Trending Topics:

Alicia Keys show in Israel has propaganda backbeat– repeatedly tweeted by consulates and Foreign Ministry

on 72 Comments
                   The Israeli Consul General posted this thank you message to Alicia Keys                                   July 5, 2013  (Photo via Facebook)

Advocates for Palestinian human rights harshly criticized singer Alicia Keys’ recent visit to Israel, where the pop star visited an organization founded by Israeli President Shimon Peres and performed with a self-proclaimed “cultural ambassador” for Israel. The U.S. Campaign to End the Occupation, which had urged Keys to respect the Palestinian call for boycott and cancel her show, issued its critical statement yesterday.

The criticism comes a week after I reported on a photograph that showed Keys with a woman with direct links to a group called Thank Israeli Soldiers, which sent warm winter gear to Israeli soldiers fighting in the Gaza Strip last year and proclaimed its support for the Israeli Navy’s attack on the Mavi Marmara in 2010. The U.S. Campaign reports that an American activist visited the Thank Israeli Soldiers office yesterday, and was greeted by the same woman who was in the photo with Keys.

“Keys claims to support human rights, and she talked about playing to unify audiences in ‘peace and love,’ but instead her actions conveyed support for Israel’s government, military occupation and elites that impose a violent, discriminatory regime of oppression and apartheid on the Palestinian people,” said the U.S. Campaign’s Anna Baltzer in a statement.

Here’s more from the U.S. Campaign to End the Occupation:

Keys’ visit to Israel was proudly tweeted at least eight times by Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and various Israeli consulates. Showing the importance the government attaches to major artists visits in light of Israel’s growing cultural isolation, Israel’s consulate in Philadelphia tweeted, “Alicia Keys blew Tel Aviv away at her July 4th concert, and Rihanna is next! Will you be at her October 22nd show?” There is no evidence that Keys and her representatives objected to the use of her name and performance by Israeli officials to the benefit of the state of Israel. However, Keys and her legal representative, the firm Ziffren, Brittenham, LLP, whose partner David Byrnes is also an advisory board member of Creative Community for Peace, took legal action to remove from Youtube a video made by activists of Palestinian women protesting set to the tune of “Girl on Fire” that called on Keys to cancel her show in Israel. CCP later asserted that the activists were using Keys’ “work for their own self-gain.”

Israeli media and the founder of the Israeli technology company Natie reported that Keys visited the Peres Center for Peace, an Israeli organization accused by Palestinian civil society of being “a leading colonial and apartheid institution.” Shimon Peres, Israel’s President and the center’s founder, has cultivated the aura of a champion of peace, despite, as just one example, having ordered Israel’s military assault on Southern Lebanon in 1996 that resulted in the massacre of 102 Lebanese civilians and wounding of hundreds more who had sought refuge inside a UN compound in Qana. The Peres Center has been denounced by Palestinian civil society organizations as “neither effective in bringing about reconciliation, nor desirable, and “hindering the path to just peace,” and was characterized by an Israeli analyst as “patronizing and colonial.”

The group also says that Dr. Rachel Mattson, who was recently in Palestine on a delegation, witnessed Keys’ band members being harassed by Israeli security. Mattson said:

I found myself being interrogated next to Alicia Keys’ sound engineer. He was Latino. I saw 2-3 Israeli security staff harassing him, aggressively demanding that he prove that he participated in the concert and hand searching all his equipment. Security started my interrogation after his and I still finished before him. At the gate later I ran into Keys’ other band members, all African American, who told me they had all experienced problems with Israeli security.

Alex Kane
About Alex Kane

Alex Kane is a freelance journalist who focuses on Israel/Palestine and civil liberties. Follow him on Twitter @alexbkane.

Other posts by .

Posted In:

72 Responses

  1. Justpassingby
    July 25, 2013, 1:18 pm

    Disgraceful that Alicia keys, half ‘african american’ choose to go to this regime and perform.

    • hophmi
      July 25, 2013, 2:28 pm

      Racist sentiment, Justpassingby. Are African-Americans supposed to act a certain way to satisfy you?

      • Cliff
        July 25, 2013, 3:58 pm

        It’s not racist.

        Did the majority of African-Americans support apartheid in SA?

        Would AK play for apartheid SA?

        Desmond Tutu, Nelson Mandela, and many others have come out in support of the Palestinian people and have rightly described Israel as an apartheid State. Nelson Mandela has expressed solidarity with the PLO.

        The situation is undoubtedly apartheid. Zionist government officials – who are nevertheless dishonest ideologues – have said that Israel is on the verge of apartheid. They can’t say it IS apartheid because then they become enemies of the Lobby and the Israeli government.

        But the entire apartheid argument and label is accurate. Either it is now, or it’s close.

        And if Zionist sophists want to quibble with the pointless technical dimensions of the term, they can (ie YOU can) – it’s still a horrible situation of inequality and colonialism.

        But AK still goes to apartheid Israel.

        She does so because it’s too much trouble to go against the establishment and to deal with the hyenas and vultures of the Israel Lobby.

        The organized Jewish community specializes in abuse and harassment and slander.

      • Citizen
        July 26, 2013, 5:23 am

        @ Cliff
        Here’s Gandi writing about the Jews and Palestinians in 1936 and 1948:

        Quite interesting, especially considering when written.

      • Citizen
        July 26, 2013, 5:39 am

        More: A NYT article from 2010 on Gandi’s and Buber’s views on Jews and Palestinians: It’s clear both men thought any solution though the barrel of a gun, through terrorism, was not a good idea. That way one loses the moral high ground and good wishes of the world.

      • German Lefty
        German Lefty
        July 25, 2013, 4:33 pm

        Racist sentiment, Justpassingby.

        Are African-Americans supposed to act a certain way to satisfy you?
        Well, one would think that black people are sensitive about apartheid. However, I expect every decent human being to oppose apartheid.

      • Hostage
        July 25, 2013, 11:28 pm

        Well, one would think that black people are sensitive about apartheid.

        Keyes didn’t perform a concert for apartheid or the Israeli government for that matter. The BDS movement and the Israeli government have been talking past her at one other since day one – and this is just another example.

        Most of us here are paying former President Clinton’s retirement check, which is an “office of profit”, subject to the Emoluments Clause, i.e. persons holding such offices aren’t supposed to accept any presents from any foreign state according to Article I, Section 9, Clause 8 of the Constitution – even if they donate the present or payment to a private scholarship fund, like Clinton did.

        Ordinary government retirees are specifically prohibited from doing exactly what their former Commander-in-Chief just did:


        A key restriction on the foreign employment of retired U.S. military personnel is found in article I, section 9, clause 8, of the United States Constitution. This provision, the Emoluments Clause, prohibits any person “holding any office of profit or trust” in the Federal Government from accepting any gift, emolument, office, or title of any kind from any king, prince, or foreign state without the consent of Congress.

        As interpreted in Comptroller General opinions and by the Department of Justice Office of Legal Counsel, the Emoluments Clause prohibits receipt of consulting fees, gifts, travel expenses, honoraria, or salary by all retired military personnel, officer and enlisted, Regular and Reserve, from a foreign government unless Congressional consent is first obtained. Consent is provided by Congress in 37 U.S.C. § 908, which requires advance approval from the relevant Service Secretary and the Secretary of State before accepting employment, consulting fees, gifts, travel expenses, honoraria or salary from a foreign government.

        Employment compensation from foreign educational or commercial institutions that are owned, operated, or controlled by a foreign government generally qualifies as an emolument because such entities are viewed as an extension of the foreign government.

        Retired military personnel should also be aware that the Emoluments Clause may apply to monies they receive through their employment with a domestic partnership or a limited liability company, such as a law firm or consulting business. This is so even if the foreign government is not one of the retiree’s clients. The Office of the Legal Counsel has concluded that accepting a share of partnership profits that is derived from the partnership’s representation of a foreign government is considered an emolument, even if the retiree did not provide direct services to the foreign government client.

        The Comptroller General has determined that the Government may pursue debt collection when an employee accepts an emolument from a foreign government without the required consent.

        There were no open letters from Walker, Baltzer, et al demanding that Clinton boycott the parastal JNF-funded gala for Israeli President Peres or asking the State Department/Congress to deny permission for him to receive the $500,000 payment.

      • aiman
        July 26, 2013, 4:22 am


        That’s because BDS is a response to the unwillingness of the state. Clinton represents the state. Keys doesn’t. There’s a big difference between the two. Though I would argue that Keys’ actions place her an enabler of the structures of power from whom nothing can be expected but platitudes.

      • Hostage
        July 26, 2013, 7:13 am


        That’s because BDS is a response to the unwillingness of the state. Clinton represents the state. Keys doesn’t.

        No, he’s retired and doesn’t legally represent anyone anymore. I’d like to remind you that the 2005 BDS call to action specifically stated:

        We appeal to you to pressure your respective states to impose embargoes and sanctions against Israel.

        If you think he represents us, then where are the open letters demanding that he stay home and boycott the event?

        The notion that we should be pressuring private citizens, who aren’t doing business with the State of Israel or any company or agent that supports the occupation or apartheid, is not accomplishing anything. At the same time, this movement doesn’t have the right to grant retired officials, like Clinton, a free pass or license to violate our laws or the Constitution in order to kiss some old war criminal’s ass in public and swear it smells like just like roses in exchange for a hefty speaking fee. We need to get our priorities straightened out a bit when that happens and no one bothers to complain.

      • Tzombo
        July 26, 2013, 7:22 am

        “Keyes didn’t perform a concert for apartheid or the Israeli government for that matter.”

        Yes, she did. That is what most artists seem to fail to understand, but what this article makes clear: any artist visiting Israel will be milked for propaganda purposes.

      • Hostage
        July 26, 2013, 7:29 am

        P.S. Oddly enough, the Israeli government is taking the situation more seriously than we are, e.g.

        JNF could be subject to state comptroller review if Israel’s justice ministry has its way
        The Jewish National Fund, which is registered as a private company even though its assets are state lands, spends billions subject to no government oversight.

        Justice Minister Tzipi Livni initiated the bill even before it was reported that the JNF had paid half a million dollars for a speech by former U.S. President Bill Clinton as part of last month’s 90th birthday celebrations for President Shimon Peres. These reports highlighted the anomaly that had long been well-known − that the billions spent and taken in by this institution are not subject to any government oversight.

        The majority of those state lands, and proceeds from them, come from expropriated Palestinian property. Why should Clinton get to endow scholarships with stolen or tainted money without a peep from the BDS movement?

      • talknic
        July 26, 2013, 9:21 am

        @ Hostage Not only the Israeli Govt

      • Hostage
        July 26, 2013, 6:39 pm

        “Keyes didn’t perform a concert for apartheid or the Israeli government for that matter.”

        Yes, she did.

        No she didn’t. The press has never named one Israeli public figure or state official who attended her concert. So spare me your hyperbolic nonsense. The leaders of the BDS movement say that they don’t target individuals on the basis of their nationality and then turn around and employ sweeping and overly-broad generalizations exactly like that one to tar and feather artists. When Judith Butler and Omar Barghouti were questioned on this point at Brooklyn College, Butler claimed that:

        “BDS focuses on state agencies and corporations that build machinery designed to destroy homes, that build military materiel that targets populations, that profit from the occupation, that are situated illegally on Palestinian lands, to name a few. “BDS does not discriminate against individuals on the basis of their national citizenship. I concede that not all versions of BDS have been consistent on this point in the past, but the present policy confirms this principle.”

        Then we all turn right around and claim that Keyes is “performing for apartheid” and ask her not to perform for an audience of anonymous fans because they are Israeli nationals. That’s Orwellian double speak. Keyes represents American culture. Her enterprise is not a state agency or corporation that builds machinery designed to destroy homes, that build military materiel that targets populations, that profit from the occupation, or is situated illegally on Palestinian lands. There is no nexus to apartheid there, so some of us are working overtime trying to invent one through innuendo.

        When artists cancel concerts and don’t come to Israel, the Palestinian news agency WAFA does the same thing the government of Israel has done in this case. It’s also repeating the latest innuendos against Keyes. I noted before, that both sides have been talking past her to their target audiences since day one.

        If you don’t want people to discriminate against Palestinians on the basis of their nationality, then don’t do it to Israelis. When it comes to bigotry, you cannot fight fire with fire and stay classy.

      • aiman
        July 27, 2013, 6:19 am

        The press has never named one Israeli public figure or state official who attended her concert.

        They’ve used her for propaganda and public relations as this article states in the very headline. Compare this to the information put out by US Campaign to end the Occupation quoted here: “However, Keys and her legal representative, the firm Ziffren, Brittenham, LLP, whose partner David Byrnes is also an advisory board member of Creative Community for Peace, took legal action to remove from Youtube a video made by activists of Palestinian women protesting set to the tune of “Girl on Fire” that called on Keys to cancel her show in Israel.”

        Surely Keys picked a side. It’s obvious to most.

      • aiman
        July 27, 2013, 6:30 am

        No, he’s retired and doesn’t legally represent anyone anymore.

        That’s an incredibly disingenuous argument. Clinton is representative of state, of Hilary Clinton (including her future in politics), of the Democratic Party even.

        I’d like to remind you that the 2005 BDS call to action specifically stated: We appeal to you to pressure your respective states to impose embargoes and sanctions against Israel.

        Eventually it might mean the pressure will hinder figures like Clinton. Even International Law can be trashed similarly. International Law and the last ditch and small effort called BDS can work simultaneously. Let’s not get into the anti-BDS cult or the BDS cult.

        We need to get our priorities straightened out a bit when that happens and no one bothers to complain.

        I agree.

      • Rusty Pipes
        Rusty Pipes
        July 27, 2013, 7:31 pm

        Why? Because Slick Willy is a lost cause. Since before he left office, Bill has been raising money through “speaking fees” and “presidential library donations” as part of his support for Hillary’s aspirations for higher office — first the Senate, then the White House. Many of those “speaking fees” have been for various organizations and individuals affiliated with the Israel Lobby. Bill has been given a pass on these money laundering activities for over a decade, because no one in the Democratic Party establishment wants to tackle the problem since it involves major Zionist donors. Bill’s speaking at a JNF event in Israel is just an extension of greasing the relations with major American Zionist donors. Since you are a lawyer, the distinction of the legalities of Bill’s receiving fees from Zionists at home or abroad are obvious to you — it isn’t to the average layperson.

        Academics and artists, like Alicia Keys, are not considered a lost cause, especially to PACBI. The academic and cultural boycott of South Africa was an important part of raising international awareness about how apartheid was separating that country from international norms. It can have the same effect in Israel. PACBI does not advocate the boycott of all academics or artists; but the PR hay that Israel is making from Keys’ visit demonstrates that bringing such high-profile artists is part of Israel’s cultural-washing campaign.

      • Hostage
        July 27, 2013, 8:45 pm

        Why? Because Slick Willy is a lost cause.

        So the call to action is bogus propaganda and we are really just fighting bigotry with more bigotry? That’s not a viable plan of action.

        If it’s not worth campaigning against a retired US government employee who is publicly violating constitutional principles and existing federal sanctions and guidelines regarding serious conflicts of interest by helping a foreign power endow a private Zionist scholarship program with money obtained from the JNF, what possible interest can it serve to pillory Alicia Keyes over imaginary offenses?

        Joseph Weitz, the director of the JNF Land and Forestry Department, worked together with Ezra Danin and Eliyahu Sasson to establish the “unofficial” Transfer Committee after Ben Gurion advised Weitz in February 1948 that “Jews didn’t need to purchase land anymore, but to conquer it.” See the record of the conversation between Ben Gurion and Joseph Weitz in “My Diary and Letters to the Children”, volume 3, Masada, Ramat Gan, 1965, page 279 and Shlomo Ben Ami, Scars of War Wounds of Peace, page 45 .

        Since that time the JNF has helped bulldoze or eradicate hundreds of Palestinian villages, including its forestation drive against the Bedouin of Al-Arakib, a village they’ve helped destroy more than 30 times. The JNF aided and abetted Ben Gurion’s plan to steal millions of dunams of expropriated privately-owned Palestinian land from the uprooted inhabitants in exactly that fashion and convert it into the land of the Jewish people. See “With all due respect for the ‘blue box”

        The JNF controls the unelected seats on the board of governors of the Israeli Land Authority that guarantees a Jewish majority to veto any challenge to its racist, exclusionary, national land use policies. If the BDS movement is going to treat that as a lost cause, and try to stir-up controversy over concerts instead, it may as well fold up shop, because it has lost its way.

      • Hostage
        July 27, 2013, 9:00 pm

        Re: Since you are a lawyer, the distinction of the legalities of Bill’s receiving fees from Zionists at home or abroad are obvious to you — it isn’t to the average layperson.

        I’m not a lawyer. I’m retired from the U.S. military. I was given a copy of that guideline that I quoted above, because it is an official policy statement on the subject that governs my own conduct.

      • Rusty Pipes
        Rusty Pipes
        July 27, 2013, 9:04 pm

        There certainly are activists and groups within the BDS movement that are working to expose the JNF. South African groups and JVP’s “greenwashing” awareness campaign spring to mind. In the past, you have made your reservations very clear about the BDS movement ( a coalition of widely diverse Palestinian civil society organizations and their supporters). I see no reason to rehash why they choose to expend their limited resources in campaigns that will resonate with the broader public over ones that will not.

        Of course, there are many things they could do better. No doubt, they could benefit from the pro bono services of experts on international law to strengthen the “sanctions” angle of their campaigns.

      • Hostage
        July 27, 2013, 9:10 pm

        It can have the same effect in Israel. PACBI does not advocate the boycott of all academics or artists; but the PR hay that Israel is making from Keys’ visit demonstrates that bringing such high-profile artists is part of Israel’s cultural-washing campaign.

        Then PACBI needs to stick to its business of boycotting Israeli state cultural institutions and agents and keep its mouth shut about American artists pursuing their living, unless they have something to do with that specific subject. The Israeli government is obviously making a propaganda mountain out of a molehill that PACBI helped create in the first place.

      • Hostage
        July 29, 2013, 5:05 am

        No, he’s retired and doesn’t legally represent anyone anymore.

        That’s an incredibly disingenuous argument.

        No it isn’t, just read the Constitution. He doesn’t hold any elected office, just an Office of Profit created under the laws of the United States.

        Eventually it might mean the pressure will hinder figures like Clinton.

        It won’t so long as we are too busy having a hissy fit about Alicia Keyes to even mention the subject of the Constitutional clause banning the acceptance by our retired officials of emoluments from foreign states and their agents. The whole idea behind the call to action is that we must speak-up when our governments fail to enforce the laws in order to benefit the Zionist agenda or enterprise. This is a pretty clear example of that.

      • Hostage
        July 29, 2013, 5:17 am

        They’ve used her for propaganda and public relations as this article states in the very headline.

        They weren’t mentioning Alicia Keyes at all, before the BDS movement started the letter writing publicity campaign and turned it into a propaganda battle. I’d suggest that we follow Bloomberg’s friendly advice to pro-Israel, anti-BDS protesters who created their own publicity predicament, i.e. shut up about it.

      • MHughes976
        July 29, 2013, 8:02 am

        Rational as your argument is I have this strange burst of hope from time to time about the Clintons. It happened again when I was looking at the early opinion polls for 2016, noting that Hillary Clinton has her candidacy in the bag already unless those polls are way off the mark and that the Presidency looks like hers to lose, with only Christie currently giving her a run for her money and with him being sharply at variance with others whose support and votes he’d need. If I was an Israeli politician or a Zionist lobbyist I’d think I had a two-headed slippery eel by the tail and would predict some dire writhings.

      • a blah chick
        a blah chick
        July 25, 2013, 7:13 pm

        I expect African-Americans to understand the oppression visited on minorities in other countries so, no, she did not satisfy this African American.

      • Shingo
        July 26, 2013, 12:06 am

        Racist sentiment, Justpassingby. Are African-Americans supposed to act a certain way to satisfy you?

        Right Hop,

        They got harassed for beng black, but you are perfectly happy to overlook that racism aren’t you?

      • amigo
        July 26, 2013, 3:21 am

        “Racist sentiment, Justpassingby.”hoppy.

        That,s a laugh coming from a Zionist supremacist bigot.

      • annie
        July 26, 2013, 6:41 am

        Are African-Americans supposed to act a certain way to satisfy you?

        wrt apartheid? hell yeah. and everybody else too.

      • Justpassingby
        July 26, 2013, 10:04 am

        I dont expect supporters of the israeli regime to admit that racism is something bad.

      • Shingo
        July 26, 2013, 7:33 pm

        I suspect that once Israel is officially recognized as an apartheid state, the Israeli government, AIPAC and Congress will launch a re branding campaign to argue that apartheid is moral and legitimate.

  2. ckg
    July 25, 2013, 2:23 pm

    Alex-you’re a good investigative journalist. Plz investigate the unverified threats on Eric Burdon. Or ask Max to do it.

    • asherpat
      July 26, 2013, 4:27 am

      @ckg – why waste time to “investigate”? You already know that they are “unverified”, isn’t it what you write?

      • annie
        July 26, 2013, 6:46 am

        asherpat, thus far there has been no verification. at least none written about in the press. by all means if someone else has verified them please link to it. otherwise they will remain unverified.

      • asherpat
        July 26, 2013, 7:12 pm

        Annie, I asked @CKG the same question – if these threats are “unverified”, why waste Alex’s time to “investigate”?

  3. just
    July 25, 2013, 6:29 pm

    Keys is to justice/human rights/peace as Israel is to justice/human rights/peace.

    They suit one another. Peas in a pod. Deaf, dumb and blind to what is obvious to the rest of the world — the brutal Occupation and the jailing of millions of indigenous humans…………… an open air prison.

  4. a blah chick
    a blah chick
    July 25, 2013, 7:19 pm

    “…I ran into Keys’ other band members, all African American, who told me they had all experienced problems with Israeli security.”

    Wow, just, wow.

    This is how the BDS movement will spread, through word of mouth by people who have experienced Israel up close and personal. I have a feeling that more artists are going to cancel because their crews don’t want to get anal probed at the airport.

    • ritzl
      July 25, 2013, 10:44 pm

      Good one, abc. Running with it, imagine if these performer’s crews were substantially Palestinian, Arab, or Arab-looking (as is apparently the standard for polisci professors in terms of Israel’s “special treatment”), or even, ugh, activists or anyone that has uttered a word in protest supporting Palestinian rights. The performers could agree to perform, but when they got to the airport, the crew would be denied entry.


    • asherpat
      July 26, 2013, 5:05 am

      Wow, just, wow!

      so Israel is “baaaaaad” coz it must check carefully people who arrive at the same airport that the terrorist Kozo Okamoto killed dozens upon arrival?

      • yrn
        July 26, 2013, 7:26 am

        Wrong asherpat
        Israel is exactly like Swiss, or Monaco…..
        No Security problems, no Enemy’s, No Terrorist arround, Israel is Checking people just for fun, that’s part of
        the experience to visit Israel.
        As the same goes to the check points, as there are No terrorist and Israel is living peacefully with it’s Arab neighbors, we are checking people in the check points for fun………..

      • Shingo
        July 26, 2013, 7:35 pm

        Israel is exactly like Swiss, or Monaco…..

        No, the Swiss or Monaco are not apartheid states, carrying out ethnic cleansing, land theft, home demolitions and mass murder.

      • Talkback
        July 27, 2013, 5:30 am

        Yeah, harassment of others is fun for racists.

      • Hostage
        July 29, 2013, 7:55 am

        Israel is exactly like Swiss, or Monaco…..

        That’s just a variation of the scripted reply that Dov Weisglass mentioned years ago during an interview with Ari Shavit. It became a classic joke in Zionist circles:

        I found a device, in cooperation with the management of the world, to ensure that there will be no stopwatch here. That there will be no timetable to implement the settlers’ nightmare. I have postponed that nightmare indefinitely. Because what I effectively agreed to with the Americans was that part of the settlements would not be dealt with at all, and the rest will not be dealt with until the Palestinians turn into Finns. That is the significance of what we did. The significance is the freezing of the political process. And when you freeze that process you prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state and you prevent a discussion about the refugees, the borders and Jerusalem. Effectively, this whole package that is called the Palestinian state, with all that it entails, has been removed from our agenda indefinitely. And all this with authority and permission. All with a presidential blessing and the ratification of both houses of Congress. What more could have been anticipated? What more could have been given to the settlers?”

        “You keep insisting on the wrong definition. The right definition is that we created a status quo vis-a-vis the Palestinians. There was a very difficult package of commitments that Israel was expected to accept. That package is called a political process. It included elements we will never agree to accept and elements we cannot accept at this time. But we succeeded in taking that package and sending it beyond the hills of time. With the proper management we succeeded in removing the issue of the political process from the agenda. And we educated the world to understand that there is no one to talk to. And we received a no-one-to-talk-to certificate. That certificate says: (1) There is no one to talk to. (2) As long as there is no one to talk to, the geographic status quo remains intact. (3) The certificate will be revoked only when this-and-this happens – when Palestine becomes Finland. (4) See you then, and shalom.

        See The Big Freeze, Haaretz, October 8, 2004 available from

        So every time someone in Israel wishes that Palestine were more like Finland, I can’t help remembering the history of the “Molotov cocktail”:

        The story of the Molotov cocktail began in 1939 when, as Soviet foreign minister, Molotov secretly authorized the illegal invasion of Finland, weeks after the Second World War had started. In the early phases of the invasion, he claimed in radio broadcasts that the cluster bombs Soviet planes were dropping were actually food parcels for starving Finns.

        The Finnish resistance was stronger than the Soviets had anticipated and the invasion lasted through the bitter winter of 1940. The Finns’ secret weapon was a handmade incendiary device made from a bottle filled with flammable liquid and stoppered with a wick. They had borrowed the idea from General Franco’s Fascist troops, who had recently emerged as victors in the Spanish Civil War. The Fascists had produced these handheld bombs to disable the Soviet-built tanks used by the left-wing Republican government forces. The Finns christened them “Molotov’s cocktails,” the joke being that they were “a drink to go with his food parcels.”

        See The Second Book of General Ignorance: Everything You Think You Know Is (Still) Wrong, Random House, 2011, page 70

      • Tzombo
        July 26, 2013, 7:51 am

        That’s over 40 years ago. So anyway, are you saying Spain should racially profile people at Atoya station and harass them because there was a terrorist attack there at some point?

      • a blah chick
        a blah chick
        July 26, 2013, 8:29 am

        So, a Japanese guy who shot up the airport back in 1972 justifies the harassment of band members of a singer who had graciously preformed in spite of pointed requests not to do so. Yep, that does make sense.

      • chinese box
        chinese box
        July 26, 2013, 10:20 am

        so Israel is “baaaaaad” coz it must check carefully people who arrive at the same airport that the terrorist Kozo Okamoto killed dozens upon arrival?

        Silly comment. Because of something that happened over 40 years ago every minority needs to be hassled at BGA?

      • Sumud
        July 26, 2013, 12:18 pm

        Oh puhlease! You can drop the melodrama asherpat.

        Everyone who goes to an airport expects reasonable security precautions but it sounds like Keys’ band members got harassed.

        Good; I’m hope there’ll be some knock-on effect and Keys might think twice before going to Israel again. Maybe she’s a bit dense though and needs to be set upon by a pack of violent jewish youth and told to get back to Africa where she belongs, before she’ll understand the ugly reality of Israel.

  5. Fredman
    July 25, 2013, 8:33 pm

    But meanwhile Keys won’t play in Florida because of the Zimmerman trial.

    It’s all about marketing for the likes of Keys, not ethics, morals or basic humanity.

    • miriam6
      July 25, 2013, 9:33 pm

      Probably the BIG difference is that the Zimmerman trial occurred in America , her OWN country..

      Whereas she knows the I/P conflict does not belong to her..

      She is neither Israeli nor Palestinian..

      She is American however, so she therefore feels the Zimmerman trial is her concern and her business, not meddling in the I/P conflict by adhering to some phoney, hypocritical boycott.

      It speaks volumes that you can’t grasp the difference in criteria and circumstance, and how it affects Ms. Keys in adopting differing stances on the two issues.

      Whether its true or not , that she chooses not to play Florida , for whatever reason ,clearly , either way , Ms Keys thinks for herself.

      • Hostage
        July 26, 2013, 6:56 pm

        Probably the BIG difference is that the Zimmerman trial occurred in America , her OWN country..

        Nope. See Florida Boycott List That Included Kanye, Jay Z, Alicia Keys Discredited

      • Citizen
        July 27, 2013, 1:11 pm

        Her stated reason for ignoring BDS was that she sang to unite people by the power of music, not to be divisive. Kool. She has not stated how that expressed philosophy regarding the deployment of her talent led her to boycott Florida. Should we presume that Jewish Israelis oppressing the natives are more real to her than Palestinians, while Floridians defending Zimmerman and/or the rule of law, are not? Anybody want to explain this apparent inconsistency?

    • Citizen
      July 26, 2013, 5:11 am

      It’s all about marketing, which means its all about PC politics, which means the highest principles are applied only to a designated array of classes of official victims. In short, double standards apply.

  6. Daniel Rich
    Daniel Rich
    July 25, 2013, 10:15 pm

    They call it the ‘music industry‘ for a reason. Products can be mindless and [easily be] replaced.

    Richard Gere can yell foul about the Dalai Lama’s suffering until he’s blue in the face, you won’t see or hear him utter a word about the plight of the Palestinian population as a whole. Now, why’s that?

  7. Fredman
    July 26, 2013, 1:21 am

    Hi Mods-

    This is for you, not for publishing…

    Did you see this? Pardons if a repeat:

    York University Board of Governors walks out on students



  8. asherpat
    July 26, 2013, 4:23 am

    It’s a slow day…

  9. yrn
    July 26, 2013, 6:07 am

    Wow you are Amazing.
    If the BDS did not pick up to use it’s known tactic to try and make Alicia perform in Israel, I don’t think you would have known about her performance.
    But once the BDS, made it their fight of the year.
    As if she was canceling, you would have made her a saint.
    Use her as the icon of the BDS.

    Anyhow you got your wins…… Eric Burdon, so use it.
    Roger Waters….. well use him too.

  10. NickJOCW
    July 26, 2013, 8:21 am

    Why in the name of Heaven should anyone give a damn where this woman performs. I doubt she has ever thought about Israel/Palestine etc., or would wish to for that matter. It’s unlikely she decides where her gigs are booked but leaves such things to managers and record companies. I had never heard of her until now but discover from Wikipedia that her mother is of Italian, Scottish, and Irish descent, and her father is an African American so presumably she isn’t Jewish. Had her visit simply been ignored no one would know about it who doesn’t follow her social media and their heads have only room for things like Kate Middleton’s baby. If she ever did develop a humanitarian conscience it might be better turned towards Detroit where half the electric lighting isn’t working, two-thirds of the ambulances are out of service, over 80,000 buildings are deserted (40,000 of which are on the verge of collapsing) and in which the retired are liable to lose their pensions.

  11. Chu
    July 26, 2013, 9:36 am

    She could have killed 2 birds with 1 stone by singing at the finale
    ‘Ain’t gonna play Sun City’.
    That could have warmed the crowd up, in a prophetic sort of way…

  12. American
    July 26, 2013, 11:08 am

    pig balloons, pig balloons!… great for concerts in the US too.

    ‘Anger of Israel fans after pig-shaped balloon with Star of David released at Roger Waters concert in Belgium’

    British rock star Roger Waters has been criticised by Jewish groups after a pig-shaped balloon featuring the Star of David was released into the sky during a recent concert in Belgium.
    The large black balloon appeared towards the end of the former Pink Floyd frontman’s concert in Werchter, which opened his European tour.
    As well as the Star of David, it also featured symbols of organisations and regimes from around the world.

  13. Obsidian
    July 26, 2013, 1:08 pm

    Genuine Muslim-American women slams academic BDS of Israel.

    Haaretz (behind paywall) has an amazing article by Qanta Ahmed. It is so good I found very little to edit out:

    As a woman, a Muslim and as a physician of Pakistani descent, I can attest personally to the inordinate importance of academic freedom in Britain and the United States. This freedom was extended to me even during the time I was practicing medicine in Saudi Arabia, where – like all women – I was subject to gender apartheid. Because of this experience, I can only see the closing of the academic mind in the form of the ‘academic boycott’ of Israeli citizens and institutions as the act of invertebrate hypocrites. Boycotting Israel, whether academic or cultural is not an act of moral indignation, but an act of moral turpitude.

    Academic freedom builds relationships, tolerance, and opportunity. When I moved to Riyadh 15 years ago, I had no doubts about maintaining my professional relationship with my own Jewish American mentor who had guided me throughout my then early career.

    While I lived and worked in a country where as a Muslim I could worship but my mentor and his coreligionists could not, I was given every opportunity to develop in the American academic space because of his intellectual generosity. While I was subject to legislated male supremacy and relegated to being a legal minor, no Western academic suggested boycotting the medical academe hosting me in the Kingdom.

    Academic freedom was in fact my only freedom at the time and I was determined to share it. I connected my Saudi colleagues – leading Saudi Muslim academics – with my mentor which led to the publication of jointly-authored papers on patient care in the Arab Gulf, benefiting primarily Muslim patients. This work sowed the seeds for subsequent conferences where both my Saudi Muslim and American Jewish colleagues met and developed their own relationships.

    In contrast, boycotting Israeli entities penalizes apolitical individuals, their institutions, their innovations and ultimately, stymies a global market of ideas which benefits humanity. Perhaps it’s possible to make a more generous assessment of why the various scholars, writers and entertainers who call for a boycott of ‘apartheid Israel’ claim to act in the interests of Palestinians: That it’s based on simple ignorance. They would certainly be wiser if they had had the same opportunity that I recently enjoyed when I visited Israel to meet Israeli academia, and – critically – examined how such a boycott, whether overt or covert, particularly damages Israeli Arabs, or Palestinian citizens of Israel.

    I spoke to Arab Muslim undergraduates at Haifa’s Technion University during my visit in May this year. Arab undergraduates (most of whom are Muslim with a smaller Christian representation) lead a program to remove barriers to success of fellow Arab undergraduates there. Professor Daoud Bshouty, Dean of Undergraduate Studies (and both Israel’s and Technion’s first Christian Arab faculty member) and Sara Katzir, former Israeli Airforce officer and head of the Beatrice Weston Unit for the Advancement of Students, explained the origin of the program, joined by Assistant Professor Youseff Jabareen, an Arab Israeli Muslim graduate, and the Muslim undergraduate Maysoun Hindawi, who related their own experiences as minorities.

    When, eight years ago, the Technion examined their own data, they were dismayed to find a high drop-out rate amongst Arab undergraduates, even though they had met the rigorous entry criteria to a university consistently rated amongst the top three science institutes in the world. This was an untenable loss of intellectual talent for the university and in their mind, for Israel.

    Since then, the Beatrice Weston Unit for the Advancement of Students has developed one-on-one peer mentorship by and for Israeli Arab undergraduates, with men mentoring men and women mentoring women in view of the cultural sensitivities. The program was funded by Jewish American philanthropists intent on serving all sectors of Technion’s students, majority and minority alike.

    In less than a decade, the Weston Advancement Unit has improved the Technion’s Israeli Arab undergraduate retention rate by over 50 percent, with more gains likely. But The Technion’s support extends beyond their undergraduates. Many Israeli Arabs attend Arabic medium schools, so the move to the Hebrew-language university is a significant challenge. In response, candidates identified as Technion material are given intense year-long programs preparing them (and their Hebrew) – developed by the university itself.

    “We have a moral obligation to develop everyone who enters the Technion, because we must nurture scientific ability. It is our responsibility,” Katzir told me. The advancement program has been so effective at closing disparity gaps that it has now been rolled out across the institute and offered to every Technion undergrad who needs it, minority or not. After winning national awards, this program is being emulated at other Israeli institutions at government request.

    There are also life experience and leadership gaps that need to be overcome for minority students. At the Technion, Maysoun explained, Arab Muslim students are often the first in their families -sometimes in generations – to enter higher education, and, in the case of women, may be breaking stereotypical gender roles in conservative families who may not approve of a female student living on campus. Arab Muslim students must also overcome a leadership gap created by the military service that their Jewish peers have gone through. The program develops the leadership skills of its Israeli Arab Muslim undergraduates who direct many activities themselves, based on merit, not ‘quota’.

    My Technion experience clarified for me how calls for academic boycott would particularly imperil the future of these Arab Israeli students and the progressive opportunities they are offered. The shockingly ignorant acquiescence to the widespread braying for boycott, now a socially acceptable sport eclipsing the spirit of academe, whether led by Stephen Hawking or others, reveals the depth to which anti-Israel bias is now entrenched in our ivory towers.

    The reality is simple: Calling for an Israeli boycott invites no reprisals. It is more than socially acceptable; it is a badge of honor brandished by those claiming to defend ‘minorities’. Yet ironically, while the costs of boycott will be shouldered by every Israeli, the major costs will be born by Israel’s own minority population, including Israeli Muslims of Palestinian heritage. This is a population which is for the first time becoming highly educated, advancing in the workplace, collaborating with their fellow Israeli Jewish citizens and eager to enter the global marketplace of ideas. These Israeli Muslim Arabs are the keystones to lasting peace in the region. No one else is better positioned to bridge conflicts and cultures and yet no one else will be more penalized by boycott.

    Academic freedom means the freedom to collaborate, the freedom to cooperate, the freedom to communicate, the freedom to investigate, and the freedom to know the other. Isolating Israelis imposes upon all of us outside of Israel the worst kind of self-isolation, one which denies our engagement not only with the richly intellectual and extraordinarily productive Israeli academic community but access to those minorities facing the greatest challenges in Israel. The boycott flattens the painstakingly earned, inch-by-inch progress towards coexistence within and outside Israel; and coexistence is surely the primary step towards regional peace. At this discouraging time of increasing academic and cultural siege, every thoughtful academic should join me in lending their name and their reputation to fighting the boycott.

    Qanta Ahmed MD is the author of In the Land of Invisible Women (2008), a Templeton-Cambridge Journalism Fellow in Science and Religion and Associate Professor of Medicine, State University of New York. Follow her on Twitter @MissDiagnosis

    • NickJOCW
      July 26, 2013, 3:38 pm

      There are costs and collateral damage to all battles. They, alas, are what it takes to put a wrong right. Should one have arrested WWII because of the interference it caused to the further education of so many young men? The lady is well intentioned but lacks perspective.

    • ToivoS
      July 26, 2013, 4:15 pm

      Qanta Ahmed openly supports Israel in its war against the Palestinians. Her article from January this year headlines with here support for the “Israeli jihad” where explained her approval of the latest bombing raid against Gaza.

      We all know that there are a few expatriate Muslims in the West that have found professional success here and are supporters and admirers of Israel. They also hate their native culture.

      • just
        July 26, 2013, 7:51 pm

        Yes, that’s true Toivo.

        (Next, Walid Shoebat will be dragged out again.)

    • American
      July 26, 2013, 6:46 pm

      Spare me the feminist and the narcissistic academica types……particularly the dumb ones.
      I/P is bigger than her petty and selfish personal piques.
      Wonder what Isr paid her for her support?

    • Shingo
      July 26, 2013, 7:29 pm

      Genuine Muslim-American women slams academic BDS of Israel.

      How do you define a genuine Muslim-American Obsidian? Hey, I can name a few genuine Israeli Jews who support BDS, like Miko Peled.

      You sound like some slave trader auctioning his merchandise.

      Do you ever stop to consider how bigoted and racist you appear?

  14. ToivoS
    July 26, 2013, 7:55 pm

    This Qanta Ahmed character gets more and more interesting. She has a professorship that seems endowed by the John Templeton Foundation. This foundation funds, among other religious causes, the New Apostolic Reformation. This is the group to which Sara Palin is associated and they advocate making the US a Christian nation. A certain symmetry here — the Jewish state of Israel and the Christian state of America.

    Why they support a Zionist expatriate Pakistani who claims to be a Muslim is anybody’s guess.

    • Obsidian
      July 27, 2013, 6:18 am


      Now what about Ms. Ahmed’s message?

      • Shingo
        July 28, 2013, 9:41 pm

        Now what about Ms. Ahmed’s message?

        Obviously it dwarves no attention given she has
        ZERO credibility.

        But if you want to entertwin rants by kooks, would you care to comment about Victor Ostrovsky’s claim that the Mossad killed JFK?

      • Hostage
        July 29, 2013, 6:55 am


        Now what about Ms. Ahmed’s message?

        I think she, like you, is trying to distract attention away from the subject by practicing whataboutism and man bites dog journalism.

        It’s pretty idiotic to suggest that curing problems elsewhere would make things better in Palestine or that Western societies are treating Syria, Pakistan, et al better than Israel on the subject of foreign aid or human rights.

        I’d also point out that the international community of states have deliberately refused to link the Palestinian question to situations elsewhere in the world, like the Iraqi withdrawal from Kuwait. So efforts by hasbarists to postpone action on the Palestine question or establish linkages to situations elsewhere appear to be more than a little misguided or hypocritical at this point.

        It doesn’t seem that she’s ever heard of elected Palestinian women who support BDS, like Ms. Ashrawi or Ms. Zoabi. She also fails to address 1) the specific goals of the BDS movement; 2) the findings of the International Court of Justice and treaty monitoring bodies regarding the illegal Israeli administrative regime in the occupied territories and the systematic discrimination against Palestinian citizens of Israel and the refugees; and 3) the direct connection between the the BDS goals and the UN and ICJ findings, as expressed in the 2005 BDS call to action and agenda items.

        FYI, when Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and Syria intervene or use force against neighboring countries we generally do call attention to that fact here, and complain about it. Many of us also financially support NGOs, like Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and the International Commission of Jurists. Those groups actively pursue equal rights and political reforms in all of the countries that Ms. Ahmed complains about. They manage to do that without calling other political activists names or offering excuses for the appalling and illegal situations created by the government of Israel or the United States.

    • just
      July 27, 2013, 8:30 am

      It ‘adds’ to their ‘bona fides’, in order to appear legitimate.

      A token, if you will.

Leave a Reply