Author Archives: Tom Suarez

Chomsky and BDS

Parsing Noam Chomsky’s argument against portions of BDS in The Nation, Tom Suarez says Chomsky grants too much authority to what Israelis will accept, or maybe not, and fails to see the power of BDS in educating the world about Palestinian conditions in exactly the way the world was educated about South African apartheid

Posted in BDS, Israel/Palestine, One state/Two states | Tagged , , | 114 Comments

From the Royal Albert Concert Hall to an Israeli Dungeon: Omar Saad, a young violist and conscientious objector

Omar Saad is the oldest of a quartet of siblings from the Galilee village of Maghar. The four are, indeed, literally a quartet, namely the Galilee String Quartet, composed of violist Omar, his two younger violinist brothers, and their sister, the ensemble’s ‘cellist. When Omar turned seventeen in 2013, he received orders to appear at the IDF recruitment office. He replied with an open, polyglot letter to the Prime Minister and Defense Minister explaining why he was refusing.

Posted in Activism, Israel/Palestine | 17 Comments

BBC to censor violinist Nigel Kennedy’s statement about Israeli apartheid from TV broadcast

The BBC will censor a statement made by violinist Nigel Kennedy from its television broadcast of his performance with the Palestine Strings at a prestigious music festival last week. The media company took the action because he used the word “apartheid” to describe the world in which his Palestinian colleagues live while performing at the BBC Proms.

Posted in Israel/Palestine | Tagged | 70 Comments

BBC festival features Palestine Strings and condemnation of apartheid to jubilant applause

Royal Albert Hall broke into jubilant applause when famed violinist Nigel Kennedy denounced “apartheid” in Palestine

Posted in Israel/Palestine | Tagged | 36 Comments

Violinist tumbles while climbing separation wall, is unable to perform historic concert

Last year, the Ramallah Orchestra, whose bus was boarded by Israeli soldiers, above, had to cancel its St. Anne Church concert in Jerusalem when Israel failed to give the Palestinian musicians permits. This year, the Orchestra’s Palestinian musicians were determined not to be stopped. According to a riveting account by Sandy Tolan, they hired professional wall-evaders, who brought them to an isolated area, cut through barbed wire and hung a knotted rope from the top of the wall so that the musicians could climb over it. And one man fell and suffered vomiting fits

Posted in Israel/Palestine | 29 Comments

A dozen Palestinian children ‘on big adventure of their lives’ are balked when teacher is stopped from traveling

A sister organization linking Camden in London and Abu Dis in Jerusalem set up a two week trip to England for a dozen Palestinian children, 13-15. Then Israeli border authorities stopped their teacher

Posted in Israel/Palestine | 15 Comments

From the back of the bus at Allenby to Jakarta’s symphony hall

The Palestine National Orchestra is welcomed in Indonesia. The yoke of occupation and oppression that Palestinians know today, Indonesians, historically, have known all too well.

Posted in Israel/Palestine | 1 Comment

Report from Bethlehem: Obama exploits the messenger of peace for a photo-op


US President Obama’s hurried appearances in two West Bank towns provided the desired imagery for his ‘listening’ trip to the Middle East. In both Ramallah and Bethlehem, he was well-insulated from the Palestinians themselves. His arrival in Bethlehem was like a surreal wake following some natural calamity or apocalypse. Above, Obama’s fleet exits through the locked-down streets of Bethlehem.

Posted in Israel/Palestine, Occupation, On the ground reports, US Policy in the Middle East, US Politics | Tagged | 58 Comments

Google and the eternal, undivided capital of the Jewish people

Israel has violated international legal rulings by stating that an undivided Jerusalem is its capital as it occupies East Jerusalem. Even the United States does not recognize this landgrab. So why are Google Earth and Google Maps recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital? And why does Google chairman Eric Schmidt butter up Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu?

Posted in Israel/Palestine | Tagged | 57 Comments

The (what about) China syndrome


It’s probably a good sign that Israel’s apologists are increasingly resorting to a sideways defense: “I don’t hear you complaining about China or Syria or North Korea.” It’s time to expose the ‘What about’ it for what it is—a cynical attempt to keep eyes from noticing that the Emperor has no clothes.

Posted in Israel/Palestine, US Politics | 125 Comments

Ramallah Orchestra’s performance of ‘Eroica’ in Jerusalem is cancelled due to Israeli interference

Israel denies permission to Palestinian musicians to play Mozart and Beethoven symphonies in East Jerusalem church

Posted in Israel/Palestine, Israeli Government, Occupation, On the ground reports | 11 Comments

The Palestine National Orchestra: a view from the violin section

Violinist Tom Suarez recounts his March 2012 performances in Amman and Ramallah as a guest performer with the Palestine National Orchestra, a project of Edward Said National Conservatory of Music.

Posted in Activism, Israel/Palestine, Israeli Government, Occupation, On the ground reports | Tagged | 24 Comments