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Canadian groups press Neil Young not to play Israel

Israel/Palestine
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Neil Young has said that he will play Israel in July. Young was born and raised in Canada, and Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East is petitioning him not to go through with the gig for the sake of “the human rights of the Palestinian people” and a just resolution of the conflict. He is also being implored to stay away by the group, Independent Jewish Voices. 

The video above and the message below are from Independent Jewish Voices. The video of Young’s anthem against state violence, “Ohio,” uses extremely graphic photos of children killed and maimed in Vietnam and Palestine.

The letter in the appeal below is by IJV activist Miriam Meir.

4 dead in Ohio, 1400 dead in Gaza: will Neil Young listen?
Neil Young Honor the Treaties

Neil Young’s been fighting for what’s right his whole life. Tell him to heed the Palestinians’ call for freedom!

Dear Friend,

Being a Neil Young junkie, his recent announcement that he plans to perform in Israel has left me saddened and confused. After his recent tour in support of Indigenous rights in Canada, it doesn’t make sense to me that he’ll be turning his back on the rising tide of international support for Palestinian civil society, which has put out a call for a cultural boycott of Israel until Israel abides by international law and respects Palestinians’ human rights. Tell Neil Young NOW that you think he should reconsider and stand in solidarity with the Palestinian people in their non-violent struggle for freedom.

Young’s been a passionate defender of freedom throughout his career, writing songs like ‘Ohio’, protesting state violence against innocent civilians. While 4 Americans were shot dead at Kent State for protesting American war crimes in Southeast Asia, Israel shot dead 13 unarmed Palestinians (12 of whom were Israeli citizens) in 2001 during protests against Israel’s violent campaign in the West Bank. To this day, no Israeli has been held accountable. Will Neil Young stay silent?

Israel used white phosphorous–a highly incendiary chemical weapon–on the civilians of Gaza.

With 4 dead in Ohio, there were 1400 Palestinians murdered in Gaza, including roughly 400 children. The massacre took place during Israel’s horrific assault on the besieged territory during ‘Operation Cast Lead’. Will Neil Young listen to the Palestinians, or will he play to the tune of Israel’s Apache helicopters and Hellfire missiles? Tell Neil Young to do what’s right–stand up for human rights and social justice by refusing to play Israel…

In addition to signing IJV’s e-mail petition to Neil Young, sign this petition made by Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME).

If you have twitter, tweet Neil Young and include these popular hashtags: #palestine, #BDS, #cdnpoli. You can also use our hashtag #DontPlayIsrael.

If you have Facebook, post on his fan page, and share this message: http://mad.ly/25f874 on your social media.

Let’s hope that Neil Young will play in the region when The Wall finally comes down, singing his song ‘Keep on Rocking in the Free World’ with real meaning.

Movements and campaigns for the rights of Indigenous peoples like Honour the Treaties and Idle No More mirror the struggle for human rights by the Indigenous Palestinians. Neil Young should be commended for taking part in the Honour the Treaties tour in support of Indigenous rights on Turtle Island (North America). We should urge him to live up to this high moral standard by cancelling his concert in Israel.

philweiss
About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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50 Responses

  1. just
    just
    February 11, 2014, 10:08 am

    Thank you IJV! This video should go viral and be seen by every single Canadian, American, etc., regardless of their ethnicity, religion or political affiliation.

    It’s simply stunning. And, Neil Young, please don’t play Israel! They’ve been “playing” the Free World for too long– keeping the indigenous Palestinians under a brutal Occupation with terrorism and cruelty– stealing resources and more.

    Neil, I think that you are a better man than this. Why ruin your reputation now and for this?

    • February 11, 2014, 2:19 pm

      I will lose respect for Mr. Young — and I have a lot — if he plays Israel

  2. hophmi
    hophmi
    February 11, 2014, 10:11 am

    “Why ruin your reputation now and for this?”

    Playing in Israel is not going to ruin his reputation. Signing on to an anti-Jewish boycott will.

    • just
      just
      February 11, 2014, 10:24 am

      For his millions of fans that respect his work for justice and peace and against oppression, it will ruin his reputation. But I don’t expect you to understand or grasp that.

      • February 12, 2014, 1:47 am

        as far as i’m concerned, his reputation for justice and peace and fighting oppression has already been ruined!

    • Cliff
      Cliff
      February 11, 2014, 10:33 am

      The boycott is not anti-Jewish, just like the boycott of Apartheid SA was not anti-White.

      Supporting the settlements, occupation, Zionist apartheid, war crimes committed by Jewish terrorists during the Mandate, etc. etc. is all anti-Jewish.

      YOU are anti-Jewish, hoppy.

      • just
        just
        February 11, 2014, 10:40 am

        hophmi– any thoughts on the video?

      • jd65
        jd65
        February 11, 2014, 11:44 am

        i think we can all guess pretty accurately what hophmi’s thoughts might be on the video considering his referring to the BDS movement as “anti-jewish,” which it, of course, is not. However, as good as the intentions are w/ this video, and while i whole-heartedly support the idea of trying to convince Neil Young to cancel his concert in Israel, i think this video is approaching trash. i think Independent Jewish Voices would be taken much more seriously by Young had they simply stuck to showing him the facts of the situation instead of using Young’s own music (presumably without permission) in a lazy video that makes all too broad “connections” between Young’s topic in the song Ohio and Israeli oppression and Operation Cast Lead. it trivializes both events (particularly OCL). the stringing together of relatively random violent images w/ phrases against Israeli oppression, then saying “look Neil, it’s like Ohio” is not helpful. i’d assume it is likely the opposite. and i understand that some would say these images are not random, i’d say they do come off somewhat random unless the viewer is already very aware of the particulars of OCL and are already a supporter of the Palestinians; which Young apparently, sadly, is not… yet. and if this video’s intent was to “inform” Young about Israel’s lack of human rights for all citizens, war crimes, lack of constitution, illegal settlements, etc etc etc…, it’s a bogus attempt. good intent, very bad execution. if i was Young and was relatively uninformed about Israel’s track record of daily oppression of the Palestinians, their war crimes, and the U.S.’s aid in their war crimes and Apartheid, i’d’ve taken one look at this video and said to myself, “Wow. That video sucked, the IJV abused my music and I don’t really know why. Maybe I’ll add another tour date in Israel.” bummer…

      • hophmi
        hophmi
        February 11, 2014, 12:58 pm

        “i think we can all guess pretty accurately what hophmi’s thoughts might be on the video considering his referring to the BDS movement as “anti-jewish,” which it, of course, is not. ”

        Of course, it is. There are dozens of Muslim states around the world with human rights problems. You say BDS is a human rights movement, but apply it only to the one Jewish state. You may not think it is antisemitic. You may not be antisemitic. But BDS is very much an example of institutional antisemitism.

      • February 11, 2014, 5:21 pm

        The BDS movement was begun by Palestinians. So of course it would be directed at their occupiers, the Israelis.

        Do you really not understand this Hophmi?

        Should the slaves of the American South focused on the treatment of women in England?

      • kalithea
        kalithea
        February 11, 2014, 12:15 pm

        I agree that he’s anti-Jewish (as in Judaism) but why oh why are the majority of Jews working for the dark side on the issue of rights and freedom for others in Israel and the OTs? I don’t think we should be giving Jews a pass on this by mitigating their active and even passive contribution to injustice.

      • eljay
        eljay
        February 11, 2014, 4:45 pm

        >> There are dozens of Muslim states around the world with human rights problems. You say BDS is a human rights movement, but apply it only to the one Jewish state.

        “Israel: We may not be as good as the best but, hey, at least we’re not as bad as the worst!”(c)

      • justicewillprevail
        justicewillprevail
        February 12, 2014, 2:50 am

        hopper, do tell us how protesting about the Chinese government and Tibet, for example, is going to help the Palestinians gain any human rights. You wouldn’t, of course, be using the tired old ‘singling out’ canard, would you?

      • talknic
        talknic
        February 12, 2014, 1:42 am

        @ hophmi ” There are dozens of Muslim states around the world with human rights problems”

        In occupied territories? WOW!!

        ” You say BDS is a human rights movement, but apply it only to the one Jewish state.”

        The State of Israel is acting illegal in non-Israeli territories it has under military occupation

        “BDS is very much an example of institutional antisemitism”

        Targeting the illegal activities of a state in territories outside that state is not antisemitism.

    • just
      just
      February 11, 2014, 10:52 am

      hophmi– care to explain why IJV is imploring Young not to play Israel?

      Doesn’t sound to me as though they are “anti- Jewish”.

    • yrn
      yrn
      February 11, 2014, 11:41 am

      Just the ignorant, is not aware that this is not the first time Neil young will play in Israel.
      And then those pathetic residence will start with thier routine ritual.
      He is old, not talented, out of date, not intelligent as USUAL.

      • Justpassingby
        Justpassingby
        February 11, 2014, 1:11 pm

        yrn

        you think apartheid is something intelligent? Sick.

      • just
        just
        February 11, 2014, 4:41 pm

        Apart from your swipe at me, your comment makes no sense at all.

        oh well, I’m sure that I am not missing anything.

    • February 11, 2014, 2:20 pm

      Hophmi. I missed the memo about how Jewish owned businesses in the USA and everywhere else on the planet were targeted for boycott.

    • Talkback
      Talkback
      February 11, 2014, 4:15 pm

      hophmi: Playing in Israel is not going to ruin his reputation. Signing on to an anti-Jewish boycott will.

      I didn’t know that what Jews do to Palestinian is “Jewish”. In that case it might be an act of humanity to call for an “anti-Jewish” boycott, no?

    • Citizen
      Citizen
      February 11, 2014, 9:24 pm

      What anti-Jewish boycott? There is no anti-Jewish boycott. What’s hophmi talking about?

      • Talkback
        Talkback
        February 12, 2014, 8:14 am

        For hophmi restoring rights of Gentiles is antisemitic. One can only conclude that for hophmi it is a Jewish thing to do to deny Gentiles their rights. Maybe from his point of view Gentiles only exist to serve him.

    • talknic
      talknic
      February 12, 2014, 1:35 am

      @ hophmi ” Signing on to an anti-Jewish boycott will”

      Your conflation is cute. So, all Jews break the law? WOW!!!

      FACT: Israel the state is in breach of the law

  3. Tzombo
    Tzombo
    February 11, 2014, 10:17 am

    There is a facebook page dedicated to it too: https://www.facebook.com/Neil.Young.WhyPlay.Apartheid.Israel

  4. MHughes976
    MHughes976
    February 11, 2014, 10:54 am

    I think Mr. Young’s consciousness was formed during the time when support for Zionism seemed to go with anti-racism like a horse with a carriage. This was a stream of consciousness to which Martin Luther King and even Nelson Mandela (through his links with the SACP, which was, like communist parties everywhere, mindful of Zionism’s Marxist credentials) contributed, for different reasons and in different ways, perhaps rather uneasily. I think it was particularly strong at the celebrity level in the world of music and film. So I don’t think Young will change. I think he will think that all these Canadian voices are outlandish. These things are a useful reminder to the likes of us that we’re not really near the mainstream as yet.

    • kalithea
      kalithea
      February 11, 2014, 12:33 pm

      There is no excuse whatsoever for siding with injustice at any time in history!

      • MHughes976
        MHughes976
        February 11, 2014, 6:08 pm

        That’s quite true – just to say that I was making the prediction that he and those like him will refuse to change, by no means excusing their refusal.

    • Citizen
      Citizen
      February 11, 2014, 9:32 pm

      @MHughes978
      Afraid you’re right about that. I recall Roger Waters of Pink Floyd tried to talk to him about what Israel has been up to but got nowhere, and, if memory serves, they were old pals at the time.

      Yep, a note on his Facebook page Feb 1 last: “In the past days I have written privately to Neil Young (once) and to Scarlett Johanson (a couple of times). Those letters will remain private.

      Sadly, I have received no reply from either.”

  5. Taxi
    Taxi
    February 11, 2014, 11:43 am

    F*ck Neil Young!

    Roger Waters wrote him a letter about it and he didn’t even bother to respond to it so WTF?! I bet my farm Neil already knows what’s going on in Palestine and just simply doesn’t give a fig – him and Bob Dylan, known for being giant civil rights supporters, clearly don’t give a sh*t about racism, inequality, Apartheid or ethnic cleansing anymore. They just want the Benjamins, man. They’re old and worried about the price of their burial plots and they just want the Benjeez now.

    I’m really against bending-over-backwards to stars booked to play in Apartheid israel. Ask them nicely not to do it and if they blank the polite request, then boycott the eff out of them. Really that simple. Eff ’em – the hypocrites!

    • February 11, 2014, 1:55 pm

      i agree that he probably knows exactly whats going on in palestine but to leave it at that is stupid.
      it begs the question why, neil, are you turning your back on the palestinians after all your years of supporting minorities and the opressed.
      you might not care but i sure as hell do! i can still remember where i was and when it was that i first heard down by the river. in fact i just played it last night.
      i want to know and i hope the good canadian people don’t let him get away without answering this.

    • bintbiba
      bintbiba
      February 12, 2014, 10:06 am

      Taxi, I agree with you about ” not bending-over-backwards to stars booked to play in Apartheid israel.” We shouldn’t have to beg for what is right. Demanding, fighting for the rights from the oppressors is another thing.

  6. Justpassingby
    Justpassingby
    February 11, 2014, 1:10 pm

    Let him know what you think

    Management:
    [email protected]

  7. LeaNder
    LeaNder
    February 11, 2014, 2:46 pm

    Tin soldiers and Nixon coming,
    We’re finally on our own.
    This summer I hear the drumming,
    Four dead in Ohio. …

    Didn’t know, Young wrote that. One of my favorites of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. Ohio

  8. Kathleen
    Kathleen
    February 11, 2014, 3:22 pm

    “With 4 dead in Ohio, there were 1400 Palestinians murdered in Gaza, including roughly 400 children.”

    But as we have witnessed over and over again the same standards in regard to human rights, social justice do not apply to the Palestinians in the books of Bob Dylan, Scarlett Johannson, Neil Young…When it comes to Israel it is a different set of standards that trumps what is right. Those standards are that racism, human rights crimes are a ok in Dylan, Johannson, Neil Young’s books when it comes to Israel’s crimes a ok Neil is sayin.

  9. Bing Bong
    Bing Bong
    February 11, 2014, 4:10 pm

    “Let’s hope that Neil Young will play in the region when The Wall finally comes down, singing his song ‘Keep on Rocking in the Free World’ with real meaning.”

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-25927595

  10. kalithea
    kalithea
    February 11, 2014, 4:40 pm

    Hopefully, Neil Young won’t prove how desperate he is to collect his 30 pieces of silver! I see this as a betrayal to everything he’s ever done on behalf of justice and humanity. Again, when someone like Young crosses over to the dark side; it further proves how well Zionists have rigged the system against Palestinians.

  11. ThorsteinVeblen2012
    ThorsteinVeblen2012
    February 11, 2014, 5:15 pm

    If he plays there I won’t be buying anymore of his music nor would I consider going to his concerts unless it were to stand outside and protest.

    It will sure make listening to what I have difficult.

    I wonder what Crosby, Stills and Nash have to say on BDS?

    • February 12, 2014, 1:55 am

      won’t be buying anymore? that’s a pretty weak form of protest. i hope you don’t strain your heart.
      how bout emptying out your entire neil young collection and burning it in the streets!

      • ThorsteinVeblen2012
        ThorsteinVeblen2012
        February 12, 2014, 9:48 am

        How would burning my music effect Neil Young? He’s already made his money off of me. Whether I burn it in the street or just don’t play it anymore doesn’t make a difference to him. My neighbors however will think I’m a bit touched if I burn a bunch of plastic in front of the house.

  12. Citizen
    Citizen
    February 11, 2014, 9:46 pm

    Young says his last tour in Israel was in 1995, and this one coming up may be his last tour period as he’s age 69, the band touring with him are older, and any day, with any of us “something might come up.” Maybe he didn’t save any of that big pile of money he’s gotta do this tour in Israel? Last chance for vanity? http://www.timesofisrael.com/neil-young-to-rock-tel-aviv-this-summer/

  13. wondering jew
    wondering jew
    February 11, 2014, 10:49 pm

    An artist in the pre celebrity meaning of the word, would be someone, who wishes to communicate a vision to his audience. But we do live in the age of celebrity and thus the mere visit of the celebrity (in this case) takes precedence over the content of his communication and thus those who oppose Israel wish for Neil Young to communicate his support for the Palestinians and those who support Israel wish for Neil Young to communicate his support for Israel.

    I think that the desire to communicate with one’s audience is a strong one that lasts even into the age of celebrity and thus I accept Young’s desire to communicate with those who wish to hear his music.

    • justicewillprevail
      justicewillprevail
      February 12, 2014, 2:53 am

      lol, how terribly generous of you. Of course, it has nothing to do with the large sum Ny is being offered, but some noble artistic intent. Not.

    • Shmuel
      Shmuel
      February 12, 2014, 7:09 am

      A coherent position. Rotten opposes all forms of cultural boycott, always (except for Parliament, of course). Do you share that position or do you oppose this specific boycott?

  14. Ellen
    Ellen
    February 12, 2014, 8:21 am

    Neil Young is now an old man. Maybe he just wants the money.

    Being anti-war and protesting Vietnam was rewarded back in the day. Hey, it launched John Kerry’s career!

    http://www.politico.com/click/stories/1012/kerrys_treasured_photo_with_lennon_.html

    • MHughes976
      MHughes976
      February 12, 2014, 9:40 am

      Most people do things for money but few do things just for money. I’m sure that the whole idea of boycott is somewhere between ridiculous, racist and incomprehensible to him and he won’t begin to think otherwise. And he is still normal within Western cultural circles.

      • Ellen
        Ellen
        February 12, 2014, 11:45 am

        what is ridiculous and racist about it?

        There are boycotts of entire countries for less.

        BDS is boycotting the occupation enterprise. Occupations never end well.

  15. MHughes976
    MHughes976
    February 12, 2014, 1:23 pm

    I am not supporting those ideas myself. I take his mentality to be one in which Zionism and Israel are a force for good, inextricably linked with left wing forces in the western world, so that is almost beyond imagination, an absurd inversion of the true order of things which only sneaking racism could explain, to treat them as harmful or morally wrong. This link was established in the 60s very firmly, particularly by the coalition built up by King. That is why these people in the artistic world don’t argue or explain. They just go ahead. Well, at least that is my understanding of their way of thinking. We have as much hope of getting through to them as the Flat Earth Society would. As 60s memories fade the situation may change.

  16. iResistDe4iAm
    iResistDe4iAm
    February 13, 2014, 8:45 am

    “It took years of talks to get Young to agree to come back to Israel, where he last toured 19 years ago, said concert promoter Shuki Weiss.”

    And it will probably take weeks of more talks to get Young to agree to boycott Israel…

    19 years ago:
    – Iraq hadn’t been invaded (and “Living with War” hadn’t been recorded).
    – BDS didn’t exist.
    – Roger Waters hadn’t been booked to play in Tel Aviv.

  17. ThorsteinVeblen2012
    ThorsteinVeblen2012
    February 13, 2014, 11:28 am

    With all the fund raising and advocacy work Neil Young has done it seems inconceivable that his motivation for playing in Israel is strictly for money.

    Likely people close to him promoters, agents, friends have pulled hard on him for a favor.

    Now he is put in a position of turning his back on his principles to do a favor for a friend.

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