The Hypocrisy Of The Israeli Boycott

Matt Treacy writing @ Brocaire Books hits out at the Roger Waters over the cultural boycott of Israel.

Rod Stewart and Radiohead have recently come in for some abuse over their decision to play concerts in Tel Aviv. Thus breaking the anti Jewish … sorry anti “Zionist” boycott. Der Judenrat as it might have been known in former days.

The “cultural boycott” of Israel – even that has resonances of the Nazi cultural campaign against the Jews, is organised chiefly by one Roger Waters, formerly of Pink Floyd.

Now, such is Roger’s deep concern for human rights that he has played concerts in China. Concerts where you have to be one of the pampered corrupt elite to even dream of getting a ticket. An elite whose power was built on the bones of millions of people murdered in the Cultural Revolution and artificial famines. A regime that enforces an a medieval oppression in Tibet. That has millions of people in labour camps.

Oh, but Woger doesn’t believe that any of this constitutes human rights abuses. Curiously also, he has never evinced any evidence of left wing activism other than this. That is if you consider, boycotting Jews to be left wing. He does, however, support fox hunting, and believes in climate change.

Roger obviously does believe that boycotting the Jooos is a good thing. Among his “progressive” views are that the Jews control America. Once upon a better time that would have made anyone expressing such nonsense anathema to the left, or indeed anyone who had not been lobotomised. Now it is almost unremarked upon. Just don’t saw Jews. Zionists is the new black.


  1. I could really care less about your thing with Roger or even the the sophomoric head-note analysis of your 300 words. Whats sad is that in the face of overwhelming evidence off Israeli war crimes, crimes against humanity, criminal occupation, apartheid and ethnic cleansing you roll out the Nazi card to rub up against the teachings of the Nuremberg Tribunals. For those of us who lost family to the chambers of WW II it is nothing short of relighting the gas. Those who gave their lives in the Warsaw uprising did not do so in order for their children to design modern-day concentrations camps to be overseen by their grandchildren.

  2. I guess there were other states during the Apartheid Era with worse human rights records than South Africa. Not that I am saying China or anywhere else is worse than Israel. Israel is worse proportionately than China. Nevertheless, the boycott of South Africa worked. Saying China has a poor human rights record doesn't take away from the argument for a boycott.

    I personally, would boycott all Israeli goods but would stop short of supporting a boycott by the arts of Israel. As long as any concerts cater to both Israelis and Palestinians, art can be unifying in a way. I am more of a Daniel Barenboim sort of mindset.

    If you support musicians boycotting Israel what about the USA and it's war crimes? Should musicians boycott the USA? If not, why not? USA war crimes include collusion with and the arming of Israel not to mention countless vetos of UN Security Council votes which could have made a valuable difference on the ground. The USA is at less than arms length when it comes to Israeli war crimes.

    Saying that, I feel the boycott movement can be a little bullying at times. Musicians who plan to play to both Palestinian and Israeli audiences have been pilloried. I think it is a matter of conscience and lobbying musicians is fair enough but not when it comes down to forcing someone not to do something that they otherwise would have done.

    Another caveat is that I am a strong supporter of Palestine and would hate to do something that postpones the efficacy of a boycott.

    I understand I am a little self-contradictory by boycotting goods and not supporting a strict arts boycott but I don't believe it's black and white.

    If you play in Israel play to Palestinians as well. Otherwise I'd be less likely to be supportive of breaking the boycott.

  3. Using the arts especially prominent musicians was one of the main catalysts which got the apartheid boycott off the ground. How can Palestinian living in Gaza or come to that many places in the occupied territories attend a show for both israelis and palestinians when they cannot freely cross the border with Israel, let alone raise the money to buy a ticket.

    Stanley you are spot, thanks for expressing it so succinctly.

  4. Organised Rage- I know Daniel Barenboim plays concerts for both Palestinians and Israelis and he holds duel nationality. Jello Biafra and the Guantanamo School of Medicine had planned doing likewise but couldn't get funding. I don't know how Barenboim does it but the others had planned separate concerts. It didn't come off but there was a fact-finding visit to the region which was an intetesting read.

    I agree artists shouldn't have concerts solely in Israel. Whether you police this boycott in a manner that removes free choice for the artist is another matter as compelling the artist to boycott removes from the message. If an artist boycotts Israel out of duress I think that weakens the boycott rather than strengthens it.

  5. Just a rant and I suspect too much alcohol!
    Nevertheless, Matt I shall not bother any longer reading anything you write or give a shit either!

  6. Rage, I did a bit more research on Barenboim. He has played many a gig in both the Palestinian Territories and Israel. He is fervently Pro-Palestinian and was the first Israeli Jew to be given Palestinian citizenship.

    You'd have to be established like Barenboim and have the occasional gig done in secret with support from the United Nations or so small an act like the Guantanamo School of Medicine so as to go unnoticed.

    I was thinking of how much more powerful a statement and action it would be if the world's artists did the same as Barenboim than if they merely boycotted Israel. However, as you rightly point out it'd be a logistical nightmare.

  7. Niall,

    why not just a different opinion rather than too much alcohol?

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  9. Simon, your right Barenboim has been a rock and he has faced down much condemnation at times. When I witnesses how Jewish people like him, Avnery and tens of thousands of other Israelis, especially those young conscripts who refuse to serve in the occupied territories, all of whom are appalled at how the Palestinians are treated, they're an example to us all. The Palestinian suffering must end it shames the world, the least we can do imo is support a total boycott.

    Best regards

  10. AM,
    I compared it to his other articles and thought that something seemed to snap rather than a difference of opinion and thought that alcohol could have been the straw that broke the camels back....just my opinion which he can choose to totally ignore also.
    His rant against Waters is simply annoying and tedious.....there are no saints in any cause but he is beating the person and not the argument with this blog.

  11. Niall,

    this is often how the smear starts. Diverge from the orthodoxy and you are a drunk, depressed, bitter, a malcontent ad infinitum.

    Somebody suggested that it might have been a better piece had it have been titled The Hypocrisy of Waters rather than the Hypocrisy of the Israeli Boycott.

    Norman Finklestone who impressed you so much also has issues with the boycott. They can't all be drunk.

    We know better when we know more. We know more when we listen to a greater range of opinion other than that we agree with.

  12. Finklestein explained his issue with the boycott and it was nothing to do with the people involved but more to do with it being based on a UN resolution which he rightly judged that if that is the case then the UN also recognises the legitimacy of Israel...what he was saying was you can't have your cake and eat it.
    I have no intention of smearing anyone for who am I to throw the first stone?
    I feel that this blog didn't add to the debate but instead attempted to debase it based on one person which is tiresome.
    As I said, there are no saints in any cause and you are aware of my thoughts on those closer to home and I came away from the blog thinking...fuck here we go again what's Waters done?
    Judging by his past blogs this just reads as someone taking angst through some means which seemed to run contrary to previous modes of writing which lead me to make the remark that he must have been on the swally when he wrote that. It doesn't make him a drunk but more human...i don't think anyone reading this otherwise would label him a drunk for God's sake. If they do then that is their problem. I'm still of the opinion not to read anything else by him....well maybe just a wee glance now and again....spoke that in haste and before you say it...alcohol free!!!