I've developed a dysfunctional hobby lately. Out of sheer boredom this summer, I registered to receive "alerts" for promoting truth, justice and Islam in the world today. I had no idea what I was in for.
One of the priorities of this group, apparently has been pressuring performing artists NOT to to play in Israel. It’s a simple routine. We get the names of artists performing in Israel, we do an "email Blast" and phone blast" to their agents, labels, mothers, babysitters. Anyone who might have influence. We also get links to Facebook fan pages.
There has been limited success with this routine, but lots and lots of failures as well.For every Pixies and Elvis Costello there has been Elton John, LCDS, Jethro Tull.
Some of the artists are well aware they are being manipulated and respond appropriately. I just love this quote from Johnny Rotten (aka Johnny Lydon) "Belief is a very personal thing but when someone inflicts their view on other people, they're a pig."
Well Johnny, guess what the pigs are up to now? The icon of American folk music, Pete Seeger, a 91 year old man who lives, eats, and breathes peace is under attack for daring to promote peaceful co-existence in the Middle east. He's not even playing IN Israel. It’s a virtual concert, and its a fundraiser for one of the most progressive organizations in the Middle east
The Arava Institute is the leading environmental teaching and research program in the Middle East. It prepares future Arab and Jewish leaders to cooperatively solve the region’s environmental challenges and works towards developing a sustainable future for the region’s human and natural resources. These issues know no borders.
Seeger is slated to be the featured guest of With Earth and Each Other – A Virtual Rally for a Better Middle East, to be broadcast online on November 14. The event is sponsored by the Friends of the Arava Institute, a US-based non-profit organization with the primary goal of raising support and visibility for the Arava Institute
From their website : Over 600 students, including Israelis, Palestinians, Jordanians, and others, have participated in the Arava Institute program.
According to the institute’s director, David Lehrer,
"With Earth and Each Other (WEAEO) wasn’t designed to be a political rally, but “to show the world that there is another side of the conflict in which people across borders are striving to work together for the betterment of all.”
“Although I sympathize with some of the criticism that people have about Israeli policies regarding Palestinians and within Israel itself in terms of our Arab citizens, I don’t believe the way to end the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza and the way to create a sustainable and peaceful Middle East in which everyone lives together with equal rights and opportunity is by staging a boycott,”
“It’s through dialoguing and that’s what the Arava Institute is all about. That’s what the program we’re running is doing and it’s what With Earth and Each Other is all about – bringing people together through dialogue. And you can’t do that if you’re staging a boycott.”
Whats a progressive thinker to do? We have to fight back. Join the virtual rally for a Better Middle East Thats a start. And we need more help. Right now, a battle is raging on Pete Seeger's Facebook page. Join Muslim queers, Welsh agnostics and a scattering of Zionists as we tell the world that co-existence is a worthy goal. It is through dialog, interactions and working together that we will achieve peace. It won't be easy, but its a worthy goal