Sunday, January 30, 2011

Take Back Zionism

Artists 4 Israel and the Birthright Israel Alumni Community invite you to be there from the start - help us launch an international movement to support Israel at the Take Back Zionism Campaign Launch Party
Exploring Israel’s humanitarian relief efforts around the world, we will be joined by Featured Speaker Dr. Michael Oren, Ambassador of Israel to the United States via live video feed, Birthright Israel Co-founder Michael Steinhardt, Israel’s Consul General in New York Ido Aharoni and some of Israel’s finest humanitarian organizations.
Tuesday, February 1, 2011
Edison Ballroom: 240 W.47th Street
Doors Open 6:45pm * Program begins 7:30pm
OPEN BAR, 35 and under
Online $25 ticket sales END Monday, February 1st at 3pm. Tickets $36 at door.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Official Bio of Alex Melamid - Newest Artist in Residence at the Dershowitz Center for Pro-Israel Art

Alexander Melamid came to prominence in his native Russia in 1972 at the forefront of the Sots Art, movement, the Soviet answer to Pop Art. Attacking the state’s ideology and propaganda, he saw his work censored and destroyed and his shows closed by the government. To escape this artistic persecution, he emigrated with his collaborator Vitaly Komar in 1978 to New York City, where they maintained a studio. Komar & Melamid quickly rose to the top of the conceptual art world. In 1983 their work was shown at the Museum of Modern Art; in 1987 they were the first Russian artists at Documenta; and in 1999 the Venice Biennale. Their paintings are included in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Guggenheim, and MoMA. They are featured in the "Oxford Dictionary of 20th Century Art," "The Penguin Concise Dictionary of Art History," "Art Since the ’40s," and "The 20th Century Art Book." Two of their projects were the subjects of documentaries on Channel 4 UK and the BBC and 60 Minutes, USA.
In 2004 Alexander Melamid broke up with his collaborator .
Not long after he has started his Art Ministry and the Art Healing Crusade as well as the program of self-aggrandizement.

Press: Jewish Standard

Click HERE

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Dershowitz Center for Pro-Israel Art - Newest Artist in Residence: Seth Hamlin

Seth Hamlin is a solo performer, writer and director currently in his senior year at New York University pursuing a BFA in Drama. There he serves as one of the 2010-2011 Emerging Jewish Artist Fellows. He's had works in the People's Fest at Theatre 80 and Theatre for the New City. He is a member of the company Built For Collapse and in 2010, he was a accepted into the Hangar Theatre Summer Lab Company.  He studied Acting at the Stella Adler Studio; favorite credits include Titorelli in The Trial (Kafka, dir. Steve Cook) and Duende (Divised piece, dir. Celine Nogueira)

Glassgow Comedy Arts Festival

Dear Mr.s Smith, Susan Calman, Greg McHugh, Fred MacAulay, Frankie Boyle,

On behalf of Artists 4 Israel, I would greatly appreciate your passing on to Mr. Stade the emailed attachment letter regarding his upcoming commitment in the Glasgow International Comedy Festival. We feel compelled to bring to Mr. Stade's attention that by working "Stand Up for Palestine" on March 21, he is unwittingly supporting the exploitation of Palestinians.

Artists 4 Israel is a community of creative individuals working together in ongoing, collaborative projects expressing Israel's right to exist in peace and security. Please let me know if you have any questions about our organization.

Artists 4 Israel

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

(S)kin is back!

Back by popular demand, Artists 4 Israel's most provocative program returns!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Havens of Calm – A Night Supporting the Children of Sderot

Havens of Calm – A Night Supporting the Children of Sderot

Tuesday, January 25th, 7:00 PM

Forum, Union Square (127 4th Ave), New York

2 free drink tickets for the first 100 people to RSVP
Kosher complimentary appetizers
Photos of Sderot provided by Artist 4 Israel

Ticket Cost:
$36 dollar minimum donation prior to the event
or $40 at the door to help support
the Havens of Calm program in Israel

***All donations up to $25,000 will be generously matched****


Annie Ulevitch, Sam Pollack

Samson Freundlich, Offira Gabbay, Dmitry Glinski, Ayelet Shuber
Havens of Calm is a program in the schools of Sderot, Israel designed to work with children suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as a result of ongoing Kassam rocket attacks in the area. It was created to address the increased physical and emotional needs of children in the conflict zones.

For more information go to or email
For more information about JDC, go to

Response Art Series

 Response Art Series

Artists 4 Israel is calling on artists who want to use their talents to create art to support Israel. Open to all media artists. The “Response Art Series” is based on educational lectures given by advocacy groups, authors and media representatives. In order to participate, artists are required to attend at least one lecture, or any amount of the 5 Response Art Series lectures. Artists will create original art work in response to the message they hear. Each of the 5 lectures will have an all-inclusive exhibit regarding the lecture they attended, a “mini exhibition”. Artist will then be able to submit their work to a juried exhibition, which will be a collective from all 5 lectures. Each mini exhibition will have their own time line to be shown during the months of April and May. Art work will be submitted for the Juried exhibition by March 20, 2011. The Juried show will be held in New York City and will be announced.

You are invited to the first lecture, more information about the other 4 lectures, entry application and the exhibitions will be discussed after the lecture. Please register at desk for Artists 4 Israel.

Artists will be asked to remain for a short meeting to discuss the Response Art Series after the lecture.

Monday, Jan 24th, at 8:15pm
Lecture Presented at: 92nd Street Y: 1395 Lexington Avenue at 92nd Street  
Registration and admission required, limited space, first come first serve, reservation and payment required, discounted rate use code below.

Join Malcolm Hoenlein and John Batchelor for a Discussion on: 
2011: Challenges and Opportunities for American and World Jewry 
Join one of the most prominent American Jewish leaders for a candid discussion of the dangers and issues facing the Jewish community in the coming year, from de-legitimization to the peace process to Iran globalization

Followed by Private Discussion with representatives of Artists 4 Israel in Buttenwieser Lounge  


For more information please contact.
Sheryl Intrator Urman
Artists 4 Israel
Director of Interpretive Arts
Operating Committee
201 503 9796

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Alex Melamid at the Dershowitz Center for Pro-Israel Art

Alex Melamid is joining the Dershowitz Center for Pro-Israel Art @ Industry City, Brooklyn. After years of skewering government, religion and the art world, Alex is the perfect Master Artist for our Center. Below, you can read about his past achievements.

Learn about his work as part of the collective Komar & Melamid HERE and about his personal career HERE

An Open Letter to Macy Gray

Dear Ms. Gray,

We are writing in response to the pressure you have received urging you to cancel your upcoming concerts in Israel. We would like, specifically, to address, point by point, a letter you received from a “group of Israeli citizens”. As to why that letter was dishonest, and why your performing in Israel will strengthen the forces of co-existence, we hope you will hear us out.

It is important to start off by stating that in Israel, contrary to every country surrounding it, Jews and Arabs live together in peace, and as equals. Arab Israelis make up about 20% of Israel’s population, and are equal citizens under the law. Arab Israelis represent a broad cross section of professions within Israel - doctors, lawyers, academics, engineers, artists, cops, entrepreneurs and members of the Israeli Parliament. There even was an Arab Miss Israel! If Israel was such an "apartheid state," either in law or in practice, this would not be.

Gaza and West Bank Palestinians

The letter states deceptively that “a Palestinian girl, a fan of your music living under Israeli occupation, is not allowed “by law” to see you perform in Israel. West Bank Palestinians and Gazans are not citizens of Israel, nor do they strive to be. They live under the Palestinian Authority (PA), which governs parts of the West Bank (Hamas governs Gaza) and is an entirely separate political entity.

Nevertheless, they often use the same roads as Israeli citizens, which are freely accessed by all Israelis – both Jewish and Arab. When there are road restrictions and checkpoints, it is because Palestinian militants used those roads to carry out attacks against Israeli vehicles and communities. The “26 foot high wall” the writers cite was erected along several miles of its border with the West Bank as a response to the murder of Israelis by Palestinian snipers shooting across the line at Israeli towns.

In 2010, the West Bank was actually the fastest growing economy in the world. As the PA’s President Mahmoud Abbas recently said, elaborating on why he’s not in a rush to sign an accord with Israel, “we have a good reality in the West Bank.”

Not mentioned in the anti-Israel letter you received is Hamas, the radical Islamist regime in Gaza that has made clear its intention of destroying Israel through violent jihad. Hamas has fired 10,000 rockets into Israel from Gaza, killed its children and sent them into bomb shelters every 15 minutes. The rocket launchers and terrorists hide among Gaza’s citizens – in schools, mosques and apartment buildings. Sometimes Hamas rockets would actually fall short and kill Gaza’s children, who are then given “martyrs” funerals. It’s no wonder Hamas isn’t mentioned.

Palestinian Leaders

In sharp contrast to Israeli society, Muslim supremacy, racism, sexism and homophobia characterize the PA: Jews are forbidden to live under PA rule, and the crime of selling property to a Jew is the death penalty. Christians are victims of attacks, intimidation and extortion. Most have fled to Israel, which has the only growing Christian population in the Middle East. An atheist blogger was recently arrested by the PA - and faces a sentence of perhaps life in jail - for the crime of atheism. In Gaza, the Hamas regime has arrested women for being unveiled, and in at least one case, for laughing in public. Gazans don’t dare speak out against the regime.

The PA tells the world it wants peace with Israel, yet its leaders, state-run media, schools and mosques teach children that Jews are evil and killing Israelis is the highest honor. Trained to be suicide bombers, shoot rockets at Israeli towns or stand next to those who do, kids are thrown in the line of fire in a ruthless war against Israel.

Whether they kill Israelis or are killed when Israel responds in self-defense, the Palestinian body count rises. “Israeli massacres” are reported widely and UN condemnations follow. This horrific calculus is what Palestinian leaders and self-proclaimed Palestinian advocates rely on to demonize Israel.

Please visit and for a sobering review of what Palestinian leaders say out of view of Western media.

Boycotting Israel Dishonors Palestinians

We draw a distinction between the cause we’re describing and the people it falsely represents. The “Palestinian cause,” controlled at its inception by Arab regimes and now by local leaders, has not taken into account the interests of the average Palestinian. For over 60 years, war has been waged against Israel in their name.

The Palestinian political establishment – the political and religious leaders, and their supporters - deny Israel’s right to exist and promotes endless war against it. Dissent from this line is considered treasonous, and forbidden. Thousands of Palestinians have been murdered by fellow Palestinians accusing them of “collaborating” with Israel, i.e. promoting peace with Israel.

Most Palestinians would just like to get on with their lives. In fact, they’ve indicated in polls that Israel’s democracy is one they most emulate. A vast majority of East Jerusalem Arabs - 70%, according to a recent poll - prefer to live under Israeli rule, rather than Palestinian rule.

Meanwhile, Palestinian musicians aren’t sold on anti-Israel propaganda. They perform in Israel all the time. Take the Palestine National Orchestra, which last week made its Israel debut in Haifa, to a packed house of Arab and Jewish Israelis.

Palestinians as Pawns

The use of Palestinians as pawns against Israel is no clearer than in their perpetual refugee status.

During the 1948 War, when the surrounding Arab states invaded Israel, most Palestinians fled to nearby Arab-controlled territories, expecting the Arab armies to win the war, and to go back to their homes. When the Arab states lost the war, they refused to make peace with Israel. To ensure a continuous state of war, these regimes and the Palestinian Arab leadership perpetuated the refugees’ displacement, preventing their assimilation and normalization, keeping them literally locked up in camps and told them that they can live dignified lives only by returning triumphantly to Israel.

After the war, Israel considered the refugee issue a negotiable part of an overall peace settlement – which was unequivocally rejected. Living in Gaza, the West Bank or other parts of Jordan, most Palestinian refugees have not left historic Palestine, and most live under either the PA in the West Bank or Hamas in Gaza. Yet they were, and are still, kept in camps, reliant on UN aid. Israel controls none of these refugee camps. Aside from Jordan, Arab states have denied the refugees citizenship and have restricted their education and employment. In Lebanon, Palestinians live in squalor, behind barbed wire. These Palestinians have no hope of living a normal life, and that’s the idea of these regimes.

Today, Palestinian refugees number 4 million. Though most refugees from the ’48 War have passed away, their descendants have inherited the same undignified refugee status. All other refugee populations, including an equal number of Jews who fled Arab states and moved to Israel, have been resettled, and certainly not kept in such a state, used as pawns.

Furthermore, no international law “sanctions” their “return” to Israel. Still, many have returned: 150,000 to Israel and 90,000 to the PA-ruled West Bank. Israel continues to pay settlements of individual claims of lost property.

Jewish Refugees

In contrast, most people are not aware of the 800,000 Middle Eastern Jews – from Morocco to Egypt to Iraq – who from 1948 to 1952 were victims of ethnic cleansing. These Jews, who had lived in these lands for thousands of years, were subjected to massacres, riots, rape, sham trials, public hangings. Their synagogues were burned and destroyed. Those not physically expelled chose to flee for their own safety. 600,000 were resettled in Israel. The Jews who were living in Arab-occupied areas of Palestine during the 1948 War were either expelled to the Jewish areas, or were massacred – in some cases after surrendering to Arab forces. Jews were expelled from Jerusalem – their holiest city.

These Jews’ properties – amounting to land four times the size of Israel – and assets – amounting to $6 billion in 1948 – were seized by the Arab governments. Compensation or even an acknowledgment of this crime against humanity, has never been offered.


The word "apartheid," specifically referred to the South African regime that instituted specific laws that not only segregated black from white South Africans, but systematically ensured that black South Africans were aware that they were second class, be it through curfews, segregated public venues, the denial of equal education, amongst a whole litany of other human rights abuses.

Tagging Israel with the “apartheid” label to Israel delegitimizes the suffering endured by generations of black South Africans. It is a totally politicized and false word used by those who either aim to dismantle the world’s only Jewish state, or those who don’t know any better and are convinced that this will somehow help average Palestinians.

If there is more apt comparison to South African Apartheid, it is of the Middle East generally, where women are treated as property, non-Muslims are deemed inferior and freedom of speech is denied to the masses.

Israeli Society

Israel allows you the full freedom to say whatever you wish for or against the state. If you went to Israel and publicly stated that you think the state should cease to exist, you would have full freedom to do so. This contrasts with your ability to protest the human rights atrocities of the regimes that border Israel. As an artist, you support full freedom of expression and human rights, as only in a free environment can art thrive.

Those who wrote the letter represent a fringe of Israeli society. The vast majority of Israelis long for peace and favor sharing the land. This is the prevailing view despite deep suspicions about the Palestinian leadership.

Israelis, specifically progressive Israelis, do not support the boycott Israel calls; they are among the millions of Israelis who lament that the PA and Hamas refuse to seek peace, that they have to send their sons and daughters to the army; that there are global campaigns to vilify them. These views are daily expressed in newspapers, on the TV and radio and at coffee houses and music halls and in random conversations. That’s why it’s essential to the BDS movement that you stay out of Israel, lest you meet these Israelis and form your own opinions. Your band was in line to be this movement’s next pawn.

The Boycott, Divest & Sanction Movement

The BDS movement stands not just against specific Israeli actions or policies, but Israel’s existence. They won’t say it exactly like that, because it sounds too radical. Reading through their literature, it’s hard to avoid being taken in by dramatic images and fast facts that lack context. Time, energy and critical thinking are needed when researching this history. After learning more about the conflict, slogans like “Israeli Apartheid” will be seen as the double-speak it is.

Who We Are

Artists 4 Israel (A4I) is a community of creative individuals that express Israel's right to exist in peace and security. We support Israel because Israel supports the arts. We believe only through freedom of expression that this conflict stands a chance of resolution.

We represent hundreds of international artists who have studied the conflicting ideas on Israel and found Israel moral and just. A4I is proud to support this dazzling country, and is thrilled that you will entertain Israelis with your music, and get the chance to appreciate the country that we so love and cherish.

We thank you for your time and thoughtfulness on these issues.


Artists 4 Israel

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Half a Million Art Lovers

In just 6 months, 500,000 visitors have gone to the Israel Museum.
We are proud to support this art loving country.

Artists 4 Israel and Isramerica's Sold Out Show

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

A Brother in Arms

I am blown away by depth within this website created by Edoe Cohen. I heard about it in a recent forbes article and was genuinely intrigued. If one replaced the names mentioned in the article I'd swear it sounds just like us but based in Israel. I already streamed a few films that showcase Israel's diverse culture ("jericho's echo: punk rick in the holy land" & "the stone garden"). I really think that this quote says it all about what Israel is all about, “Everybody knows about Israeli technology and start-ups. But the same creative energy is going into the arts as well.”

The site is brimming with expressions of the basic freedoms of expression that aren't available in neighboring countries and this makes me swell with pride.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Investigate the Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign!

It has come to my attention that the methods of the Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign at gaining signatories to their anti-Israel propaganda/pledge may be less than ethical and may border on harassing and threatening.

Artists 4 Israel does not have the resources to investigate this properly and, until otherwise proven, believe the IPSC to be ethical - wrong, misguided, silly, stupid, ineffective, lying - but ethical. As defenders of the arts and artists, we call on the Irish authorities to consider the actions of the IPSC. Artists should not be bullied into making political statements or harassed for their decision to not make such statements.

Israel does not harass its artists. That is why Israel remains the safest place for creatives.

The Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign Needs a Stylist

It is said that you can tell everything you need to know about a man by looking at his shoes.

By extension, you can tell a lot about almost anyone by looking at their dress. Which is why I never take any of the crazy, anti-Israel protestors too seriously. They dress funny. Now, I know this isn't scientific data (thus, the disclaimer they put on the top of the page) but, bear with me.

Please review the above picture. You got a guy in a shirt with a star-burst pattern on it. He isn't against Israel as much as he is mad that Woodstock ended. Then, there is the young lady in the Chaka Khan haircut died red to match her tights. In the back is a stewardess and, in front of her, is a very severe looking old man dressed in his ninja-best. I am not certain but I believe the guy on the far left is wearing a Bolo tie which would be cool if he was one of those famous Irish cowboys. Wait, what?

The little girl on the far right says everything we need to know. Her look of complete desperation is scary. It is as if she knows she is being used for the photo-op by this alien race of bigots and haters and is looking for the nearest exit. It could be worse. If she were a kid in Gaza, the area support, she'd probably be walking around with a bomb strapped to her waist.

Who is Dylan Walshe?

Dylan Walshe has signed the Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign "Pledge" to boycott Israel. According to the IPSC, this means something, somewhere to someone, somehow.

It doesn't.

I looked up Dylan Walshe and discovered he doesn't even have a Wikipedia page which, as we all know, in this day and age, basically means he doesn't exist. I mean, jeez people, you can make your own! What exactly are the IPSC's qualifications for choosing "artists?" Does it involve bombarding everyone they see walking out of an open mic night with lies and misinformation about Israel?

If you knock the "e" off his last name, he is the kid from 90210, if he married the girl and took her last name. I am confused. I'd be super upset if anyone from 90210 said something against Israel - like, totally upset, O.M.G!

200 = 0: The Great ISPC, Dylan Walshe Charade

The Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign announced what they consider a significant milestone - the 200th signatory to their erroneous, fact-deficient, libelous "pledge" to boycott Israel. Pledges aside, the IPSC are no boy scouts and one must question their pledge-getting tactics. Considering they are attempting to support an area that openly used beatings, torture and hangings during their last election cycle - one hopes, fleetingly, that the IPSC referendum-getting methodologies are more humane.

Whatever they are doing, it is not very effective. After all, getting 200 signatories in 6 months, with the aid of all the press they have received, is a piece of cake. It is yummy, chocolate cake that would not get you fat easy if you consider what they are pledging. 200 artists who were not invited, not wanted, not even known in Israel will not be going there to not perform in a not concert that would have not sold any seats.

I don't play the banjo. But, I am now pledging to not play the banjo in Egypt. Anyone care? Where is the press? I can get 199 more people to make the same pledge if you want. Hello?

horray for hot people!

Major Kudos go out to Urban Outfitters and Marlene Marino for the new Spring catalog which was photographed in Tel Aviv, Israel. Only a few pictures have been released so far but they all look great. There are also some behind the scenes photos taken by the models themselves as they explore this great country. Seeing these photos makes me want to do two things, buy that urban outfitters belt I've had my eye on for about 3 months at the store near my work and get my ass on a plane to Israel already! It is too freaking cold over here.

p.s. that picture of the plate of shwarma makes me do this.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

A new superhero rises!

Look at this new badass superhero!! He is sort of an Israelie Captain America with that awesome shield, cool costume, and the way he talks. I got to give him time to prove himself though to see if he'll be as cool as "sabra". She is one the coolest side characters in the marvel universe because she seems to have been created to fight terroism. She fought against the hulk because she thought he was an arab terrorist. Then she kicks terrorist ass when her son is killed in a terrorist attack. hummm maybe the two can team up so one can educate and the other kick people in the nuts.

p.s. here is a full list of jewish or semi jewish super heroes. I knew kitty pryde was jewish but Iceman is half jewish! woah!

Gogol Bordello: Coming to Israel

Monday, January 10, 2011

Letter to the Palestine National Orchestra

Dear Palestine National Orchestra:

Artists 4 Israel (A4I) is writing to express our delight that you recently performed in Israel.

Your concert in Haifa last week strengthened the forces of co-existence that are so badly needed
for a peaceful, prosperous future for both Israelis and Palestinians. Haifa is a beautiful city which
has thrived from the contributions from both Arabs and Jews.

As you are no doubt aware, there exists a movement to “boycott, divest and sanction” Israel.
Any artist that plans to perform in Israel, even if the trip includes the Palestinian territories,
is pressured by this “BDS” movement to cancel. This ideological movement feigns concern for
Palestinian suffering, yet it perpetuates endless war against Israel until it submits to its narrow
definition of “justice”.

Obviously, justice is best served by those like you, which see for the Palestinians no future in
rejectionism and no limits in co-existence. As your director, Mr. Khoury, recently said, "We
truly believe that a state is not only about buildings and roads, but most importantly it is about
its people, their values, their arts and their cumulative cultural identity. Today an orchestra,
tomorrow a state!”

Artists 4 Israel (A4I) is a community of creative individuals that express Israel's right to exist in
peace and security. We support Israel because Israel supports the arts. We feel the same as Mr.
Khoury, and we see in the arts the transformative power to bridge cultural divides. You are not
just leading your society in this regard, but serving as a model for the entire region. For this, A4I
thanks you!

Kol Hakavod!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Baked Beans and BoSox

my friend's poor poor brain

A friend of mine who follows this blog recently asked me about the back and forth going on. "This thing has me really confused. why does someone who claims to have an open mind sound so inflammatory and self righteous? how do you listen to the constant barrage of hypocrisy with out getting a brain hemorrhage? I serously thought I had one." we had a quick chuckle about it but my friend is right.

I see videos like this and I'm like wow who can argue with those solid 4 minutes. Anyone with an open mind should see this and be on the Israelie side of the argument. That is not the case because the people on the other side of the argument have already made up their mind about what is evil and what isn't. They talk and regurgitate without thinking. Take a look at this photo.

This was taken on the Gaza side of the wall by Willam Parry. It is a great photo but I really don't understand why they think that the way to read this is as a slap against the Israeli government. Hamas doesn't tolerate that many things and what they do DO is pretty awful. If you don't want to support the Israeli army and the system it has in place for making sure it's solders are as humane as possible that is fine. Instead come out and just say that you are in favor of the tactics of Hamas; human shields, suicide/homicide bombers, constant rocket fire, etc. Just come out and say that you would prefer that Israelis die by random rocket attacks instead of Americans or foreigners killed while they eat by some fanatical suicide/homicide bomber who could have been stopped by a simple wall.

That is why I feel my brain hurt when I hear these people talk. They would rather come out in a hateful and pessimistic way against Israel instead of coming out and fully supporting Hamas and organizations of their ilk.

An Open Letter to William Parry and the New Left Project

Based on this Article

William Parry reviewed Artists 4 Israel’s website, news articles and blog and, in an article published in the New Left Project, found that we were an organization who supports Israel because Israel has freedoms and rights that support the arts. He saw pictures of children playing and artists creating beautiful works and he got all confused. He made a few determinations that are, to paraphrase his wording, “extraordinary, contradictory and distorting.”

At first he says that our President, Craig Dershowitz and, by extension, Artists 4 Israel are “difficult to take…seriously.” Yet, then, he writes a protracted essay about us. He calls Gaza “besieged,” yet ignores the constant rain of rocket fire from there (over 9,000 since 2001 resulting in 28 deaths) onto the innocent civilians of Sderot and Israel’s south.
He says that when we attempted to paint the Security Fence we were bringing an “artistic siege” against the Arab citizens in the area, yet he supports the tiny few who tried to place a cultural siege against Ariel. He vehemently protests our attempts to paint the Security Fence but champions the artwork on the “Other Side of the Wall.” It seems, so far, that the only issue Mr. Parry has is with constructive dialogue and a peaceful, creative exchange of ideas.

Mr. Parry’s contradictions continue when he claims that graffiti is mostly used by the “dispossessed, the marginalised, as a means of expressing socio-economic-political commentary and undermining authority.” Yet, he then lists the artists whose work he finds so appealing on the Other Side of the Wall. Banksy, Blu, JR, Swoon and Ron English are among the world’s most wealthy and commercially successful street artists. Banksy is one of the world’s richest artists, period. These artists are so rich, partially, because of their ability to market themselves. Doing things like painting in a controversial place gets you more attention which gets you more mentions in books like those by William Parry which gets you more money.

As an aside, it is an interesting question to ask where each of these artists slept, partied and hung out on their trips to the Middle East. Each one spent a majority of their time in Israel. I wonder if this was because the oppressive, totalitarian regimes on the Other Side of the Wall made living as an artist too fearful and dangerous a proposition?

On the other hand, Artists 4 Israel brings the real graffiti artists, the actual counter-culture forces who, growing up in the economically disenfranchised neighborhoods of Brooklyn, Mexico, Spain, Queens, the Bronx, Puerto Rico and elsewhere truly use their art to express truth and knowledge. That is why, while Mr. Parry’s list reads like a whose-who of celebrity fame monsters, our list of participating artists is a roster of graffiti legends and current kings. We have brought NICER TATS, CYCLE TC5, Sue Works MTA, Belin, Myrhwan, 2ESAE and SKI. We have also been supported by countless others, including TRACY168, COPE2, MED, SMART Crew, Cash4 and many others. We would have brought thousands more artists if only we had money to buy enough spray paint.

Another distortion by Mr. Parry is that we are “throwing money” and part of a coordinated PR offensive. We wish! Every artist on our trip to paint the bomb shelters in Sderot, so that the children of that area need not be traumatized further, volunteered their time. Every artist on our trip to break the cultural siege of Ariel volunteered their time. Every artist on our trip to the paint the shelter for battered women in Jerusalem volunteered their time. They slept on the floor and ate rations as our funds were so small and limited. After all, we are a young organization, a grassroots movement of conscious artists.
Further distortions abound in Mr. Parry’s mouthpiece, the New Left Project. But, in very different ways. According to the New Left Project’s About section, they are guided by:

“1. A belief in the value and equality of human life;
2. An endorsement of the fundamental rights that flow from this (as set out for example in the UN Universal Declaration on Human Rights); and...
3. The view that those rights are best honoured by cohesive, co-operative societies based primarily on collective and democratic social organisation and run on the principle of economic and ecological sustainability.”

They claim point 1 above, yet, they allow a writer to defame a Security Fence that has prevented murder.

“During the 34 months from the beginning of the violence in September 2000 until the construction of the first continuous segment of the security fence at the end of July 2003, Samaria-based terrorists carried out 73 attacks in which 293 Israelis were killed and 1950 wounded. In the 11 months between the erection of the first segment at the beginning of August 2003 and the end of June 2004, only three attacks were successful, and all three occurred in the first half of 2003.
Since construction of the fence began, the number of attacks has declined by more than 90%. The number of Israelis murdered and wounded has decreased by more than 70% and 85%, respectively, after erection of the fence.”

They claim point 2 above, yet, they allow a writer to take issue with a nation that has free and equal rights for all citizens over a mass of land, controlled by dictators where women are oppressed, homosexuals are murdered and political debate is stifled.

They claim point 3 above, yet they deny the validity of the only true democracy in the Middle East - a democracy that has done more to protect the environment they claim to love than any other group. Instead, they allow a writer to champion the murderous dictators of a nearby area whose last election was met with the hanging and public beatings of political opponents.

The greatest contradiction and distortion revolves around Mr. Parry’s favorite topic – money. Further in the New Left Project’s About Us they lament that the “goals of power and profit” win out “over the principles of human equality and freedom.” Yet, Mr. Parry’s book is available on their website for 14.99 pounds. Mr. Parry is, literally, making a profit off the back of the very people he claims to care most about. The people of Gaza and the West Bank do not profit from this Security Fence. Israel does not profit from this Security Fence. Mr. Parry profits from the Security Fence. And, Mr. Parry profits from the work produced by these graffiti artists. Does Mr. Parry provide these artists with a royalty? Do they receive a portion of the proceeds from his book? Or, is Mr. Parry exploiting these artists, just as he is the people of Gaza, for his own nefarious, capitalist purposes?
Perhaps this is why Mr. Parry finds it so outrageous that on the Israeli side of the Security Fence there are trees and nature. Perhaps, he was planning to publish the “Other, Other Side of the Wall” and perhaps the New Left Project was planning on, once again, shilling for him.

Instead, Israel has chosen to do two things that would greatly benefit their enemies in Gaza to consider. First, they have sought to help protect the environment. Israel is the only country to have started this century with more trees than last. Second, they have chosen not to wallow in the mire and trauma of war. Like in Sderot, where Israel rebuilds bombed out houses and rocket-ruined homes, Israel refuses to let its citizens suffer in a constant state of desperation in order to manipulate them for public opinion.

Instead of ruins, Israel has bomb shelters. Instead of staged imagery of children crying, Israel tries to make the best of a life lived under the constant threat of a Hamas terrorist attack. Unlike Mr. Parry, the New Left Project and the thugs of Hamas and Fatah, Israel chooses beauty and creation over destruction. Artists 4 Israel supports Israel because Israel is dedicated to creation.

Reporting from the other side of the wall for so long, with a camera in one hand and a cash register in the other, Mr. Parry has probably forgot what freedom and creation look like. I hope our artists remind him.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Didn't Cha Know

A black, female singer performs in revealing clothing singing songs about love, freedom and independence.
Did this happen in Israel or Gaza? Hmmmm.....

Ok, enough of the nonsense. Salem News got me feeling all warm inside. Time to move back and get to listening to beautiful music and supporting creation and art.

One Love!

Isramerica: Soul Sister

Have you heard about this event? Apparently, it has been quietly promoted to a select group of people. But, now A4I is here to tell the world...or, at least, the people of Oregon. Hi, Salem News!

I am not one for hyperbole or over-dramatization. If you like quality theater, music, art that is well produced and housed in an attractive venue, you should attend this. I don't know if it will be the best event of the year - couldn't tell you - I haven't been to every other event so far. And, I am not certain it will blow your socks off - you might have very tight socks. You might even have those little sock suspender things. What are those called?

But, it will be a great show, a good time and, most likely, the best way to spend your Wednesday night. And, if you don't go...there is no telling what Sivan will do to me.

An Open Letter to Tim King and the Salem News

The “News” Editor of the Salem News, Tim King, has decided to defend his errant writer and her less than stellar reporting skills in a response to Craig Dershowitz’ Open Letter to Belen Fernandez HERE. By way of justification, Tim explains that Belen is “tongue-in-cheek” which seems to equate to “foot-in-mouth.” But, he vehemently protests, she is also “ever so smart.” Mr. Dershowitz never called her intellect into question. Instead, Craig simply demanded that Ms. Fernandez, holding herself out to be a reporter, maintain standards of journalistic integrity.

Reading Tim King’s response, it becomes clear, however, that editorial standards are somewhat confused at the Salem News. Mr. King refers to the artists who traveled with A4I as being Israeli. The artists who travel with A4I represent a cross-section of the world, with artists from the U.S., Europe, Israel and Latin America. It is this very diverse audience that proves that the world, arts community supports Israel. And, rightfully so!

After all, Israel is the only country in the Middle East with full and equal rights for all citizens. It is the only country where artists can practice their various crafts protected by freedoms of speech, expression and defense of their civil liberties. In Gaza, areas ruled by Fatah, Syria, Jordan, Egypt and Saudi Arabia, artists have significantly less rights and more fear. The stories of artists who have been arrested, tortured and murdered for their craft in these nations are horrifying. The amount of artists who have sought refuge in Israel is testament to the protection of arts we applaud so wildly.

In Mr. King’s desperate defense of his rogue reporter he fails to answer or even mention the point about freedoms and rights. This was the central point of Craig’s letter and the driving force behind Artists 4 Israel. It appears that Mr. King is tacitly ceding to us that Israel is, indeed, a country to be admired for its inclusiveness and liberty. Or not. Instead, Tim, like Belen, continues to be divisive. So divisive that he even finds time to play a game of “whose pain is worse” between Arab and Jewish youth. Mr. King, do you mean to say that one life is more valuable than the next?
Artists 4 Israel believes that all creation – be it an artistic work or a life – is precious. That is why A4I has, on our trips to Israel, done large-scale painting projects with mixed groups of Arab and Jewish youth. I am sorry that I do not know the exact percentage break-down but, we are not the ones who choose to segregate and see distinctions in people.

Artists 4 Israel is proud to have painted an Intel Clubhouse that unites Arab and Jewish youth through computer skills and community building. We are proud to have painted an elementary school that educates near equal numbers of Arab and Jewish children. We are proud to have painted a shelter for women who have escaped abusive relationships. We are proud to have painted the bomb shelters of Sderot. These are shelters that protect all citizens of Israel from rocket attacks – over 9,000 reported since 2001 causing 28 deaths. It is terrifying to think how many more might have suffered if not for these shelters.
And, one day, we will be proud to paint the Security Fence because it too provides protection from people with mindsets like Tim King who want to divide us and deem one side more worthy of suffering than another. We paint shelters because we believe in protecting creation.

The facts are undeniable:

“During the 34 months from the beginning of the violence in September 2000 until the construction of the first continuous segment of the security fence at the end of July 2003, Samaria-based terrorists carried out 73 attacks in which 293 Israelis were killed and 1950 wounded. In the 11 months between the erection of the first segment at the beginning of August 2003 and the end of June 2004, only three attacks were successful, and all three occurred in the first half of 2003.
Since construction of the fence began, the number of attacks has declined by more than 90%. The number of Israelis murdered and wounded has decreased by more than 70% and 85%, respectively, after erection of the fence.”

That Israel has made the brave decision to deal with the near constant barrage of rocket attacks and homicide bombers by building a shelter is testament to its courage and devotion to peaceful resolution. I leave it for the reader to determine what it says about Tim King and Belen Fernandez who want to tear down this wall and expose innocent men, women and children to the threat of death.

While Israel builds shelters to protect, Gaza and Fatah continue to stockpile weapons and build tunnels into their own civilians’ homes to wage an illegal, terrorist war against the citizens of Israel. You can read all about this deathly underworld HERE in a report from an Arab citizen whose family suffered.

In one year alone, these tunnels brought over:
33 tons of military-grade high explosives
20,000 assault rifles
3,000 pistols
6,000,000 rounds of small arms ammunition
38 long-range Qassam missiles
12 shoulder-fired, anti-aircraft guided missiles
95 anti-tank rocket launchers
410 anti-tank rockets
20 precision-guided anti-tank missiles

A4I would never paint a tunnel. We work for peace. But, we would consider painting on the other side of the fence if we were allowed. We have artists who are African-American, Latino, gay and female. Would they all be allowed into Gaza? Could Tim King or Belen Fernandez promise me their rights, even the most basic right to life, would be protected?

Oh wait, I know the answer already. We learned the answer when, approaching the gate to Bethlehem, our convoy was stopped. We were told no Israelis could enter this city under Arab control. Like the segregation signs of the 1960s, Bethlehem was closed to Israelis. We saw no apartheid that day but we did see good old, Jim Crowe style racism and segregation.

And, Tim, I was going to tell you something regarding lipstick but, seriously, can you class it up a little? There are innocent Israelis dying from terrorist attacks and innocent citizens of Gaza dying because their government chooses war over peace and you want to make obnoxious comments about animals. C'mon.

There is no such thing as bad PRESS: Salem News

A response to a response. Now, it is just getting petty.

Friday, January 7, 2011

An Open Letter to Belen Fernandez and the Salem News

Dear Belen Fernandez,

It is an absolute pleasure that you consider Artists 4 Israel and me, personally, so important as to go pilfering through the work of legitimate reporters to find negative information to post about us. HERE

While we have been traveling the globe, using art to promote peace and understanding between Arab and Jewish youth, and trying to soothe some of the trauma of war caused by Hamas, Fatah and Hezbollah murderers against innocent, Israeli children, you have been quite busy having coffee with terrorist groups and writing for a series of revolutionary periodicals that are far more inter-connected than they seem, supported by questionable, shadow sources and with far better names than editorial standards.

So, again, a great honor that you, a self-proclaimed “fantastic writer,” (it must be true – it is in your own bio) would find the time to scour the many articles about A4I to find some un-matched quotes and cobble them together in something slightly resembling a news story that really resembles an op-ed that really resembles a little girl’s diary entry. I guess Osama Bin Laden was unavailable for afternoon tea?

I apologize for the ad-hominem attacks against you in the above paragraphs. You see, unlike you, I don’t pretend to be a reporter so I am just aping you and apparently, as per your example, personal swipes count as fair reporting.

I am not a reporter. I am an advocate. I work for and on behalf of artists. I support Israel because Israel is the only country in the Middle East with freedoms and rights for all – the same freedoms and rights upon which art may be built. I support Israel because Israel supports the arts. I support Israel because when A4I brings artists, no matter what their race, gender or sexual preference, I can be sure their rights are protected. I support Israel because it is safer to be a Christian artist in Israel than in any area controlled by Arab dictators. It is actually safer to be an Arab artist in Israel than anywhere in Arab controlled areas.

You, on the other hand, are supposed to be a reporter. You are supposed to support facts and correct verifiable information. I do not define myself, as you wrongly insinuate, as a distant relative to Alan Dershowitz. Neither do I hide it. It is a fact. I could have just said relative but I chose to be as accurate as possible. Facts and accuracy –you should consider using them in your work.

Instead of facts and accuracy, you throw around weighty, inflammatory words like “illegal,” “apartheid” and “settlement.” My spine tingles with fear at these powerful words until I realize they lack any actual foundation in fact. While Artists 4 Israel focus on creating art and healing wounds, you focus on instigating and dividing. Perhaps that is the reason we champion an animal that has been rescued and healed and you mock it.

The fact is that the Security Fence you slander has been responsible for stopping over 90% of the terrorist murders of innocent Israelis – men, women and children. The fact is that the Security Fence you defame was built because the terrorists you dine with refuse to make peace with the democratic leaders of Israel. The fact is that the Security Fence you libel is a temporary solution against the murderous, terrorist overlords you support.

Posted on behalf of Craig Dershowitz

More Hate Press: New Left Project

Enjoy the KINDNESS here

Hate Press: Salem News

Read the LOVE here

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Israel is awesome: reason #285930

I don't know why they thought to save his life but I am thanking God that they did because awesomeness like this should explode into our eyeballs everyday.

Forget mutant turtles, all hail our new cyborg turtle overlords!! THANK YOU ISRAEL!!

The Death of Israel

A few thousand men assemble. They are virile. Stripped down almost naked, some covered in grease paint, they are camoflauged in the night like a preying army. They are holding makeshift flamethrowers. Several have machine guns. Even more carry handguns. All have knives. Suddenly, a piercing whistle and shattering boom break the silence. Attack! Music starts and thousands of men began chanting GAZA, GAZA, GAZA. They shoot at the sky and light the night with fire. GAZA GAZA GAZA. They attack the stage and the dance floor. GAZA GAZA GAZA.
This happens every week. More and more men join the militant army. They are led by a cult-like figure. They have annexed parts of the world far removed from the Middle East. GAZA GAZA GAZA. They are crazed. Some have stripped themselves of identity and refer to themselves only by that fearsome chant – GAZA GAZA GAZA.
This is not a paranoid delusion of what might come. This is Jamaica, today. This might be Queens or Brooklyn tomorrow. This is the dawning of the age beyond the culture war – when Israel has been vanquished.
I exhort the Jewish and Israel advocacy community to join Artists 4 Israel now in fighting this culture war.

How Jamaica, Vybz Kartel, Reggae Music and Our Own Ignorance is Killing Israel

Of the epic conflicts of our time, the East Coast vs. West Coast, hip-hop feud that saw the death of Biggie Smalls and Tupac Shakur was probably more popularly known than many of the other, more conventional wars being waged between nations. When that conflict ended, with a virtual nuclear bomb, when the de facto Officers in Chief of both sides were murdered, a pax romana across the culture landscape ensued. There were many rivalries and feuds in music, but each faction made sure to put aside any talk of actual violence and to maintain a League of Nations stylized ideal of peaceful conflict negotiation.
Today, there is a new conflict and it promises to end this time of good. In Jamaica, two rival factions, Gully and Gaza, respectively, are at an impasse across the dancehall reggae scene. Each is led by a charismatic figure who encourages his followers with chants, threats and exhortations that they are the most powerful, the most violent and the most willing to prove the former two points. Each side claims to want peace but is locked in a struggle with their own mythology so the intimidation and potential outbreak continues apace. The entire culture has divided between the two camps and it is well known that supporters of one side are not welcome in whole cities that belong to the other side. There has been no deaths yet and the facts and figures from this area are sketchy at best but anecdotal evidence suggests actual physical violence is occurring at an alarming rate and that the intensity is increasing.
Part of the reason for this seeming spiral out of control is that no one has any cause to stop it. In America, both the politicians, the cops, youth workers and the record industry had vested interest in the containment of violence. In Jamaica, a slightly more lawless community, the politicians may very well be in bed with the two sides, each major party choosing one or the other to be their virtual cheerleading squad. Youth advocates are not nearly as powerful as in the states. Ditto for the cops. With tacit political support and no checks or balances, this is a fearful situation and one we must consider more in depth.
On the one side is Vybz Kartel, the reggae artist who represents Gaza. Gaza is both the nickname of his town, Portmore, Jamaica but also, now, it has become synonymous with his followers, fans and collaborative artists. There are “Gaza Rules” that adherents must follow. There are Gaza girls who are lauded as sexual objects in music videos who are stripped of their real name and called by the monikor Gaza plus a nickname. Gaza is the word to be spray painted across walls, chanted in concerts and screamed in joy or anger. Like a terrorist praising Allah as his last human act, a follower of Gaza will scream that very word before punching, kicking or, worst case, shooting an opponent. Gaza exists beyond the borders of Portmore proper or even Jamaica as a whole and this violent, angry rivalry is showing itself across Queens and Brooklyn. It is believed that money can prevent most wars but that is not the case here and, this past summer, most large-scale reggae concerts in the boroughs of New York and cities of Canada with significant West Indian populations had to be cancelled because the threat of violence should rival factions appear was too great.

It is interesting that a war-like, violent group of misbegotten, misinformed thugs would choose to ally themselves with Gaza. They, as per the words of their leader, take pride in the name because, according to him, the residents of Gaza are formidable opponents. Throughout time, warriors, evil-doers and angry young men have captivated and influenced cultural opinion. War has been the subject of untold pieces of art, scores of music and, of course, film and television. What is shocking in this regard is how much popular culture is now affecting war.
When Artists 4 Israel first posted this disturbing phenomenon on our Facebook page, an idealistic young man asked a question that Artists 4 Israel has been getting for some time – “So?” So what that a large group of people were chanting the name of a country which popularly elected a terrorist regime and actively seeks the destruction of Israel? So what that popular culture is being infected with the poisoned germ that Gaza and all it represents is positive. The ignorant and borderline racists tell me that Jamaicans have no influence so I should not worry. The kind and well-meaning tell me that since Israel has truth and facts and figures on her side, the good will win the day even in the face of this cultural pressure. The clueless ask me why popular culture matters so much in a discussion of politics.
Like the children at the Passover Seder, the Jewish and Israeli advocacy organizations fill similar prototypes. The wise rely on their facts and figures. The wicked seek only opportunity for themselves – how can they find funding in this latest crises? The simple are barely aware a discussion is happening. And, far too many of these organizations, remain silent. It is for the questions we received on Facebook that we answer. It is for these four children that I answer. It is these four children that have become the sons of Artists 4 Israel. It is these four children that scoffed when we coined the term “culture war” more then two years ago but pull it out now at fundraisers and board pitches.
And our answer is simple: situations like this are the greatest non-weaponized threat to Israel of all time. People no longer vote or make decisions based on a sober and intellectual consideration of the facts. Decisions are made with hearts, not minds. Beliefs trump ideas. Voting for American Idol trumps Presidential Election voting and even when people do vote in the elections, they vote based upon who they “like” or “trust” and not who they believe has the greatest potential or whose position papers are the most articulate. Oprah and Jon Stewart trump the news. Facebook status updates trump letters and twitter trumps research, debate and contemplative thought.
If you were to ask these questions of a homosexual in Jamaica, he would tell you how reggae music’s opinions can quickly become violent realizations.
The battle was lost the day that Vybz Kartel decided that Gaza was cool enough to use to name his entire movement. Of the million fans that hear him chant it, that hear him exhort and praise it, that hear him honor it, how many do you think will pick up a history book? How many do you think will talk to an Israeli or a resident of Gaza to get a realistic understanding? None. Because no one is seeking a realistic understanding (no one, that is, except for the Wise son who knows his facts cold). But, reverse the question and ask how many of his millions of fans will adopt his baseless assertion that Gaza is cool, powerful and worthy of praise – its enemies worthy of derision. Hundreds? Thousands? How many of them will become artists themselves, sharing this information with the next generation? How many will become politicians or important, strategic decision makers? And, then what?
Popular opinion shapes our decisions. Our Presidents read polls before making choices. Even worse, as this insidiuous virus of cool spreads more and more deeply into the public imagination and consciousness, it will become second nature. Polls won’t matter anymore because the spirit has been corrupted by the belief that Gaza is all mighty.
Gone is the questioning Jew. In his place is the visceral belief that the Jew and his country, Israel, are evil.
Now, I question our sons, the wise, wicked, simple and silent Jewish and Israeli advocacy organizations – what do you plan to do? Artists 4 Israel was the first and might still be the only group to recognize the problem. Do you want to know our solution?

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Press: The College Zionist


Regal Royalties: How ACUM and YouTube prove Israel's Right-Ness

Since the Napster/Metallica controversy in 2000, I have had split affinity in the debate over artists' rights.

As an artist, in general, I am protective of the intellectual property that my fellows produce. As a graffiti artist, in specific, I dislike the notion of private, protected space. Graffiti artists are a rather magnanimous, giving bunch who share their work freely, even when it might not always be wanted. Within that same ideological vein, graffiti artists also take freely and it is a culture that, at its worst, supports an anarchistic belief in theft and, at its best, a utopian, communal ideal that all goods should be distributed evenly amongst the largest possible group.

Israel too has a bit of the radical and the hippie in its own national construction. On the one hand, Israel is so vastly different then its neighbors in the Middle East with its civil rights that it seems shocking. On the other hand, Israel shares these freedoms with all her citizens, like a 1960's flower child would want things to be. Like a graffiti artist, these two ideas exist at once in Israel. And, like a graffiti artist, Israel often finds herself somewhere she is not wanted, creating art and beauty even in the face of criticism and threats of violence. The Middle East is a murky place.

There is nothing more murky then the field of technology and artists rights, licensing and fees. Production houses, record labels and the ever-growing network of sites like YouTube, Facebook and LimeWire are trying to figure out how to best share creative content in a digital way without hampering either their user's desire to share digitally as they used to hand-to-hand or the artists' rights to receive just compensation for their output. The 2007 Writers' Strike was the first of what threatens to be many negative consequences of this failure to come to terms.

A licensed drum roll please then as Israel enters with a solution. Please see article HERE. Working with ACUM, an Israeli non-profit organization representing the rights of authors, composers, musicians and other artists, YouTube has agreed to pay artists a royalty each time their music is played. This money will not come from the fans' pockets but, rather, from advertising revenue generated by YouTube. This solution satisfies both the eager public hungry for art and the starving artist. The anarchist and the hippie are one and Israel has proven that they remain the home of artists' rights.

Now, if an Israeli organization can get YouTube to resolve this conflict, surely Israel can make peace if they find a willing partner. Anyone out there?

Monday, January 3, 2011

so close to genuine praise

Today we have a two-fer of stupidity that almost got me with my optimistic blinders on.

The first was an article that I really wanted to like about the first performance of the Palestinian National Orchestra. What caught my eye wasn't what they were calling themselves but rather where they elected to play for the first time. I was immediately curious as to why a group of musicians with obvious desire for a Palestinian nation would debut in the jewish state? The first sentence threw me right back to reality that this was a poorly written article that was more of a fluff piece than anything else.

It is the obvious skewing of facts that creeps into your brain. In the first sentence the author uses the adjectives "occupied", "annexed", and "Israeli". Even though that are all parts of the same state the adjectives make it seem that these places are different. Sure there is a different demographic in each place (and thankfully the author does mention that there are Israelis and Arab-Israelies in the audience) but unless something happened that missed every newsite on the planet then they all belong to the same state.

Even if you disagree with my previous points aren't you a little miffed about the size of the article and all the unanswered questions? like...
1) Where did they get the instruments?
2) Who taught them to play?
3) Where did they practice all this time?
4) Why did they have to premier there and not in Gaza or some other Fatah/Hamas owned place?
5) How did they feel about their Israeli audience?
6) How were they recieved?
7) Will they tour?
8) What is the Palestinian national anthem? was it this?

etc etc etc etc. So many questions, so many questions.

The second is another article that is ridiculously short and leaves way too many questions unanswered. It is incredibly odd that a simple thing as people running a marathon can spur people into wanting a boycott. I hope Adidas knows that they did nothing wrong in sponsoring this event and that bowing to these ridiculous demands won't get them anything. Yet again, way to many questions arise.....

1) Who are these two Meretz council members that are now calling for the boycott of Adidas?
2) Why are they changing the route?
3) What is the big deal that people now run through a different part of Jerusalem?
4) Why couldn't some agreement been reached to prevent it from going this far?
5) Was it about money? (isn't' always about money?)
6) What do the runners have to say about this?
7) Who are the type of people to run in the marathon in israel?
8) What was security like before this change? What about after?

I combined these two articles into one post because they both had incredibly interesting topics but fail to come close to anything that helps the reader make an unbiased decision on the matter. The worst part is that it would have been incredibly simply to expand on these topics since I doubt these articles made print and were online exclusives. Either way it is important to understand what you are reading and ask as many questions as possible.

p.s Happy new year to everyone. May this year's happiness and success far outweigh the sadness and frustrations of the past.