-NY and the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions. For more background seetheseposts:
    • Sylvia Posadas Stanley, I am prepared to be very patient and work through any questions you might have about the intrinsic spiritual logic of the boycott. As we strive together for understanding toward the truth, so that liberation and healing may be facilitated it may be worth considering that Gandhi and Martin Luther King also saw their people’s struggle for freedom through non-violent resistance as a journey of the spirit.
    • Gabriel Ash On the question of effectiveness. Nobody can promise what will or will not be effective. It is the nature of political acts that there are necessarily uncertain with regards to their effects. The general arguments as to why the boycott is effective involves two parts. One, dialogue attempts have proven to be not only ineffective, but positively sapping, in that it allows governments and other actors to pretend they are engaged while not doing anything that challenges the reality of oppression. Two, for historical reasons Israelis are deeply concerned, indeed obsessed, by their identity as part of the “West” (as slogans such “the only democracy in the Middle East” reveals). Therefore, Western artists have an enormous power to pierce into Israeli consciousness by being clear that Israel is beyond the pale in its behavior. Desmund Tutu made the point that it was precisely that kind of dynamics that made the boycott of South African sport teams effective and a powerful contribution to the end of apartheid. 

      “Many of you will remember how effective the sports boycott of the 1970s and 1980s was in conveying to sport-crazy South Africans that our society had placed itself beyond the pale by continuing to organise its life on the basis of racial discrimination. Your refusal to kow-tow to racism was the sanction that hurt the supporters of apartheid the most, and for those of us who suffered the effects of discrimination nothing could have shown us more vividly the principal value enshrined in the preamble to the Spirit of Cricket, which Lord Cowdrey and Ted Dexter later helped to introduce to the laws of the game, the value of which is all the more powerful for the simplicity of its statement, and that of course is fair play. For 20 years, as the sports boycott tightened and apartheid stopped generations of South African sportsmen and women, both white and black, realising their full potential, you and others like you drummed into us what the world saw as fair play and what it saw as unfair play. I have not the slightest doubt that what you did played a major role in persuading the supporters of apartheid to change their ways and, in the negotiations that followed F.W. de Klerk’s courageous decision to release Nelson Mandela in 1990, to agree on a constitution based on the principle, also enshrined in the Spirit of Cricket, of respect for others.” (http://www.lords.org/laws-and-spirit/spirit/mcc-spirit-of-cricket-cowdrey-lecture/2008-cowdrey-lecture-full-text,990,AR.html )

      But I want to return to the crucial point about uncertainty. Devising political strategies is hard and the only chance it has to be of value is that is comes from a deep and long engagement driven by the people at the heart of the struggle. It is presumptuous to come out of a blue and decide “I think this is ineffective. I think that is effective.” BDS is not a whim. It is a national strategy, organised by over 100 associations, based on years of engagement and experience. The right thing to say about effectiveness is “I don’t know, but this is what THEY think would help them” and if one want to help, this is where one begins.
    • Stanley Jordan To be honest, it’s very frustrating for me because these borders undermine everything my music is about. I’ve already played multiple times in Israel, UAE, Lebanon and Turkey, and i’ve played in Egypt as well. I am currently the headliner of the Red Sea Jazz Festival. I committed to this performance before the recent wave of fighting and before I knew anything about the BDS boycotts. I don’t understand why I can’t play for Palestinians–it makes no sense at all! If they can’t come to where I am, I’d love to find a way to bring my music to them.
    • Rima Najjar Interestingly enough, “pale” in the expression “beyond the pale” that Gabriel uses above referred historically to the term “Pale of Settlement” as applied to the area in the west of Imperial Russia where Jews were permitted to reside. Ironically, the illegal settlements and settlement blocs Israel is so busy erecting on Palestinian lands are depriving Palestinians of resources, livelihoods as well as dignity.
    • June Rugh Stanley, Your fellow musicians, Stevie Wonder (scheduled to perform at a gala for Israeli Defense Forces) and jazz vocalist Cassandra Wilson (scheduled to perform at a women’s music festival in Holon, Israel), both recently canceled their performances in Israel out of respect the boycott. So you’d be in good company. There is a strong parallel here to the musicians who ultimately refused to perform at the very lucrative Sun City resort in South Africa in the 1980s, in protest of the then-apartheid state of South Africa. This culminated in Steven Van Zandt founding the group Artists United Against Apartheid, and recording the “Sun City” anti-apartheid protest album in 1985 with over 40 artists including Miles Davis, Bob Dylan, Jimmy Cliff, Pat Benatar, Herbie Hancock, Run–D.M.C., Peter Gabriel, Bob Geldof, Clarence Clemons, Arika Bambaataa, Jackson Browne, U2, George Clinton, Keith Richards, Ronnie Wood, Bonnie Raitt, Hall & Oates, Gil-Scott Heron, Nona Hendryx, and Joey Ramone. 
      If you’re looking for a model of politically and spiritually enlightened activism combined with artistic excellence, there it is. You are a musician of profound talent and deep integrity, and I truly hope you will see the parallel and follow a similar path.
    • Rima Najjar Stanley, come and play in Ramallah – as a gesture of solidarity with the Palestinian people. But that will be meaningful (morally and politically) only if you boycott the Israeli performance. But, since Israel controls all borders, you might not be allowed in.
    • Karen MacRae You can’t play for the Palestinians because they have been placed under military occupation, their movements restricted, their human and civil rights have been stripped, apartheid conditions imposed and most importantly, Palestinian civil society has issued a call to all conscientious citizens of the world to honour their boycott, their picket line, as a method of resistance to attain their liberation. They have requested you specifically to support them. Do you understand? They are asking you not to. Oppressed people are requesting you to honour their request. This isn’t about you. It’s about them. This is why you can’t play. I suggest you cancel until everyone can share your music together, equally, regardless of what religion/ethnic background they may have been born into. Then go.
    • Rima Najjar Dear Stanley – I realize this is difficult for you. Your plans have all been laid out and maybe we seem very remote from your life. Please give it serious consideration and thank you for opening this forum to allow us to talk to you. As June Rugh says above: “If you’re looking for a model of politically and spiritually enlightened activism combined with artistic excellence, there it is. You are a musician of profound talent and deep integrity, and I truly hope you will see the parallel and follow a similar path.”
    • Gabriel Ash Stanley Jordan: Yes, these borders also undermine everything we are about, everything every free human being. But neither Palestinians, nor the activists here who ask you not to cross the picket line, have set up these borders. These borders are forced on us. They are there to prevent people from enjoying freedom, land and yes, music too. We are fighting them. Please be part of that fight. When you cross a border with a Visa issued by a government that prevents millions of people from moving freely, and allow you to pass simply because you are not a Palestinian, you are not crossing any border, you are helping to maintain the border. I understand it is frustrating. Please try to imagine how frustrating it is to live under apartheid.
    • Sa’ed Adel Atshan Stanley, I am a very big fan of yours, and truly appreciate your willingness to engage in this discussion and to hear Palestinian voices in particular. I recently wrote an article regarding Joy Harjo’s performance in Tel Aviv and the BDS movement. Please consider reading it. Thanks for your time.http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/mobile/tags/sa%E2%80%99ed-adel-atshan


    • Lisa Hayeem Carver A few years ago a group of Arab and Israeli musicians got together and did some music for the cause of peace- I think they are still around and you may be able to connect with them- I can’t figure out how to attach the link, but if you search for http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5d_i2F2LlF8, or put in r “shalom2salam” on youtube you can find one of the songs and information.


      A beautiful song with an inspiring message. There are many Israelis, Palestinians, and Arabs working for peace, and this Middle-Eastern jazzy song should be …
    • Alexandra Ferentinos Stanley, I hope you can listen to Palestinian spoken word artist Rafeef Ziadah make the case for the cultural boycott around 32 minutes into this video and to read her arguments below, thank you.

      Palestine and the Cultural Boycott by Rafeef Ziadah


      A Palestine Solidarity Campaign film. http://www.palestinecampaign.org/ The Case For Cultural & Academic Boycott Of Israel with introduction from Ken Loach Sp…
    • Rima Najjar Here in the West Bank, we call that “normalization” (response to Lisa Carver’s post above). It’s acting as if Israel is a normal state simply going about its business, like any other country, to engage in artistic expression. Fact is, Israel is not a normal state like any other. It is apartheid, racist, expansionis and settler colonialist. Acting as if it’s “normal” undermines the Palestinian cause. It doesn’t matter if you are Arab, American or Brazilian. “By crossing the border, you are helping to maintain the border”.
    • Tom Pessah Stanley, if you are searching for a model of spirituality: in the 1960s, Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, one of the great Jewish leaders of his generation, marched together with Dr. King.http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/e/e4/SelmaHeschelMarch.jpg . He said “when I march in Selma, my legs are praying.” Just as Heschel joined Dr. King’s call, respectfully and modestly, out of solidarity, we are asking you to perform a similar act of solidarity, to link hands with palestinians and their supporters around the world, including Israelis who want a just peace, like me. Refusing to perform will send a stronger message than anything you can say while you are there.

      as Sa’ed wrote, supporters of the boycott include Alice Walker, Angela Davis, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Naomi Klein, Judith Butler, Roger Waters, Jewish Voice for Peace.

    • Rima Najjar Together, in the words of Dr. Martin Luther King during the height of the civil rights movement in the United States, we—the Palestinians and humanitarians worldwide—shall overcome.
    • Stanley Jordan I am perfectly willing right now to boycott the settlements and the settlers, These are clear-cut violations of the 1967 borders. But to expand the boycott to Israel as a whole raises the question: How far does this go? I’ve played extensively in Muslim countries such as UAE, Lebanon, Turkey, Egypt and Jordan. Many of these places have policies and even laws that specifically target Jewish people. So shouldn’t I boycott them as well? Also, the USA has been accused of covertly aiding Israel in oppressing the Palestinians. Does this mean I have to boycott my own country too? If we musicians boycott every country that commits atrocities, there would be no music in the world! This would undoubtedly lead to even more conflict and less understanding. Some of you are Israelis who support the boycott, and I really admire your courage, by the way! But why should we outsiders bare the economic brunt of the boycotts? You want me to quit my job, so then shouldn’t you be quitting yours too? After all, any economic activity aids Israel and can be seen as de facto normalization. There’s no attack here– I’m just asking. And thanks everyone for the respectful discussion!
    • Rima Najjar Stanley, I’ll start by responding to one part of your message at a time. “Many of these places have policies and even laws that specifically target Jewish people. So shouldn’t I boycott them as well?”

      Well, you are making a faulty analogy here – a fallacy. You are assuming that because two things are alike in one or more respects, they are necessarily alike in some other respect. Let’s assume that the laws you mention exist and are detrimental to Jews. How does this come close or compare to to the Palestinian situation and the justice they are calling for? It doesn’t.
    • Rima Najjar You say, “the USA has been accused of covertly aiding Israel in oppressing the Palestinians. Does this mean I have to boycott my own country too?” No, the logic of the boycott of Israel doesn’t extend that far. However, it would be great if you wouuld oppose your country’s policy in a meaningful way – like addressing members of Congress to counteract AIPAC’s power.
    • Emma Rosenthal You make a really good point–but the settlements don’t exist on their own. They are supported and maintained and expanded by the state of Israel. Nothing happens in the settlements that isn’t Israeli policy. Settlements didn’t bomb and seize Gaza, settlements didn’t build the wall or operate check points, or harass Palestinians in airports or deny equal rights to Palestinians inside the 67 borders. Settlements don’t prevent Rima from going to Jerusalem or getting a job or having legal status in her own land, or visiting and reclaiming her ancestral home. One cannot separate the settlements from Israel. Israel certainly doesn’t. If the issue were just the settlements, Israel could have taken care of that issue unilaterally.
    • Stanley Jordan Rima,–I agree that atrocities and suffering are not all equal. I’m merely asking where do we draw the line? Can we agree that reasonable people can disagree as to where to draw the line? I’m sure there are people who will say sincerely that I should be boycotting some of these other countries as well.
    • Rima Najjar You say, “But why should we outsiders bare the economic brunt of the boycotts? You want me to quit my job, so then shouldn’t you be quitting yours too?” It sounds like you are looking at this from a financial point of view (rather than the ethics and morality we have been discussing). As a Palestinian, I say, no. If going to this performance in Israel is your livelihood, don’t starve your family. Afterall, life is so bitter here for some Palestinians that they are the labor that builds illegal israeli settlements and that has built the wall. Man got to eat.
    • Emma Rosenthal Also, the call to boycott comes from the people directly impacted by that boycott. It comes from within Palestinian civil society, which exists throughout all of occupied historic Palestine. At this point anyone suggesting a 2 state solution is being disingenuous, as Israel shows no real interest in that proposal. It demands control over the entire territory, but with different laws and benefits to the different communities. The only just solution is full equal and civil rights in all of historic Palestine. At this point, and because of Israeli policy (called, establishing facts on the ground), there is no other possibility. Israel, while it was participating in dialogue, was busy, very busy building roads and settlements and walls and road blocks to assure that there would never be any real, any viable 2 state solution. There already exists a one state solution, the only demand is that it be a just one. When Israel presents other options perhaps we could seriously discuss them.
    • Alex Reza Also, I think the reason we support and abide by BDS is because Palestinian civil society as a whole has called for this after many years of attempts at peaceful negotiations with Israel that have gotten nowhere. BDS is a tactic towards achieving a just peace, not a goal in itself.

      Regarding the countries you mention with whatever problematic laws they may have- there are probably movements in those countries to change those laws, and we should support those movements. However, to my knowledge, none of those movements believe that boycott of the countries will improve the situation or further their cause. However, Palestinians, after decades of thoughtful work, have come to this conclusion. We should support activists in these communities by respecting the work they have done and the solidarity they have asked us to show.
    • Rima Najjar Stanley, you say: Can we agree that reasonable people can disagree as to where to draw the line? I’m sure there are people who will say sincerely that I should be boycotting some of these other countries as well.

      Well, you are drawing the line at the start line. It’s easy to take any argument to its absurd conclusion. As for people who would sincerely say you should, they are being absurd.
    • Gabriel Ash Stanley Jordan: Thank you again for your engagement. Let me try to answer your question. 

      1. The boycott here is not an abstract moral posture. We are not asking you to boycott Israel because Israel is bad. Lots of things are bad. There are horrible government all over the world committing terrible acts. Boycott is a strategy, developed in view of a. what’s possible. b. what is likely to have impact. c. what’s legitimate. Part of that is that it requested by the victims on the basis of a rational argument. This is what you can do to help put pressure on Israel to stop doing a,b,c. If the victims of the Egyptian government asked you to boycott Egypt on similar grounds (feasibility, legitimate demands, legitimate target, likelihood for impact), then absolutely, you should boycott Egypt. But you shouldn’t boycott Egypt just because it has a government that does something wrong in the abstract. Then, you’d be right, you’d have to boycott everything. But this is not what is asked here. 

      2. The target of the boycott is based on responsibility and impact, not symbolism. Israel, the state, and behind the state, the society, not the settlements, is responsible for the oppression of Palestinians. The settlements are ONE aspect of the oppression. They are not the sovereign entity making the decision to oppress. It is Israel that builds settlements, and it is Israeli society that elects politicians who build settlements. The settlements do not build themselves.

      3. While there is value in boycotting settlements, this is almost irrelevant to the cultural boycott, as artists are never asked to go to settlements. You cannot help Palestinians that way. It would be a meaningless gesture. 

      More in a separate comment
    • Emma Rosenthal When Palestinians and supporters protest anywhere in Israeli controlled territories– in any part of historic Palestine, Israel responds with incredible brutality. The weapons we are seeing at demonstrations in the U.S. are practiced on demonstrators in Israel/Palestine. Demonstrations aren’t respected. They are attacked by the soldiers. There is no non-violent means, aside from boycott that Palestinians can participate in, without being subjected to incredible state brutality. This is a non-violent international protest of support that has had already an enormous impact and is very terrifying for Israel’s supporters because it challenges the regime.
    • Gabriel Ash About the economic question. Our economic decisions, for all of us, are part of our lives and part of our impact on others. Every political demand has economic impact on other people. Examples: when nurses strike, why should patient suffer? Is it legitimate to protest against overuse of prisons if this threatens the jobs of prison wardens? Responding to a political demand involves costs, and those who oppress work hard to spread the costs so as many as possible would benefit from oppression and try to keep it going. Forgoing sales of tickets in Israel is a cost, and it does affect artists. Is it an unreasonable cost? Palestinian society is asking you to make a small sacrifice so that they too can live in dignity and enjoy things that you and I take for granted, like being able to travel.

      • Rich Siegel Mr. Jordan- I am a Jewish-American musician (pianist/vocalist/songwriter) and I’d like to respectfully request that you honor the boycott, that you please do not “cross the picket line”, please do not disrespect the request from the people of Palestine. I have written a song and produced a video around it, which includes two talks- one given by me, the other by my co-writer, also Jewish. The video does not directly address the issue of BDS, but it does discuss how some Jewish Americans, like myself, have educated ourselves beyond the tribal loyalties that we were raised with, and come to support the people that our own people are oppressing. I respectfully request 12 minutes of your time. Thanks and Merry Christmas! http://www.vimeo.com/6630724

    • Rima Najjar The fact is, Stanley, the Palestinian people are oppressed by Israel in a very particular way and we are asking you, from a humanitarian point of view, to help us achieve self determination. You should know that Israel will capitalize on your presence there, your good name, to show/tell the world that it is a “normal” country. You will normalize apartheid and ethnic cleansing by participating in this activity. If it’s a question of money, I wish I had it to give compensate you.
    • Karen MacRae I think it’s important to note that those other countries are routinely condemned and punished for the crimes they have carried out. Israel is not. It’s It holds the dubious honour of having violated the most UN resolutions in the history of the UN. (or thereof) The question isn’t so much are they singled out but rather shouldn’t they be held to the same standards as those other countries? If there were any campaigns launched in those other countries, yes, moral people should and would endorse those campaigns unconditionally as we are endorsing the Palestinian’s campaign. Supporting BDS is a part of a global commitment to human rights and equality.
    • Emma Rosenthal I would like to remind people that while it’s very important to respect the boycott, it is also important to respect the Palestinian call to keep the issue focused on human rights, and not “Jewish tribalism” and Judaism, that this is a struggle against settler colonialism and western imperialism, and the ethnicity/religion of the dominant group is not what is at issue, at least to those who are making the call.
    • Gail Nelson The Palestinian boycott call targets cultural institutions, projects and events that continue to serve the purposes of the Israeli colonial and apartheid regime. See sponsors of the Red Sea Jazz Festival. And, courage to Stanley Jordan, for his deep consideration of the plight of the Palestinian people, the refugees, and those in Gaza and the Occupied West Bank. If only more artists would share his concern for human rights, this world would be a better place!http://www.redseajazzeilat.com/en/sponsors/


      Red Sea Jazz Festival – Sponsors
    • Bob Perillo Cameron Keys : “It would be equally acceptable to travel to the Festival and call for widespread support of the boycott from the stage — a possibility no one has acknowledged, but one that might be even more powerful.” That would be like calling for a boycott of Ford while you’re at the local dealership getting ready to drive away in your new Explorer.
    • Stanley Jordan Thanks to all for your messages. I’ve been traveling today and I need to get some sleep. I’ll read everything in the morning and respond. Good night!
    • Rima Najjar No matter what you decide, thank YOU Stanley Jordan for giving us the opportunity to talk to you and God bless.
    • Emma Rosenthal “The “apartheid Israel state” is worse than the apartheid that was conducted in South Africa, Willie Madisha, the Congress of SA Trade Unions president, said today. He said Palestinians were being attacked with heavy machinery and tanks used in war which had never happened in South Africa. Cosatu and other organisations supporting Palestine have called on government to end diplomatic relations with Israel and establish boycotts and sanctions such as those against apartheid South Africa.”



      from the South African Broadcasting Corporation, July 10th The “apartheid Israel state” is worse than the apartheid that was conducted in South Africa, Willie Madisha, the Congress of S…
    • Emma Rosenthal http://www.cosatu.org.za/show.php?ID=4116
      “COSATU salutes the decision by the South African Ministry of Tourism not to attend the 86th Session of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development’s (OECD) Tourism Committee conference to be hosted by Israel in Jerusalem. By its decision, South Africa now joins Britain, Spain and Turkey who have all refused to attend the conference.”


      COSATU salutes the decision by the South African Ministry of Tourism not to attend the 86th Session of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development’s (OECD) Tourism Committee conference to be hosted by Israel in Jerusalem. By its decision, South Africa now joins Britain, Spain and Turke…
    • Andy Griggs http://www.pacbi.org/etemplate.php?id=1917


      This letter is published with author’s permission. June 9, 2012 Dear Publishers at Yediot Books, Thank you so much for wishing to publish my novel THE COLOR PURPLE.  It isn’t possible for me to permit this at this time for the following reason:  As you may know, last Fall in South Africa the Russell…
    • Elise Hendrick “Cameron Keys : “It would be equally acceptable to travel to the Festival and call for widespread support of the boycott from the stage — a possibility no one has acknowledged, but one that might be even more powerful.”

      Yes, it would be a powerful tool in the hands of regime propagandists, who could then say (and rightly, at that) “What a load of hypocrites this BDS mob are! They collect their appearance fees, and call for boycott from the stage!”
    • Rima Najjar Over Xmas Eve & Xmas Day, Israel announced 1,200 new settlement houses http://bit.ly/WDAlu6 & a settlement universityhttp://bit.ly/ReWdwE


      Plan includes 930 apartments for immediate construction and around 300 that could be built at a later time.
    • Elise Hendrick Stanley Jordan: “I am perfectly willing right now to boycott the settlements and the settlers, These are clear-cut violations of the 1967 borders. But to expand the boycott to Israel as a whole raises the question: How far does this go? “

      It’s an understandable question, but Israel has already answered it. Those illegal settlements are fully integrated into existing Israeli institutions. The impunity of marauding “ideological settlers” who routinely harass, brutally attack, or even murder Palestinians, and destroy their homes and farms, is guaranteed by the Israeli military and the Israeli police. The funding for the construction of those settlements is at least partially fronted by the Israeli government. The tax incentives for people to illegally move into the illegal settlements are offered by the Israeli government. As far as the Israeli regime is concerned, Ma’aleh Adumim and Ariel are as much part of Israel as Tel Aviv and Haifa. 

      Drawing the line at settlements is certainly appealing for the reasons you mention, but the line is illusory.
    • Rima Najjar Homes Demolished in Israel and Palestine

      0 Israeli homes have been demolished by Palestinians and over 27,000 Palestinian homes have been demolished by Israel since 1967



      If Americans Knew is dedicated to providing Americans with everything they need to know about Israel and Palestine.
    • Peter Lippman Boycott is a very honorable traditional method of resistance of injustice and I encourage you to participate in the world-wide academic and cultural boycott of Israel – not just the Occupied Territories. The economies of the Territories and Israel proper are thickly interconnected and a contribution to one of them is a vote of confidence for the entire system of apartheid.
      The use of the term “apartheid” in the context of Israel and the Territories is not hyperbole – the situation of two different sets of laws for two peoples on the same land and in the same legal system fits the definition of apartheid perfectly.
      A boycott against Israeli apartheid is not anti-Semitic; it’s not against Jews, nor is it even truly “anti-Israel.” It’s a pro-human rights measure and, for that matter, it’s a moral, non-violent form of action – one we can take without waiting for our “leaders” to take a moral stance.
      Thanks much for opening up to this discussion.
    • Rima Najjar FROM Letter from Alice Walker to Publishers at Yediot Books
      Dear Publishers at Yediot Books,

      “Thank you so much for wishing to publish my novel THE COLOR PURPLE. It isn’t possible for me to permit this at this time for the following reason: As you may know, last Fall in South Africa the Russell Tribunal on Palestine met and determined that Israel is guilty of apartheid and persecution of the Palestinian people, both inside Israel and also in the Occupied Territories. The testimony we heard, both from Israelis and Palestinians (I was a jurist) was devastating. I grew up under American apartheid and this was far worse. Indeed, many South Africans who attended, including Desmond Tutu, felt the Israeli version of these crimes is worse even than what they suffered under the white supremacist regimes that dominated South Africa for so long.”
    • Gabriel Ash excellent analysis of how incoming musicians are recruited to serve state interests.



      The interesting thing about Israel is that its government and registered citizens have a wonky spatial perception, which feeds off itself: In Israel, you’re not in the state, the state is in you. D…
    • Rima Najjar Stanley, for your convenience, here is a summary of the heart of the article Gabriel Ash posted: As a BDS activist, whose main focus is cultural boycott, Tali Shapiro has come up against a very common Israeli claim (individuals, small business, and government officials) that “culture has nothing to do with politics”. 

      Shapiro goes on to explain that, in fact, CULTURE HAS EVERYTHING TO DO WITH POLITICS, because, in branding Israel, much of Israel’s propaganda is based on the blurring of the lines between the individual and the state (and army). This is how it works:

      1.Cultural product is commissioned by an official Israeli body or non-Israeli institution that serves Brand Israel or similar propaganda purposes.
      2.Product is funded by an official Israeli body, but not commissioned (no political strings).
      3.Event is partially or fully sponsored or funded by an official Israeli body or a complicit institution.
      4.Event or project promotes false symmetry or “balance”.
    • Joe Wazwaz Open Letter to Stanley Jordan; You oughta know it’s apartheid, don’t support IDF Israel.
      Dear Stanley Jordan

      We are writing to you to ask that you not cross the Palestinian picket line by supporting the IDF in Israel in your trip to Israel. As we write, the people of Gaza, who live in the world’s largest open-air prison, are being subjected to nightly airstrikes by Israel, a few miles from where you would be playing to a segregated audience. Last week, humanitarian activists trying to break the illegal, immoral siege of Gaza were kidnapped in international waters, tasered and imprisoned in Israel. Their crime? Showing solidarity to the Palestinian people.

      Last month the United Nations issued a report: “Gaza in 2020, a Liveable Place?” [1] focusing on Gaza’s precarious situation, particularly regarding power supply, water, education and employment. Gaza’s 1.6 million people, most of them refugees and over half of them children, are held in a tiny piece of land with their movements controlled by Israel and their basic human rights denied, they are also terrorised by drone planes and military incursions regularly. Can you imagine that human beings are being treated like this? Can you imagine supporting for the state that does this? Amnesty International, an organisation that you have supported, has documented Israel’s war crimes in Gaza, as have many other NGOs. [2]

      Were this Israel’s only breach of human rights, it should be enough for you not to support in Israel. However, Israel is also guilty of gross human rights violations against the Palestinian people living in the West Bank and the Palestinian citizens of Israel. In November 2011 the Russell Tribunal on Palestine determined that Israel is practising apartheid against the Palestinian people. [3] Its session in New York this month saw submissions from Stevie Wonder, Alice Walker, Angela Davis and Roger Waters among others and made the following findings:

      “Among these violations of international law, several of them are criminally sanctioned: war crimes (Israeli settlements, inhumane treatment, torture, indiscriminate attacks, home demolitions, forced population transfer, collective punishment, 1996 ILC Draft Code of crimes against the peace and security of mankind, Art. 20; 4th GC, Art. 147, Rome Statute Art. , crimes against humanity (persecution defined by the International Criminal Court (ICC) Statute cited here as expression of international custom, Art. 7), and the crime of Apartheid (1973 UN Convention, Art. 1 ; on Apartheid and persecution, see 2011 Capetown findings of this Tribunal). Because of their systematic, numerous, flagrant and, sometimes, criminal character, these violations are of a particularly high gravity.” [4]

      Archbishop Desmond Tutu described the situation thus: “I have been to the Occupied Palestinian Territory, and I have witnessed the racially segregated roads and housing that reminded me so much of the conditions we experienced in South Africa under the racist system of Apartheid. International Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions against the Apartheid regime, combined with the mass struggle inside South Africa, led to our victory … Just as we said during apartheid that it was inappropriate for international artists to perform in South Africa in a society founded on discriminatory laws and racial exclusivity, so it would be wrong … to perform in Israel“. [5]

      As a means of resistance to this apartheid, Palestinian civil society, like its South African counterpart during their struggle, has called for a boycott of Israel until it complies with international law and Universal Principles of Human Rights. The PACBI (Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel) call [6] for BDS, made by over 200 civil society organisations, is growing in international support daily and the list of artists respecting the call includes: Santana, Cat Power, Elvis Costello, Cassandra Wilson, Massive Attack, Jello Biafra, Faithless, Leftfield, Gorillaz, Pixies, Gil Scott Heron, Stevie Wonder and many more who have refused to play for apartheid. If there is any doubt that the state uses artists’ performances in Israel as endorsement of its policies, this quotation from the Israeli foreign ministry where it stated that it “sees no difference between propaganda and culture”, should dispel that. Indeed, the official state twitter was boasting about your upcoming performance when it was announced. [7]

      Just this week the African National Congress (ANC) International Solidarity Conference voted to support the Palestinian-led campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel, cementing the links between the two struggles against apartheid. [8]

      When a performer playing last week asked his Israeli interviewer if Palestinians could attend the concert, the response was: “We have to check.” Playing to a segregated audience is not worthy of you, Stanley Jordan, and would be a terrible disappointment to many of your fans.

      Every day the Palestinian people endure Israeli oppression with dignity and immense courage – all they are asking is that you do not cross their picket line. In solidarity with them, we are asking you to not to play for apartheid. Mr. Stanley Jordan, please cancel.

      Warmest Regards,
      Don’t Play Apartheid Israel
      We are a group of 950 members, representing many nations around the globe, who believe that it is essential for musicians and other artists to heed the call of the PACBI, and join in the boycott of Israel. This is essential in order to work towards justice for the Palestinian people under occupation, and also in refugee camps and in the diaspora throughout the world.
    • Fadwa Al Qasem There are many books I could recommend to you, but I’d rather you visit Gaza for a while. Or one of the 19 Palestinian refugee camps in Palestine (or Lebanon, or elsewhere), East Jerusalem, Ramallah .. meet some Palestinians in Palestine, sit under one of the many segregation/ separation walls, cross a check-point or two under gun point, and read the reality that Palestinians live with everyday – then make up your own mind.
    • Radi Annab If you perform in Israel, you will be supporting an apartheid, racist state. Only through boycott will it change.
    • Raymond Deane Stanley: as a musician and a Palestinian Rights activist I urge you not to lend yourself to the Israeli propaganda machine by participating in the Red Sea Jazz Festival. Music can indeed be a source of healing, but when the conditions under which it is disseminated are controlled by an oppressive state then it can itself – even contrary to the deepest intentions of its performers and creators – become an instrument of oppression and exclusion. The state of Israel knows how to use every tool at its disposal in order to whitewash its ongoing persecution of the Palestinian people – a persecution that is (de facto) supported by your government and mine – and uses those tools ruthlessly, because on a moral, ethical and legal basis it doesn’t have a leg to stand on. Your presence at the Red Sea Festival will serve to legitimise the regime that engages in this persecution and this whitewashing, and your best intentions – and I know that your intentions are pure – will be debased and instrumentalised. PLEASE listen to the call from the persecuted Palestinian people – PLEASE cancel your participation in the Red Sea Jazz Festival.
    • Roy H W Johnston Raymonf you have triggered an intense discussion, but could this perhaps be steered in the direction of the message of the Lerner book, which appears to be a factor in the situation?
    • Raymond Deane I don’t think I’ve triggered anything, Roy; I’ve been triggered by a discussion that had already started. Not having read Rabbi Lerner’s book, I can’t comment, although I’ve read a great many of his articles and essays. While I get the impression that he (and the Tikkun movement in general) has much of value to say about how people can reconcile once a measure of political justice has been established, I fail to see any useful recommendations as to how we can arrive at that condition. One thing musicians and other artists can do, however, is to avoid lending themselves to abuse by the Israeli state apparatus. The question of whether one should boycott other countries that also have a criminal record keeps rearing its head – the answer has to be twofold: have the oppressed in those countries ASKED for such a boycott (which is the case in Palestine), and does a boycott of those countries have the slightest chance of being effective? This is particularly relevant in the case of the cultural boycott – just how can you impose a cultural boycott on Syria, for example, or the DRC? It’s not feasible, because these regimes aren’t in a position to exploit culture for their ends. Israel is, and does. “Boycott is a tactic, not a principle” – Mandela.
    • Rima Najjar Stanley, I too am learning from this discussion, which you have so kindly started. When you asked the question, “Many of these places have policies and even laws that specifically target Jewish people. So shouldn’t I boycott them as well?” It was clear to me that this is the kind of red herring question that hasbara (Israeli propoganda) trots out every time their legion of proponents prceives a threat, like the call for cultural boycott. This forces everyone to go off on tangents. What I learned from posts by Gabriel Ash and Raymond Deane is the bottom line: The Cultural Boycott of Israel is a tactic that has a good chance of succeeding. We are not discussing abstract philosophical questions here.
    • Radi Annab Stanley, just some useful info for you: A few days ago, “With an overwhelming majority, the United Nations General Assembly voted for the Palestinian Right To Self Determination; the vote passed by 179 votes while only seven countries, including Israel and the United States, voted against, and three countries abstained. . . this vast majority vote is continued international support to the Palestinian rights, including the right to self-determination and liberation.”http://www.imemc.org/article/64779


      With an overwhelming majority, the United Nations General Assembly voted for the “Palestinian Right To Self Determination”; the vote passed by 179 votes while only seven countries, including Israel and the United States, voted against, and three countries abstained. The IMEMC is a media collective….
    • Emily O’ Sullivan Stanley, first of all thanks for making a genuine effort here and taking time to engage before making your final decision. I understand that you would find it difficult to cancel after committing to playing the red sea festival but it has state funding and as pointed out by others here your participation would be manipulated regardless of your intentions. 

      Although the violations and breaches of human rights and international law go far beyond settlements, one does not have to look far to connect one of the sponsors of the event to settlements. Limor Livnat, the minister for culture, uses her role in a bid to legitimise and strengthen illegal settlements (http://www.timesofisrael.com/government-agrees-to-fund-jewish-museums-in-the-west-bank/). Settlement building is one of the more blatant manifestations of dispossession and ethnic cleansing of Palestinians by Israel.

      It is difficult to travel to the West Bank or Gaza without inadvertently reinforcing the borders and Israeli apparatus of apartheid – passing through Ben gurion one says ‘holy land’ instead of the West Bank and denies any connections with ‘arabs’ when quizzed by security staff in the airport. I am both familiar and uncomfortable with this and unfortunately in travelling to WB had to do so myself. Ironically, this is a luxury. However uncomfortable this may be for international and Israeli activists, most Palestinians are not even permitted to travel through Tel Aviv airport. Most of us opt to bite our tongues in these instances and weighing it up decide it’s worth it to play along. (Although there have been 2 ‘flytillas’ where people attempt to enter the west bank via Ben gurion with the stated aim of visiting Palestine. This has resulted in activists being arrested, turned back and prevented from boarding their flights in the first place). We are not asking you not to visit Israel but are asking you not to so in a way that publicly and prominently normalises what is happening. In playing at a state-sponsored event you would publicly be endorsing a system of apartheid, normalizing it and lending yourself 
      to the whitewashing of these injustices.


      Culture Minister Limor Livnat approves measure to give millions of shekels to institutions in settlements
    • Stanley Jordan OK, I’m back, and I’ve been reading through the messages here. And one thing I must say right off the bat: I’ve been particularly moved by the accounts from Palestinians on what you are coping with on a daily basis. And I just really want you to know, from the bottom of my heart, that I am listening. Thank you for your contribution and for your courage.
    • Zoë Lawlor Stanley, it looks like you are empathising with the Palestinian people, living as they do under apartheid and occupation. I hope you listen to your heart and take courage from the strength that the Palestinian people display every day. All they are asking from you is that you don’t cross the picket line – I hope you make this act of solidarity.
    • Stanley Jordan The main thesis of Michael Lerner’s book is that a change in consciousness is crucial. He says that the solution will require mutual generosity and compassion. Of course many may say that that will take a long time to happen. I hope you’re wrong, but you might be right. Either way, the point is, the solution will not be found until this change of consciousness occurs. One very positive thing I see in the BDS boycotts is that they shift the battleground from the military domain to the economic and cultural, which is certainly a more humane from of battle-but it’s still battle nonetheless. What resonates with my own heart is to step outside of the very frame that insists that some form of conflict is the only option. Some of you may feel that conflict is necessary–at least for now. But even if necessary, I’m sure that it’s not sufficient. That’s why I find this book to be right on. And he does offer specifics such as a call for a Global Marshall Plan, to be first implement in the Middle East.
    • Tom Pessah just to add to what people have said – Stanley, you now have an opportunity to do something deeply meaningful. Expressing sympathy is important but building real pressure to change oppressive behaviors could really make a difference. If you abstain from doing so you won’t make the lives of oppressed minorities elsewhere in the Middle East any better. Taking action in area X inevitably means not taking action in area Y but we have to start somewhere and starting here is important and valuable. There is no reason why palestinians should continue to suffer until all the other problems in the world are resolved. Things won’t change without significant pressure from the outside. Please listen to those who have been dealing with these issues for decades. We’ve had plenty of musicians visiting Israel with messages of peace, but the suffering continues.
    • Zoë Lawlor Stanley, I wouldn’t characterise the BDS movement as “conflict” but as resistance. The Palestinians are a militarily occupied people and, like any other people, they are resisting this in many ways and modes – mainly by existing. One of the most powerful tools that can actually shift the situation from one of apartheid to one of equality is the boycott. This will not happen at government level, it is through civil society and you now have the opportunity to be part of it. That creates real pressure for change and that’s what is needed.
    • Stanley Jordan http://www.amazon.com/Embracing-Israel-Palestine-Strategy-Transform/dp/1583943072


      A major modern conundrum is how the Arab/Israel conflict remains unresolved and, seemingly, unresolvable. In this inspirational book, Rabbi Michael Lerner suggests that a change in consciousness is crucial. With clarity and honesty, he examines how the mutual demonization and discounting of …
    • Rima Najjar Stanley, you say, “What resonates with my own heart is to step outside of the very frame that insists that some form of conflict is the only option.” I embrace the vision of a bi-national state with both Jews and Palestinians living democratically and with dignity in historic Palestine. To reach that frame (in Lerner’s words: to embrace each community in a spirit of genuine caring), we need a principled and sustained campaign to impose a cost for Israeli government abuses of Palestinians. That’s because Israel holds ALL the cards (every single one and then some) at present.
    • Sylvia Posadas Stanley, I come from Australia, another settler colonial country where, like Israel, the Indigenous people have been genocided and are being genocided on an ongoing basis. On top of this, for many decades until it ended in the 70s, the Australian government had a policy called the ‘White Australia policy’ to conserve the ‘white majority’. Lerner’s position is similar. He is concerned that ‘Jewish Israel’ with a Jewish demographic majority be retained. This is a racist position, as was Australia’s immigration policy. Palestinians are entitled to their right of return under international law and Lerner proposes only some implementation of this fundamental right, lest the racist demographic balance be disturbed. How is this ‘mutually compassionate’? Racism is never compassionate. 

      Additionally, at present, according to Palestinian MK Haneen Zoabi, 43 Israeli laws discriminate against non-Jews within Israel, and Palestinians are subsequently second class citizens in their own homeland, a homeland where, she describes, even the relationship of Indigenous Palestinians with it is being alienated from them as history is duplicitously rewritten to suit the powerful party, turning Palestinians into invaders of their own homeland. In the Occupied Territories, Palestinians subsist in ever-diminishing enclaves as illegal Jews only settlements expand and military zones are declared by Israel on their lands. 

      The government of Israel has thumbed its nose at the international community and in the last few weeks has declared 5,500 new illegal Jews only homes will be constructed on Palestinian land. Yet the international community is supine. Netanyahu, the PM of Israel established his expansionist, oppressive goals a couple of years ago in a speech he gave at the Bar Ilan University which make Lerner’s ‘compromises’ hollow and politically unviable as a position to pursue. Outwardly, noises are made by the Israeli government that it is working toward ‘negotiating’ for peace and two states, as does Lerner push his version of 2 viable states, but in reality, Netanyahu’s stated plans which have real political backing are for the solidification of the existing discontiguous, non-sovereign bantustans in the Occupied Territories, where Palestinians will not have free right of movement to the outside world, as the borders will still be controlled by Israel. This outcome is patently an enhancement of the existing apartheid. 

      Yet, some Israeli politicians are not satisfied even with Netanyahu’s plan. They would prefer that all Palestinians are expelled from Israel and that the Occupied Territories be subsumed completely with further expulsions later on. In the light of these political realities, Lerner’s position is unrealistic and supports the status quo.

      Palestinians have called on people of conscience, as did the ANC when faced with bantustanisation and overwhelming racism, to make a stand with them in order to stop this hideous iniquity. I am appealing to your conscience and intelligence to stand with them and recognise that when a grassroots movement for liberation with consensus from the oppressed themselves has a global momentum because it is grounded in truth and justice, then together, we can win.
    • Evan McHugh McAwesome I vote BDS, with a slew of examples why listed above.
    • Rima Najjar What Sylvia Posadas says above is true, Stanley : Lerner’s position is unrealistic and supports the status quo.
      Here is an alternative vision that also sees both sides but from a Palestinian perspective: 



      A “visionary”* approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict–one state for two peoples–that is more urgent than ever It is by now a commonplace that the only way to end the Israeli-Palestinian violence is to divide the territory in two. All efforts at resolving the conflict have come down t…
    • Tom Pessah ^^ it’s an alternative vision that sees both sides from the perspective of equal rights, without privileges
    • Rima Najjar Right: “Peace cannot require Palestinians to acquiece to the denial of what was done to them. Neither can it require israeli Jews to view their own presence in Palestine as illegitimate or to change their belief in their right to live there because of ancient and spiritual ties.”
    • Rima Najjar And the status quo in Israel, Stanley, is racist. Lerner says toward the end of his book something to the effect that as long as Palestinian Israelis can vote, it’s OK for them not to have equal rights (afterall they are better off than in other Arab countries), because to him, the Jewish privilige in Israel is paramount.



      Palestinians in Israel considers a key issue ignored by the official “peace process” and most mainstream commentators: that of the growing Palestinian minority within Israel itself. What the Israeli right-wing calls “the demographic problem,” Ben White identifies as “the democratic problem,” whic…
    • Emma Rosenthal Using artists to normalize Israeli aggression is not a form of consciousness raising, it normalized Israeli hegemony and brutality. There is no neutral way to participate in a state sponsored event. That even this non-violent action is seen as “too confrontational” means that Palestinians and supporters have no recourse, none what so ever.. Even those resistance movements based on spirit and consciousness, such as those lead by Gandhi and King, were highly confrontational, and indeed included boycotts. 

      It is very disheartening to see spirituality used as a pretext for perpetuating ongoing atrocities and used as an excuse to cross the picket line. We’ve seen this over and over again. No one has crossed the picket line to find that their actions made any change whatsoever. Lerner has no program, and he has no Palestinian base either. Spirituality and consciousness without action, without sacrifice, without behavior that supports the vision, is hollow, is narcotic. 

      A change in consciousness would mean an inability to support the current consciousness of brutality and oppression and the cynicism that would exploit art and music in its service. It would mean honoring the boycott. It might mean issuing a statement that expresses the desire for a change in consciousness, but it would indeed refuse to entertain brutality, refuse to sing for emperors and soldiers.
    • Samira Barghouthi So honestly Stanley Jordan, why did you want this discussion? Were you hoping for more support so you could continue the performance with a clear conscience? Discussion is good but it is discussions that lead to the never-ending story of the Palestinian suffering. YOU MUST FIND THE ANSWER WITHEN AND IN YOUR MOST INNER REALITY! Do what you think you would if you knew you only have a week to live.
    • Rima Najjar Speaking of sacrifice: We must remember that every right we enjoy has been wrestled from the hands of power at great personal cost by ordinary people like you and me.
      One example:
      The Palestinian detainee Samer Issawi after 137 days of hunger strike seen here in the Israeli occupation court 12/13/2002



      On the right: The Palestinian detainee Samer Issawi after 137 days of hunger strike in the Israeli occupation court 12/13/2002On the left: Issawi before being chewed up by the Israeli occupation court system. Read this review of THE DOCUMENTARY FILM “THE LAW IN THESE PARTS” about how the legal system Israel uses to rule the occupied Palestinian territories was put into place and how it has functioned over the 40-plus years of its existence. This may sound like a dry, legalistic endeavor, but the result will surprise you.http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/movies/moviesnow/la-et-mn-law-in-these-parts-review-20121214,0,5532140.storyBE INFORMED
      LEARN ABOUT ISRAEL’S SORRY EXCUSE FOR INDEFINITE DETENTION OF PALESTINIANS WITHOUT CHARGEThe Israeli occupation has detained Palestinians without charge or trial for years, and attempted to legitimize the practice with the adoption of the Internment of Unlawful Combatants Law in 2002, which was conceived to enable the Israeli state to circumvent a ruling of its Supreme Court in 2000, which ruled illegal the detention of Lebanese men held hostage for more than a decade.Just prior to Israel’s 2008/09 offensive on Gaza, more than 900 Palestinians from the Gaza Strip were detained in Israeli prisons, serving sentences for “security” offences and deprived of family visits. Such detentions have continued both in the Gaza Strip and increasingly in the West Bank, especially after the vote for Palestinian status in the UN.Israel’s actions are violations of international human rights law, most significantly, the Geneva Conventions and International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which state unequivocally that imprisonment without opportunity for appeal is a breach of the fundamental principles of justice.http://ufree-p.net/uploads/Excuse%20for%20Indefinite%20Detention%20without%20Charge%20.pdf
    • Drew Mcewan The boycott of Apartheid and the armed struggle of the South African people brought Apartheid to its knees. The boycott of Israeli goods and all cultural and sporting connections, will, with the continued resistance of Palestinians bring Zionism to its knees. There is no middle ground, no cretinous excuse of promoting dialogue through performing in that state. An act of performing in Israel is a cowardly crime against the Palestinian people.
    • Emma Rosenthal Yes, you must create the conditions that allow for a change in consciousness. Apartheid is the antithesis of compassion. It disallows it. You cannot step over bleeding bodies like they aren’t there, and call it, peace. You cannot pass to the head of a line because others are excluded, and call it peace. 

      Performing for empire does not bring a change of consciousness. Martin Luther King would call this the negative peace. Being part of a music festival in the middle of such a brazen violation of human rights would perpetuate the negative peace.
    • Gabriel Ash Stanely, one day a friend of a friend came to my house (by way of the common friend) for some afternoon tea. we talked about many things, and somehow the conversation came to politics and to Palestine. That man then said, if I can paraphrase, “when I think about people anywhere who suffer violence, I try to think good thought and to send them positive energy with my thinking.” Is that what you mean by “spirituality”?

      What we’re asking you is to take a stand and join an action in a way that will have a impact in the world. Because circumstances have that you are able to do something meaningful and more powerful than most people can. It’s your decision by definition, and you can ignore the request. You can decide that your career, your business relation, your convenience, etc., come first. In doing so you won’t be different than the vast majority of people. It’s quite normal to ignore suffering, oppression and violence and to do nothing about it. It won’t make you a worse person than the average. Well, maybe a tad worse. But pretty close to the average. 

      But please don’t call it “spirituality.” The spirits are turning in their graves.
    • Rima Najjar ” I must constantly respond to the Macedonian call for aid.” – Martin Luther King
    • Emma Rosenthalhttp://www.africa.upenn.edu/Articles_Gen/Letter_Birmingham.html

      “You may well ask: “Why direct action? Why sit ins, marches and so forth? Isn’t negotiation a better path?” You are quite right in calling for negotiation. Indeed, this is the very purpose of direct action. Nonviolent direct action seeks to create such a crisis and foster such a tension that a community which has constantly refused to negotiate is forced to confront the issue. It seeks so to dramatize the issue that it can no longer be ignored. My citing the creation of tension as part of the work of the nonviolent resister may sound rather shocking. But I must confess that I am not afraid of the word “tension.” I have earnestly opposed violent tension, but there is a type of constructive, nonviolent tension which is necessary for growth. Just as Socrates felt that it was necessary to create a tension in the mind so that individuals could rise from the bondage of myths and half truths to the unfettered realm of creative analysis and objective appraisal, so must we see the need for nonviolent gadflies to create the kind of tension in society that will help men rise from the dark depths of prejudice and racism to the majestic heights of understanding and brotherhood. The purpose of our direct action program is to create a situation so crisis packed that it will inevitably open the door to negotiation. I therefore concur with you in your call for negotiation. Too long has our beloved Southland been bogged down in a tragic effort to live in monologue rather than dialogue.”


      ‎16 April 1963 My Dear Fellow Clergymen: While confined here in the Birmingham city jail, I came across your recent statement calling my present activities “unwise and untimely.” Seldom do I pause to answer criticism of my work and ideas. If I sought to answer all the criticisms that cross my desk, m…
    • Rima Najjar YES! ” I have earnestly opposed violent tension, but there is a type of constructive, nonviolent tension which is necessary for growth.” MLK
    • Sylvia Posadas At one of his addresses, Lerner claimed that there has to be a change in social consciousness in the way there had to be a change in consciousness about the patriarchy before feminism could succeed. However, beyond an analysis of the patriarchy, it is sexism that holds back women, and beyond an understanding of racist hegemony, it is racism which prevents Palestinians attaining their just rights. 

      Infused with respect for human rights, the Palestinian-led boycott logically and directly aims at ending this racism.
    • Stanley Jordan Sylvia, I’m not aware of Lerner advocating any racist policies and I’d be very surprised if he did. But please take note of his main point–that we all need to fundamentally change how we relate to one another. Will we live our lives from love, or from fear? I agree with his point that, until this spiritual change happens, there is no policy change that will fix the problem. That said, Rima, I have gotten the book by Ali Abunimah that you recommended, and I’ve already started reading it. It looks quite good. You say Lerner’s position is unrealistic. Have you read his book? Are you saying there isn’t one single realistic sentence in there? I just want to make sure we all keep our minds open, and so I will tend to question blanket statements. The solution will include nuances, and a more compassionate way of relating. Even Ali Abunimah begins his book with fond memories of a time when relations with Jewish people were warm. This is exactly the kind of thing Lerner is talking about.
    • Emma Rosenthal Thought alone does not bring about change, regardless of what new age spirituality asserts. It is with action that we bring our vision into reality, and in the context of social justice: joint action.
    • Rima Najjar Kapitan Taking a stand for justice and against Israeli apartheid would be especially powerful at a time when Israel just conducted a brutal siege on Gaza’s civilian population, and just announced plans to expand settlements on occupied Palestinian land. Palestinians and human rights activists all over the world are watching. Join other principled performers who have refused to cross the picket line!
    • Emma Rosenthal It’s important, Stanley, to look at the details of the proposal. Lerner advocates a two state solution, where Israel remains an essentially Jewish state, with protected rights for that Jewish majority. When ever a state must make borders to assure one group maintain a majority, the demographic efforts and controls result in extremely racist policies. 

      Besides, there is no viable 2 state solution. The facts on the ground have assured a continuing 1 state solution– but it’s an repressive, apartheid state. the 2 state solution has never really been a sincere proposal, as limited as it is. At this point in time it’s just a distraction to any real discussion. If a viable 2 state solution were even a remote possibility, Israel could have created that, unilaterally. Even in the midst of Oslo, Israel never stopped settlement expansion. It never intended to cede an inch of the best land.
    • Rima Najjar Stanley Jordan, you ask me: “You say Lerner’s position is unrealistic. Have you read his book? Are you saying there isn’t one single realistic sentence in there?” I have been reading Lerner’s book (at your recommendation) from the Amazon (open the book) site. I haven’t come across any concrete strategies like the one Abunimah suggests. In fact, when he is asked about a bi-national state, his answer clearly indicates that he is not for it. Can you point me to a realistic (and by that I mean concrete) strategy that Lerner suggests that would NOT be advanced by a principled and sustained campaign to impose a cost for Israeli government abuses of Palestinians?
    • Emma Rosenthal Any Zionist vision of a 2 state solution has always assured the continued Israeli control over Palestinian land. 

      Eqbal Ahmed confronted a group of students I was part of, back in the day, during the beginning of the boycott of South Africa. He pointed out that our concern was rooted in similarities, not differences between South AFrica and the U.S. 

      Apartheid is based on 2 U.S. systems of oppression– 1. Native American reservations, and 2. Jim Crow. One system quarantines and separates an oppressed population, even participates in its genocide. the other deals with issues of convergence, where the 2 groups- dominant and oppressed, come into contact, assuring the dominance of the dominant group., and the exploitation of the labor of the oppressed group. 

      Even if the solution for the territories occupied since 1967 could be resolved with a 2 state solution, the rights of Palestinians in a rigidly maintained Jewish majority state would be significantly curtailed. 

      The only just solution is a one state solution, based on equal civil and human rights for all, and since a 1 state reality already exists, talking 2 states is a negative and illusory assertion with no basis in spirituality nor materialism. 

      Lerner tries valiantly to make Zionism, just, and perhaps, for that he should be commended, but it is an essentially settler colonialist narrative that disregards the rights, the mere existence of another people. It cannot be done.
    • Emma Rosenthal Rima, it’s also important to point out that Lerner has no base of support among Palestinians, who see his proposal for what it is, not for what it appears to be.
    • Rima Najjar Israel as a Jewish state balks at the right of return for Palestinian refugees. Why? Because a Jewish Israel has been created as a result of the expulsion of Palestinians from Israel.
    • Emma Rosenthal Yes I left that out. Lerner’s proposal does not even begin to address the issue of refugee right of returns. I have that “right” as a diaspora Jew, but Palestinians who still have the keys to their homes and the deeds to their land, cannont return. Where is that justice?
    • Varda Epstein Peace can only come through communication. What better way to communicate than through music? Israel is ready to discuss peace at any time, with no preconditions. We are open to peace. I think that by playing in our country, you show you are open to communication and peace, because you are willing to communicate your art to those of us who are willing to listen!
    • Sylvia Posadas Stanley, here is Lerner: ‘We at Tikkun have suggested that Israel take in twenty to thirty thousand refugees each year for the next thirty years, because at the expectable growth rate of populations that number would not undermine the demographic balance and yet would appear to be a rather significant act of atonement.’

      What Lerner proposes, as I referred to above in my comparison of his stance with the White Australia policy, is a racist solution to ensure a continued racist Jewish demographic majority. He is opposed to the removal of racist privilege for Jews in Israel. 

      Thus, as I’ve previously said, he is guaranteeing the status quo, because without equal rights for all, and real human and political rights for disenfranchised Palestinians in the Occupied Territories over whom Israel governs and will continue to govern in a de facto sense with Netanyahu’s plan, the status quo will indeed continue – more expansionism, more brutality, more oppression, and more apartheid. http://mondoweiss.net/2012/05/peter-beinarts-cognitive-dissonance-on-threats-to-israels-demographics.html


      Michael Lerner and Peter Beinart seek to preserve Israel’s Jewish majority from the right of return
    • Emma Rosenthal The festival is being held in Eliat– the Sun City of Israel. Do you really want to be a part of that?



      lol Its the first snow in Connecticut. And in Eilat we go to the Beach.
    • Rima Najjar Thank you, Sylvia Posadas, for explaining it so concisely and so well.
    • Emma Rosenthal http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aopKk56jM-I


      Not long after Band Aid and We Are The World focused musical attention on poverty and famine, a collection of artists took a similar approach in the struggle…
    • Emma Rosenthal Then and now ^
    • Gabriel Ash Stanley Jordan: Lerner is problematic for a lot of reasons mentioned by others, but I’ll give him credit for being a kind of gateway drug. A lot of people started to think about Palestine with Lerner and then moved beyond him. But to talk about what is the right policy misses the point. We’re not crafting policies. We talk precisely about how to relate to each other. It’s true, no government can “solve” this problem. It’s the role of people to bring change by changing they way they act and relate to others. But what does that mean in practice? It seems to me where Lerner fails is precisely in drawing the conclusion. To stop acting from fear is to stop accepting the normalcy and violence and oppression, because it is fear, fear of loss, fear of consequences, fear of ridicule, fear of punishment and, fear of deprivation that make all of us accept the way things are. To stop acting from fear is precisely what people are doing when they demand and insist on that oppression has to stop.
    • Rima Najjar And on the Palestinian side, we need to stop acting from outrage. For us to be able to do that, the oppression has to stop.
    • Andy Griggs It seems odd to hear people advocating dialogue while perpetuating the status quo through the 4th largest military in the world, with the support of the first largest military in the world. If boycott is wrong, then surely Israeli military might is wrong. If the goal is conversation, than at the very least, people need to be able to converse, which can’t be done with checkpoints, aparthied walls, exjudicial executions, administrative detention without due process, and military attacks on civilian populations. 
      The call for conversation and music in this context assumes the normalcy of Israeli brutality and apartheid infrastructure, while denouncing any positive efforts for change on the part of Palestinians.
    • Rima Najjar https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10151214642918422&set=a.10150255827008422.340489.636428421&type=3&theater


      DEAD END! Where civilians, and especially children, are certain to become “collateral damage.”Israel blockades the Gaza Strip by land, air and sea. Many of the inhabitants of the Gaza Strip are a few miles away from the land of their ethnically cleansed former villages, across the border wall in southern Israel.”Framing events in Gaza in the colonial context is vital for understanding the nature of the violence, as well as the separation and sealing off of the territory, a microcosm of fragmented Palestine. The colonial paradigm brings the focus back to the Nakba, to the foundational act of ethnic cleansing and ongoing policies of exclusion. It is a reminder that the answers for Gaza are the same as those for Jerusalem, the southern Hebron Hills and the Galilee: decolonisation, implementation of the Palestinian people’s rights – and international sanction of Israel until such a goal is realised.” – Ben Whitehttp://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2012/12/20121216124912496638.htmlArtist: Artist Mahmoud Alarawi
      https://www.facebook.com/alarawiArtGaza: One of the most-densely populated places in the world and characterized by extreme poverty and ongoing conflict, Gaza is a difficult place for children to grow up. The recent eight-day conflict in Gaza and southern Israel weighed particularly heavily on children, with hundreds of homes destroyed and evidence of psychological trauma in many of the 225,000 children attending UNRWA schools in the Strip. – The Palestine Chronicle
    • Rima Najjar https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10151174984088422&set=a.10150255827008422.340489.636428421&type=3&theater


      WHAT PRICE ASHKELON of the “sparkling white beaches matched by white-faced apartment buildings, green lawns and several wide boulevards”?The man in this photo looks so much like my grandfather Ali Ismaeel al Najjar of Lifta. The man and the tents are there to illustrate an article on the expulsion of Palestinians from al Majdal Asqalan, 20 km north of the Gaza border, which is now the Israeli city of Ashkelon that you hear mentioned in connection with Hamas rockets.The 11,000 Palestinian inhabitants of al Majdal Asqalan (known for their weaving industry) were expelled by Israel 1948-’50 and trucked to Gaza, where they have remained to this day as refugees, denied the right of return. Some were first kept in a fenced-off ghetto.The years of internment in refugee camps from 1950 until the present have been years of “brutal occupation, constant strife, military raids in their neighborhoods, destruction of facilities, denial of everyday life, denial of livelihood, denial of access to the sea, denial of access to the outside world.”http://www.palestinechronicle.com/view_article_details.php?id=15274
    • Karen MacRae Stanley, in 1987 a Sun City documentary was made by your principled and concerned peers as a united condemnation of those who believe races and cultures should keep their respective places, you asked a very thought provoking question: “Why isn’t it happening more often?” Indeed. It’s a very good question. It’s an even better question now. How will you answer?
    • Rima Najjar https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10150632416148422&set=a.10150255827008422.340489.636428421&type=3&theater


      My aunts on my father’s side Samira and Nawal Najjar and their grandmother (mother of Ali Ismail Mahmoud Khalil al Najjar, my grandfather) in Lifta, Palestine in 1947 with a Jewish neighbor/playmate (Miriam). [SADLY, HERE IS HOW FB DESCRIBES THE RUINS OF LIFTA today: LIFTA, YERUSHALAYIM, ISRAEL – seeEthnic Cleansing 101: The Case of Lifta Village:
      http://electronicintifada.net/content/ethnic-cleansing-101-case-lifta-village/5493Photos: http://www.liftasociety.org/media/photos
    • Rima Najjar Andy Griggs, to add to what you are saying, here is a litany written by Amira Hass on Dec 24, 2012 in Haaretz: Apropos apathy, allow me to provide last week’s headlines that never were, or were buried immediately, regarding the nine attacks on Palestinians by settlers: seven injured, three torched cars and graffiti slogans in Hebrew. Also, 200 olive trees were uprooted, bringing the total number uprooted or damaged by invisible hands since January to 8,200, not including the 450 removed by Israeli authorities from Nahalin under the excuse that they were on state land.

      Also, not including arrests, dispersals of demonstrations, injured demonstrators, 313,000 people in 113 communities who have no access to water because of Israeli construction injunctions, the demolition of the Beit Nuba school and other demolition orders, the Israel Defense Forces’ shooting of a fisherman and confiscation of his boat in Gaza, and firing on people who make their living collecting scrap metal 500 meters from the wall that surrounds the Gaza Strip, two people were injured.
    • Stanley Jordan The critiques of Lerner’s book are very helpful, and it will take me some time to go through them before I can respond intelligently. But let me just say, that I’m not stuck on any one particular author or proposal to fix this problem. The main reason the Lerner book impressed me, and why I wanted to use it to kick off this discussion, is because it addresses what I broadly call the “spiritual” element–which includes how we relate to each other, how we communicate, how we fundamentally view our lives and our world, our self-image (for example, do I see myself as a victim or a victor), our emotional state (do i operate from love or from fear), this list could go on and on. You can also think of this as the subjective world (as opposed to the objective world) or Ken Wilber’s “Left Hand Path”. Some folks have argued here that the problem cannot be solved in that domain, and you are right in the sense that that domain by itself is not sufficient. But I still think it is a necessary part of an overall approach. Consider this: Look at all the temples, churches, mosques and synagogues in the world. The very presence of these places shows that people do believe the spiritual approach in life is somehow effective. Count me as a believer too, and when we all see that our own religions already have within their sacred texts all the instructions we need to get along beautifully, and we only need to apply our own teachings, this solution could come faster than you think.
    • Tom Pessah Stanley, do you see the idea of boycotting as opposed to spirituality? wasn’t there something very spiritual about Rosa Parks and the montgomery bus boycott, when people offered each other support for months until their rights were recognized? a lot of the civil rights movement was inspired by clergymen and organized in churches, and boycotts of discriminating institutions were a key part of that.
    • Emma Rosenthal You might want to check out the works of Gandhi, King (beyond the I have a Dream, speech), and also the writings re Liberation Theology. In Palestine, look to the works of Naim Ateek and Sabeel.
    • Emma Rosenthal Here is the initial call for BDS. You can see that there are religious groups that contribute to and support this call, which represents the broadest sector of Palestinian society. 



      Palestinian Civil SocietyCalls for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel Until it Complies with International Law and Universal Principles of Human Rights
    • Tom Pessah “4.2.6 Palestinian civil organizations, as well as international organizations, NGOs and certain religious institutions call on individuals, companies and states to engage in divestment and in an economic and commercial boycott of everything produced by the occupation. We understand this to integrate the logic of peaceful resistance. These advocacy campaigns must be carried out with courage, openly sincerely proclaiming that their object is not revenge but rather to put an end to the existing evil, liberating both the perpetrators and the victims of injustice. The aim is to free both peoples from extremist positions of the different Israeli governments, bringing both to justice and reconciliation. In this spirit and with this dedication we will eventually reach the longed-for resolution to our problems, as indeed happened in South Africa and with many other liberation movements in the world. 

      4.3 Through our love, we will overcome injustices and establish foundations for a new society both for us and for our opponent”



        Bethlehem, December 11, 2009IntroductionThe KAIROS Palestine DocumentWe, a group of Christian Palestinians, after prayer, reflection and an exchange of opinion, cry out from within the suffering in our country, under the Israeli
    • Gabriel Ash Stanley Jordan: the temples, mosques, and churches have been around for three thousand years, so it is not a statement of disbelief to say that having written instructions in itself does not solve much. If it did, we wouldn’t be having this conversation, would we? Interestingly enough, the very core of the ideas that make those instructions is that the existence of churches and mosques and temples doesn’t matter, only our actions matter. 

      Here is the Prophet Amos on that question of boycott, specifically, God boycotting the music of his worshipers: 

      Even though you bring me burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them. Though you bring choice fellowship offerings, I will have no regard for them. Away with the noise of your songs! I will not listen to the music of your harps. But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!
      Amos 5:22-24

      And here is the same sentiment from the Christian theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer:

      cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline. Communion without confession. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ.

      I don’t know enough about Islam but I’d be surprised if the same idea was not part of it.
    • Elise Hendrick Martin Luther King, Jr certainly had no problem boycotting a racist regime, and I don’t think anyone can seriously accuse him of having lacked spirituality.
    • Stanley Jordan Samira, you ask why did I want this discussion? Fair question, and I’ll address it now. The reason is because, for the first time in my life, I’ve been asked to cancel a gig for political reasons. I’m not a politician–I’m a musician. I do gigs for a living–that’s what I do. I take my life’s work very seriously and I’m being asked to cancel it based on something that I know very little about, and a subject–can we all agree here?–that is riddled with misinformation. Clearly due diligence is required. So I started this discussion so people could give me a crash course in the situation–and I’m trying my best to keep up. My other motivation was to provide a respectful space where people can air their views. I saw they were doing it anyway, so it seemed there was a need. I know I have a lot to learn, Thanks for your patience.
    • Karen MacRae Martin Luther King Jr, in fact gave the Montgomery boycott a significance it would otherwise not even had due to spirituality. He almost broke down after criticisms from white officials that he was an obstacle to resolving the segregation policies at the time. He describes an experience of the Divine after praying that renewed his spirits and deepened his understanding of his life and the Montgomery struggle. It was around that time he committed himself to Gandhian principles that converged with his Christianity which he didn’t waver from. The Montgomery boycott birthed, as we know, a new era for African American’s tumultuous path to justice and equality.
    • Elise Hendrick “The reason is because, for the first time in my life, I’ve been asked to cancel a gig for political reasons”

      Wouldn’t it be the second time? My understanding is that you took a very clear stand on not playing Sun City.
    • Elise Hendrick It is definitely true that there is a very well-oiled noise machine dedicated to distracting from the actual issues facing the Palestinians and those who wish to be in solidarity with them, though this was also true in the case of apartheid in South Africa, where the regime engaged in diligent efforts to declare itself the only democracy in its region, an outpost of liberality and civilisation in a backward continent, a country that provided an otherwise unavailable living standard for the indigenous population, a country doing its best to achieve peace in the face of a “terrorist threat”…in the end, roughly the same crap Israel and its apologists dump into the discourse by the lorryload today.
    • Stanley Jordan Elise, I was never booked at Sun City to begin with. Not playing a gig and canceling a gig are two very different things.
    • Karen MacRae It’s also interesting to note that the specious opposition to BDS against Israel mirrors the specious opposition to BDS against South Africa. Themes, now turned cliches, such as ‘BDS is counterproductive” and “Hurting the population” have been deployed and designed to deflect from the apartheid analogy in order to excuse Israel’s horrendous treatment of the Palestinians. Other examples of this theme are “South Africa wants peace and good relations with it’s neighbours” “Singling out South Africa” “South Africa lives in a tough neighbourhood; South Africa is an asset to the West.” Sound familiar? These themes didn’t make the case for South African apartheid and they will not solidify the case for Israeli apartheid either.
    • Karen MacRae Stanley, if you were asked not to play Sun City, would you have cancelled your gig? If you say yes as I think you would have judging by the comments you’ve been quoted as making at the time, then it seems safe to assume you would cancel the gig you’ve been asked to play in Israel which is effectively the same scenario.
    • Elise Hendrick “Stanley Jordan Elise, I was never booked at Sun City to begin with. Not playing a gig and canceling a gig are two very different things.”

      My mistake. However, the fact remains that you made a very clear, public, and political statement on the subject of playing Sun City.
    • Stanley Jordan Yes, I was involved in United Artists Against Apartheid–The Sun City Project. I have also done benefits for Amnesty International, The Daniel Pearl Foundation, and Jazz for Obama, among other things. I have supported principled causes through my music. but what I have not done in any of those situations was compromise my principles by canceling a gig. Another thing: The relationship between Israel and South Africa has come up repeatedly here. I have to sign off for today, but I will return tomorrow and we can talk more about that then. Thanks everyone!
    • Cindy Peck Pereira Stanley, I’m going to make an understatement here, but this is a complicated issue. Unfortunately what you do now will be interpreted by some as taking sides. You are doing all you can to become informed about the history of the conflict. You have a personal value system that ultimately will help you make a decision about performing. I pray for you a calm spirit and peace to fill your heart.
    • Zoë Lawlor Stanley, if you were involved in AAA then I cannot understand why you don’t see that the situation is the same or worse now for the Palestinians. Apartheid was wrong as practised by South Africa and is wrong as practised by Israel. This could go on all night but ultimately you have to takre responsibility as an informed, thinking person and either decide to play for apartheid or decide to stand in solidarity with the Palestinian people. That’s conscience. Do it, please.
    • Karen MacRae “I have supported principled causes through my music. but what I have not done in any of those situations was compromise my principles by canceling a gig” What? I don’t understand this statement. Are you saying if you had accepted a gig at Sun City, you would have played Sun City because if you cancelled the gig it would have compromised your principles? Even knowing the situation?
    • Steven Young Stanley, you are an Artist with a deep social and political awareness and activism. I’ve seen it in person here in Sedona. Do what your Heart tells you to do. Please don’t bow to the pressure of others with their own agendas (either way). You can’t please or displease everybody all the time. If you decide to participate, perhaps in your own way, you can make a very powerful statement towards the goal of peace, human rights and the like through your music. A ripple here and a ripple there can start to stir waves of change…
    • Jane Cutter Please don’t go. Please respect the boycott. Listen and learn from the Palestinians about the apartheid conditions they face and act in accordance with their request for a cultural boycott. the cultural boycott of South Africa made a difference and helped end apartheid there–your respect for the boycott can make a difference today.
    • Jay Kilby My advise is pretty simple from our similar childhoods my friend. Music is the universal language. It captivates us all and for one brief moment, it gives us a way to forget what is around us and dwell together in its peace.
    • Rod Such I’m familiar with Rabbi Lerner’s opposition to the Palestinians’ call for BDS, and I find his argument unpersuasive and decidely unspiritual. Lerner argues that this is a conflict between two traumatized people–Israeli Jews because of the Holocaust and Palestinian Arabs because of the Nakba, that is Israel’s forced expulsion of nearly 1 million Palestinians–and therefore, boycott will only add to the trauma and will not convince Israeli Jews to stop oppressing Palestinians. His argument doesn’t convince for two reasons. First, you could easily say that white Afrikaners were also a traumatized people because of what they endured during the Boer War when the British not only massacred them but also placed them in the world’s first concentration camps. But no one made this argument during the boycott of South Africa because it would have been laughable. White South Africans were immeasurably privileged and powerful and directly oppressed black and colored South Africans, much like the oppresion Israeli Jews now exercise over PLestinians, both within Israelwh
    • Rod Such Within Israel, where Palestinians make up 20 percent of the population and face 26 provisions in Israel’s basic laws that discriminate against non-Jews, and in the Occupied Territories, where Palestinians live under authoritarian military rule. Even so, BDS is not directed against the Israeli people but against the Israeli state, which maintains this system of oppression and privilege. Many Israelis are now beginning to support BDS through the Boycott from Within. Please don’tundermine them. Support the call for BDS issued by Palestinian civil society and supported by the African National Congress, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the late Gil Scott-Heron, and African-American intellectuals like Angela Davis and Bill Fletcher, not to mention IsraeliJews likeJeffHalper, Dalit Baum, EitanBronstein, and others who are seeking a kind of spiritual redemption for Israel to reverse course. No nation and no people can be free as long as they oppress another nationoranother people.
    • Elise Hendrick Stanley: “but what I have not done in any of those situations was compromise my principles by canceling a gig.”

      I’m not sure I understand what you mean by this. If you still adhere to the principles that led you to speak out against playing Sun City, then it would be compromising your principles NOT to cancel this gig. 

      “Another thing: The relationship between Israel and South Africa has come up repeatedly here.”

      In this context, there are two things that are worth remembering:

      1. Apartheid is a crime recognised by international law with defined elements. As such, speaking of apartheid in Israel/Palestine does not require any analogy to be drawn between Israel and apartheid South Africa; it merely requires those elements – which essentially amount to the existence and maintenance of a system that determines first- and second-class citizenship based on race or ethnicity – to be present. In the case of Israel, it would be absurd to deny that they are, given the numerous outright racially discriminatory laws in the areas of housing, citizenship, education, health care, marriage, and urban planning, not to mention the state and quasi-state agencies that exist (Jewish Agency, etc.) with the express purpose of keeping the line between first- and second-class citizens intact.

      2. A number of leading South African voices from the struggle against apartheid in that country have stated, based on their experiences, that not only is the racist regime in Israel/Palestine LIKE what they suffered under South African apartheid, but that it is even worse.
    • Rima Najjar Gabriel Ash: You say, “I don’t know enough about Islam but I’d be surprised if the same idea was not part of it.” You are right: “The place of faith is the heart and the intellect. In matters of intellect and heart, not only can a person deceive others but also at times he himself can remain in deception. He considers himself to be a mu’min (believer) whereas actually he is not. For this reason, two testimonies needed to be required for it: a person’s words and a person’s deeds. Since words can be untrue, hence a person who only professes faith through words is not regarded as a mu’min and it was deemed essential that a person’s deeds also testify to his faith. Thus the Qur’ān said: O you who believe with the tongue! Believe through your deeds.” – Farāhī, Majmū‘ah Tafāsīr, 2nd ed. (Faran Foundation, 1998), 349.
    • Rima Najjar Stanley Jordan: You say to Samira Barghouthi, “I started this discussion so people could give me a crash course in the situation–and I’m trying my best to keep up.” I respect you with all my heart for doing this. You have provided here a space for people to exchange ideas and to try their best to steer away from the misinformation rampant around us. You are learning from everybody here about something that you really have no need to bother with except for being a good human being and for having the power that comes with your musical talent to make a little difference in this case. I myself have learned a lot from the smart and dedicated people writing on your page and thank you, also, for that.
    • Rima Najjar Stanley, you say, “what I have not done in any of those situations was compromise my principles by canceling a gig.” 
      What you have here are two competing values – the value of keeping your word in a business contract and the value of assisting many who are suffering under oppression. Your decision will rest on what you choose to value more in your life.
    • Emma Rosenthal If you determine that Israeli apartheid is wrong, that BDS is a legitimate and non-violent protest of that wrong, you are in a unique position. Actually, canceling your gig makes a stronger public statement than not accepting the gig. So it affords you the opportunity to do even more within your principles than had you known of the boycott in advance and had simply turned down the offer.
    • Rima Najjar Stanley, you say you are interested in talking about the South Africa analogy. Chapter Five in Ali Abunimah’s book is titled “Learning from South Africa” (page 134). At the beginning of the chapter, he writes, ” Drawing parallels between Israel-Palestine and apartheid South Africa makes some people very uncomfortable …. But my purpose here is not to argue that Israel is or is not as bad as apartheid South Africa …. but to consider a recent experience where people with fundamentally incompatible views of history …. could emerge in peaceful reconciliation.”
    • Rima Najjar https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10151229662333422&set=a.10150255827008422.340489.636428421&type=1&theater


      SAVE SAMER!‘Save Samer, he is dying’: Samer Issawi and the plight of Palestinian hunger strikers
      by Malaka Mohammed on December 26, 2012″Today, Wednesday the 26th, I woke up thinking of the last episode in Samer’s story; of his heart; of his mother; and of an innocent family. He has been charged with spurious charges and denied a fair trial in the Israeli military courts. Now, he has been on hunger strike for 152 days, deprived of his freedom and proper medical care.”Photo: Samer’s father Tariq, and sister Shireen, holding a photo of Samer in the family’s East Jerusalem home (Photo: Ryan Rodrick Beiler/ Alternative Information Center)http://mondoweiss.net/2012/12/issawi-palestinian-strikers.html
    • Radi Annab Stanley, regarding the South African analogy, please see below recent article. In a historic decision, South Africa’s ANC has made support for Israel boycott its official policy.
      “The ANC is unequivocal in its support for the Palestinian people in their struggle for self-determination, and unapologetic in its view that the Palestinians are the victims and the oppressed in the conflict with Israel. “http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/historic-decision-south-africas-anc-makes-support-israel-boycott-its-official


      The vote by the ANC’s National Conference is by far the most authoritative endorsement of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel campaign.
    • Rima Najjar Stanley, thought you might appreciate this:https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10151201598558422&set=a.10150255827008422.340489.636428421&type=1&theater


      FROM A STONE-THROWING INTIFADA TO A “MUSICAL INTIFADA”ON THE 25th ANNIVERSARY OF THE FIRST INTIFADA, THE PALESTINIAN CHILDREN WHO PARTICIPATED IN IT ARE ALL GROWN UP – BUT THE INJUSTICE, FRUSTRATION AND RAGE REMAINIn 1988, a photographer in the West Bank snapped a photo of a scrawny 8-year-old with tears in his eyes, hurling a rock at an Israeli soldier. The photograph symbolized the rage and frustration of the intifada. More than 20 years later, that boy, Ramzi Hussein Aburedwan, has grown up to become a visionary musician, the founder of the Ramallah-based Al Kamandjati (The Violinist, in Arabic) and the force behindOperation Mozart
      June 24, 2011Children and their “musical intifada” prevail at Qalandiahttp://ramallahcafe.com/?p=414Listen to Ramzi’s story on NPR here:
    • Rima Najjar https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10151196168378422&set=a.10150255827008422.340489.636428421&type=1&theater


      SEE THIS INFOGRAPHIC (DIVIDE and CONQUER) IN GREATER RESOLUTION HERE:http://972mag.com/visualizing-occupation-divide-and-conquer/51479/Sources:
      Palestinians living within 1948 borders of Israel
      Demography of the West Bank
      UNRWA statistics on refugees
      B’Tselem: Fishing restrictions in Gaza StripMichal Vexler is a designer and an activist. This work – a part of a series of infographics regarding the effect of the occupation on the Palestinian civilian population – is presented here with her permission.
    • Rima Najjar And about your struggle, Stanley, with what you see as a conflict re: breaking your contract, you could look at it in this way: You made the contract in good faith – before you had knowledge about who was sponsoring the event and how such events and the international performers who are recruited help “brand” Israel as normal, when in fact it is perpetrating a gross injustice and oppression against the Palestinian people in so many ways, it is difficult even to count. That faith is now broken.
    • Radi Annab … and to add to Rima Najjar, the Israeli government has had no qualms in violating international law and several UN Security Council resolutions, year in, year out. Unforrtunatley, the U.S. vetos every UN vote that does not favor this atrocious apartheid racist state of Israel.
    • Emma Rosenthal The chart Rima provides doesn’t quite cover the incredible discrimination against Palestinians inside the 1967 borders, where there re several laws that distinguish them from Jewish Israeli citizens, not least of which, marriage laws, which allow Jewish Israelis to marry non-israelis, who then can get legal residential status. Palestinian Israelis who marry Palestinians from other regions (see the other categories on that chart), cannot bring their partners into (pre 67) Israel. 

      There are several unrecognized villages in Israel, Palestinian villages, where refugees settled after the nakba. These villages have no public services– water, electricity, education, etc. They exist within the 1967 borders. 

      Palestinian Israelis continue to experience extreme discrimination in housing, education and jobs.
    • Emma Rosenthal http://www.amazon.com/Palestinians-Israel-Segregation-Discrimination-Democracy/dp/0745332285


      Palestinians in Israel considers a key issue ignored by the official “peace process” and most mainstream commentators: that of the growing Palestinian minority within Israel itself. What the Israeli right-wing calls “the demographic problem,” Ben White identifies as “the democratic problem,” whic…
    • Rima Najjar Thanks for the HRW link, Emma Rosenthal; I hadn’t seen it before.
    • Gail Nelson I think that one does not have to support ALL aspects of the boycott, in order to cancel plans in Israel. Earlier this year, the noted French philosopher Jacques Rancière canceled his plans to appear in Israel, stating: “I am personally opposed to collective punishment against all citizens of a State and in respect of its researchers, without taking into account their own attitude to the policy of this State. So I do not respect or violate a decision that I have not personally signed. But it appears that, in the present situation, the content of what I could say in response to the invitation that was sent to me has become completely secondary to this simple alternative, and it is not today for reasons of fatigue, my ability to satisfactorily meet the dual demands of the situation thus created.” http://thesip.org/2012/01/ranciere-cancellatio/
    • Tom Pessah “The Report finds that Israeli practices in the OPT exhibit the same three ‘pillars’ of apartheid:

      The first pillar “derives from Israeli laws and policies that establish Jewish identity for purposes of law and afford a preferential legal status and material benefits to Jews over non-Jews”.

      The second pillar is reflected in “Israel’s ‘grand’ policy to fragment the OPT [and] ensure that Palestinians remain confined to the reserves designated for them while Israeli Jews are prohibited from entering those reserves but enjoy freedom of movement throughout the rest of the Palestinian territory. This policy is evidenced by Israel’s extensive appropriation of Palestinian land, which continues to shrink the territorial space available to Palestinians; the hermetic closure and isolation of the Gaza Strip from the rest of the OPT; the deliberate severing of East Jerusalem from the rest of the West Bank; and the appropriation and construction policies serving to carve up the West Bank into an intricate and well-serviced network of connected settlements for Jewish-Israelis and an archipelago of besieged and non-contiguous enclaves for Palestinians”.

      The third pillar is “Israel’s invocation of ‘security’ to validate sweeping restrictions on Palestinian freedom of opinion, expression, assembly, association and movement [to] mask a true underlying intent to suppress dissent to its system of domination and thereby maintain control over Palestinians as a group.”



      The Human Sciences Research Council of South Africa (HSRC) has released a study indicating that Israel is practicing both colonialism and apartheid in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT). The s