Israel vs the Violin

Activism
on 30 Comments

This past semester I was the violin and viola teacher at the Gaza branch of Palestine’s National Conservatory of Music—though I never met my students, because Israel blocked me from entering the coastal strip. So I taught by Skype from the West Bank as best I could (when Gaza City’s electricity and Internet were both working at the same time), a poor substitute that nonetheless attempted to show the war-weary students that they had not been forgotten.[1]

They would be justified to believe that the world had indeed forsaken them. Israel strangles Gaza with a hermetic siege, lays waste to it with unprovoked attacks by land, air, and sea, and then blocks relief and rebuilding. Why, then, the violin? The people of Gaza need liberation above all, but until then they urgently need food, medicine, and reconstruction. Do they really need foreigners teaching their children violin?

People should have the opportunity to excel in whatever they love, and this is especially important for young people under extreme hardship and trauma. After Japan was devastated by a war and two atomic bombs, Shinichi Suzuki wanted to give something of meaning and beauty, a sense of self-worth, to the generation of lost children around him; he responded by developing a violin teaching method that addressed the country’s circumstances. For the people of Gaza, any pursuit of normality—playing soccer, writing poetry, chasing quarks—also defies Israel’s attempts to dehumanize them.[2]

Students in Gaza who win prestigious international scholarships or any other opportunity for further achievement are able to do so only at Israel’s pleasure. Those students whose dreams Israel does not shatter at the Armistice Line face the blockade again when they try to return to see their families at holidays or between school years—and if Israel does let them visit, they must accept the high risk that they will be unable to get out again.

For Palestinian musicians, Israel’s draconian control over civilian life means that they can only collaborate with colleagues in the same Israeli-created bantustan; that reliable planning is impossible; that your child’s music teacher may suddenly be expelled; and that on the day of the concert your child has worked all year to prepare for, s/he may be stopped from reaching the hall. Imagine a national music competition in which a foreign country blocks participants: In last year’s Palestine National Music Competition, the Conservatory had to establish video links to circumvent Israeli interference and enable all Palestinian applicants to audition. Some winners were forced to present their celebratory concert “live” by video link set up on the concert hall stage.

tom-suarez__skype-photo-for-israel-vs-violin__1320p

Tom Suárez (left, and lower right of screen), in Bethlehem, coaching a young violinist at the National Conservatory of Music in Gaza, via Skype.

All Palestinians live with the fear of violence from the occupying military. In the West Bank, one talented teenage violinist I have coached and known for years was accused (wrongly, though the issue is irrelevant) by IDF soldiers of throwing stones; he denied it, and they smashed his violin. Another young musician similarly accused was, like so many other Palestinians, arbitrarily imprisoned and forced to sign a “confession”. In the most extreme case known to me, a Palestinian contrabass student (now a colleague) returning from a lesson was stopped by Israeli soldiers at a checkpoint. They tied him to a wall and called in several new IDF recruits. “We caught this terrorist”, the soldiers told the new recruits. “What do we do with terrorists?” He awoke the next day in a hospital. His bass bow, broken in two, was all that was found with him.

One experience of mine is representative of the more mundane day-to-day obstacles confronting musical life in Palestine. The premiere of my string quartet Peregrinations was to have taken place in April 2014 at Bethlehem’s Peace Center, next to the traditional site of Christ’s birth, in a performance by the NCM String Quartet, under the auspices of the John Paul II Foundation and with the support of Bethlehem Municipality. It had been well-advertised and was to be broadcast live by Radio Mawwal. Two weeks before the performance, Israel prevented the quartet’s first violinist from reaching the West Bank. Diplomatic efforts to stop Israeli interference failed, forcing the cancellation of the concert. Within the space of one year, Israel thwarted three concerts of mine alone.

One day en route to teach students at a French cultural exchange institute in Hebron, two Israeli soldiers stopped me and asked what I was doing. I pointed to the viola strapped to my back, pointed to the entrance of the old city, and told them that I was teaching music. “What is your religion?” they asked next. I asked why they cared about my religion. “Because if you are Jewish you are not allowed.” They did not explain, but the impression was that the thought of a Jew teaching Palestinians to play the viola struck them as treasonous. Living in Palestine, one quickly learns to act pragmatically and say whatever avoids trouble, but I had had quite enough that day and told them that my religion was not their affair. After this went back and forth a few times, they grabbed me and started hauling me away to an IDF booth some fifty feet away. I was under arrest, they informed me. Quickly coming to my senses, I apologized and gave them the safest answer. “I am Christian.” The surname in my passport seemed to agree; and as regards my non-cooperation, the appearance of two TIPH international observers watching us from a distance likely tipped the balance in my favor. They let me go.[3]

Israel’s tight grip on life in Palestine is spun as the regrettable consequence of its right to self-defense. This, like the very idea that putting down resistance to its oppression is “defense”, is a lie. Stifling Palestinian achievement is itself the goal of Israel’s interference, because the Zionist narrative requires the dehumanization of anyone in the way of its ambitions. Israel needs to depict Palestine, and above all Gaza, as a nest of marauders. Palestine must never be seen as a civilization nurturing artists, writers, scientists, scholars—and violinists.

The BBC recently aired a piece entitled “Saving Gaza’s only grand piano”, a feel-good item that reported the discovery and restoration of a grand piano damaged in Israel’s 2014 “Protective Edge” attacks. In a virtually Orwellian reversal, the BBC referred to that onslaught as a “war with Israel”, and left its audience with the impression that Gaza would have a more flourishing music scene if only—well, if only ruling Hamas weren’t so conservative. One need not make any excuses for Hamas’ faults to point out that it is not Hamas that bombs Gaza to ruins and suffocates it under siege.[4]

“Paradise” is how Gaza was described to me by someone who lived there in the mid-1940s. Cataclysmic change hit Gaza in 1948 when many of the roughly eight hundred thousand Palestinians ethnically cleansed that year by the Zionist armies were shoved into the Mediterranean enclave, vastly exceeding its resources as Israel simultaneously severed it from the rest of Palestine. Israel’s siege of Gaza began then—not after the election of Hamas fifty-eight years later. Many of the refugees trapped in Gaza were on the brink of starvation, but they were shot dead on sight if they attempted to return to their own homes or even to reach what then became known as the West Bank, where conditions were slightly less horrific. Israel, meanwhile, stole their land, their homes, belongings, orchards, assets, businesses, factories, aquifers, and natural resources.[5]

When after these seven decades with neither relief nor justice, fringe groups in Gaza fire crude rockets over the Armistice Line in response to an Israeli assault that the West does not report, our media and our governments showcase these rockets as an unprovoked attack. Israel has used them to justify five major campaigns—Summer Rains (2006), Autumn Clouds (2006), Cast Lead (2008-2009), Pillar of Defense (2012), and Protective Edge (2014)—that killed more than four thousand people, injured thousands, and laid waste to the entire civilian infrastructure. In each case, the media confined the discourse to two options: Most pundits, and the US Congress, offered unqualified support, while dissenting commentators argued that the attacks were “disproportionate”—justified, yes, but perhaps a bit too much “defense”. What actually happened, and why, remains off-limits. [6]

tom-suarez__gaza-wedding_2009___1320p

Open-back troubadour truck with drums and wind instruments celebrating newly-weds as the road turns south along the coast, Gaza City, 2009. (Photo Tom Suarez)

“Gaza has excellent musicians,” an unidentified chronicler wrote in the fourth century A.D. The Palestinian coastal region was, indeed, famous throughout the Roman Empire for its superb musicians, and Gaza appears to have had a dedicated music school by the third or second centuries BC.[7] Today’s National Conservatory of Music follows a long tradition. The Zionist occupation of Palestine, like the occupations before it, will pass. In the meantime, Gaza’s millennia-old musical life, though crippled along with all aspects of everyday life, continues.

When future historians chronicle the so-called Palestinian-Israeli “conflict”, they will find the basics remarkably simple: turn-of-the-twentieth-century racial-nationalism spawns a settler ethnocracy. The land’s people resist. End of story. Everything else is details. What will leave our future historians confounded, however, is to understand how we explained our own role to ourselves. Why did we empower Israel so tenaciously, even as it made a mockery of everything we preached, and harmed us strategically, morally, and economically? What were we thinking?

Cartoon by Sainatee Suárez.

Tom Suárez is the author of Palestine Sixty Years Later, as well as three books on the history of cartography. He is currently finishing a major work on Zionist violence during the British Mandate and early statehood years, to be published in 2016 by Skyscraper Books.

See also :
Night of horror at Ben Gurion airport for two French music students Mondoweiss, April 30, 2015 (Note: Neither of the two musician authors of this article are among the unnamed musicians in the present article.)
Ramallah Orchestra’s performance of ‘Eroica’ in Jerusalem is cancelled due to Israeli interference Mondoweiss, July 2, 2012
Violinist tumbles while climbing separation wall, is unable to perform historic concert Mondoweiss, July 14, 2013
The Palestine National Orchestra: a view from the violin section Mondoweiss, March 31, 2012

Notes

1. Along with the author, Israel blocked the Conservatory’s General Director, Suhail Khoury, from reaching his institution. For more on the National Conservatory of Music, see this web page and this pdf. For the experiences of one medical professional blocked by Israel, see Mads Gilbert’s book, Night in Gaza, Skyscraper Publications, 2015. ( USUKinfo)

2. For reports on how musicians in Gaza use their art to helped those emotionally scarred by the violence today, see e.g., Gaza youth learn music and challenge the occupation, Electronic Intifada, May 14, 2010; and the video Gaza After the War: Music Therapy.

3. TIPH (Temporary International Presence in Hebron) observers have no power, but act as witnesses. They followed the author until out of sight of the soldiers, and asked for an account of what had happened. The organization was formed in the aftermath of the 1994 Cave of the Patriarchs massacre by Hebron settler Baruch Goldstein.

tom-suarez_watar-band-poster4. Tim Whewell, Saving Gaza’s only grand piano, BBC Magazine, 26 March, 2015.  Daniel Barenboim financed its restoration by the French technician Claire Bertrand. The articles alleges that the piano’s origin is uncertain; but the Conservatory’s general manager, Suhail Khoury, states (personal correspondence) that he was a primary participant in the piano’s acquisition and importation, and well aware of its history, but that the BBC never asked him. The National Conservatory’s Khamis Abu Shaaban was the discoverer of the piano after it lay damaged from bombings. Ironically, a few weeks before the BBC piece appeared, a concert within Palestine by Mr. Abu Shaaban’s own Watar Band was cancelled because Israel blocked him. The image on the right is a poster in East Jerusalem announcing the Watar Band concert, crossed out after news came that they were prevented from coming. Mr. Whewell did not respond to the author’s attempt to contact him.

5. Ted Steel, interview with the author, 2014. A good source for the early post-1948 period is Benny Morris, Israel’s Border Wars, Clarendon Press, 1993.

6. Regarding the Gaza rockets, see also Suarez, UXOs: Did Israel deliberately arm Hamas?, in Mondoweiss, December 13, 2010.

7. Music in Ancient Israel/Palestine: Archaeological, Written and Comparative Sources. p260 Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 2002. By the fifth century AD, Gaza was also widely renowned for its visual arts, mosaics, philosophy, literature, and wine making.

About Tom Suarez

Tom Suarez is the author most recently of State of Terror. Ordering and reviews can be found at state-of-terror.net

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30 Responses

  1. just
    August 3, 2015, 9:34 am

    Thank you for this article, Tom. Bless you for helping to keep the essential beauty, natural talent, and steadfast dreams alive for Palestinians in Palestine.

    “they smashed his violin.”

    I gasped when I read that.

    And then chills covered my body when I read further:

    “They tied him to a wall and called in several new IDF recruits. “We caught this terrorist”, the soldiers told the new recruits. “What do we do with terrorists?” He awoke the next day in a hospital. His bass bow, broken in two, was all that was found with him.”

    The Occupiers are a cruel, depraved, and chronically evil brand. This is what happens when impunity for all sorts and violence is reflexively delivered, unasked and undeserved, by the rest of the world.

    There is no way that Israel is acting in ‘self- defense’~ not for seemingly forever. That’s a grotesque myth that needs to be evacuated from the mouths of people in governments and media around the world.

    “What will leave our future historians confounded, however, is to understand how we explained our own role to ourselves. Why did we empower Israel so tenaciously, even as it made a mockery of everything we preached, and harmed us strategically, morally, and economically? What were we thinking?”

    That question is NOW.

    Future historians will be confounded, to be sure. I don’t envy them the task, but I am not willing to wait for the forensic examination. We have enough information and evidence to put an end to this man- made disaster right now.

    Thanks again, Tom~ for everything. I was glad to see your comment the other day on another article. I am very grateful to read this today, and appreciate all of your references and links. I remember very well the recent terrible “Night of horror at Ben Gurion airport for two French music students” published here.

  2. socialconscience
    August 3, 2015, 9:58 am

    What a beautifully written article Tom.

    Your simple prose and succinct explanation of unbridled colonialist violence on part of Israel will be very useful for convincing those I meet who are agnostic on the ”hamas vs Israel war/conflict” (as the MSM protrays it)and helping them to understand the continued landslide of institutionalised Israeli oppression of the peoples of the occupied territories

  3. CigarGod
    August 3, 2015, 10:04 am

    Terrific contribution, Tom.
    Love the humanity.
    The best footnotes I’ve ever read.

    • just
      August 3, 2015, 10:19 am

      I neglected to give respect to the phenomenal cartoon by Sainatee Suárez.

      It’s stupendous~ “Israel vs the Violin”!

      • CigarGod
        August 3, 2015, 10:38 am

        It is!
        Is everyone aware that new t-shirt silk-screening methods open up a fast, cheap and personalized opportunity to get the word out?
        I can save the image to a thumb drive, take it to the t-shirt shop…and 5 minutes and $15 U.S., later, Sainatee’s illustration can be on a t-shirt, polo shirt, or just about any other surface. No set-up charges.

        Hey, Tom/Sainatee…can I make a shirt using the image?

      • just
        August 3, 2015, 12:30 pm

        Great idea, CigarGod! It’s such a stellar graphic!

        (not in the star of David kind of way, either. although Sainatee uses that to great effect, too!)

  4. amigo
    August 3, 2015, 10:48 am

    IDF application form.

    Note to applicants–you must tell the truth when applying for acceptance in “The most moral Army” on Earth.Remember , we do not lie.

    Q1. Are you a committed Zionist

    Q2. Are you or have you ever been married to an Arab.(Male or Female).

    Q3.Are any of your close relatives married to an Arab.(Male or Female).

    If the answer to Q2 /Q3 is yes , then please discontinue the application.

    Q4. Do you have friends who have Arab friends ,(Male or Female).

    Q5. Have you ever slept with an Arab, (male or Female).

    Q6. Do you have Arab friends , (Male or Female).

    Q7.Have you ever gone to the aid of an Arab or helped them in any way that might be construed as you viewing them as humans.

    Q8. Do you shop in Arab stores or any type of Arab business.

    Q9. Are you willing to shoot an Arab , keeping in mind the Golden IDF rule of “Shoot first and ask questions later.

    Q10. Would you use kid gloves when arresting an Arab minor.

    Q11. Would you show respect for an elderly Arab.

    Q12. Would you swerve to avoid knocking down an Arab knowing you might endanger or cause damage to military property.

    Q13. Would you be willing to arrest our setter comrades or in anyway interfere when they are attacking Palestinian Farmers or cutting down Olive trees.

    Q14. Would you be willing to mete out on the spot punishment to Arabs who talk back to IDF personnel or in anyway disrespect their betters.

    Q15. Are you squeamish about seeing Palestinian blood .

    Q16. Have you ever killed an Arab and if so , describe your feelings in less than three words.

    Q17. Do you subscribe to the idea of a 2SS and if not are you committed to the goal of “The Greater Israel”.

    Q18. How do you feel about International Law .

    Q19. How do you feel about BDS and those who are involved.

    Q20. Are there any limits to what you are willing to do to ensure anti semites do not win.

  5. Kris
    August 3, 2015, 10:54 am

    Thank you very much, this article is outstanding.

    And horrifying. The routine, everyday, shocking cruelty of ordinary Israeli Jews. Why? The fascist indoctrination of almost every Jewish youth in the IDF, the racist theology of the rabbis, and the incitement by Jewish leaders?

    It is so hard to understand, and my mind keeps trying to discover a context that will help. The world has seen this kind of brutality before. Germany, El Salvador, Chile–

    Chile. I remember Victor Jara. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2009/may/28/chile-regime-murder-charge-victor-jara

    Thank God that so far the IDF doesn’t seem to be targeting the hands of Palestinian musicians, the way they destroy the legs of young Palestinian soccer players. http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/palestinian-teenagers-shot-feet-by-israeli-soldiers-after-playing-football-calls-fifa-israel-ban-1439183

    • just
      August 3, 2015, 12:53 pm

      Thanks, Kris. ;((( They do it because they can, but it says SO much about them~ none of it good. It’s so clearly not a “few bad apples”.

      I guess it’s the reason that Hazel Kahan’s article ‘A traumatized society is dangerous’ got 458 comments in an effort to answer:

      “Why do the Israelis do what they do? Why do they keep on doing it? Can’t they see what damage they are doing to themselves, to the Palestinians, to us all?” – See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/2015/06/traumatized-society-dangerous#sthash.p7lg3u6f.dpuf

      Similarly, Avigail’s article “It’s time for American Jews to recognize they have been duped” got 451 comments in an effort to understand the unthinkable.

      In her article she wrote:

      “I left to save my life and my sanity. Israeli society has always been sick because you can’t build something healthy on a criminal foundation, where so much abuse has been, and still is being inflicted on others. Not everyone in Israel is a psychopath. Ordinary people don’t do so well when they live a lie and cover up evil deeds.” – See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/2015/07/american-recognize-duped#sthash.lKSVBR4f.dpuf

      So we have some inkling and quite a bit of insight into why. Nevertheless, ‘normal’ and compassionate humans recoil at the evil.

  6. John O
    August 3, 2015, 12:21 pm

    Great article.

    By chance, today I was doing a little freelance work for my former employer (The Open University, from which I retired 18 months ago), proofreading material for a module on music and politics. It covered issues like Wagner’s anti-semitism, the Nazis’ promotion of Bruckner – which did the reputation of that fine composer no end of damage, as well as the protest songs of Guthrie, Seeger and Dylan, and the alleged anti-semitism of John Adams’ opera “The Death of Klinghoffer”.

    And, sadly, the musician prisoners who played in the concentration camps, whose plight increasingly reflects that of Gaza’s musicians.

    • just
      August 3, 2015, 3:10 pm

      John O~ you might want to check out Philip Munger & his cantata “The Skies are Weeping”

      “In 2004 Philip Munger composed a cantata titled The Skies are Weeping, in seven movements for a soprano soloist, chamber choir, and percussion ensemble.[4] The cantata memorializes Rachel Corrie, an American member of the International Solidarity Movement killed in 2003 by a bulldozer operated by the Israel Defense Forces while she tried to prevent a house demolition in the southern Gaza Strip and Tom Hurndall, a British photography student and ISM activist, who was shot in the head in the Gaza Strip by an IDF sniper, Taysir Hayb, on 11 April 2003 then died 9 months later without having regained consciousness after falling into a coma during the Second Intifada. The work’s first public performance was scheduled take place on April 27, 2004 at the University of Alaska Anchorage.[5] A public meeting to address objections of members of the Jewish community and others who believed the cantata was one-sided and unfair to Israel failed to resolve disagreements. Following the forum, Munger announced that the performance had been “withdrawn for the safety of the student performers”, on his request, citing the “orchestrated” hatemails and threats he and publicly known performers had received (although Mr. Munger said he never turned in the emails to the Police because the alleged emails had [conveniently] been deleted).[4][6] Which is to say, it was an imbroglio but righteous indignation he lived through reminded him of how he had admired Burt Lancaster in The Rainmaker. The cantata eventually premiered at the Hackney Empire Theatre in London, England on November 1, 2005.[7][8]”

      (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philip_Munger with all the normal caveats/cautions)

      Better to read this interview:

      “An interview with composer Phillip Munger”

      http://rachelcorriefoundation.org/blog/2006/10/02/for-rachel-corrie-an-interview-with-composer-phillip-munger

      and

      “The Skies Are Weeping”

      http://rachelcorriefoundation.org/blog/2006/02/01/text-to-the-skies-are-weeping-a-cantata-by-philip-munger

      • Philip Munger
        August 4, 2015, 2:19 pm

        Thanks, just.

        I’m currently working on a commission for a piano concerto for Juliana Osinchuk. Subject of the music – global warming running amok. I would love to have it performed in Gaza, Ramallah, Hebron or Jenin.

        I am writing it in the Trinity Mountains in northern California. Right now, the place where I am staying is surrounded on all four sides by forest fires that were started by lightning strikes last Thursday and Friday. Over 1,000 firefighters are battling the scores of separate blazes. Last night was the first one since Thursday when I didn’t go to sleep to the sight of fires lighting all the horizons. Too much smoke to see them. The local fires are only 5% to 10% contained. More dry lightning storms predicted for later in the week.

        Sadly, it makes for great inspiration for my subject.

        In the evenings, I am reading Max Blumenthal’s newest book on the 2014 Gaza War.

      • just
        August 4, 2015, 3:25 pm

        You never fail to inspire, Philip. Juliana Osinchuk is a phenom at the piano and in her work away from it…A great and worthy project, indeed.

        I was listening to the news today~ wildfires in CA and AK, floods in FL, deadly tent collapse in NH during a sudden severe thunderstorm with 60 mph winds and quarter- size hail, 165 degree heat in the ME and wildfires there, too.

        Still the US Congress does nothing, the Repubs are vying for Koch money, and now the President is being condemned by states and others for his initiative that he announced yesterday. But you know all that. So thank you again for putting your passion to work for good and for change. Music transcends all languages and ethnicities, after all.

        “I would love to have it performed in Gaza, Ramallah, Hebron or Jenin. ”

        I’ll put it on my wish list, Philip. With Israeli theft of Palestinian water and the desperate situation in Gaza (and other refugee camps all over MENA), this ‘heat wave’ is monumentally horrific and frightening.

  7. Kay24
    August 3, 2015, 1:09 pm

    Israel has broken the Palestinian territories, stolen lands, controlled the water, destroy thousands of olive trees belonging to poor farmers, occupied, massacred, arrested, and it’s deadly weapons have left families without homes, family members dead, babies killed, and
    entire families wiped out. There are many talented young kids over there with no hopes of every getting out of this hell caused by the zionists. The zionists meanwhile are enjoying their lives at the expense of the Palestinians, their children able to educate themselves, and go anywhere in the world, to succeed in whatever they desire to do. Those who decided to put this unwanted people in these territories are obliged to make this right – but we know they never will.

    It seems the beasts on the other side of the wall have no compassion enough to hear the music on the other side, it does not soothe them.

  8. michelle
    August 3, 2015, 1:51 pm

    .
    seems like there might be some talent(s) in this world that would stand in for Palestine
    and play for Palestine until Palestine is free to play for itself
    that way Palestine can be represented in some small way at these venues
    and people can be reminded that without Palestine we are incomplete
    .
    G-d Bless
    .

    • just
      August 3, 2015, 2:04 pm

      Beautifully expressed, Michelle.

      Especially this~

      “and people can be reminded that without Palestine we are incomplete”

      So true.

  9. justicewillprevail
    August 3, 2015, 2:49 pm

    There is something deeply depraved, perverse and numbly inhuman about these people who think it is a sport to smash musical instruments, shoot footballers in the legs, harass writers, academics and set out to humiliate just about anyone who demonstrates an ability to rise above the station these callous, cruel sadists have allotted to them. Years of indoctrination have told them that Palestinians do not exist, they are sub-human, they have no culture and it is the Israeli’s right to treat them like dogs. So when a gentle, inoffensive musician artist or anybody who has achieved something presents themselves to their prison guards the lip-curling contempt is obvious – they are not allowed to be independent, thinking, creative human beings with a real culture. This contradicts everything the guards have absorbed, and to believe otherwise threatens their whole narrow-minded,rigid cult beliefs, so what better response than to smash the evidence in front of them and restore their crackpot worldview and impose their perceived right to abuse ‘inferior’ people. It is despicable, cowardly, bullying behaviour which betrays their inadequacy and inability to see others outside the tribe as equal human beings with something to offer. It makes me ill.

    But I take my hat off to people like Tom who persist in the face of this systematic cruelty and vindictiveness, and especially to Palestinians who demonstrate a dignity and ability to rise above this abuse, demonstrating a humanity entirely absent, or bred out of, their guards.

    • just
      August 3, 2015, 3:17 pm

      +10, justicewillprevail.

      May your nom de plume soon prove true!

    • CigarGod
      August 3, 2015, 6:25 pm

      “There is something deeply depraved, perverse and numbly inhuman about these people who think it is a sport to smash musical instruments, shoot footballers in the legs, harass writers, academics and set out to humiliate just about anyone who demonstrates an ability to rise above the station these callous, cruel sadists have allotted to them.”

      I can’t help it. I’m conditioned on Nazi movies.
      Those all too often the images that come to mind when I see the behavior of Israeli’s…just 70 years after the tables were turned another way.

      • Kris
        August 3, 2015, 7:03 pm

        @CigarGod: “I can’t help it. I’m conditioned on Nazi movies. Those all too often the images that come to mind when I see the behavior of Israeli’s…just 70 years after the tables were turned another way.”

        Me, too. When I hear accents like Tzipi Livni’s, I shudder. I know that accent because that’s what the Nazis in the movies sounded like.

        So I can only imagine how deeply embedded the Jewish Israeli prejudice against Palestinians is. They didn’t just watch a few movies; they have grown up in an environment designed to instill and reinforce this racism every moment of every day.

      • CigarGod
        August 3, 2015, 7:20 pm

        Yep.
        Now they are going to take all but 3 new congress people, and put them thru moonie boot camp.
        I cant wait to see those wide eyes and shrill voices as they hit the air waves upon their return…never having had met a Palestinian…but terrified, just the same.

  10. Bornajoo
    August 3, 2015, 2:57 pm

    I can’t really add anything else to the great comments already made. Ditto to all!

    Many, many thanks Tom Suarez for this superb article and for everything that you do

    • Citizen
      August 4, 2015, 3:13 am

      ditto

    • bintbiba
      August 4, 2015, 4:34 am

      I just came to Tom’s compelling article.
      I’ve always been an admirer of your work with the young aspiring musicians in the West Bank , Tom ! In spite of all the barriers and difficulties put in your way,,,you persevere !

      Thank you .

  11. ritzl
    August 3, 2015, 3:22 pm

    Wonderful article. Compelling.

  12. JLewisDickerson
    August 3, 2015, 6:48 pm

    RE: “Two weeks before the performance, Israel prevented the quartet’s first violinist from reaching the West Bank. Diplomatic efforts to stop Israeli interference failed, forcing the cancellation of the concert. Within the space of one year, Israel thwarted three concerts of mine alone.” ~ Tom Suarez

    FROM ALISTAIR CROOKE, London Review of Books, 03/03/11:

    [EXCERPTS] . . . It was [Ariel] Sharon who pioneered the philosophy of ‘maintained uncertainty’ that repeatedly extended and then limited the space in which Palestinians could operate by means of an unpredictable combination of changing and selectively enforced regulations, and the dissection of space by settlements, roads Palestinians were not allowed to use and continually shifting borders. All of this was intended to induce in the Palestinians a sense of permanent temporariness. . .
    . . . It suits Israel to have a ‘state’ without borders so that it can keep negotiating about borders, and count on the resulting uncertainty to maintain acquiescence. . .

    SOURCE – http://www.lrb.co.uk/v33/n05/alastair-crooke/permanent-temporariness

  13. eGuard
    August 4, 2015, 10:10 am

    The BBC report by Tim Whewell, “Saving Gaza’s only grand piano”, is sickening. Whewell keeps asking “making music is haram” (disallowed in Islam), without bothering to look it up himself or even consider the facts that entering his ears as he speaks.

    And there he is again, Daniel Barenboim pushing himself into music from the occupying country, to solve the occupation by so generously allowing children to make music – as a diversion from something he dare not name. If he had a heart, he could have let ten children more make music: he just had to raise his voice in time, a year ago, and prevented just one rocket being fired from Israel. But no. I bet his name was not on the sponsor list when the BBC asked Gazan Govt permission to enter the Gaza strip, he typically creeps up afterwards.

    Instead, last year he wrote “the fear with which my fellow Israelis live today: the constant sounds of rockets being fired …”, and “In this conflict, we [Israelis, Palestinians] are all losers”. (Of course, he wrote this on July 24, when most of the killing was done. Not on day one).
    http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/jul/24/israelis-palestinians-losers-conflict-suffering-rights

    About the 2008/2009 Israeli attacks on Gaza: “Palestinian violence torments Israelis”. and of course “Israel has the right to defend itself”. After one week.
    http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2009/jan/01/israel-gaza-bombings-hamas

    Barenboim is the Dershowitz in music.

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