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Brilliant response to BDS bullies: Christophe Deghelt

BDS zealots regularly try to intimidate musicians and artists who wish to play in Israel.  This must be one of the best ripostes to their bullying tactics. Christophe Deghelt is the manager of jazz musician Jacky Terrasson, and I would urge you to read the whole of his long, eloquent piece.  Here are a few highlights, taken from an English translation.

As I pointed out to you over the telephone, we do not agree with your “pressure tactics on artists,” or your Cultural Boycott.  We refuse to be made into instruments, and we won’t give in to your pressure, whether by email, by mail, by telephone or on Facebook.

Performing in Israel does not mean we approve of the Israeli government or its politics, and it doesn’t mean we don’t understand the turmoil and the suffering of the Palestinian population.  Your attempt to railroad artists into a black-and-white dilemma is intellectually dishonest.  To allege that by performing at the Red Sea Jazz Festival we are supporting the Israeli government, or that by cancelling our concert we’ll be showing our compassion towards the Palestinian people, demonstrates an extremely reductive attitude. We refuse to be placed in either category.

….

Boycotting this festival sends an unjust message to the Israeli population as a whole, to our fans and to our friends, and stigmatizes a population and a country instead of contributing something peaceful and sending a message of hope. We are free to express our convictions in Israeland I’ve spoken about this to the Festival organizers.  Let’s push your reasoning to its conclusion.  Assuming no foreign artist appeared in Israel and the jazz festival ceased to exist…who would win? What would happen to the openness, the freedom, and the chance to present a different culture? What would happen to expressing our opinions?  What about the arts policy in Iran, Syria, and Mali today?  No more foreign artists.  Is this your sense of openness and dialogue?

Your activism and your intolerance are abominable.  Phony Facebook “fans” have posted messages expressly asking our musicians not play in Israel.  This is sheer harassment.  Moreover, it’s really quite surprising because these fans purporting to sway the artists are not fans at all, but simply your army of little soldiers polluting the calm and positive spaces of our artists’ Facebook pages.

Well said.

 Hat Tip: Bella Center