Macy Gray shuns boycott, will play Tel Aviv

on 121 Comments

The ‘power of the affirmative’ is peddled by many a self-help guru who claims human happiness lies in saying ‘Yes!’. In opposition, responding ‘No’, turning down an opportunity and walking away is seen purely in its negative sense – as defeatist, miserablist.

Macy Gray Facebook thread January 2011
From Macy Gray’s Facebook wall

On Wednesday 19 January, the American pop diva, Macy Gray posted a question ‘Stay or go?’ on her official Facebook page in which she explained that she was “getting alot of letters from activists urging/begging me to boycott by NOT performing [in Tel Aviv] in protest of Apartheid against the Palestinians.” While she acknowledged that “What the Israeli government is doing to the Palestinians is disgusting” she added that she wanted to go and – using a double negative – ended with the disclaimer: “I dont know how my NOT going changes anything” (Macy Gray, Official).

Hundreds of people around the globe who support the Palestinian call to boycott Israel posted comments encouraging Macy Gray to not go, to cancel her two upcoming concerts, but inevitably their comments were interspersed with ‘positive’ messages exhorting her to ‘Go!’: ‘Please come; see for yourself; don’t walk away; talk with people; make the world happier with music; stand for truth!” as well as the occasional indignant message that said she wasn’t wanted anyway, a favourite being: “I just made like so i can dislike u i don’t like u as a jew nor a music lover ur just not importent” as well as the predictable “So Macy Gray is a anti-Semitic NAZI that supports terrorism. GOOD TO KNOW!”

On her twitter account late on Wednesday night, Gray posted a response to one of her followers: [email protected] See I’m willing to listen – really listen – but some of you so called boycotters are just assholes.” I prefer to call us killjoys, if one believes there is joy in saying ‘Yes!’ to normalization of the military occupation, and ‘Go for it!’ to turning a blind eye to the passing of racist, McCarthyite bills in the Knesset, ‘making the world happier’ by ignoring the ‘bullies’ who call for Israeli leaders to be prosecuted for war-crimes.

We are the naysayers, the people who marched in our thousands against the massacre of Palestinians trapped in the Gaza strip in 08/09, and we know the positive power of ‘No’.

In later tweeting the bitterly ironic words “Dear Israel fans. Me and the band will be there in 20 days. Can’t wait. See you then. Peace,” Macy Gray will delight most of her Israeli fans who hate to be disappointed, and inconvenienced by international laws. Yet, while she will find the embrace of unapologetic apartheid as she crosses the picket line to be warm at first, the historical reality will catch up with her and its grip is chilling. 

An Israeli activist has taken the path of love and created a new Facebook page: 20 Days to Macy Gray Project in which she will post “1 tragedy and 1 piece of information about BDS a day” in a final effort to change Macy Gray’s mind.

[headline updated to accurately reflect Gray’s tweet]

121 Responses

  1. seafoid
    January 20, 2011, 10:32 am

    Macy sings to the lobby

    I try to say goodbye and I choke
    I try to walk away and I stumble
    Though I try to hide it it’s clear
    My world crumbles when you are not near

    • Pamela Olson
      January 20, 2011, 3:31 pm

      Yep — it’s a song about an abusive relationship, and someone who submits to it willingly.

      • Pamela Olson
        January 20, 2011, 3:32 pm

        I’ve rewritten the lyrics for Palestine:

        Jails, cages, and fears…
        When will they go from here?
        When will they stop?
        This endless occupation has brought us here
        And we should have our freedom, babe.
        But we don’t.
        I struggle hard but I’m dreaming of peace.
        And won’t you please help me bring it?

        I protest but on tear gas I choke,
        Try to go to school but there’s checkpoints.
        Though I try to fight it, it’s clear
        My world crumbles while they control me.

        I may appear to be free
        But I’m just a prisoner of their guns.
        I may seem all right and sing and march and chant
        But my smiles are just a front…
        Just a front.
        I play it off but I’ve lost my childhood,
        And now I might lose my children.

        I protest but on tear gas I choke
        Try to farm my land and they shoot me.
        Though I try to fight it, it’s clear
        My world crumbles when you just won’t see.

        Here is my confession:
        I didn’t learn my lesson
        Until I saw Palestine
        With my own two eyes
        Don’t make the same mistake
        Don’t support an Apartheid state…
        It’s not too late.

        I’ve seen the trees and the children cut down.
        Now don’t you see what I’m seeing?

        I protest but on tear gas I choke
        Try to leave but they’ve closed the borders
        Though I try to fight it, it’s clear
        My world crumbles ’til Palestine is free.

      • seafoid
        January 20, 2011, 5:19 pm


      • Lydda Four Eight
        January 20, 2011, 6:35 pm

        jidan. is there a youtube video with music and photos/ videos of the conditions in I/P in the works?

      • Lydda Four Eight
        January 20, 2011, 7:02 pm

        you inspired me, here’s my 2 cents:

        I try to say Peace, Love, not Apartheid and I choke
        I want to escape but the borders are closed
        I try to hide when Israeli bombs are what I hear
        My house crumbles when Israeli missiles fall near

      • Pamela Olson
        January 20, 2011, 10:42 pm

        I’m just a writer, but if anyone else wants to use it for anything, by all means go ahead!

      • annie
        January 21, 2011, 12:47 am

        you inspired me pamela. i only altered a few words while listening to the song (if you want to sing along) this is the voice of macy singing to her fans

        Death, Sanctions, and fears
        Where will we go from here
        When will they stop
        I believe that fate
        Has brought us here
        And we should be together, babe
        But we’re not

        I play it off, but I’m cheating on you
        And I’ll keep my cool but I’m feelin’

        I try to say Boycott and I Choke
        I try to walk away and I stumble
        Though I try to hide it, it’s clear
        It’s Apartheid that’s goin’ on here
        Boycott and I choke
        Try to say Sanctions I stumble
        Though I try to hide it, it’s clear
        My world crumbles when I live in fear

        I may appear to be free
        But I’m just a Prisoner of my Fame
        And I may seem alright
        And smile when you leave
        But my smiles are just a frown, just a frown

        I play it off, but I’m cheatin’ on you
        And I’ll keep my cool but I’m freakin’

        I try to say Boycott and I choke
        I try to walk away and I stumble
        Though I try to hide it, it’s clear
        It’s Apartheid that’s goin’ on here

        Boycott and I choke
        Try to say Divestments I stumble
        Though I try to hide it, it’s clear
        My world crumbles when I live in fear

        Here is my confession
        I’m scared for my profession
        Yeah I know what’s right
        And I don’t want no fight
        With all my might I try
        Apartheid I can’t deny, deny

        I play it off, but I’m dreaming in pain
        And I’ll keep my cool but I’m freakin’

        I try to say Boycott and I choke
        I try to say Sanctions I stumble
        Though I try to hide it, it’s clear
        I’m not brave enough and I’m in fear

        Boycott I choke
        Try to walk away and I stumble
        Though I try to hide it, it’s clear
        My world crumbles when I live in fear

        Boycott and I choke
        I try to say Sanctions I stumble
        Though I try to hide it, it’s clear
        My world crumbles when I live in Fear
        yeah yeah Apartheid

  2. IrishMark
    January 20, 2011, 10:47 am

    I think it was a publicity stunt to revive flagging sales.
    Ultimately, she will regret going.

  3. kapok
    January 20, 2011, 11:05 am

    “I dont know how my NOT going changes anything” ‘cept for my bank account.

  4. Citizen
    January 20, 2011, 12:28 pm

    She must have chatted with the congressional black caucas. Maybe she should talk to their rebel, Cynthia McKinney.

  5. Sumud
    January 20, 2011, 12:42 pm

    Eleanor K ~ This is a wrong and misleading heading for the article, and you have quoted Macy Gray’s tweets out of order – very sloppy; not good enough for Mondoweiss.

    The relevant tweets:

    Macy Gray: @bahebakyagaza See I’m willing to listen – really listen – but some of you so called boycotters are just assholes.

    bahebakyagaza: @MacyGraysLife if you need peole to contact….. we can help you… speak to real palestinians…. who cna give you the real picture

    Macy Gray: @bahebakyagaza i would actually really really like that.

    Shortly after, bahebakyagaza apologised to MG for getting hot under the collar: @MacyGraysLife it could go along way to swaying world opinion…macy i am sorry I go so angry…and i so appreciate that you have listened..

    When an Israeli activist tried to claim MG had called BDS’ers assholes (as you also claim) she specifically told him he was wrong. The exchange:

    jewlicious: @alanscottevil @macygrayslife called BDS supporters assholes…

    Macy Gray: @jewlicious @alanscottevil no. read. boycott lying.

    [I don’t know what she means by “boycott lying” but explains what she meant with the asshole comment in her previous tweet]:

    Macy Gray: @dubaijazz That was directed at some really awful, unnecessary. Key word SOME. boycott: taking things out of context.

    dubaijazz: @MacyGraysLife Every cause has some overly enthusiastic peeps. And boycott worked on south africa, no reason it shouldn’t work on israel :)

    Macy Gray: @dubaijazz i agree.

    That’s a long way from “Macy slags boycotters as assholes” isn’t it?

    Finally, Eleanor, the tweet which you claim MG sent later (“Dear Israel fans. Me and the band will be there in 20 days. Can’t wait. See you then. Peace,”) was actually sent 5 hours or so before the exchanges I’ve quoted above. Anybody can look at MG’s timeline and verify what I’ve said.

    I’ll reiterate what I said on the previous article about Macy Gray: we need to take a long view on BDS and build (rather than burn) bridges to people who are not currently committed. To do anything else is counterproductive, however satisfying it may feel in the short term. Writing an article that actually misrepresents what she has said is especially “unhelpful”.

    The simple fact is there are an awful lot of people who don’t fully understand the situation in Israel/Palestine. I may be wrong about MG but she doesn’t strike me as a money-hungry bitch (unlike Elton John, who was actually an asshole about BDS on stage during his Israel concert). She’s expressed her displeasure about what Israel is doing to Palestinians. She’s talking to Palestinian activists. She has stated in her tweets that she’s feeling rather overwhelmed by the question of whether to boycott or not, which is I think understandable. Having BDS activists attack/demonise her will have no good outcomes. Coercing her will have no good outcomes. The best thing to do is simply provide information, and let her make her own choice when she feels she sufficiently grasps the issues.

    • Taxi
      January 20, 2011, 1:06 pm

      So Sumud,

      How would you recommend people express their ‘displeasure’ at artists who support, wittingly or not, Apartheid israel?

      And how ‘hot’ can this displeasure bet set at?

      • Sumud
        January 20, 2011, 6:50 pm

        Taxi ~ we can express displeasure without resorting to statements likely to offend the artist and make them look on BDS’ers and/or the BDS Movement as something offensive or nasty. Every one of those artists are potential future allies. There are any number of reasons they may resist the idea of cancelling their performance in Israel. None of them are good enough IMHO, but then we know the situation in Israel/Palestine inside out and they may not.

        Recall the South Africa boycott movement began in the early 1960s after the Sharpeville Massacre but didn’t get really moving until the 1980s and even then apartheid staggered on until 1994. That’s what I mean about taking a long view. BDS is only in it’s sixth year and making great progress. The fact that MG is engaging w/ Palestinian activists is a great thing. Despite her chirpy “see you in Israel” tweet it appears to me she’s wrestling with the idea of a boycott.

      • Taxi
        January 20, 2011, 9:11 pm

        But Sumud,

        Clearly ‘some’ artists are too vain and irresponsible – how then to make it known to them that their privileged yet ignorant actions have ‘severe’ consequences? (I use the word ‘severe’ here cuz Apartheid is so bone-crushingly offensive)

        I mean Macy is African American, her skin color is black and we’re talking Apartheid here. I mean don’t you think it’s suspect, her behavior? That she need even ask ‘everybody’ about it? How indulgent for an African American is that?!

        You think she really needs to ask or talk to anyone about it – even to Palestinian activists?! What, like she ain’t got not internet at her house or something – she’s never heard or seen footage of the assaults on civilian Gaza, on civilian Lebanon?!!

        Something ain’t right with the whole media ‘set-up’, Sumud.

        And that kinda game, if Macy’s cynically playing this, is offensive to ANYBODY AND EVERYBODY.

        Let’s be real: ‘artists’ are people too and people as we know, are mostly stupid apes in smart suits. S why should ‘artists’ get the kid-glove treatment when they’re being purposely offensive?

        I mean I know you have a valid point about good manners and giving people enough elbow room, but I think your too-soft glove treatment of Macy might be a little over-protective of the questionable and dubious choices she’s clearly made, despite the warnings.

        I mean even if an ‘asshole’ urged me to help a dying orphan, surely I would take heed of the ‘message’ and DO SOMETHING, instead of, well you know, making offensive excuses and announcements then waving a breezy bye-bye at the ‘asshole’ AND the orphan!

        I bet my farm that Macy’s gonna get on stage in tel aviv, and say some pretentious wishy-washy lip-service about “peace and harmony and love”. She will even ‘dedicate’ a song, no not for Palestinians or israelis, but for (gag me) “ALL” the struggling people of the holy land. She may even end her repertoire with “thank you, salam and shalom”. She will do everything to paint herself on stage in politically neutral tones – but the glaring fact is that she’s got black skin and she’s performing for Apartheid/zionism’s future leaders and sadistic, killer soldiers.

        History will note this. It will be a blight on her boa-feathered biog.

        I seriously hope she gets racially profiled and strip-searched at a check point or two. This would be the best effing education on Apartheid practices this vain windbag could ever hope for. (Oh Mondo Moderator please don’t censor me for saying this but i’m just so mad at her irresponsible regard and treatment of the I/P conflict)

        Sorry, Sumud, with all due respect to your message. Times are heated you know, cuz so much is at stake and there’s EVERYTHING to lose for both sides.

        If Macy was really honest and smart (not displaying either virtue in my opinion), she would know that the BEST WAY TO HELP ISRAEL IS TO SAY A LOUD NO RIGHT NOW to it’s SELF-DESTRUCTIVE Apartheid practices.

        Anything short of this stance by any artist, deserves public shaming and scorn.

        Oh yeah and boycotts.

      • Sumud
        January 20, 2011, 9:51 pm

        Taxi ~ I think you’re making a mistake to assume MG knows as much about Palestine and Israel as you and me. From her FB/twitter MG doesn’t strike me as a very political person, but she has responded positively to invitations to learn more about/from Palestinians – that’s good, right? We simply can’t know right now where that will end up – but I think investing time/energy into helping people understand I/P will be more productive in the long run than lashing out angrily. I’m not saying don’t be angry – I get angry about the injustice in Palestine all the time. Just use it wisely!

        Her two Tel Aviv concerts aren’t for 3 weeks yet. Ofer Neiman writes below that activists aren’t taking this as a loss (yet) and are going to continue the campaign… It’s not over yet, eh?

      • Taxi
        January 20, 2011, 11:00 pm


        Does one really need to know the sinews of Apartheid to know it properly? I mean she’s African American and it’s Apartheid israel – which part of this equation is confusing to her, huh?!

        Either she has no intelligence or she has no righteous instinct.

        But the ‘oh I’m so confused about Apartheid’ is simply not a convincing sell, Sumud.

        Still, I promise to try to play nice – just because you have a weird and wonderful influence over me.

      • Sumud
        January 20, 2011, 6:57 pm

        I see the article title has been changed. Previously it was:

        “Macy Gray slags boycotters as assholes, will play in Tel Aviv…”

        …which prompted my criticism. Changing it to “some boycotters” is better.

      • Sumud
        January 20, 2011, 8:51 pm

        OK, for the third time post title has been changed, ha ha.

      • Philip Weiss
        January 20, 2011, 9:06 pm

        keep your eye on it, may change again!

    • Ofer Neiman
      January 20, 2011, 2:09 pm


      Even if there are some factual errors here (made in good faith, by a well-meaning activist), MG’s chirpy message about performing in Israel + “peace” deserves to be condemned.

      Condemnation does not necessarily burn bridges.

      • annie
        January 20, 2011, 2:23 pm

        ofer, i saw the excellent interview w/you @ joseph dana/972 re boycott from within. it was awesome, i blogged about it here. thanks for everything.

      • lareineblanche
        January 20, 2011, 2:34 pm

        Condemnation does not necessarily burn bridges.

        Absolutely. When one is trying to convince someone of something, however, it’s vital to try to be as factually accurate as possible, otherwise, it’s less convincing. Think of IDF press reports…

      • Sumud
        January 20, 2011, 7:02 pm

        Ofer ~ The article was written to set MG up as an opponent of BDS, which she is not. The original title, selective quotation of tweets and quoting them out of order was sloppy and dishonest. “Well-meaning activists” who distort the truth are a liability to the BDS Movement.

        I agree condemnation does not burn bridges, but vilification likely does.

    • lareineblanche
      January 20, 2011, 2:30 pm

      Agree. Someone reading this might come to the conclusion that those supporting BDS misrepresent the views of people and are dishonest, and therefore is not a movement which should be trusted. What people should be doing is pointing her toward sites like Ma’an news, Mondoweiss, Pulse, Israeli Occupation Archive, Bet’Selem, EI, Angry Arab, Jewbonics, etc.

      • Ofer Neiman
        January 20, 2011, 3:43 pm

        On the contrary, someone reading anti-BDS releases may come to that conclusion.

        Look, she called some boycotters “assholes”. She simply did.

      • lareineblanche
        January 20, 2011, 8:08 pm

        Yeah, looking at her tweets, she doesn’t seem to be very politically engaged or aware (or care much)

        I’m “tweeting the twit” now (not that I can do anything that others haven’t been able to, but hey)

    • Ofer Neiman
      January 20, 2011, 3:46 pm

      Away from her PC, Eleanor says:

      The asshole tweet- which was written and kept on
      Macy Gray’s twitter- is only referred in order to make a point about how unpopular Boycott supporters are thought to be cos we spoil all the fun, and that is is irrelevant to the piece as a whole, which is about daring to say NO I’M NOT going to Israel and daring to disappoint fans who seem not to care about the graver issues of occupation and apartheid.

      Eleanor K

      • Oscar
        January 20, 2011, 5:58 pm

        Perhaps. But given many of the extremely vitriolic comments flaming Macy from the pro-Zionist side, once again it’s infuriating that “some” BDS peace activists are referred to as assholes, but Macy doesn’t have the courage to refer to some of the hateful Zionists by the same label, especially since they said she’s a Nazi, has no talent, coddles Hamas, etc.

        Samud says we need to take the long-term view, but given that the ethnic cleansing has been stepped up to a feverish pitch under Obama, I have to wonder whether the situation has the luxury of being “long term.” It’s like a picket line of peace. Elvis Costello bravely chose not to cross that line (and was excoriated for it with hatchet jobs in Vanity Fair, for example) and Macy Gray decides to waltz smugly over the line, calling some BDS’ers “assholes” and blowing a kiss to the apartheid state, breezily saying, “Can’t wait!”

        Would this even be an issue if it were Sun City we’re talking about? Same damn thing.

      • Sumud
        January 20, 2011, 7:16 pm

        Elvis Costello bravely chose not to cross that line (and was excoriated for it with hatchet jobs in Vanity Fair, for example) and Macy Gray decides to waltz smugly over the line, calling some BDS’ers “assholes” and blowing a kiss to the apartheid state, breezily saying, “Can’t wait!”

        Oscar my heart truly sank when I read MG’s tweet saying she couldn’t wait for her concert in Israel. I then read on and looked at some of the back and forth between activists and MG, and it seems to me that she is sympathetic to Palestinians and actually struggling (publicly) with the idea of cancelling her concert. This is good.

        I agree on the urgency of solving the Israel/Palestine conflict, especially with the increasingly dangerous rhetoric emerging from the racist rabbis and their politician cohorts – but how does offending Macy Gray help Palestinians? It’s frustrating that MG hasn’t condemned the vitriol she’s copped from pro-Israeli activists but then, look who she’s talking with: the pro-BDS activists, not the pro-Israel activists.

      • edwin
        January 20, 2011, 9:37 pm

        Would this even be an issue if it were Sun City we’re talking about?


        Dame Kiri Janette Te Kanawa, Elaine Page, Frank Sinatra, Queen, Elton John, Sarah Brightman, Julio Iglesias, The O’Jays, Ray Charles, Boney M., Black Sabbath, Rod Stewart, Tina Turner, Dionne Warwick, Laura Branigan and Thomas Anders (of Modern Talking fame)

        link to

      • Oscar
        January 20, 2011, 11:18 pm

        Fair point, Edwin, my friend. But here’s a little something from those on the side of the angels re: Sun City.

        link to

  6. edwin
    January 20, 2011, 12:52 pm

    thanks Sumud.

  7. Lydda Four Eight
    January 20, 2011, 12:52 pm

    Wow, those were her words. I saw that last night but wasn’t sure how twitter works. I guess she didn’t read what Avigdor said about her on her facebook post. I am unwilling to copy and paste his racist diatribe here, it was disgusting and shameful.

    • seafoid
      January 20, 2011, 5:22 pm

      If Israel’s foreign minister gets involved in the decision of an out of the limelight singer -who hasn’t had a hit for a while- to travel to Israel, BDS IS WORKING. Doesn’t the bouncer have real work to do ?

    • Oscar
      January 20, 2011, 6:00 pm

      Please do. I can’t find it. If you’re squeamish, pls provide a link.

      • annie
        January 20, 2011, 6:16 pm

        i second that. i’ll copy paste it.

      • Oscar
        January 20, 2011, 11:19 pm

        Annie? Word up?

      • annie
        January 20, 2011, 11:38 pm

        wish i could oscar, i was seconding your motion for L48 to link to the racist diatribe and offering to copy/paste it for her since she is too squeamish. i’m not on facebook.

      • Oscar
        January 20, 2011, 11:42 pm

        Understood. Thanks Annie for all your great postings.

      • annie
        January 20, 2011, 11:49 pm

        why thank you oscar. it’s nice to know i’m not boring people. i like you being around here too.


  8. Taxi
    January 20, 2011, 12:55 pm

    Phew I just had enough time to delete my hot-blooded response to MG which I wrote BEFORE I had the chance to read Sumud’s clarification/explanation above!

    But what the heck’s going on on her camp? So she going to tel aviv now or what??

  9. Leigh
    January 20, 2011, 1:34 pm

    I also find it frustrating that the rudeness of some BDS supporters counts against BDS, whereas the rudeness of some anti-BDS supporters does not count against anti-BDS. Still with me?

    But since BDS supporters are trying to push an issue based on moral reasons, hate-filled speech will damage us. One cannot have hate and morality in the same message. It rightly makes people wonder about our motives. Some of those facebook comments were apalling, I felt terribly ashamed.

    Since I spend a lot of time in Israel-Palestine, I often have to slow myself down before I speak, because my emotions about what is happening there are intense and raw. I always keep Desmond Tutu’s advice to South African blacks in mind: “Be nice to the whites, they need you to rediscover their humanity.” Difficult principle, but if we’re wishing to achieve something, rather than just scream, it is a necessary one.

    I typically have these conversations in two ways. 1. I giving statistics of home demolitions, building permission and refusal, deaths, injuries, number of attacks and breaking of peaceful periods, political prisoners, ethnic cleansing from East Jerusalem, size of what is left of Palestine, etc. Israel loses all the number games by many miles. 2. I try to explain the way in which BDS leads to a feeling of isolation in the target population, of how it indicates disapproval of the status quo, of how it shifts the power relation between the oppressor and the oppressed a little back towards the oppressed so that negotiations are more than the lion and the lamb deciding what to have for supper.

    • Sumud
      January 20, 2011, 7:21 pm

      I always keep Desmond Tutu’s advice to South African blacks in mind: “Be nice to the whites, they need you to rediscover their humanity.”

      That’s beautiful Leigh, thanks. So much wisdom exists from past struggles like the civil rights movement in the US and anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa.

  10. annie
    January 20, 2011, 1:43 pm

    whoa, lisa goldman @ 972 has got a video up of macy’s song which is interestingly called “the sellout”.

    she reminds us

    Jewish Israeli anti-occupation activists staged a flash mob protest at the Tel Aviv Opera in November, where South Africa’s Cape Town Opera was performing

    that was the ‘within’ folks, i can’t wait to see their version of macy’s ‘sellout’, it will no doubt go viral.

  11. kapok
    January 20, 2011, 1:44 pm

    “we need to take a long view” ie, no view.

    • Sumud
      January 20, 2011, 7:25 pm

      A long view, kapok, means accepting our losses gracefully and moving on – hoping that a seed has been planted with the artist by BDS activists, which will later yield results.

      • Ofer Neiman
        January 20, 2011, 7:53 pm


        The view from here: Neither PACBI nor USACBI not BRICUP nor BFW have accepted this as a loss (yet).

        And it seems all their representatives have so far been graceful.


      • Sumud
        January 20, 2011, 8:42 pm

        The view from here: Neither PACBI nor USACBI not BRICUP nor BFW have accepted this as a loss (yet).

        This is true WRT Macy Gray, I suppose I was speaking more generally. Good luck!

  12. eee
    January 20, 2011, 2:23 pm

    Justin Bieber is coming to Israel in April. If you want to do some real good, let’s see you work your BDS magic on him. It could be a winning result for everybody.

    • annie
      January 20, 2011, 2:36 pm

      thanks for the heads up. we’ll start working on him and his teenybop fans. inform them about apartheid

    • lareineblanche
      January 20, 2011, 2:38 pm

      Agreed. I’d also like to do much more than BDS Justin Bieber, but it’s all probably not legal.

      • annie
        January 20, 2011, 2:59 pm


      • Oscar
        January 20, 2011, 6:02 pm

        Um, I truly don’t get the Justin Bieber phenomenon, but something tells me I couldn’t put up a similar post about, say, Selena Gomez. Double standard! : )

  13. Lydda Four Eight
    January 20, 2011, 2:35 pm

    Thanks Sumud. I think we need to change gears and contact our friends in Israel/ Palestine to give MG a cruise through the West Bank Islands. Seriously people, this is an opportunity and I have no shame in contacting people I don’t know to do this but I suspect some here have better contacts than I do. Will the travel agent for the L’archipel de Palestine Orientale please answer the call and connect MG with a cruise director?

    Macy, your cruise will take you through the following Islands:
    link to

    • Ofer Neiman
      January 20, 2011, 2:55 pm

      Lydda Four Eight

      I’m with the Israeli BDS group, and I think Eleanor K got it RIGHT.

      MG can easily educate herself about Israel’s racism and apartheid, without even coming here. Of course, a visit will be much more illuminating, but this she can do as a tourist/activist, instead of performing here.

      If she comes to perform here and asks Israeli activists to take her out on a tour, will that be better than nothing? yes, but just that.

      • Lydda Four Eight
        January 20, 2011, 3:22 pm

        Ofer if she is willing to go see with her own eyes, why not facilitate? I understand BDS, I do, but I also see her willingness to meet with Palestinians and see for herself the Apartheid should be met with a desire to facilitate dialogue rather than throwing her under the bus. That’s just my opinion, and I hope some do reach out to her and show her what the media fails to and what Israel certainly would prefer her not to see.

      • Ofer Neiman
        January 20, 2011, 4:18 pm

        Lydda Four Eight , again:

        “If she comes to perform here and asks Israeli activists to take her out on a tour, will that be better than nothing? yes, but just that.”

        Facilitating is not the issue (yes , we would facilitate). The issue is seeing this tour as a big deal, after her performance here in violation of the boycott, when it is quite insignificant

        If you support the BDS campaign, you should realize that Israelis will be happy with this easy solution: “come sing for us, and then take a bus to Bilin”.

      • Lydda Four Eight
        January 20, 2011, 5:04 pm

        Okay. You won me over. I would rather have her criticize boycotters for strongly maintaining the boycott than criticize boycotters for being a-holes. There is a difference and hopefully she and others see it.

  14. bahebekyagaza
    January 20, 2011, 3:04 pm

    As the tweeter who Macy tweeted the asshole comment to I specifically registered here so I could reply to some of the things said here.
    First off I would like to speak with Eleanor K,I am not a journalist but I do know a number of them. A good journalist checks out all the facts,they do not just cobble together a piece with half facts, and rhetoric.I have great admiration for Mondoweiss and often read the articles here. This one is a little disappointing , I wont say anymore Sumud has done a very good job at saying why.
    I was one of those people who were bitterly angry AFTER seeing her message that she had decided to play in Israel. And yes I did say things that were tough, and when Macy returned with a like wise comment I took it on the chin and said….call me an asshole.. but please listen.
    Perhaps it was a very unorthodox approach to take, but she begun talking to other activists, and was willing to listen.

    • Ofer Neiman
      January 20, 2011, 3:40 pm


      You can find me on Facebook and send me your contact info. I will forward it to Eleanor, in case she wants to talk to you.

      Is there anything truly relevant in what you wrote here?
      What exactly is your problem with the factual claims posted here?

    • Sumud
      January 21, 2011, 1:42 am

      Welcome bahebekyagaza! It was an unorthodox approach :-) but you managed to break thru, I think the net result will be positive…

      [PS. I’ve just DM’ed you on twitter]

  15. jon s
    January 20, 2011, 3:15 pm

    I hope Macy has the courage to stand up to the threats , and not give in to the racist boycott.

    • tree
      January 20, 2011, 3:34 pm

      How’s that “post-Zionist” thing going, jon? Because I’m not seeing much of it from you here.

      • annie
        January 20, 2011, 3:40 pm

        likely hasbara sloganeering tree

      • tree
        January 20, 2011, 3:46 pm

        I would agree, but it is illuminating and slightly encouraging that Zionism has lost enough of its luster for some Zionists to feel they need to deny the label.

    • thankgodimatheist
      January 20, 2011, 3:35 pm

      “and not give in to the racist boycott.”

      And this is from the fellow to whom you offered a tribune on Mondoweiss!
      A fellow who sees the whole boycott enterprise as “racist”!!

      And Jon! Where are threats? Where are they? The only threats were made by you guys not the other way round.

      Phil, while I understand you publish someone like Wondering Jew who really represents a point of view from the “other side” worth listening to, providing “balance” of sorts, always intelligent, measured and articulate, now I’m at loss trying to understand how this jon s was worth a second of our time!

    • Woody Tanaka
      January 20, 2011, 3:38 pm

      jon s,
      “I hope Macy has the courage to stand up to the threats , and not give in to the racist boycott.”

      What, exactly, is racist about this boycott?? They’re targeting a state, not a people, not an ethnicity, not a religion. There is not, for example, any call to boycott Jewish-owned business in USA or France, for example, because they’re Jewish-owned.

      Targeting a state for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions is a legitmate political act to affect a change in a state’s policy. (See, e.g., South Africa.)

      If you don’t like it, fine. No doubt the Afrikaners didn’t like it against their state. But how do you justify the use of the word “racist”?

      • jon s
        January 20, 2011, 4:02 pm

        Perhaps I should clarify: I’m not saying that anyone who supports the boycott is a racist.
        I’ll take the liberty of re-posting something I wrote a while back (which I fortunately saved on my computer…):
        The obvious double-standard: Israel is singled out for vilification while other countries with much worse human-rights records are not. Why not boycott the US and the UK for their wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, with their horrendous civilian casualties, and Russia for its wars in Chechnya and Georgia, and China for its human-rights abuses and its policies in Tibet ,and practically all the Moslem and Arab countries? Do you boycott Zimbabwe? North Korea? The singling-out of Israel – the only Jewish state in the world – leads to the suspicion that something else may be at play here- at least in some instances- namely good old-fashioned Anti-Semitism , which is a form of racism. That’s why I called the boycott racist.

      • kapok
        January 20, 2011, 5:14 pm

        oh, how fortunate, you saved it! No need to “clarify” we know the drill …singled out…double standard…racist…yada, yada…

        Perhaps if you’re hypocrisy wasn’t so outrageous, so blood curding and mind boggling, then we could …negotiate?

      • Ofer Neiman
        January 20, 2011, 5:16 pm

        Hi Jon S

        As an Israeli citizen, I beg to differ, and here are some reasons why joining the BDS call is justified.

        – It’s simply there. Palestinian civil society, representing millions of people living under occupation, has started a campaign, and they are asking for our solidarity. Crossing the picket line means taking sides (abetting Israel in continuing its policies)

        – Israel is extremely privileged in its international dealings.

        – A BDS campaign against some of the “standard” dictatorships you mentioned would NOT be justified, since over there, it’s about small elites oppressing their own, miserable people, the vast majority. Here, we have an apartheid situation with one privileged population/people, prospering at the expense of another population/people. The people of Zimbabwe are victims. The people in Tel-Aviv are free, while their government, with their support, oppresses others.

        In a nuthshell…

      • Shmuel
        January 20, 2011, 5:19 pm

        BDS is a Palestinian initiative. The Palestinians have every reason in the world to “single Israel out”. So Palestinian appeals to MG and support for BDS should be OK even in your book. They seem to take Israeli oppression kind of personally, for some reason

        Israeli citizens (Jews and Palestinians) also wrote a letter to MG. They should be OK too, no? After all, they have every reason to be more concerned with the human rights violations and war crimes of their own country than those committed by other countries.

        US citizens. Israel is the largest recipient of US foreign aid. The US regularly uses its UN veto on Israel’s behalf and, generally-speaking, is Israel’s biggest facilitator in the world. One might say that the US already singles Israel out, giving it very preferential treatment, refusing to exert pressure on Israel or even condemn it, while condemning other countries for far less. If I were a USian, I would feel responsible for that and try to raise awareness through campaigns such as high-level cultural BDS (e.g. MG).

        EU citizens. Israel’s largest trading partner, which affords Israel privileged status in various areas, include research cooperation. The EU may growl from time to time but, on the whole, watches Israel’s back, and has boycotted the elected Palestinian government from the very outset, at Israel’s behest. That makes every European responsible, and explains why some Europeans take a particular interest in Israeli violations of international law.

        We could go on and on. Are there some people who support BDS because they hate Jews? Probably. There are certainly plenty of people who support Israel because they hate Arabs. But that’s not enough to make BDS racist – which is what you have claimed.

        And as long as we are repeating ourselves, I will again send you and anyone else who may be interested to Jerry Haber’s excellent article on “Singling Israel out for Moral Opprobrium”.

        BTW, if you want to sign the “Boycott from Within” petition written by and for Israeli citizens and residents, you may do so here. If you wish to continue to boycott settlement products only, as you have claimed you do, thanks. Every little bit helps.

      • eee
        January 20, 2011, 5:31 pm


        I understand what you write and I read what Haber wrote. The bottom line is simple. BDS is used against only one country in the world. And it happens to be the only Jewish country. Your excuses are interesting but cannot explain why Israel is the only country targeted with this strategy.

        Is it morally ok for Palestinians or anyone to do it? Perhaps, if you believe the Palestinian narrative. But that it may be morally ok to do something still does not explain why that moral something is done to only one country. If a country puts only Jewish thieves in jail and let’s other go, the country is doing a moral thing with the Jewish miscreants but still its policy is racist. As long as BDS is used exclusively against Israel, it will not be able to escape the racist tag.

      • Shmuel
        January 20, 2011, 5:46 pm


        Are you telling me that no country has ever before been the target of boycott or sanctions? I’ve boycotted about half a dozen countries myself at one point or another. Was there no campaign against South Africa? The USSR (and its satellites)? Turkey over the Armenians and Kurds and/or the Gaza flotilla (some of my relatives are working hard on that one)? China over Tibet and/or labour/environmental policies? France over nuclear testing and/or insufficiently pro-US or pro-Israel policies and statements? Iran for many and varied reasons? The US in many parts of the world?

        Gimme a break.

      • Woody Tanaka
        January 20, 2011, 5:51 pm

        jon s.,
        A lot of people already do boycott those places. Are people not up in arms over Tibet? Darfur? And, yes, I, myself, never buy anything from Zimbabwe or North Korea.

        But, as Israel is the only Jewish state on the planet, so is Russia the only Russian state on the planet. So wouldn’t boycotting Russia over Chechnya be, similarly, racist? And as China is orthe only Chinese state on the planet (depending on the politics of Taiwan), wouldn’t boycotting China over Tibet be similarly racist? (And could a Russian or Chinese person legitimately in your eyes deflect criticisms of their problems by pointing to the Palestine occupation and say “why don’t you pay attention to that?”) Would you be quick to label as “racist” someone who believes that the Han should not occupy Tibet?

        Or could it simply be that people choose to emphasize those situations in the world which are most meaningful to them or for which they believe they can affect a change. People may be horrified by the acts of the Burmese junta, but what chance is there, realistically, to affect policy? Contrarywise, if BDS enlightens enough Israelis as to how their government’s acts look to the outside world, there is a chance they would change those actions. Not as likely in Burma.

        Moreover, Israel is also not just the only “Jewish state,” it is a lot of other things, too: a state maintaining a multi-generational occupation of foreign land keeping the residents of that land in a state of statelessness and a country operating a colonial enterprise in that occupied land against the wishes of its inhabitants. Israel also claims to be other things, too: a part of the Western World, a first-world economy, a democracy which protects human rights (as it sees it), and so forth. Yet, to many people, looking objectively and without any malice, these two sets are incompatible.

        So is there really a double-standard? The last states which embodied this type of duality: a claim of Western-style Civilization while maintaning oppressive control over the lives of millions of oppressed, were countries like Rhodesia and Apartheid-era South Africa. Was the South African-era BDS campaign based on anti-Afrikaner prejudice? Or was it based on the actions of the state?

        But to label the movement racist because you “suspect” that anti-Semitism is really responsible — in the face of Israeli actions over the last 4 decades and the open and forthright statement of reasons for the campaign — is grossly unreasonable and really quite sad.

        Do you REALLY not understand how your government’s actions look to the rest of the world?

      • Woody Tanaka
        January 20, 2011, 5:58 pm

        “cannot explain why Israel is the only country targeted with this strategy.” Israel is the only country targeted by this campaign because it is the only country occupying Palestine. And if you think there are not movements to do similar things to countries from Sudan to China, based on their actions, then you are wrong.

        “As long as BDS is used exclusively against Israel, it will not be able to escape the racist tag.” LOL. And I’m sure you believed that the BDS campaign against South Africa was based on anti-Afrikaner prejudice, too. .

      • annie
        January 20, 2011, 5:59 pm

        jon, you might be interested ( I fortunately saved on my computer…):Building a Political Firewall against the Assault on Israel’s Legitimacy. London as a Case Study. (reut institute)

        they mobilized a team of 150 experts to analyze the top responses.

        directly after the table of contents is the glossary on pg 5. check out “double standards/singling out”. you might like the rest of that handbook too.

        I’ll take the liberty of re-posting something I wrote a while back (which I fortunately saved on my computer…):
        The obvious double-standard: Israel is singled out for vilification while other countries with much worse human-rights records are not. Why not boycott the US and the UK for their wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, with their horrendous civilian casualties, and Russia for its wars in Chechnya and Georgia, and China for its human-rights abuses and its policies in Tibet ,and practically all the Moslem and Arab countries?

        (my bold)

      • eee
        January 20, 2011, 7:24 pm


        Next time I see a Californian university or a UK university discuss BDS of Turkey, USSR or any other country your argument will ring true to me. Next time I see a “flash crowd” urging people not to buy Chinese made crap at a Walmart, your argument will ring true to me. Next time I see a European artist urged not to perform in the US, your argument will ring true. But the fact is, those things do not happen to China or Russia or the US. They happen only to Israel. And that is why I and many others believe the BDS movement is racist at the core.

      • Taxi
        January 20, 2011, 7:45 pm


        None of the examples of countries you gave practice Apartheid.

        And you know it.

        So cut the derailment crap out!!!!

      • Sumud
        January 20, 2011, 7:48 pm

        eee ~ I’m still waiting for you to back up your claim that Israel apologised for murdering the Palestinian senior citizen in his bed while he slept a few weeks ago.

        I told you I was going to keep asking until you responded, and I will. This is the fifth time I’ve asked.

        Support your claim, or admit it was false and retract it.

      • jon s
        January 21, 2011, 2:49 am

        Shalom Ofer,
        I practise a boycott of the settlements, but I think that a blanket boycott of Israel is both morally wrong and counter-productive. Also, as an Israeli myself, I feel that supporting the boycott would be both absurd and hypocritical, how can I boycott myself?
        And how far do you go? Aside with cultural events – should Israeli scientists be banned from publishing? our sports teams banned from competing? our airlines banned from landing? how about movies with Natalie Portman?

      • Shmuel
        January 21, 2011, 3:02 am

        So eeechik,

        We’ve gone from “BDS is used against only one country in the world” to Palestinian BDS is more creative and/or visible than other campaigns at the moment. And again, you come to the unequivocal conclusion that it must be due to racism. Assuming you are right about the flash crowds and divestment initiatives (although you would appear to have a “selection bias” – reading certain papers, visiting certain blogs), your accusation was about the movement itself, not its methods or media success, which are quite distinct from its motivation.

        Having said that, Israel and Jews do seem to get a disproportionate amount of attention in the Western media and imagination. There are many historical, religious, cultural, political and economic reasons for this, and Israel wouldn’t have it any other way – actively seeking special treatment and dispensation, playing on anything it thinks will give it an edge over other countries (Holocaust, Bible, anti-Semitism, victimhood, “the only democracy”, “the most moral army”, etc.). The thing is that it works both ways.

      • annie
        January 21, 2011, 3:11 am

        does the goi fund natalie’s films jon?

      • pjdude
        January 21, 2011, 5:08 am

        So its a double standard to hold those who claim to be more moral and the light of the world to well the higher standard they ascribe to. if you to be held to the thug dictator standard you have to accept your self as a thug dictator state. you want to be viewed as a western democracy you get held to that standard.

      • pjdude
        January 21, 2011, 5:14 am

        Um maybe BDS is only currently being used against Israel because only against Israel it currently a valid strategy. Most south american and african countries basic workers are so poor that a BDS movement would actually cause more harm than good. but hey that attitude is typical for ISrael we shouldn’t be treated this way because you don’t want to hurt starving farmers in africa.

        china makes too many goods that have so much market saturation to do much good. whining about a tactic that by its nature is limited in when it can be used as racist if offensive and makes ISrael and its defenders look like a bunch of whiny spoiled petulent children

      • pjdude
        January 21, 2011, 5:17 am

        So in other wise its a moral to make sure you know it can work. boycotting the settlements with out boycoting ISrael proper( though honestly all of ISrael is a settlement) is meaningless. Israel will just pump more money to the settlement to replace what it lost. you want to stop the settlements you need to go after the support structure for them.

      • Shmuel
        January 21, 2011, 7:54 am


        You’re grasping at straws: racist, immoral, counter-productive, hypocritical for you to support, reductio ad absurdam

        Racist – See above and below.

        Immoral – Apart from the “double standard” argument (see above and below), how is it immoral? To the extent that you believe it is, are all boycotts immoral, or is there something unique about this one?

        Hypocritical – This is actually a reasonable point, but you have various avenues open to you. You can support but not participate (perfectly understandable for someone who lives in Israel); support but not openly advocate; not advocate but not oppose. Your open opposition, to the point of smearing the movement as “racist” obviously has nothing to do with your concern about boycotting Israel as an Israeli. You simply disagree with the boycott, so this isn’t an issue for you.

        You’ve tried reducing the boycott to the absurd before, but it doesn’t hold water. The boycott is institutional, not individual (the organisers have said so on numerous occasions), and directly related to complicity in Israeli violations of human rights and international law. PACBI has explicitly stated that it does not oppose the publication of the work of individual Israeli scientists. Sports teams are institutional – representing the country, generally promoted by and funded by state institutions. I have not heard about any attempts to ban privately-owned Israeli airlines from landing. To the extent that El Al is still state-owned, that might be an issue. And Natalie Portman may be an “institution”, but she is an individual Israeli citizen. BDS has never advocated boycotting individual Israelis.

      • Ofer Neiman
        January 21, 2011, 1:18 pm

        Jon S

        Israelis are exempt from practicing BDS. I kid you not. They are not exempt from supporting it.

        It’s good that you boycott settlement products, but most, if not all Israeli companies profit from the occupation, and are therefore boycottable (even if you cannot do that, living here).

        As for the BDS guidelines, you can find them on PACBI’s site, or on ours:
        (contact us if you have questions)

        Individuals are NOT targeted by the boycott. Israeli scientists can publish articles. And no ban on landing or restriction of the right to travel as well!
        And Natalie Portman can surely go on with her life as a talented, clueless-liberal thespian.

        There are calls for banning *national* Israeli teams from the Olympics etc. I think this is within the scope of the BDS, and there was a sports boycott of South African national teams as well. Have to check, since this is a fairly new item on the BDS agenda.

        In a nutshell, The cultural-academic boycott is institutional.


      • sherbrsi
        January 21, 2011, 4:59 pm

        But the fact is, those things do not happen to China or Russia or the US. They happen only to Israel. And that is why I and many others believe the BDS movement is racist at the core.

        You must have been living under a rock when many prominent Hollywood celebrities, including Spielberg, were urging and personally boycotting China when it hosted the Olympics.

        The racism you are looking for is evident in those racist Zionists like Speilberg whose heart supposedly bleeds for oppressed Tibetans, yet on Palestine and Gaza they are silent.

        BDS singles out Israel for all the right reasons. When other countries start occupying, imprisoning, killing and stealing Palestine and they go untargetted by BDS, you might have a case for making Israel to be some innocent victim.

      • eee
        January 20, 2011, 4:46 pm

        The boycott is of course racist because it targets only one state, and it happens to be the only Jewish state. You can boycott whoever you want for whatever reason, but when as a matter of fact, the only state targeted for boycott is Israel, then obviously the boycott is racist.

      • annie
        January 20, 2011, 5:06 pm

        you might have a point if it were being boycotted because of your allegations. it’s being boycotted because of the brutal occupation and because of the apartheid nature of the government.

      • eee
        January 20, 2011, 5:13 pm

        Since there are many worse human rights violators than Israel and only Israel is boycotted your excuse is no excuse at all.
        Fact: Many countries are worse human rights violators than Israel
        Fact: Only Israel is boycotted
        It follows then: Israel is not boycotted because of its human rights violations

      • Ofer Neiman
        January 20, 2011, 5:19 pm

        Dear eee, time to dig deeper in the BDS debate. For an intelligent argument, see Jon S.

      • Woody Tanaka
        January 20, 2011, 6:01 pm

        So I see your sense of logic is as non-functional as your sense of morality. If you can boycott whoever you want for whatever reason, then the fact that you boycott Israel does not, as such, establish that the boycott is racist.

      • Woody Tanaka
        January 20, 2011, 6:04 pm

        “Fact: Many countries are worse human rights violators than Israel”
        “Fact: Only Israel is boycotted”
        “It follows then: Israel is not boycotted because of its human rights violations”

        No, all you’ve established is that it is not boycotted because it is the worst human rights violator. (Come on, this is like first-grade level logic, here. Sheesh.)

        As a matter of fact, it is boycotted because of its human rights violations AND because those engaging in the boycott believe it may lead to a change in those violations.

      • annie
        January 20, 2011, 6:10 pm

        eee Fact: Many countries are worse human rights violators than Israel
        Fact: Only Israel is boycotted

        you really should read :Building a Political Firewall against the Assault on Israel’s Legitimacy. London as a Case Study and brush up. many countries don’t carry out brutal, decades long occupations on millions of people. in fact as far as i know israel’s decades long brutal occupation of palestine is unmatched presently.

        let me know if you can think of another, and google morocco while you’re at it. last i heard they weren’t mowing down homes and killing people on an almost daily basis.

      • Sumud
        January 20, 2011, 8:22 pm

        The boycott is of course racist because it targets only one state, and it happens to be the only Jewish state.

        Except the boycott is part of a larger Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign, and ALL of those strategies are commonly used throughout the world.

        About 15 countries have been the target of UN sanctions in recent decades, numerous nations impose sanctions on a bilateral basis, and divestments and sanctions (a form of boycott) are actually policies endorsed by the Israeli government (as demonstrated by the wikileaks cables) as a method of dealing with Iran. Are you prepared to claim that the Israeli government is islamophobic and more specifically, anti-shia? The US applies trade embargoes (AKA boycotts) at the drop of a hat.

        The idea that Israel alone is being targeted by the tactics of B D and S is completely ridiculous, and easily disproved. The major difference in this campaign is that is it led by civil society, not governments – and that has only become necessary since other avenues of redress (ie International law) have been ignored by Israel or blocked by the US. Even then, it’s not even 20 years since BDS was running at full speed against South Africa. The Palestinian BDS Movement is in no way unique.

        Sorry Israel, you’re not special, you’re just another rogue state and are being dealt with as such.

        Some background reading on boycotts, divestments and sanction. Examples abound:

        link to
        link to
        link to
        link to

        link to
        link to

        link to
        link to
        link to

      • Sumud
        January 20, 2011, 8:31 pm

        moderators ~ I really dislike this new way MW is handling pasted hyperlinks. I’m guessing it’s a way of handling long links that sometimes bleed off the right hand side of the page but now those nine wikipedia links all look identical, when they are not. Do I really have to use the ‘a href’ tag all the time? Grr. Alright.

        Wikipedia: Boycott
        Wikipedia: List of boycotts
        Wikipedia: Embargo
        Wikipedia: United States embargoes

        Wikipedia: Divestment
        Wikipedia: Disinvestment

        Wikipedia: Sanctions
        Wikipedia: Economic sanctions
        Wikipedia: International sanctions

      • kapok
        January 20, 2011, 9:02 pm

        Your “unique” “state” calls forth a unique rage. Israel pisses the world off out of all proportion to old time anti-semitism.

      • pjdude
        January 21, 2011, 5:20 am

        your logic sucks. a boycot is a limited action it has serious limitations than can basicly render it next to useless. only Israel gets boycoted because only Israel meets the conditions that make it workable and the goal achievable by boycot.

      • sherbrsi
        January 21, 2011, 5:05 pm

        Since there are many worse human rights violators than Israel and only Israel is boycotted your excuse is no excuse at all.

        It is irrelevant whether there are worst human rights violaters than Israel, as the BDS movement targets Israel specifically and in relation to its violations against Palestine.

        You can deny it all you want but it is a fact that the BDS movement was started by and is promoted on the basis of solidarity with oppressed Palestinians.

        When other human rights violating states start oppressing Palestine as does Israel, they will become relevant targets of BDS.

      • jon s
        January 22, 2011, 3:42 am

        After reading the website you provided, I’m even more convinced that supporting a boycott of Israel is not something that I – or any other Israeli- should support.
        I won’t repeat the argument as to the unfair double standard being applied. We’ve gone over that ground before.
        You say that the boycott is not personal, only institutional. However, institutions are made up of the personnel who work and study in them. You’re saying that an Israeli scientist would be published, despite the boycott, because the boycott isn’t personal. But if that scientist is employed, say, by the Hebrew U. would he/she not be boycotted?
        I recall the case of Dr. Miriam Schlesinger, with whom I’m acquainted, who was “asked to resign” from the editorial board of a professional journal for the “crime” of being an Israeli – and this is a person who was the former head of the Israeli chapter of Amnesty International!
        And I doubt that the boycotters care as whether ElAl is privately owned or not.
        Would you really be comfortable with supporting a ban on our sports teams?
        Anyone who understands the least bit about Israeli society, psychology and politics, understands that the way to progress towards ending the occupation is not to encourage the paranoia, the perception of “ha’olam kulo negdeinu”. The boycott does just that.
        The correct policy, in my view is a boycott of the settlements, such as recently manifested in the refusal to play in Ariel. A blanket boycott also reinforces the contention of the Right, that there’s “no difference” between the settlements and Israel proper. The boycott agrees with that.
        shabbat shalom

      • Sumud
        January 22, 2011, 8:26 am

        jon s ~ at a fundamental level you’re failing to address that the occupation of Palestine and settlements are, and have been for 4+ decades, official policy of the Israeli Government. None of it would have been possible without Government support. Saying you’ll boycott the settlements is drawing an artificial distinction where in reality, there is none. Settlements are just one component of the occupation. If you are opposed to the occupation, what steps are you taking to end it?

      • Shmuel
        January 22, 2011, 9:57 am


        The distinctions between individuals and institutions are covered in this PACBI document: link to

        Boycotts of Israel, including academic boycotts, have been going on for years, but it was not until 2004 that a statement of principles was issued and boycott efforts coordinated. I don’t believe that Miriam Schlesinger would have been sacked under today’s critera. I think she was treated pretty shabbily by people who meant well, but made a mistake. I hope such mistakes will not be repeated.

        You asked about landing rights, so I speculated about differences between state- and private-owned companies. I don’t think it has occurred to anyone to ask airports to deny landing rights to Israeli planes of any kind. If you would like to pose the question to the boycott committee, I’m sure they’d be happy to give you a clear answer: link to

        On the subject of sports teams, the BDS movement has the following to say:

        Major sports events emphasise fair play and sportsmanship, and confer international recognition and status on participating countries. In the past, sports boycotts have been used in exceptional circumstances. In the case of apartheid South Africa, the sports boycott effectively sent a message to the regime and its backers that the international community did not accept the institutionalised racism practised by the regime. South Africa’s exclusion from all major official competitions from the late 1960s and 1970s played an important role in isolating the regime and its supporters. A common reaction to proposals for a sporting boycott is that politics and sport should not mix. The reality in for Palestinians is that politics and sport are inextricably linked. Israel has imposed a de facto ban on Palestinian sport and leisure activities, and the freedom enjoyed by Israeli athletes and teams comes at the expense of Palestinians who are deprived of the right to participate in sports from a local to international level.

        I’m sure that any kind of boycott will cause some Israelis to dig their heels in, and others, hopefully, to start asking themselves some difficult questions (the more it challenges their preconceptions the better – exclusively boycotting settlements is somewhat lacking in that department). The boycott has two other target audiences however: international public opinion and Palestinians. BDS seeks to raise awareness of Israel’s violations of human rights and international law, in the hope that governments and policy-makers will take notice and take political and diplomatic action to change Israel’s behaviour. BDS is also important however to show Palestinians that they are not alone, that many people around the world do care what happens to them and seek justice on their behalf. Don’t underestimate the value of moral support when you feel isolated and abandoned.

        Boycotting settlements is a good thing. Keep it up, and I hope you are not adverse to cooperating with BDS campaigns on an ad hoc basis, say against AHAVA cosmetics or Golan wine.

        With regard to your “no difference” argument, BDS and PACBI do in fact make a distinction, giving much higher priority to companies and institutions directly involved in the post-67 occupation and settlement construction in the OT. That is not to say that ’48 Israel is not an issue, but that it takes a back seat in terms of campaigns and initiatives – precisely because the violations in the OT are far worse.

      • Potsherd2
        January 22, 2011, 10:41 am

        I would like to see a total ban on Israeli sports teams. Sports is something Israelis actually care about, as opposed to justice. A boycott should hit the target where it hurts.

      • Ofer Neiman
        January 22, 2011, 11:29 am

        hi Jon

        Let me be more precise.

        -According to the guidelines as I know them, only representatives of Israeli universities who are above the level of head of department will be boycotted (rectors, presidents etc.)

        -According to my understanding of the BDS guidelines, The Schlesinger incident was *NOT* something called for by the BDS coalition.

        – Boycotting official Israeli teams? again, this is an institutional boycott. I felt comfortable with it when it was applied to South Africa.

        – El-Al: We need to distinguish between a boycott and an EMBARGO (certainly an embargo against individuals). The boycott is about not buying Israeli products, and refusing to cooperate with cultural and academic institutions. It is not about imposing a siege on Israel, through flight bans. For a combination of (violent!) sanctions and a (violent!) embargo, look at what the Israeli government is doing to the inhabitants of the Gaza strip.

        – The BDS campaign cannot ignore the other two problems: Israel’s refusal to accept responsibility for the ethnic cleansing of 1948, and its Jim Crow treatment of Israel’s Palestinian citizens. I (still…) support a two-state solution, and I don’t think this view of mine is incompatible with the BDS principles.

        – I may have a better opinion of the Israeli public than you do…See, I also think Israelis care about their standard of living and about their ties with the outside world. In other words, I attribute some rationality to their thinking.


      • jon s
        January 22, 2011, 12:02 pm

        Sumud, The distinction is not artificial at all, it’s crucial. If you say “occupation of Palestine” it implies that you consider the whole country to be “occupied”. My goal is to end the occupation of the territories taken in 67, and stop the settlement policy in those territories, and bring about peace through a 2-state solution.
        I don’t think the issue is me personally and what steps I’m taking, but just so you don’t think I’m dodging the question, I’ll say that over the years I’ve probably participated in more demonstrations, marches, rallies, campaigns, petitions, seminars, etc. , than I can count, maybe more than anyone else on this forum. And yes, I could have done more.

      • jon s
        January 22, 2011, 12:07 pm

        Shmuel, I don’t think we’re going to agree, and I would rather not rehash previous exchanges.
        On the settlement boycott – the Gush Shalom website provides a detailed list.

      • jon s
        January 22, 2011, 12:54 pm

        Ofer, It doesn’t look like we’re going to agree (and please see my replies to Shmuel and Sumud).
        I wish I could understand the distinction between senior and junior faculty for boycott purposes.
        On ElAl- it would be boycotted as an Israeli company.
        On sports – I understand your answer to be a yes, you support a boycott. That would be just about the most counter-productive step imaginable. the focus should be on recognizing and including Palestinian athletes, not excluding Israelis.
        shavua tov

      • Ofer Neiman
        January 22, 2011, 5:13 pm

        Jon S,

        It’s not so complicated to understand the distinctions. You are capable of it.

        – Yes, do boycott El-Al as a customer, but refusing to grant El-Al landing rights is an embargo, and a violation of the right to freedom of movement.

        – A university’s president represents the institution (fund-raising, advocacy etc.)

        – There are Palestinian athletes who participate in international events. Big deal. Anything that fails to challenge the Israeli sense of “business as usual” is almost meaningless.

        As long as Israelis enjoy prosperity and can isolate themselves from the apartheid systems, it’s rock the boat, or stay at home and read books (friendly advice to you, not to waste your time).

      • Shmuel
        January 22, 2011, 5:24 pm

        I don’t think we’re going to agree

        I harboured no such illusion. I do wonder however at your quibbling over elements of BDS and distinctions it makes or doesn’t make and whether it will have the desired effect on the Israeli psyche or not, when you have dismissed the entire boycott as “racist”, and reject at least 2 out of 3 of its main goals.

      • Sumud
        January 22, 2011, 5:45 pm

        jon s ~ I’m afraid you’ve misunderstood my use of the term “Palestine”. I meant the nascent state of Palestine, not British mandate Palestine. Had I meant mandate Palestine I would have said 6+ decades (ie occupation beginning in 1948) instead of 4+ decades (occupation beginning in 1967).

        Maybe you aren’t aware but after the 1988 Palestinian Declaration of Independence (which included a territorial claim) the PLO’s representation of the Palestinian people at the UN was renamed “Palestine”:

        Wikipedia: Palestine Liberation Organisation: In the Unites Nations

        I maintain that you’ve created an artificial distinction in deciding to boycott the settlements, but not actually address the source of the settlements. They are in no way autonomous – they’re on life support from the Israelis Government through government expenditure, financial subsidies and the presence of the occupying forces Israeli forces. If there is ever a decision made to end the settlements it will be made in the Knesset.

        Of course the issue isn’t you personally and I’m not criticising you or even asking you to present your activist credentials – I’m just asking you to address the power structure which has created and maintained the settlement project: the Israeli Government – representative of the Israeli people. Only the Israel Government can make the decision to end the settlements. In asking what you’re doing to end the occupation, I was hoping you’d recognise the source of the settlements..

        FYI I don’t have a one- or two-state goal. I agree w/ Ofer that a two-state outcome is compatible w/ BDS principles (even the RoR – recognising a right is distinct from negotiating a settlement). However, it seems increasingly obviously that the settlement project has made the emergence of a viable Palestinian state impossible…

    • VAA
      January 20, 2011, 5:42 pm

      Jon s
      “I hope Macy has the courage to stand up to the threats , and not give in to the racist boycott.”
      Let me see “Threats”, “Racist” . Too predictable .
      You missed the “Anti-Semetic” card.

  16. bahebekyagaza
    January 20, 2011, 3:16 pm

    I need to clarify, I do not belong to the BDS organisation.In fact I dont belong to any organisations, I am just an individual who cares about what happens to the Palestinian. people.I support BDS and the benefits of a peaceful solution to the Palestinian question.Yes I am a very enthusiastic,energetic supporter I have my own style personality,and it can get abrasive and confrontational at times.If confrontational and in your face gets the job done, well and good. In my opinion we as activists are at times to polite, to pc.Perhaps the “peace process or as otherwise know as the “piece process” might have got along alot more if people were not so afraid to speak out.

  17. Taxi
    January 20, 2011, 3:47 pm

    How can any person with African descent not listen sooooo closely to what Bishop Desmond Tutu has to say about Apartheid in israel or anywhere else even?

    Macy ‘Sellout’ Gray: you got cotton socks in your ears, or they paying you large in blood-diamonds?

    Well which is it?

    I’m snapping jazzy fingers waiting for your tweetable succinctable explanation….

    Can you tell I got no respect for your vanities, lady?

    And you just made the word ‘peace’ seem dirty and mean: the cowardly/manipulative way and place you used it.

    Short of a public apology to both Palestinians AND Peace Activists – Macy’s music is now a target for global boycott on account of her blatant support of Apartheid practices. I reckon she knew she would go to tel aviv before she put out the original request for help from her fans – she just wanted to cover her beehind.

    Yeah she’s a bad actress.


    “Peace” and raspberry pillows to you Macy!

    • Linda J
      January 20, 2011, 6:18 pm

      Yup. I’m with ya. I got one Macy Gray CD. Oh, darn. I stepped on it! ;)

      • Taxi
        January 20, 2011, 7:08 pm

        Accidents can happen, Linda J – they’re one of the enduring mysteries of life eh.

        I don’t own any MG CD’s myself but I’m tempted to buy a pirated copy just so that I too can have a darn oopsy accident.

  18. Sumud
    January 21, 2011, 3:29 am

    Ynet News have jumped on the bandwagon, cutting Gray’s tweet in half and using it as their headline – in effect, misrepresenting what she said:

    Macy Gray: Boycotters are just assholes

    If this technique doesn’t have a name it should become known as ‘Breitbarting’ after what he did to Shirley Sherrod.

    • annie
      January 21, 2011, 3:58 am

      it will be a showdown sumud, we have 20 days. i’ll place my bets on her not folding. it’s aint over til the fat lady sing’s

      I try to say Boycott and I choke
      I try to walk away and I stumble
      Though I try to hide it, it’s clear
      It’s Apartheid that’s goin’ on here
      Boycott and I choke
      Try to say Sanctions I stumble
      Though I try to hide it, it’s clear
      My world crumbles when I live in fear

      she will come around

  19. Citizen
    January 21, 2011, 8:02 pm

    Go here to write and email Macy via her managers not to sing for apartheid–takes about a minute: link to

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