The View from the Hudson
11 Novembre Nov 2011 0256 11 novembre 2011

What Would Jello Do?

A friend, one who is not particularly involved in Middle East matters, posted a fascinating article on my Facebook wall. It is the relections of Jello Biafra after his visit to Israel and the territories called the West Bank.

The former lead singer of the important punk group, the Dead Kennedys, found himself in the middle of a maelstorm when he first agreed to perform in Israel, the agreed to join a boycott of Israel, then decided to visit the place himself.

As I understand it, the comparisions he was hearing, equating playing any venue in Israel to playing Sun City in old South Africa, just didn't add up for him.

Now, I don't agree with everything here, far from it. And though I found this piece to be well researched, it certainly is far from perfect (apparently, he blew a vital distiction in the color of identity cards in a way that makes Israel look institutionally biased, for instance).

But I do think these kinds of writings, thoughfully prepared by well-intentioned, intelligent people are our only hope. I wis everyone contemplating a boycott of country would do this kind of investigation. His conclusion sums up the tone and theme:

I will not perform in Israel unless it is a pro-human rights, anti-occupation event, that does not violate the spirit of the boycott. Each musician, artist, etc. must decide this for themselves. I am staying away for now, but am also really creeped out by the attitudes of some of the hardliners and hope some day to find a way to contribute something positive here. I will not march or sign on with anyone who runs around calling people Zionazis and is more interested in making threats than making friends.

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