Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Peace-Yearning Palestinians Murder Four Israelis

Four Israeli civilians were shot dead - five including an unborn baby - this evening in a Palestinian terror attack, whilst driving near Hebron. The victims: Kokhava Even-Chaim leaves her husband and eight year old daughter; 24 year old newly-wed Avishai Shindler; and Yitzchak Imas and his nine-month pregnant wife Talya, leave six orphaned children.
A spokesman for the Palestinian group, Popular Resistance Committees, said this was the Palestinian reaction to the US-proposed peace talks:
"They should not have gone for this move without the support of the Palestinian people... Our people still abide by resistance and do no believe in the fictitious talks scheduled to commence tomorrow."
A Hamas spokesman said: "Hamas praises the attack and regards it as a natural response to the crimes of the occupation"; later Hamas claimed responsibility for the attack.
Israeli MKs say it shows that the Palestinians do not want peace (see statements above) and that we should halt the talks as security for Israeli civilians must be our first priority.
MK Eldad warned:
“Anyone who in recent months has helped build the myth that Abu Mazen [Abbas] is in charge of what is going on in PA controlled areas must open his eyes and put a halt to the continued strengthening of the Palestinian army that is being built with American support. This group could easily take over Hamas' job, and we should not be surprised if and when their weapons are directed against us”.
In the media coverage of the upcoming talks, there has been hardly any focus on Hamas and the Palestinians' opposition to it. Instead, the focus has been on Israel, Netanyahu, and the settlements as the "obstacle to peace." Yet if Israel were to pull out of the talks, you can bet the media would say the attack was just being used as an excuse.
It will be interesting to see what Abbas' reaction is. Unless he condemns the attack in strong terms, and finds a way to convince us that the majority of Palestinians are against the attack and do want peace, then by rights we should not engage in "peace" talks just to make Obama look like he's doing something useful.
I blame Obama, first for pressurising Israel into removing the very checkpoints that were built specifically to prevent this sort of attack, as well as hundreds of others, and then for pressurising Abbas into talks that he and the Palestinians obviously do not want. If Obama were a decent human being, he would apologise for that, and condemn the attack in a satisfactory manner whilst also acknowledging his own part in triggering it, ideally also apologising directly to the family members of the Israelis murdered in the attack.
Obama is either evil, or a fool, so I'm not expecting him to do the right thing.
UPDATE: In response to the attack, Yesha Council officials announced the end of the settlement freeze in the West Bank, stating that "every community in the area will locate an area within it and start construction in it by 6pm Wednesday... "They kill, we build."
That just about sums it up. Whatever people say about the Gaza "siege" and the "occupation", it does not compare to the ruthless and deliberate murder of innocent civilians. If Israel was the terror regime it's portrayed as, the IDF would bomb every last Palestinian in the West Bank to ensure nothing like this ever happens again. Instead there is a hunt underway for the terrorists responsible, whilst Palestinians celebrate in the streets.
The world tells us what to do and promises security in return, but only Israel can guarantee it's own security. So the only option is to build.
UPDATE: Just Journalism and Elder of Ziyon look at the media coverage of the attack, focusing on how the Guardian and New York Times waste no time in blaming the Israelis for existing, and how "settlers" are, as per the status quo, portrayed as the "obstacle to peace", rather than terrorists.
Palestinians celebrate the attack:
Orphaned Israeli girl cries at her parents' funeral
The Imas family, children now orphans:
Their crime? Jewish, Israeli, and living.

Monday, 30 August 2010

The New, New Antisemitism

People don't like being called antisemites - especially those people who work so hard to disguise their antisemitism as anti-Zionism (as though denying Israel it's right to self defence and existence is better than accusing Jews of taking over the world or whatever). People also don't like being accused of "new antisemitism", which is the term for the demonisation of, and disproportionate hatred directed towards Israel because of its Jewish nature.
So for those Israel-bashers who protest their innocence of antisemitism (old or new), in an excellent article on the CST blog, Dave Rich proposes another term:
"There is much in the anti-Israel discourse in this country that smacks of an emotional reaction to Israel, up to and including hatred, which goes beyond its government and encompasses the country and people as a whole. I would call it anti-Israel racism; if you don’t like that term, use bigotry or prejudice instead...
for those opponents of Israel who do not want to consider the possibility that their attitudes may be polluted with antisemitism, they could instead consider whether they are susceptible to racist ideas or feelings about Israel and Israelis."
So, Israelophobia, or anti-Israelism. A racism that is so obvious in so many leftists, even when they use that exhausted defence of "my best friend is... Neturei Karta".
Rich concludes the article with these unanswered questions:
"if it is possible to hold racist views about Israelis, then there is a follow-up question: what if these racist views about Israel and Israelis are similar, to a greater or lesser extent, to things that antisemites believe about Jews? Would this mean that, after all, anti-Israel racism is the same as antisemitism? or does anti-Israel racism exist separately from, but sometimes influenced by, antisemitism? And does it make a difference, morally or politically, which prejudice is in play?"
Well for what my opinion is worth, I believe anti-Israel and anti-Jewish racism are inherently linked in most cases, although obviously in some a person will be one and not the other. 
(Just to be clear, when I talk about anti-Israelism or anti-Zionism, I am talking about disproportionate hate and not legitimate criticism of Israeli government policies.)
More significantly though, I strongly believe that both are as bad as each other. And perhaps that's why some Jews and Israel-supporters are quick to call anti-Zionists antisemites: it's the only way to get their disgusting prejudices noticed. Because for some reason the denial of Israel's right to self-defence and existence is acceptable, as long as it's called anti-Zionism. The key is to talk about "Israelis" and not "Jews", then it's ok.
But then the question arises: when these leftists and anti-Zionists talk about Israel and Israeli citizens and the Israeli army and the Israeli government... where do all the Israeli Arabs come into this? You know, the Israeli Arabs who are MKs, who fight in the IDF, and who live among Jewish Israelis (whether in settlements or not).
Are the anti-Zionists talking about all Israelis, or just the Jewish Israelis? If it's just the Jewish Israelis who they deny self defence, then that's pure antisemitism, isn't it.
Another blogger takes the viewpoint that anti-Zionism and antisemitism are indeed the same thing, particularly the kind that calls Israel a Nazi state and Palestinians the victims of genocide.
This all brings to mind what happened at the beginning of this month, when the Telegraph accused Israeli president Shimon Peres of claiming that the English are antisemitic. In fact he was talking about Britain's relations with Israel and with Arabs. When prompted by the interviewer, he did concede that "yes, there is also antisemitism", something no one could deny. There's antisemitism everywhere.
Melanie Phillips observed that it is: "likely that the Daily Telegraph writers elided anti-Israel feeling with Jew-hatred because they themselves think that each flows into the other"
Which Phillips points out is extremely hypocritical:
"it is a favourite device of the Israel-bashers to fend off criticism by falsely accusing all those who defend Israel of claiming in turn that its accusers are all 'antisemites'...
the Israel-bashers tell us ad nauseam that to be anti-Israel is not the same as being anti-Jew. Yet when the Israeli president talks about anti-Israel hatred, he is said to be talking about anti-Jewish hatred pure and simple, with no other factors acknowledged."
JC editor Stephen Pollard, in a TImes column, reinforces this point: 
"Too often, those of us who criticise campaigners against Israel, or who argue that there is an anti-Israel bias in much of the media, are accused of calling our opponents antisemites... That is specious nonsense - with the poisonous aim of trying to delegitimise friends of Israel from the debate."
The vast majority of Israel supporters are fully aware of the point at which criticism of Israel crosses the line into antisemitic territory, and it very often does. Examples:
  • Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor.

  • Applying double standards by requiring of it a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation...

  • ...Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.

We shouldn't have to be afraid of calling someone out as an antisemite if they are, only to have them feel "offended" and sigh that everything is overly Politically Correct now, and why can't they criticise Israel without being called antisemitic.
But until anti-Zionism is seen as the vile racism it truly is - or Israelophobia/anti-Israelism - then it is still imperative to keep exposing antisemites for what they are, even if it means just watching and waiting for them to let slip a "Jew" instead of "Israel".

Friday, 20 August 2010

BBC Balance = Israeli Propaganda?!

On Monday night the BBC Panorama aired a half hour in-depth documentary investigating the events of the flotilla incident at the end of May.

The programme was ridiculously – for the BBC – fair and balanced, airing previously unseen footage of the incident - from the IDF, from the Mavi Marmara's security cameras, and taken by the activists themselves and uploaded onto a website called Cultures Of Resistance. They interviewed the head of Israel's investigation into the incident and IDF officers including those who were attacked when they landed on the ship. They also interviewed the head of Turkey's Islamist IHH "charity", the head of Free Gaza who organised the flotilla, and several activists who were on board the MM.

The programme was in no way pro-Israel, it was just balanced.  And yet people are calling it lies and propaganda. If it was pro-Israel propaganda then wouldn't they say that all of the activists were armed terrorists? And that Israel didn't kill anyone and was completely in the right? The truth was that Israel made some mistakes in planning the operation, and on the other hand that from the BBC's footage there was at least one activist on board who probably saved the life of at least one Israeli soldier. But all the evidence, footage and testimonies – fromboth sides – prove that Israel was acting in self defence from a barbaric pre-planned lynching. And there was simply no way for the BBC to suggest anything else. That must be why people are so incensed.

In one piece of footage, the IHH leader on board the MM declared to the activists "We're going to defeat the Israeli commandos... If you bring your soldiers here, we will throw you off the ship". Later he told Panorama presenter Jane Corbin, "If we organised another boat, and Israel attempted to illegally invade it, we'd use our right to passive resistance. We'd throw them into the sea." 

Before and after the incident, and in the documentary, numerous activists themselves openly stated that the aim was not to bring aid to Gaza but to break the naval security blockade. The Free Gaza coordinator on board, Lubna Masarwa, also confirmed this, in her interview with Panorama.

The documentary mentioned Hamas’ refusal to recognise Israel's right to exist and that they have fired thousands of rockets at Israeli civilians. Corbin also mentioned that the restrictions Israel imposes on what enters Gaza are to prevent the manufacture of weapons and bunkers. This must have irked the Hamas lovers who try to pretend it’s not a terrorist organisation.

Corbin refers to the Turkish government's support for Hamas, the government's links to the IHH, and the fact that the IHH has been accused of links to terror - although she does not mention the evidence that proves this. Should I complain to the BBC about this anti-Israel bias? Corbin interviewed Israel’s head of the flotilla investigation, saying the Turkish government knew about it and that Turkish MPs were going to join but decided in the end not to – but she adds that the Turkish government denies involvement.

I don’t think we’ve got to the “propaganda” bit yet.

Through testimonies and footage from both sides, the documentary pieces together what happened that night: Israel gave five warnings for the ship not to approach Gaza, offering to transfer the aid there through the Ashdod port instead. In response to the warnings, the ships made antisemitic and abusive comments to Israel by radio: "shut up - go back to Auschwitz", and "we're helping Arabs going against the US. Don't forget 9/11, guys". Corbin quotes that the organisers were unaware of the comments.

Panorama showed one activist say he wanted to die as a martyr for Gaza – there is footage that the BBC didn’t air of other activists also saying this. More footage showed the activists’ preparations for their attack, cutting metal bars from the ship to use as weapons, one activist confirming in clear language that their intention was to attack the soldiers if they boarded. Meanwhile the Israelis interviewed acknowledged their mistake in underestimating the violent behaviour of the activists, and the Israeli investigator was clear that whilst 40 IHH activists planned the attack, there were hundreds of innocent people on board who did not know what was going on.

Fair, balanced and truthful so far.

Then we see the activists begin attacking the Israeli soldiers in their own boats as they approached the MM, before they boarded the ship - the IDF responding with paintball guns. An Israeli commander said, "They were throwing at us stones and junk that they had on board the ship". An activist confirms this to the BBC, describing how "we threw chairs and anything we could find down on them."

Another Israeli commander describes how he was set upon and beaten as soon as he landed, flung over the side of the deck, clinging to the side as they clubbed his hands until he fell to the level below, then cornered and stabbed in his stomach. Video evidence confirms his account.

The IHH leader claimed that the activists were acting in self defence as the IDF were shooting from the beginning, but Corbin quotes the IDF’s dismissal that it’s impossible to fire whilst abseiling from a helicopter, and shows the chilling footage of the moment the unprepared Israelis realised they were under live fire. The Israeli investigator confirmed that whilst three stolen IDF weapons were fired on the soldiers, one non-IDF weapon was also used. Footage of the weapons that were found on board indicates that the attack was planned in advance.

Meanwhile, activist Ken O'Keefe spoke about the need to break the blockade and their willingness to employ "non lethal force" in self-defence. He described how he took the Israeli commander’s gun and emptied it, and described the scenes of the dead and wounded activists.

The most eye-opening footage came near the end though: an injured Israeli soldier, taken below deck – shielded by one activist from the others who wanted to finish him off.

Asked if the deaths were worth the attention on Gaza, Free Gaza's coordinator said "there is no resistance, there is no freedom without paying a price".

The BBC is finally balanced on an Israeli matter and yet people call it Israeli propaganda.

Chas Newkey-Burden fisks the Guardian’s critical review; Harry’s Place also does; as well as listing some of the “Islamists, Communists, [and] Nutters” that were infuriated by the programme (strange that it’s mostly terrorist supporting antisemites who didn’t like it). Even before Panorama was aired, the extremist Muslim Public Affairs Committee claimed: “No doubt, the BBC will once again be airing and spreading propaganda on Israel’s behalf. Enough is enough, we all know the truth of the terrorist attacks committed by Israel on unarmed peace activists.” ‘Unarmed peace activists’ haha!

They then link to the BBC’s response to the complaints, saying “This means your complaints have been noticed - well done!” – but the BBC defends Panorama, saying the footage was verified for accuracy, and that the footage and interviews came from sources on both sides of the dispute, ensuring it was fair.

News website Mathaba (who have written articles such as one perpetuating the blood libel that Israel was harvesting organs of Haitians), also accuse the BBC of broadcasting “Zionist propaganda”, supporting this with a bunch of lies such as that the programme never mentioned the MM was in international waters (it did mention this actually), that the people on the flotilla were “humanitarians” (they never stated their aim to was bring aid to Gaza; it was to break the blockade), that they “had the legal right to defend themselves in any way they thought fit” (footage and testimonies from both sides proved the activists attacked first, not in self defence), that “the only weapons they had to defend themselves were parts of the boat itself and kitchen utensils” (evidence shows they had at least one gun, and the ‘kitchen utensils’ were knives that didn’t actually look very kitchen-y. Also, we’ve already established they weren’t acting in self defence), that “the Israelis carried with them pictures and a list of those they intended to assassinate” (first I’ve heard of it), that the “go back to Auschwitz” comment was “down to Israeli editing” (it wasn’t), that “It was claimed one IHH activist said ‘he was prepared to die’ although it was abundantly clear that he actually said ‘If I die give a message to my loved ones’ (actually, he did say – abundantly clearly – that he was prepared to die and wanted to be a ‘shahid’ – martyr), and, their stupidest remark of all, that: “The IHH were described as having links with Terrorism although it was clear from the video footage who exactly the real terrorists were” (and I don’t think they’re referring to the activists who planned their attack and tried to murder Israeli soldiers armed with paintball guns).

There is yet more very telling footage from the ship (from EoZ) that wasn’t included in Panorama – it shows Israeli soldiers and a doctor wanting to take the injured activists to an Israeli hospital, arguing with an Arab MK who  repeatedly says “they don’t want to go”, whilst the doctor asks “so what do you want, do you want him to die?”

The answer to that question appears to be a big "meh".

Guest Post: Cultural Terrorism

What is culture? According to Wikipedia’s definition, it is the quality in a person or society that arises from a concern for what is regarded as excellent in arts, letters, manners, scholarly pursuits, etc. Music is considered an art and is an important part of life for people of all races, ethnicities and religions. Let’s take the English as an example, they love their music and the hundreds of music festivals held all over England are often the highlight of their summer. Festivals such as Glastonbury and Hard Rock Calling often draw the biggest acts such as Paul McCartney, Stevie Wonder and other global superstars to play in front of hundreds of thousands of revellers. 

Popular artists and musicians go all over the world playing to audiences who might not understand their lyrics, yet can still sing along to every word and dance until they are ready to collapse. It is pure joy and excitement and no one should be denied the right to see their favourite musicians perform in their own countries because some outsiders don’t agree with the Government policies. 

Artists have played all over the world in countries that have been involved in unjust wars, genocides, serious human rights abuses, government corruption and more. In general the artists performing in those countries come and perform without any form of protest. The only notable press coverage will be of the artists at some famous landmark and a review of their concert the day after. The only criticism they will receive is the one based on their musical performance. 

But when it comes to Israel, the press coverage explodes. There are literally hundreds and maybe even thousands of protests letters, death threats and fatwa’s issued by Islamic Extremists and loud condemnation from various former foreign government members and public figures. Left wing and pro-Palestinian NGO’S scream out against the musician’s solidarity with the murderous occupying Israelis. These people obviously don’t subscribe to the music without boundaries theory. 

But surely if these artist’s can’t play in Israel, then what about other countries? North Korea? Iran? Iraq? Fair enough, I don’t see Britney Spears playing ‘Toxic’ in Tehran anytime soon. But surely no self respecting artist would play in America, Britain and the other EU countries who illegally invaded Iraq, murdered thousands of innocent civilians under the pretext of non existent weapons of mass distraction to invade a country and gain control of its vast oil reserves. No self respecting artist should play in Germany EVER, due to its past association with the evil Nazi’s who murdered millions of innocent people. How about communist Russia who even today commit espionage and acts of treason in so called friendly countries such as the US and the UK where they poisoned a dissident which led to his slow, painful death. Bosnia, Serbia, Yugoslavia, Sri Lanka, Australia, Turkey, Lebanon and Syria? I could go on forever. I don’t know a single country which hasn’t persecuted or murdered innocent people or had a Government completely free of corruption. 

My point is, none of these countries have clean hands yet thoroughly decent and morally correct musicians go and entertain audiences without batting an eyelid to the host nations policies on immigration or the middle-east peace process. 

Then why is Israel so different? Why should an artist be forced to make a statement on the Gaza blockade when he has no idea of why it is in place and simply wants to sing and perform for his adoring fans regardless of where they live? 

Because it’s Israel

The Palestinian intifada from 2000-2006 had already battered the cultural sector in Israel with most musicians deciding not to risk performing and even Israel’s international football team having to play ‘home’ matches in Cyprus while the media flooded the global view of Israel with images of suicide bombings and a huge warzone. 

Fortunately as the intifada finally subsided, the big performers started to come back and Israel was now back on the cultural map. In the last few years Paul McCartney, Madonna, Leonard Cohen, Black Eyed Peas and Lady Gaga have all performed in Israel

This brings me to the recent spate of cancellations by established artists as a direct result of the Turkish terrorist Flotilla and the incident aboard the ‘Mavi Marmara’.  

Summer 2010 had shaped up to be a big one with the likes of Placebo, Pixies, Rod Stewart, Gorilaz, Elton John and Elvis Costello all scheduled to perform, but once the Flotilla incident took place, the pressure on the musicians to cancel their performances grew to an intolerable level and they soon started dropping out like flies. 

Only a day after Rihanna played a sold out concert in Tel Aviv, the IDF was forced to board the Turkish ship ‘Mavi Marmara’ which was travelling to break the Gaza blockade under the ‘peace activist’ banner and had been infiltrated by trained terrorists who were preparing for violence. The IDF boarded without being properly equipped to fend off the lynch mob and beatings that awaited them and eventually had to resort to deadly force. Suddenly with the global press screaming “Israel murders innocent Aid workers in cold blood” (not exactly those words but a similar tone was used), it seemed that a few musicians suddenly remembered they had made a terrible mistake in booking gigs in Israel and how disappointed they were to be cancelling their performances. The main culprits include Elvis Costello, The Pixies, Carlos Santana, Devendra Banhart, Gil Scott-Heron, the Klaxons and Gorillaz. 

Now it is important to mention that most artists who come to perform in Israel are  often on the receiving end of wave after wave of loud protest and pressure from pro-Palestinian and left wing NGO’s. An artist has the right to choose where not to perform on the pretense of not being seen to take sides in a political conflict as it may alienate fans and result in a loss of popularity. 

Fortunately some artists are already established and well past fan protest. Paul McCartney faced uproar but did his best to appease everyone and went on to play his show. Let’s run through the recent notable performers or no shows in Israel

Class Acts: 

Madonna: Faced protests and death threats and responded by wrapping herself In an Israel flag onstage and wowing a huge crowd in Tel Aviv. 

Paul McCartney: Also faced calls to cancel his gig. Instead visited Israel and the West Bank and called his concert ‘Friendship First’ with a message for peace. 

Editors: Resisted calls to cancel after festival headliners Gorilaz and Pixies pulled out.

Lead Singer Tom Smith, posted on the Editors forum:

"When Pixies cancelled their headlining performance at PicNic we talked long and hard about if it was the "right thing" for us to still go or not, as we did when we initially got the offer for the show all those months ago.  "But the simple fact is we do not believe that playing a show in a country is an endorsement of its government. For example, our shows in Northern America during the Bush administration did not mean we were comfortable with the invasion of Iraq.

"Tonight we played one of the most memorable shows of our career, 1004 people singing their hearts out, 1004 people who hope for peace and resolve wherever the troubles may be, be it on the door step or the other side of the world. Thank you for tonight Tel Aviv, we hope to see you again soon."

Leonard Cohen: After being pressured to pull his concert in Tel Aviv, Cohen announced a second one in Ramallah which was then cancelled due to protest from a pro-Palestinian group called “the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel” (PACBI). Cohen also stated that all proceeds from both gigs would go towards a Israeli-Palestinian charity to help victims on both sides.

"There are a lot of people who don't want us here and anything done here invites controversy," Cohen's manager, Robert Kory, told The Associated Press. "But we believe freedom of speech is very, very important." More

Cohen played a huge gig in Tel Aviv to over 50,000 people and as quoted by self professed middle-east cynic Yonat Frilling, Fox News Middle East Producer:

“You sang, and 50,000 people prayed with you, embracing and holding their loved ones. You sang, we prayed, and all my cynicism washed away. For one moment, I thought, I felt, this could be possible. Your songs have always been about letting go and giving things up, but last night we all had trouble obeying your preaching. We all wished that the night would never end. That you would sing for us forever. Rarely one or some have an experience that changes their lives even for a mere second - last night you did it for all of us - Israeli, Palestinian, Middle Eastern. Thank you, Mr. Cohen.”

Rihanna: Played to over 10,000 people in Tel Aviv the day before the Flotilla Incident. The concert organizers launched a massive volunteer campaign to enable thousands of young volunteers to be eligible for free tickets. Rihanna held a press conference at the "Kfir" Scouts center in Tel Aviv where she helped paint the building's walls, took part in the creation of a wall painting and posed for photos with the young volunteers. Most of the press conference was devoted to the volunteering project, with Rihanna expressing her delight over the success of the campaign.

"It was really unique the way they put this show together where the kids actually had to do something positive," she told Reuters. "It wasn't like they could buy a ticket - they had to work and put in four hours of community service." She said her time in Israel was an "amazing, amazing experience."  

Reporters were not permitted to ask Rihanna any questions about the peace process.

Metallica: Excerpt from a letter by ‘BOYCOTT!’ calling on Metallica not to perform in Israel.

“Dear Metallica, 

We are Jews and Palestinians, Israeli citizens, who enjoy your music and respect your ideas about justice. Due to the prolonged Israeli occupation and oppression of the Palestinian people; and, in the hope of contributing to the growing effort to pressure Israel and its privileged Jewish citizens to comply with universal human rights and principles - we write to you today, urging you to postpone indefinitely your planned gig in Israel.”  

Metallica played a barnstorming set at Ramat Gan Stadium and not one word was mentioned about middle-east politics apart from a nice greeting by the guitarist Kirk Hammett. 

Placebo: Lebanese activists attempted to get a Placebo concert cancelled the day before they were due to perform in Lebanon because they played in Israel right after the Flotilla incident occurred. "You are not welcome in Lebanon," Lebanese writer, Samah Idriss said at a news conference in Beirut.

Placebo had already arrived in Lebanon where singer Brian Molko announced his "endorsement" of Israel in an interview. The interviewer asked if it was important to have Israel's endorsement these days, to which Molko quipped: "Yeah, if you want to go sailing."

Lebanese activists demanded that concert organizer Jihad al-Murr cancel the Placebo gig and reimburse all ticketholders. But Murr pointed out that most bands performing in Lebanon, which remains technically in a state of war with its southern neighbor, had also performed in Israel.

"Placebo has entered Lebanese territory legally and with the knowledge and consent of General Security," Murr told AFP. "This is music, a concert, and has nothing to do with politics," he added. "Shall we boycott every minister, official or artist that has ever visited Israel? That's ridiculous."

Elton John: The Pressure came from a group of British academics who called on Elton John to cancel his performance in Israel. "Political or not political, when you stand up on that stage in Tel Aviv, you line yourself up with a racist state," the British Committee for Universities of Palestine wrote in an open letter to John on Monday. "Do you want to give them the satisfaction? Please don't go.

Elton John gave this response at his concert: "Shalom, we are so happy to be back here! Ain't nothing gonna stop us from coming, baby," spouted John with a pumped fist in the air. "Musicians spread love and peace, and bring people together. That's what we do. We don't cherry-pick our conscience."

The Pixies: "The decision was not reached easily, and we all know well the Israeli fans have been waiting for this visit for far too long.”We'd like to extend our deepest apologies to the fans, but events beyond all our control have conspired against us. We can only hope for better days, in which we will finally present the long awaited visit of the Pixies in Israel."


Santana: After the Israel date was booked we had the comment from Sanatana’s people, “We look forward to performing in the many historic places that Santana has long wanted to return to," said Michael Vrionis, CEO of Santana Management.

The following open letter to the musician Santana was issued by the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel on 19 January 2010:

“We call upon you, as a prominent and influential artist, and, more importantly, as a well-known activist on issues of social justice and equality, not to perform in Israel, a state that maintains a cruel system of occupation, colonization and apartheid against the Palestinian people and has been widely accused by UN experts and leading human rights organizations of committing war crimes and grave violations of human rights.” More.

Costello released this statement after cancelling: "It is after considerable contemplation that I have lately arrived at the decision that I must withdraw from the two performances scheduled in Israel on the 30th of June and the 1st of July.

"I must believe that the audience for the coming concerts would have contained many people who question the policies of their government on settlement and deplore conditions that visit intimidation, humiliation or much worse on Palestinian civilians in the name of national security.

"I hope it is possible to understand that I am not taking this decision lightly or so I may stand beneath any banner, nor is it one in which I imagine myself to possess any unique or eternal truth.

But two weeks earlier he said: “I know from the experience of a friend who is from Israel and from people who have worked there that there is a difference of opinion there among Israelis regarding their government’s policies. It seems to me that dialogue is essential. I don’t presume to think that my performance is going to be part of the process,” 

“The people who call for a boycott of Israel own the narrow view that performing there must be about profit and endorsing the hawkish policy of the government. It’s like never appearing in the US because you didn’t like Bush’s policies or boycotting England because of Margaret Thatcher.” Full Interview

The Klaxons and Gorillaz Sound System: Without any official statement and the proximity of the cancellations to the Flotilla incident, it seems that the decision was made to avoid being seen taking Israel’s side if they were to go ahead with their gigs. This reeks of hypocrisy as canceling means automatically aligning themselves with the left wing boycott movement. They could have stood firm and gone the same route of Leonard Cohen and donated the proceeds to Israel-Palestinian charities, but it seems they thought that cutting their losses would be wiser.

Gill Scott Heron: Bombarded with protests and disruptions from the ‘Gil Scott Heron Boycott Israel Campaign’ during his Royal Festival Hall performance, Heron decided to announce the cancellation of his concert in Israel. He obviously succumbed to pressure, but this wasn’t a huge surprise considering his association with the cultural boycott of apartheid South Africa and membership of ‘United Artist Against Apartheid’ in the 1980s.

Said he would only play in Israel “when everyone is welcome there”. I didn’t realise anyone wasn’t welcome in Israel, apart from terrorists?

Devandra Berhart: Pulled out three hours before he was due on stage in Tel Aviv. Only a week before he had told the Jerusalem post how much he loved Israel and was excited about playing again. Also admitted that pressure from left wing groups was the reason for the cancellation.

From his website:  Posted on Mon, 06/14/2010 - 10:49pm: “We love the land and people of Israel, and have been looking forward to our third show there with unimaginable anticipation. Unfortunately, we tried to make it clear that we were coming to share a human and not a political message but it seems that we are being used to support views that are not our own. We will be overjoyed to return to Israel on the day that our presence is perceived and reported on as a cultural event and not a political one. We truly hope that day comes soon. Devendr, Greg, Noah, Luckey, Andy”.