Wednesday, July 25, 2012
An Open Letter from Craig Dershowitz
I have read your letter to Robert Serry, the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process regarding his organization of a concert by the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra (WEDO).
WEDO is an Orchestra consisting of players from Israel, "Palestine" and other Arab Nations. It consists of an equal number of Israeli and Arab musicians. The tag line for WEDO is "Great Music is the Result of Deep Listening". This is a statement that serves us well in understanding your diatribe against a performance and an organization that seeks to "enable intercultural dialogue".
In your letter, you express special outrage at the Conductor's hopes of "overcoming political and cultural differences between the countries represented in the workshop. In this model, an orchestra serves as a good example of democracy and civilized living." It appears that you are openly advocating against an open society. Worse, you are advocating against civilization. Claiming to be "representatives of the 'Palestinian' (author's internal quotation marks) people" and "the overwhelming majority of 'Palestinian' (author's internal quotation marks) civil society" your words carry great weight and, if listened to deeply, describe the "Palestinian" people as un-civilized.
While it is true that "Palestine" is, in part, ruled by terrorists and that in "Palestine" many minority groups, including artists of all mediums, suffer oppression, intimidation and potential death for their expression of any view that goes against the orthodoxy, I am loathe to call it un-civilized. That you would speak of your own people that way is disheartening. That you would do it publicly and with pride is problematic. That you would do it in a letter to an international organization is threatening.
You threaten music. You threaten WEDO. You threaten inter-cultural dialogue and, worse of all, you threaten hope and peace. Listening deeply, we hear that your biggest concern is with "normalization". In particular, you rail against the normalization that would lead to "constructive engagement". You decry the "normal" Israel for being a democracy that excels in the arts. It is as if you would rather "Palestine" be abnormal, undemocratic, uncultured and at a remove from the peaceful progression of time. Either you are liars and true pariahs of the "Palestinian" people or you do represent them and we must question if Israel or the world can ever make peace with a people who bathe in the polluted, artless waters of hate and cultural backwardness.
Edward Said and Daniel Barenboim created WEDO. Daniel is a musical prodigy who gave his first international concert at the age of 10. He has conducted the London Philharmonic Orchestra, was Music Director for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, has won a Grammy and has run and funded projects for music education in "Palestine". If you listen, you can hear the melodies of "Palestinians" seeking music and peace. Let it be louder than your hate-mongering. Edward Said was the author of many, award-winning books, a Professor at Columbia University and a staunch advocate of the cultural uplifting of the "Palestinian" people. If you listen deeply, you can hear pen on paper, Arab writers creating wonderful stories. Mr. Said and Mr. Barenboim believe the Arab people to be cultured, civilized and far above your retrogressive beliefs.
As Daniel Barenboim has said "the open ear is all too often replaced by the unsheated sword". Unfortunately, when one opens his ears to the fatalistic threats of the PACBI, they hear only the sound of further swords being sharpened. These are swords that not only threaten our people but more greatly threaten the advancement of the Arab World.
PACBI - let us get to normal.
Artists 4 Israel
Boualem Sansal, a gifted writer of conscious who was born in Algeria and knows, first hand, the destructive power of Islamic Fundamentalism is suffering for his desire to see a world free of oppression and working towards peace. In fact, in one of Mr. Sanal's novels, he explores the relationship between the murderous Nazi Regime and the terrorist, radicalized Arab states surrounding Israel. It should be the mission of all thoughtful writers to decry any regime that might threaten the free expression of ideas through literature.
More information can be found HERE.. The best quote here: Sanal was "denounced by Hamas for 'betraying the Palestinian people'". Hamas later called the kettle to tell it that it was black.
The impetus for this threatening statement by Hamas was a visit Mr. Sansal made to Israel as a participant in the International Writers Festival held in Jerusalem. Were Israel as bad as they claim, would not its enemies want thinkers and writers to visit so they could recognize the abuses and then describe them forward? Of course this is a rhetorical question. Any answer would be as stupid as saying of Mr. Sansal and his contemporaries that they are "rags used to clean the hands of colonialists" and to consider them "brainwashed".
It heartens Artists 4 Israel to know that although Sansal has not been the victim of a fatwa, like Salman Rushdie he remains unbowed and continues to speak out on Arab and "Palestinian" hypocrisy and is working with Israeli author David Grossman on an initiative to unite writers focused on workable solutions for peace. He has rightfully described the Arab Nations as being "shut in a prison of intolerance" which reminds this author of what oppressed "Palestine" truly means - their own self-inflicted cultural, artistic and progressive restraints. We hope he, David and like-minded authors such as Tahar Ben Joullen will continue to fight attempted repression with honesty, truth and art.
Monday, July 23, 2012
Thursday, July 19, 2012
In an incredibly freak accident, a revolving door was blown too hard by some wind and went the opposite way, pinning a man inside and causing the glass to shatter around him, causing some minor cuts and bruises. At the time this happened, it was all over the news. You see, revolving doors don't usually attack people. They just don't.
Most revolving doors are kind, quiet creatures just going about their day, happy to spin round and round, allowing people access into and egress out of buildings. But, no one writes about that. No one writes about the multiple billions of times a day revolving doors around the world do not attack people or the multiple billions of times they work just fine.
This is why it is always such big news whenever the schmuks over at the BDS and PACBI and all their little punk affiliates score some minor victory, getting some has-been singer to "boycott" Israel or something similar. Because it is incredibly unusual! Every single day there are thousands of artists painting their paintings, singing their songs, poetrying their poetry and on and on. Every single day there are thousands of artists not boycotting Israel. Every single day the BDS and PACBI fail miserably.
So a cheers to Israel, to revolving doors and to me too for saying it out loud.
The Artists 4 Israel image is one of the most iconic in the Israel Advocacy Community and, for that matter, in the Jewish world. In fact, it is one the most iconic images associated with a non-profit organization across the spectrum. It is rebellious, unusual, energetic and a little threatening. That a non-profit would choose to brand itself with a scandalous image - one where two cops are featured, both looking terrified and a hooded figure dominates the forefront of the shot - is unusual and dark. That they would do so, somehow, with much artistic merit is shocking. This image led to the battle cry of Artists 4 Israel: Beautifully Effective, Shockingly Creative. This image has informed all the actions of Artists 4 Israel: challenging, demanding, baiting and beautiful. This is its history.
The day of the largest pro-Israel rally during Operation Cast Lead, the individuals who would become the founders of A4I rallied near the United Nations. We carried, mostly, home-made banners, graffitied by our comrades and stating clearly: Artists 4 Israel. Instantly, others asked to help our mission. It is already well documented how people came to us and said "I am a pianist and I am for Israel. How do I join?" "I am a dancer and I support Israel. How do I help?" At the time, we had no answer. We had attended the rally spontaneously and had no mission. The seed was planted that day, yes, but without this image, it might never have grown.
We were not yet a brand, not yet a movement. Bored by the simplistic chants and ineffectiveness of the rally, we decided to go eat lunch. I wish the story was more noble than that but it was not. We were really hungry.
Walking back to the rally from the diner, hoping that maybe the crowd had been energized into some form of action, we saw the cop car. Here was the power of NY. Here was the example of those that separated the rallied masses from the decision makers in the UN. Here were the paid security brutes that protected the people that sat in the building on the East Side of New York and made stupid declarations about Israel. Here was our opportunity to show the world that, even at the micro level, one must not be afraid to stand up to authority and to force oneself upon the public conscious. We could not yet storm the UN and demand they treat Israeli fairly nor were we yet able to fight the culture war with rap concerts, graffiti and fine art. But, we were able to make a statement.
An 18 year old supporter named Dustin (last name withheld for his safety) grabbed the Israeli flag that eventual Executive Director Craig Dershowitz had draped across his shoulders and wrapped it around his face. Dustin may or may not have been a wanted graffiti artist at the time and needed to conceal his true identity. He ran over to the cop car. The cops were nervous. Some of our founders were yelling for him to stop. Having run from cops for so long, Dustin was now fearless as he stood before them. "You are about to pose for a picture", he said "so smile pretty".
Dustin sat down in front of the car and Seth Wolfson eventual Vice President of Artists 4 Israel had one second to take one shot that would change everything. Notice the composition of the picture. See how the buildings frame the action in the middle. Watch how Dustin stands out bold in the forefront while the fearful cops recede into the background, into nothingness. All that is visible of these cops is a hand up and shielding their face realizing that for that one moment, Israel activists were no longer passive, scared and under their control. The headlights and sirens of the cop car create the eyes that, on Dustin, have been obscured. Shot in black and white, this picture can be old New York or it could be just yesterday. Like the best images, it is timeless.
That Dustin was wearing a hoodie was a beautiful coincidence. That he looked like a kidnap victim was unintentional yet it clearly explains who Operation Cast Lead, that we were fighting against the victimization of the world's citizens by terrorism. Thia was our unexpected commentary on Gilad Shalit, Daniel Pearl and many others. At once, we were the victim but a victim who would rise up and take his place in power one day very soon. Seth had one shot.
One click, one shot and another squad car pulls up. The cops had called for back-up. Can you believe that? We ran. We re-grouped. We rallied ourselves and we looked at the image. It was powerful. We decided that things had aligned perfectly. The religious among us decided that Hashem had deemed it so. The irreligious among us knew we had bullied our way into the scene. All of us knew that with an image like that in the beginning - we must fight until the ending.
Join us. Join power.
Tuesday, July 17, 2012
This is awesomely terrible: CLICK HERE
A great article proving the lies of Gaza propaganda art. Artists 4 Israel has suggested this before but, now, it has been proven.
First, they use art to lie about Israel. Now they just lie about art.
Reminds me of that well-known saying: "First they came for the Jews but I didn't say anything...by the time they came for me, there was no one left to say anything."
First Israel, then art...then the artists themselves can't be too far behind. Please be careful out there.
Saturday, July 14, 2012
Friday, July 13, 2012
The Victoria and Albert Museum are playing a wimp's game and, by so doing, delegitimizing themselves.
According to Complex Magazine, GAIA is the Numer 1 most important street artist in the world. Artists 4 Israel agrees completely. In fact, GAIA has taught one of our (S)kin classes and worked with us on campus at U. of Maryland.
Not safe for work picture of Gaia at our class follows.
Cheers to him! And cheers to us.
Funny enough, the writer who made this list has a history with Artists 4 Israel too. In fact, he and I had a little scrap. See HERE and HERE
Wednesday, July 11, 2012
In or around Halloween of 2010 (that is nearly two years ago for those who can't count) the Israel Action Network was formed by the Jewish Federations of North America and the Jewish Center for Public Affairs with the expressed goals of
In comparison, the BDS campaign has today turned 7 years old. We forgot to mail a card. Like any 7 year old, it is petulant, obnoxious but, to many who don't know better, quite charming. They have just released a list of their major accomplishments and successes which
The Israel Action Network has not done even one-eighth of what BDS has done. And, worse still, the IAM is working on the side of truth and what is right. How the heck you gonna be beat by liars, thieves and terrorist supporters. I hate to say it but if, as IAN paints itself, they are the direct opposition to the BDS and this is a fight, then the Israel Action Network has been knocked out cold. This is a blow not only to the multiple Directors of IAN but to the entire Israeli advocacy world, ne to the entire world that supports kindness, democracy and justice. The Jewish world trust the IAN and, so far, we are being failed.
I hope that when the IAN turns 7, they will have a track record of success like the BDS. I hope that these are only starting troubles, minor hiccups on the road to great good works. I hope, I hope, I hope.
Now, before anyone gets pissy, read the disclaimer. A4I leadership and our lowly single "Director" are way too diplomatic to say things of this nature. That is why they hire your buddy Dreyfus Diallo to spit truth.
Tuesday, July 10, 2012
Allison Kaplan Sommer (at least I think that is her name - every time I open up the link to her wonderful article HERE it crashes my Safari so I read it real quick and am just sort of guessing at it now. P.S. Don't worry - I am sure it will work fine for you) has provided Dreyfus Amadeus Diallo with a wonderful gift - a night off of work.
You see, I ran away on the day this whole Woody Allen
I will just add before some foolish functionary at the Federation does that yes, indeed, Israel needs good PR and yes, indeed, Woody Allen movies are well adored by everyone who can forgive
Plus, as an actual New Yorker, I never cared for any of his NY films. Someone should have mugged him a long time ago. Woody Allen - you are not my kind of Jew and you are not wanted to make a film about Israel. Oh, and can I get your seats to a Knicks game?
Monday, July 2, 2012
This is too easy!
The "Palestinian" Circus School (isn't that the official name for Fatah) has sent a letter to Cirque du Soleil HERE asking them not to perform in Israel. Now, I get it. Every time Israel attempts to do something fun, creative and/or beneficial to its people, the anti-Israel crowd is going to try and deny them. Theirs is a culture of denial, oppression, deprivation and death (kind of like Stephen King's "It") so it is no surprise that attempt to stifle our joy. But, seriously? You guys are going to really give me the opportunity to, without any irony, say:
What a bunch of fucking clowns!!
Way too easy. I now open it up to my faithful readers (all 3 of you) to make your own joke about this silly situation. And....go.