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Saturday, May 22, 2010

We Jews are alone again......


I guess I'm a bit spoiled. I've grown up in a world where being Jewish is something to be proud of, not, like times and places of the past, a think to be afraid of. I didn't have the fear that must have gripped Jews in England in the Middle Ages when Jews were expelled from England by Edward I in 1290 or Jews in France who were expelled from France in 1182, 1306 and 1394. I didn't have to hide from a bloodthirsty (and money hungry) Inquisition, looking, from the end of the 14th Century, for "New Christians" (Jews who were forcibly converted to Christianity) who were "Judaizing" (practicing their true faith) so they could be murdered by the "Auto de Fe" and their money confiscated, exiling the Spanish Jews in 1492 and the Portuguese Jews in 1497.

I didn't live with the fear my Russian ancestors must have lived with when Cossacks would regularly attack Jewish communities in Russia, murdering men and raping women, taking male children away to serve in their army even before their 13th birthdays. I didn't have to hide my identity as my cousins living in Hungary during the Holocaust, cousins who were murdered by the Nazis in their last big drive toward their "final solution".

I grew up in a time when I knew that if ever things got bad in the US, I could move to Israel, the land of my forefathers. And, when I was growing up, people who knew what Jews had endured during WWII in Europe and who knew of the valiant people who sacrificed for the establishment of the state of Israel supported Israel and realized that Israel was "David" fighting the "Goliath" of the Arab nations who surround them, Arab nations whose goal is Israel's destruction and has been even before the inception of the State of Israel in May of 1948.

So many I got complacent. I couldn't see how anyone, particularly people who have seen terror in their countries, from the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, to attacks in India, Britain, Spain, Bali and many other countries of the world, could support the very people who are trying to destroy their way of life, their countries, their freedom of religion, the freedom of women and gays and non-Muslims.

I couldn't understand how the same people who learned to question everything in the 60s and 70s and beyond could suddenly be believing every lying piece of propaganda, despite logic.

But apparently I have been naive. Apparently the need to be anti-Jewish, the need to hate Jews more than anyone else in the world has led more and more people to jump on the bandwagon of their own destroyers, the people who want them and their way of life dead.

Why am I writing this now? I just found out that Elvis Costello is one of those people. Mr. Costello has canceled two performances scheduled for summer in Israel. Below, in italics, is a statement Mr. Costello has at Here. I am adding my comments into the text below (in bold):

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.

One lives in hope that music is more than mere noise, filling up idle
time, whether intending to elate or lament.

I can agree with that, but by canceling his shows in Israel, he is showing that he is just another knee-jerk anti-Jewish anti-Israel stooge.

Then there are occasions when merely having your name added to a concert
schedule may be interpreted as a political act that resonates more than
anything that might be sung and it may be assumed that one has no mind
for the suffering of the innocent.

I'm not quite sure what innocents Mr. Costello is referring to -- he is obviously not talking about the people who were kicked out of their homes in Gush Katif for "peace" which not only never came but the attacks got worse. He certainly can't be talking about the mother who, with her daughters of varying ages, was executed in her car. He surely can't be talking about the innocent Yeshiva boys attacked in their school during a Shabbat dinner and the boy who sacrificed his life to save others or the people blown up in a Sbarros or at a bus stop or wherever in Israel since the "Intifada" started.

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'm really sorry that the poor Palestinians have to endure such humiliation as having their bags searched for bombs (mind you, this is the same "humiliation" every Israeli citizen "endures" when walking into a grocery store, restaurant, mall etc., Heck, I'm an American and I've been through such searches!) But, you know, if they stopped killing our soldiers and our citizens and visitors Israel wouldn't have to do these things. They wouldn't have to search ambulances if the terrorists didn't use them for transporting bombs and homicide bombers.

I am also keenly aware of the sensitivity of these themes in the wake of
so many despicable acts of violence perpetrated in the name of

Some will regard all of this an unknowable without personal experience
but if these subjects are actually too grave and complex to be addressed
in a concert, then it is also quite impossible to simply look the other

I offer my sincere apologies for any disappointment to the advance
ticket holders as well as to the organizers.

I'm sure the disappointment the ticket holders and organizers feel is nothing compared to the joy that the anti-Jewish pro-Islamist/pro-terror people feel at yet another dupe joining their camp. It is also nothing compared to the disappointment I feel that one of the musicians whose music I liked has decided that people like me don't matter to him.

My thanks also go to the members of the Israeli media with whom I had
most rewarding and illuminating conversations. They may regard these
exchanges as a waste of their time but they were of great value and help
to me in gaining an appreciation of the cultural scene.

You obviously have no true understanding of what it means to be a Jew nor what it is like to live in a country that is hated by much of the world simply for existing, a country that gives Jews around the world a place to go when their "governments" persecute them for being Jews. You obviously have no understanding of the people you are championing, people who murder their wives, sisters and daughters for disobedience, people who murder gays just for existing, people who hate. Is that the people you are looking to champion, Mr. Costello?

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.

It is a matter of instinct and conscience.

Conscience? Really? Your conscience must be broken, because it's not working. Your conscience is not telling you to understand the truth, just accept the lies.

It has been necessary to dial out the falsehoods of propaganda, the
double game and hysterical language of politics, the vanity and
self-righteousness of public communiques from cranks in order to
eventually sift through my own conflicted thoughts.

REALLY?!?!?!?!? Dial OUT the falsehoods? Those falsehoods of propaganda, as you call them, are exactly what is guiding you to support the network of liars, murderers and hate-mongers, people who keep their own "citizens" in squalor and fear, feeding them a constant diet of ethnic, religious and racial hatred.

I have come to the following conclusions.

One must at least consider any rational argument that comes before the
appeal of more desperate means.

Sometimes a silence in music is better than adding to the static and so
an end to it.

I cannot imagine receiving another invitation to perform in Israel,
which is a matter of regret but I can imagine a better time when I would
not be writing this.

With the hope for peace and understanding. Elvis Costello

If you truly believe that Israel can do ANYTHING to contribute to peace (short of ceasing to exist, though I doubt even that would work -- the Islamists would then turn to other countries with their covetous eyes) then you are more naive than I thought. Nothing Israel does in hopes of bringing peace brings them anything more than more attacks and more people hating them.

I can only hope that there are more people in this world who can see through the lies, see through the hatred, and realize that they need to fight for what is right, not kowtow to the haters of the world. Sorry, Mr. Costello, but I do NOT understand. All I understand is that you feel the need to add fuel to the fire, add your voice to the destroyers, add yourself to the list of people who hate me and my people and my land. I can only hope that someday you join the people who are strong enough to stand up for the innocent people who are hated simply for existing. But until then, I will not buy your music, I will turn away from a radio station if your songs are being played. I will tell my friends to join me. And, I can only hope in karma, that you will suffer the way you wanted to make Israel suffer.

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