The B-Lister Israel Boycotters

eric-burdonIt’s ironic. Some of today’s biggest stars have accepted handsome sums to put on shows for tyrants: 50 Cent, Nelly Furtado, Mariah Carey, Beyonce, and Usher all took money from members of Qaddafi’s inner circle; Hilary Swank cashed in royally on a Chechnya visit in 2011; Julio Iglesias performed in a concert produced by the dictatorship of Equatorial Guinea; and Jennifer Lopez has raked in over $10 million for (in the words of the Human Rights Foundation) “serenading crooks and dictators from Eastern Europe and Russia,” among them “corrupt Uzbek industrialist Azam Aslanov,” “Chechen dictator Ramzan Kadyrov,” “Russian oligarch Telman Ismailov,” “the dictatorship of Azerbaijan,” “Alexander Yolkin, a Russian bureaucrat accused of corruption,” and, most recently, the musically named dictator of Turkmenistan, Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov.

Yet in recent years, while all these top-flight celebs have queued up to have their palms greased by Satan’s little helpers, an even longer parade of showbiz types have made a big to-do of cancelling performances in the only democracy in the Middle East. One of the newest members of this fraternity is Eric Burdon of the 1960s band The Animals, who announced last week that he wouldn’t be going onstage in Israel, as scheduled, on August 1. The reason, according to his manager, was that he was “under increasing pressure, including many threatening emails that we are receiving on a daily basis.”

Burdon isn’t alone. Every reasonably well-known entertainer who plans an appearance in Israel can expect to be targeted by the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement – a sprawling assemblage of organizations and individuals that share a systematic dishonesty, an ideological fanaticism, and an intense determination to isolate Israel from the rest of the civilized world. Just the names of these activists and groups – many of which are funded, directly or indirectly, by Western governments and church bodies – could fill pages. Among them: Al-Awda; EuroPalestine; the Palestinian Non-Governmental Organization Network; the Palestinian BDS National Committee; Info Palestine; Addameer; Children of Palestine; Kairos USA; Israeli Apartheid Week. The list goes on and on – and includes something called Who Profits (a project of something called the Coalition of Women for Peace), which supplies other BDS groups with the names of firms it thinks should be targeted with boycotts because of their Israeli connections.

One of the BDS movement’s many effective spokespeople is Anna Baltzer, head of yet another one of these revolting groups, the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation. Baltzer, a stylish and attractive young Jewish-American woman, spends much of her time speaking at U.S. churches, telling her earnest listeners outright lies about Israel and trying to convince them that their Christian faith obliges them to boycott the Jewish state. Just to give you an idea of the kind of people we’re talking about here, Baltzer lends an air of legitimacy to her campaign by presenting herself to audiences as the granddaughter of Polish Holocaust survivors; in fact her grandparents, although of Polish background, lived in Belgium and escaped to the U.S. before the Shoah began. The name Baltzer itself is an invention; she started using it years ago to keep her ardently Zionist grandmother (now deceased) in the dark about her poisonous anti-Israel activism. Among the many whoppers Baltzer has told audiences is a story about a pregnant Palestinian woman who allegedly lost her baby because she wasn’t allowed through an Israeli checkpoint – and whose name has miraculously changed from one retelling to the next.

Among those who’ve been pressured by this unsavory crowd to drop gigs in Israel is Paul McCartney, who in 2008 was targeted – and threatened – by several BDS groups. “I got death threats, but I’m coming anyway,” Sir Paul said at the time. “I have no intention of surrendering. I refuse to cancel my performances in Israel.” Yet another BDS group, the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, issued a statement at the time saying that Sir Paul’s concert would “convey a message that McCartney either condones or apathetically ignores Israel’s reality as a colonial power and an apartheid state that oppresses the indigenous Palestinians and occupies Arab land.” To his credit, McCartney didn’t allow himself to be swayed by their rhetoric.

Others who have stood up to intimidation include Alicia Keys, Deep Purple, Rihanna, Madonna, Moby, the Pet Shop Boys, Aerosmith, Celine Dion, Lady Gaga, Justin Timberlake, and (yes) Barbra Streisand, who last month sang at Shimon Peres’s 90th birthday party and described Israel as “a shining beacon of hope in the world.” (To be sure, being Barbra Streisand, she also used the visit to criticize Orthodox Jewish attitudes towards women, while remaining silent on Islamic misogyny; but at least she went.) Meanwhile, those who’ve yielded to pressure include Roger Waters of Pink Floyd, Carlos Santana, Jon Bon Jovi, the Yardbirds, Joe Lynn Turner, Meg Ryan, Snoop Dogg, Stevie Wonder, and Elvis Costello. (I think it’s important to spread both these lists far and wide.)

Moby, in an Israeli radio interview, reportedly made the savvy observation “that the intensity of the attacks against him before he came to Israel made him suspect that this wasn’t an objective movement that was concerned with people’s welfare, but with something dark and dubious.” (I couldn’t have said it any better myself.) By contrast, Elvis Costello, after deciding to cancel a 2010 performance, posted on his website a self-congratulatory open letter – which was welcomed by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign – describing his decision as “a matter of instinct and conscience” and expressing his concern that if he didn’t cancel, the public might assume he “has no mind for the suffering of the innocent.” As for Roger Waters: to be fair to him, he doesn’t exactly belong on a list of cowards who caved in but, rather, on a roster of out-and-out Jew-haters: a concert he held in Belgium the other day, which kicked off his European tour, featured a Star of David as a symbol of oppression.

Then there’s Elton John. When word got around in 2010 that he was planning a concert in Tel Aviv, he received a long communication, dripping in condescension and moral lecturing, from a bunch of U.K. academics called the British Committee for the Universities of Palestine. They told him that when he “gets to that ‘Candle in the Wind’ moment, and thousands of lighters flicker…there won’t be any Palestinians from the Occupied Territories swaying along with the Israelis” because “the army won’t let them leave their ghettoes….when you stand up on that stage in Tel Aviv, you line yourself up with a racist state.” Many a bubble-headed celebrity, ignorant of the realities of Israel and Palestine and scared of bad PR, might well be taken in by such propaganda. Sir Elton was not. He went ahead with the concert, at which he told his massive audience that recent cancellations of Israeli shows by other entertainers weren’t “gonna stop me from playing here.” Musicians, he underscored, aren’t supposed to “cherry-pick our conscience.” Nice turn of phrase, that.

One organization that’s claimed much of the responsibility for cancelled performances in Israel is Boycott from Within, a group of Israelis who, among other things, pen missives to celebrities urging them to stay away from Israel. In 2010 the group wrote an open letter to an “alternative rock band,” the Pixies, in which it asked: “Are you ready to perform in Tel Aviv when right in front of you millions of people are suffocating under a cruel Israeli military regime that denies them basic human rights?” It worked; the Pixies backed out. In 2011, the group wrote to French chanteuse Vanessa Paradis, telling her that if she went ahead with plans to perform in Israel, it would “have the effect of contributing to Israel’s image of normality” and would “allow the state of Israel to use your reputation to whitewash its crimes!” She cancelled too. It is cheering, however, to note that the group’s attempts to scare off more famous names – among them Morgan Freeman, Alanis Morissette, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers – met with failure.

Remember those names, all of them – the knights and knaves alike. And remember, too, that boycotts can work both ways.

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  • kate5778b

    Why is there no counter group with the facts? Why do we even give the term ‘palestinian’ legitimacy when there is no more palestine but citizens from the newly revived countries of Syria, Lebanon, Iraq (Babylon) and the extra land given to Arabs: Jordan and the one Jewish state: Israel?

    Even today Abbas says there will be no Israeli in the newest round of stealing land from Israel to make yet another Arab Muslim State – and it’s Israel that’s seen as apartheid, crazy.

    “There are no differences between Jordanians, Palestinians, Syrians and
    Lebanese. We are all part of one nation. It is only for political
    reasons that we carefully underline our Palestinian identity…. yes,
    the existence of a SEPARATE Palestinian identity serves only tactical
    purposes. The founding of a Palestinian state is a new tool in the
    continuing battle against Israel.”

    - Zuheir Muhsin, late Military Department head of the PLO and member of its Executive Council (Dutch daily Trouw, March 1977)

    • Raymond_in_DC

      The Middle East is rife with artificial states: the North African states of Algeria, Morocco, Libya, Tunisia, Sudan and Somalia, the Persian Gulf states of Saudi Arabia and UAE, the Levant states of Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Jordan among them. Indeed, the only nation states with a long cultural history in the region are Egypt, Israel and Iran (Persia). Even Turkey, that last rump of the old Ottoman Empire, artificially includes a big chunk of Kurdistan.

      And speaking of artificial, there’s no history of a Palestine except as a territory many have fought over: Jews and Romans, Byzantines, Persians, Arabians, Christians, Turks and British, and today Arabs (of various affiliations) and Jews.

      • kate5778b

        Yes, you’re right. There was a piece about Iran in the BBC history magazine, last year of how ancient it was and managed to wangle some anti-Israel into it; I don’t know how, it talked about king Cyrus (of Cyrus cylinder fame).

        • PAthena

          Cyrus as the Shah of Persia defeated the Babylonians and so allowed the Jews in Babylonian captivity to return to Judea. He gave money to help rebuild the temple in Jerusalem. See the Book of Ezra in the Bible, who was one of those who returned.

          • kate5778b

            oops – this was meant to be for Jill, below.

            This one’s for you – Yes, PAthena, this is what I was hinting at :-)

      • Joseph

        Perhaps what the ‘West’ giveth they can take away? YHVH established Israel…He owns that piece…the world can have the rest…The peoples of the world are at war with the wrong “Person”…I don’t know why the current delay. The ancient House of Israel, northern ten tribes that were sent into exile, is now “out of exile”…the sentence is up. 2,730 yrs of it is now over…so I expect a move by YHVH sometime soon…He has prophesied in the Tanach that He will unite the two houses. For those who believe “in” Him should also believe what He has said. I think the time is soon now…In spite of the turmoil in the world we should be watching for Him to do something…be educated in His words…read the prophecies for yourselves and you decide.

        • herb benty

          Millions, “in the valley of decision”. Had to say that cause you hit on the reason for our existence and why the Universe was Created. Will it be the red or blue pill? Ha! ha! I mean will a person accept God’s free gift, or not.

      • herb benty

        Those artificial states are all important votes at the U.N., which explains the U.N.’s decisions that dog Israel, harp against the West etc. The UN has been taken over by Islam with Communist help- Against us. Putin is playing chess against us, and you know about Russians and chess…… Israel was the Hebrew Kingdom under King David when Rome and London were swamps

    • Jill

      I call them “rebranded Arab Muslims”. Feel free to use the phrase.

      • kate5778b

        rebranded arab muslims……is that like tarred with the same brush ;-)

  • ReyR

    As I said before: incompetent and suicidal.
    Francisco Jose Garzon, the driver who caused his train to derail in Spain, wanted to die, and he planned to enjoy some company on the way to the Pearly Gate. He sent 79 fellow travelers to shake hands with St. Peter, but then he screwed up and survived. Incompetent and suicidal.
    Driver Garzon was a public menace, but in turn, the government and broad public screwed up as usual when they must profile those who need profiling. Instead, they were busy weeding out the conservative values, profiling, subjugating and punishing the ultimate evil under the sun – the white man. Because this is what some nations have for government now: incompetent and suicidal, and muslim colonists, of course.
    Libertarians are precisely like that Spanish crazy driver: they want to take along as many of us as they can when they sink the ship of western civilization. And in pursuit of cultural enrichment and democratic ecstasy, the civilized world is too incompetent and suicidal to pay them the attention they deserve.

  • Hank Rearden

    A rhetorical tool when confronted with vague charges is the British “when and where?”

    Not a silver bullet because in a conflict as violent as Israel has been involved in for the last 60 years, there are bound to have been some crimes just as there are in any war at any time, and much worse ones by the opposition.

    But a bullet nevertheless. Crimes? When and where?

  • Edward

    What is ‘progressive” about siding with people who

    - demand dress codes for women
    - stone girls to death over “family honor”
    - execute gay teens
    - murder opponents and drag their bodes through the streets
    - issue death threats against writers like Salman Rushdie
    - run over the behead a British soldier in britain
    - engage in Current Day Slavery in Sudan
    - openly threaten europe with 9/11 scale terrorist attacks
    - bomb London transport – as on 7/7/05 – killing 50+ people
    - establish Sharia zones in London
    - bomb passenger planes like Pan Am 103

    These BDS “artists” are COLLABORATORS with IslamoFascism.

    BOYCOTT THE BOYCOTTERS.

    roger waters is a FASCIST.

    • m4253y

      you ask as if to suppose the twit baltzer and the a$$wholes who espouse this $hit would have an epiphany and realize the error (terror) of their stupidity…only in a perfect world my friend.

      • Headed4TheHills

        Well, that there is the problem, m4253y. Their idiocy is so deeply ingrained, they jus’ cain’t see how utterly stupid they really are.

        • m4253y

          spot on…something tells me they never will

    • Joseph

      Let’s make America and Europe a ‘zone of conscience’ against ‘shariah law’ and the muslims….They are not assimilating as the ‘immigration designers’ has said they would…only a fool would sleep with a snake…

    • herb benty

      Everything you just said is true. What IS “Progressive” about Islam? There must be some aspects of Islam that the left would sell out America for, sacrifice the Jews, Christians, Patriots and anyone who thinks the people should control government and not the reverse.

  • CowboyUp

    Like with leftists and dp contributors, if I can help it, I don’t do business with people who boycott Israel. I rarely have to help them finance my own destruction, that of the Republic, or our allies. Same goes if I don’t like how a company does business, or think the person running it is a crook. They probably won’t lack for money, but it’ll rarely be mine.

  • Chez

    Kudos to McCartney and the others who withstood the lies and pressure. But make no mistake, this effort is not going away….and while diplomatic and cultural boycotts can be psychologically painful, economic isolation can suck the life-blood out of a country. Those Israelis who seek to avoid such isolation, many of them in positions of power, will go to considerable lengths, including territorial compromises that jeopardize Israel’s security, in order to placate the unplacatable.

    Israelis would be wise to prepare to go it alone.

  • butpygmies

    I am a musician, but by no means close to the level of commercial success as the people mentioned above. At the height of the 2nd intifada (2002 or 2003?), I organized a concert tour of Israel as a statement of support for people under siege and stress. I brought along with me two other American recording artists. At each concert an Israeli musician joined us on stage. To this day, several of my Israeli musical colleagues are friends. We did ten concerts in twelve days, including one in S’derot, and one at the Jerusalem Theater as a benefit for victims if terror and the people who gather body parts, and one for soldiers at an army base.

    I have played in more than 50 countries. But the trip to Israel was the most artful, sweet and heartfelt. Every auditorium was filled. People hugged us on the street. Unforgettable.

    Eighty-five countries have been established/recognized since the end of WWII — I have played in most of them. Almost everyone of them is a basket case. Pretty much every other one treats its people like dogs. Only in Israel does the society actually care about its people. If you have any sense of history, you will find Israel is a miracle.

    If you are a musician who has an opportunity to play in Israel, by all means go. Do not sit in your hotel room, and forget the Western Wall and all the sites. Just walk on the streets. Sit in the cafes. Look in the galleries. Take in a show that is not yours. Gawk at the girls on the Tel Aviv beach. Watch a sunset. Engage people in conversation — it’s easy to do in Israel. You will never forget it.

    Parenthetically, several years earlier I was invited to play at the “First Palestinian Folk Festival.” I agreed to play. When they discovered I was Jewish, they rescinded the invitation. This, I don’t mind.

    I know who is who and what is what.

    • Joseph

      Israel is a miracle…and so are you…God bless you

  • http://www.clarespark.com/ Clare Spark

    These moves against Israel are no different from anti-Americanism. Israel is a convenient target, for these entertainers, etc. don’t want to bite the fans hands that feed them. See http://clarespark.com/2009/09/06/the-hebraic-american-landscape-sublime-or-despotic/. “The Hebraic American Landscape: Sublime or Despotic?”

  • Ken Kelso

    Here’s more detail how Baltzer lies then refuses to retract her Pallywood lies.

    4 years ago Anna Baltzer
    spread a false atrocity story and refused to apologize when it was
    proven that the story was false. Another anti-Israeli Jew, Barbara Lubin
    concocted a story about meeting a Palestinian woman who told her that
    Israeli soldiers demanding that she (the woman) pick five of her ten
    children to be killed (plagiarizing Sophie’s Choice). Baltzer
    uncritically repeated the story. Then when Lubin admitted to having lied
    about it, (Pallywood caught lying again) Baltzer didn’t have the common
    decency to apologize for spreading a false atrocity story. If she has
    no compunctions about spreading a false atrocity story that makes Jews
    look like monsters, how can anything she says be trusted?

    Lee Kaplan in these 2 articles destroys the lies of Anna Baltzer. A must read
    http://www.israelnationalnews.com/Articles/Article.aspx/12942

    http://www.homelandsecurityus.com/archives/7579

    Some of the things that stood out.
    Anna claimed she was a Fulbright scholar. That was a lie.
    Anna claimed her grandparents were holocaust survivors.
    That was a lie.
    Lee Kaplan even found out, she goes by 3 other names, other
    then Anna Baltzer. Anna also goes by the name Carole Corsuy Anna Nardie and Anna Piller, which is her real name.
    Man this Lee Kaplan is good.
    Just read both articles.

  • Metatrona

    Muslims don’t allow music on their holidays and don’t like it much when it isn’t a holiday. HELLO BDS, DUH!

  • Sarah

    uh, why bother AGAIN telling lies about who boycots Isreal? Like for instance Meg Ryan, she never boycotted that country. It was a story first made up by people from some Israeli film festival where they falsely claimed she would be there, and then it became a story abused by the other side when of course, she was not there, since she was NEVER SCHEDULED TO BE THERE. As has already been stated by her spokesperson like only 6 times in the past two yease. But hey, what the hell, just go ahead and abuse her for your causes again. So pathetic and bad journalism!!!

  • Sarah

    Maybe one of the celebrities that are yet again falsely accused should just SUE one of these websites. Oh well, waste of time of course, you people don’t care one bit about who is right or wrong (this goes for both sides of the conflict). You LOVE creating conflicts.

  • Joseph

    I love Paul and Elton….always have..now even more so…and for the others, Madonna, Gaga, Rhianna, Babs….I love you too…I didn’t know you cared…I was wrong. Thank you for being so brave…Thank you for helping me to be brave…..

  • ytdontplay

    Eric Burton should not be so picky. His fan base maybe could fill a school bus.

  • flyingtiger

    Could you separate the true believers (like Roger Waters) from those who are just scared or ones who have low ticket sales?

  • carpe diem 36

    i would not go across the street to listen to any of the above mentioned “artists” (sic). i am sure that israel has its artists who are much better than any of those mentioned. no loss for anyone. let them “entertain” the garbage of the world.

  • StanleyT

    Credit where credit is due – Burdon arrived in Israel today, saying “If it hasn’t go to do with music,” he declared on arrival, “it’s bullsh*t.”

    Good for you, Burdon.

  • johnnywood

    So many stupid people in this world who never let facts get in the way.

  • AbsolutelyRight

    Who would have thought Paul McCartney and Elton John would have more guts than Eric Burdon and Snoop Dog? Good for them… and “F-you!” Roger Waters and Elvis Costello, you over-rated losers.

  • herb benty

    I am thinking Israel should sponsor some Ads in Canada, America, Australia,(every other country seems saturated in Commylamism crap. Tell the Truth about BDS, publish BDS sponsors and print products we can buy that are made in Israel. Israeli products would fly off the shelves, I think!

    • Jill

      THis already happens. It’s known as Buycotting. Just download the Boycott list the bigots put together and arrange a shopping spree!

  • Philo Vaihinger

    Pecunia non olet.

  • Joel

    Jon Bon Jovi has not boycotted Israel and Meg Ryan never agreed in the first place to come to Israel. . As for the old geezer Yardbirds they said they postponed their trip to Israel so if they come, fine if not, who cares? Meanwhile their former guitar player Jeff Beck performed in Israel in October 2010. Elvis Costello’s wife, Diana Krall a classical pianist did perform in Tel Aviv.