I do not think everyone in support of a full boycott of Israel are complete and utter nutters with the slenderest grip on reality, but a lot of them are.
The US Campaign for Judenrein Cultural Boycott of Israel has averred that:
“the next Israeli attack on Gaza is in the name of Jethro Tull”
(the prog-rock band, not the 17th Century agricultural reformer).
This relates to a statement by Ian Anderson on the Jethro Tull website in the response to such attempts by the screaming-at-mice brigade.
Having performed concerts in the Middle East region many times over the last few years, I am well aware of the ethnic and religious tensions existing, not only in the countries concerned, but in the broader international diasporas representing the various groups and their interests.
Having long maintained the position that culture and the arts should be free of political and religious censorship and a distance kept between them, I took a decision in February of 2009 that any future concerts in Israel by me or Jethro Tull would result in charitable donations to bodies representing the development of peaceful co-existence between Muslims, Jews and Christians, and the fostering of better Palestinian/Israeli relations. A number of potential charitable beneficiaries have now been identified and are under consideration.
I speak only for my own share of concert profits here – I am not about to tell the rest of the musicians or crew what views they should hold or what to do with their remuneration. Nor do I feel pressured by human rights groups, national interests or any individuals to perform or not to perform in Israel or anywhere else. I make up my own mind in light of available facts, with my own experience and a sense of personal ethics.
To those who tell me I should “boycott” Israel (or, for that matter, Turkey or Lebanon), I can only point out that on my travels around the world I am continually reminded of atrocities carried out historically by many nations who are now our friends, and it serves to strengthen my resolve that some degree of peace and better understanding may result from my and other artists’ professional and humble efforts in such places. If I had the opportunity to perform today in Iran or North Korea, hell – I’d be there if I thought it would make a tiny positive net contribution to better relations.
It’s a long time since Pearl Harbor, Auschwitz, Hiroshima and the firestorm of Dresden and I hope that, one bright day sometime in the future, it will seem a long time since the blockading of the supply flotilla to Gaza and the bombing of Israeli citizens by Hamas and Hizbolla.
So, I decided many months ago not to profit from my work in this troubled region and hope that interested parties on all sides will understand and respect my decision and resolve. The details of recipients of my charitable donation will be posted for the benefit of the doubters, as usual, on this website later in the year.
I do not know which charities Anderson has in mind, but I would dearly love them to include OneVoice Movement and Children of Peace (and have said so on the official Facebook page; currently besieged by a bunch of monomaniacal, delusional paranoid loonies trying to shift Anderson’s heavy horses).
Jethro Tull has now played in Israel, with guest keyboardist, Shlomo Gronich who incorporates the Hatikva into his riffs (at 4 min and 5 min 10 sec).