Matisyahu in Spain and the BDS Inquisition

Matisyahu in Spain and the BDS Inquisition

  Picture: Sean Gallup-Getty Images Off-Guardian August 20, 2015 By Joshua Tartakovsky The decision to pressure a music festival in Spain to disinvite American-Jewish singer Matisyahu does smack of more than an iota of anti-Semitism. Supporters of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign against Israel traditionally make several arguments. The first is that Judaism is separate from Zionism. The second is that the state can successfully be pressured via a sanctions campaign against Israeli artists as well as artists who perform in Israel. The choice of Matisyahu as an artist to boycott reveals that BDS activists do not in earnest separate Judaism from Zionism. Matisyahu is an American-Jewish singer, not a citizen of Israel. Faced with accusations of anti-Semitism in the boycott of Matisyahu, Ali Abunimah of the Electronic Intifada claims that any suggestion Matisyahu was picked out as a Jew is simply untrue. He argues, rather, that Matisyahu was chosen as a target because he performed at a Friends of the IDF and at an AIPAC event and because he also expressed support for Israel. The validity of these claims does not pass closer scrutiny. Simon Cowell also performed at a Friends of the IDF event, yet, to the best of my knowledge, there has not been a post-event campaign against him in the UK or an appeal to remove him from X-Factor. The Bright Star Church of God Ensemble performed at an AIPAC event and later in theChicago Gospel Music Festival. Yet, there has not been a request made to organizers of the festival by local BDS activists in Chicago or by Students for Justice in Palestine to boycott the group. As far...
Why I boycott the Zionist elections

Why I boycott the Zionist elections

Wishers for peace, outsiders, or those who fail to understand both Israel’s current state and its history, and there are many of them, are somewhat excited about various polls that predict that Netanyahu’s Likud will be replaced by the Labour Party (the Zionist Camp) as the largest party in parliament. It bothers them little that Herzog and Livni defended Israel’s atrocities in Gaza, while Livni as a foreign minister carried them out in 2009, and that the two will present a progressive face to Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and blockade of Gaza while making it more difficult to criticise Israel, unlike while Netanyahu is in power. In their simplistic understanding in which a change in parliament also means a change in governance, they fail to understand the broader reality: that Israel’s occupation of the West Bank went on under both Labour and Likud, that Labour as a founder of the state was responsible for grave crimes not only against the Palestinians but also against European Jews who perished in the Holocaust and Mizrahi Jews who were heavily repressed in the new state, and that settlements only expanded during the era of Labour. In other words, whereas while Netanyahu is in power it is clear that Israel is a state that keeps under its control millions of people who do not have the right to vote, Livni and Herzog will present a progressive face, while in the next clash with Gaza, thousands more will lose their lives. Israeli companies who profit immensely from the occupation, will continue to do so under both left or right governments.  This is...