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‘I can’t be silent. It is genocide’ — Anoushka Shankar

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Anoushka Shankar

Anoushka Shankar

Anoushka Shankar is Ravi Shankar’s daughter. She wrote this on Facebook three days ago. It is more evidence that Israel is lost and a tsunami of public opinion is sweeping away its image; Shankar (who lives in US, UK and India) played Israel last year. 

As a rule, I don’t use my music page to voice opinion on politics, as I truly believe music can transcend those boundaries and raise the consciousness of people towards peace, and it’s against that belief to divide my audience by sharing my political views. However, when something is a humanitarian issue, I’ve always spoken when I felt moved to, and used whatever small platform I am lucky enough to have. The issue of Palestine has long torn at me, the deep divisiveness of the situation always holding me back from speaking. But I can’t be silent any longer. To be silent is to condone what is happening. This is no longer a political issue, it’s a humanitarian one (though of course the horrific level it is allowed and helped to reach by those countries with power, is inherently political). What’s happening now, through the bombing of homes, hospitals, schools and shelters, is the systematic and relentless killing of Palestinian civilians, including children. I don’t regret visiting Israel for performances last year, even though some people I respect requested I boycott the country, like many other artists. It gave me the chance to see firsthand, the second-class status and lack of equal rights Palestinians suffer under Israeli government, and opened my eyes to their plight. Let me please also be clear, that I have many Israeli-Jewish friends and colleagues who don’t share the view of their government, and of whom I am very fond. I fear upsetting them by speaking against their country. But I can’t be silent. What is happening now is a crime against humanity, it is apartheid, it is genocide. As a parent I can’t begin to imagine the nightmare families are facing, ordered to leave their homes to escape death, then being attacked in their sleep at the shelters where they were promised safety.
Please, friends, especially those of you in countries whose governments are supporting these atrocities, voice your dissent. Make your voices loud. Let’s be heard.

Shankar has now walked it back a bit, by blaming Hamas in this post. But she’s obviously getting rained by pro-Israel folks:

I appreciate those of you who have voiced your disagreement with respect, insight and knowledge, and ask those of you who feel the need to simply be abusive, to refrain from doing so. I can’t stop you, but it isn’t helpful. No problem if you choose to unlike my page if you don’t like what I have to say, but resorting to insults shows a lack of grace, and also perhaps, that you don’t have much better to argue with. 

Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is senior editor of and founded the site in 2005-06.

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25 Responses

  1. just on August 3, 2014, 8:54 pm

    All steps toward truth and justice are most welcome.

    Thanks Anoushka and MW.

  2. oldgeezer on August 3, 2014, 9:01 pm

    hmm I didn’t get that she was blaming Hamas with that post. Maybe I am looking at the wrong one. Seems to me she was acknowledging many people thought she should be blaming Hamas and then pointed out she’s against killing regardless of who does it.
    Anyway not to argue and I will reread it.

    It is amazing the extent to which one can be targeted by pro Israelis. I have been in a minor way although I talked to some individuals in charge and they recinded their decision. I won’t go into details.

    I’ve never heard Israeli’s complain of this type of concerted action/attacks. I don’t know if that means it doesn’t happen to the same extent or if it means I just haven’t heard of it.

    Beautiful post on her part to my mind.

    • tree on August 3, 2014, 9:54 pm

      I agree with your viewpoint, oldgeezer. I think this is the relevant part that Phil was referring to, and I don’t see her “blaming Hamas” in this paragraph of hers, either:

      I’m not an expert and don’t claim to be. But some people have voiced concern that I was biased by not condemning Hamas. Let’s be clear that I am opposed to the killing of innocents, whether by rogue terrorist organizations or by elected governments, and I don’t differentiate between the values of human lives whether they were killed by terrorist bombs, Obama’s drones, the armies OR militants stationed in Kashmir, or misogynist fundamentalist regimes. To my mind, the argument that a country ‘has the right to defend itself’ begets questioning when Palestinians in contrast to the State of Israel don’t have the same right . Again, I don’t condone one or the other side in their killing of people, and it’s important to remember that this issue goes back so far and long with ‘blame’ easy to throw in both/all directions. I don’t know if it matters to me, really, who “started a fight,” the same way it doesn’t matter to me when it involves my three-year-old son and another child. What matters is resolving conflict in the here and now. It’s unfair to say the Palestinians aren’t ‘choosing’ peace when that peace, as offered by Israel, is under the conditions of unequal rights, ever-decreasing land and subjugation.

      Yes, both are beautiful posts.

      • oldgeezer on August 3, 2014, 10:24 pm

        Well I am glad I’m not alone. I did reread it and came to the same opinion I had before. I am a canuck and we excel at being passive aggressive lol

        (o/t humour related to being passive aggresive if allowed. it’sold now. )

    • crone on August 4, 2014, 12:32 am

      Max Blumenthat retweeted about the extreme right (nationalists) in Israel attacking those Israelis who have been protesting the siege of Gaza.

  3. traintosiberia on August 3, 2014, 9:07 pm

    Thank you Ms Shankar. Thanks for your courage . It takes a lot to be in the music industry and speak up for Palestinian .

  4. Kay24 on August 3, 2014, 10:08 pm

    She expresses her true feelings well, and without fear of reprisals. Someone in her profession who depend on contracts and the right doors opening for her, is taking a great risk speaking out. I admire her courage. It will be interesting to see if she will now face obstacles thrown in her direction by those in the entertainment industry (most of them pro Israel).

  5. bilal a on August 3, 2014, 10:17 pm

    demography is destiny eg “leftists your mothers lied with arabs”

    Shocking leaked video what Israeli Zionists actually believe!

  6. Cliff on August 3, 2014, 10:27 pm

    The more she is attacked by unhinged crazy pro-Israel commentators, the more she will quietly realize how wrong she once was and how right she is, right now.

    Once you go anti-Zionist, you will face the wrath of Zionism and see first-hand a fraction of the level of crazy that Palestinians put up with daily.

    After that, you may keep quiet because your job and reputation (such as it is within the West) is at stake, but you’ll never go back to being blind like you were before.

    • Peace2All on August 5, 2014, 8:24 am

      Let go of your pride; put down your arrogance and remember your grave.”

  7. michelle on August 3, 2014, 10:38 pm

    the people who are unfriending
    this well intended lady
    were never truly her friends
    sadly they prob. don’t know how
    to have or be friends
    G-d Bless

  8. gamal on August 3, 2014, 11:13 pm

    sorry previous link got screwed up, my incompetence is extensive. hope this works

    Assad on the “Arab Spring” and the Gaza slaughter and Arab Zionism

  9. globalconsciousness on August 3, 2014, 11:26 pm

    Hmm, I wonder how much of the abuse she received was actually from Indians who are now under a right wing Hindu government with favorable ties to Israel economically. Also, muslims are increasingly marginalized in India under the BJP and she mentions Kashmir which may indicate that by not mentioning Hamas, she may be seen to be condoning the separatist resistance (known as terrorists to some) there…

  10. Justpassingby on August 4, 2014, 4:13 am

    Also there seems to be some naive people out there, if you say something pro-palestinian you must be prepared to take a stand, you cant just back off if you get some criticism by the pro-israel mob.

  11. Justpassingby on August 4, 2014, 5:04 am

    Israel called on Abbas and UN to take over Gaza as an option.

  12. atime forpeace on August 4, 2014, 7:45 am

    This is from Col Pat Lang’s site.

    If you think the current Israeli invasion of Gaza is a response to the discovery of the bodies of three kidnapped Israeli teenagers in late June, think again. Israel’s invasion was a pre-planned action and, if you simply go back and examine the news reports since April, you will realize that the missing teens became a convenient, tragic symbol that Israel disgracefully used as a pre-text for trying to destroy Hamas. Let me walk you thru some of the relevant press clippings.

  13. just on August 4, 2014, 7:46 am

    omg. “Hamas is like Nazis”

    CNN is allowing Lee Habeeb a seat at the table to rail against the media for showing dead babies. He’s not a fan of Islam, either. Huge fan of Israel.

    • Kay24 on August 4, 2014, 8:09 am

      I noticed that too, he is a one of those shills who resembles the right wingers in the knesset, the same ruthless sort of look like Bennet and Lieberman, he looks like he belongs there.

      I was surprised Bolduan was agreeing to his narrative, and allowed him to lump all other extremists like ISIS and others, to Hamas, ignoring the fact that Hamas was elected and claims to be resisting an occupation. He called Hamas “nazis” which is ironic, since the side that keeps the brutal occupation going and has killed 1700 Palestinians, should be labelled “nazis”, and the fact that Hamas has killed 3 Israelis, really proves who the real nazis are.

      • just on August 4, 2014, 8:17 am

        Bolduan is biased, imho. I’ve watched her (too much!) these weeks.

      • Peace2All on August 4, 2014, 11:29 pm

        Such people sold their soul to the devil.

  14. John Smithson on August 4, 2014, 8:50 am

    I called my Senator (Mr. Mark Kirk) last week and almost fell over when I got this reply after asking what position the Senator has regarding the situation in Gaza:
    “Hamas is like Nazi’s. The more Nazi’s you get, the more Hamas you get, the more death you get”. After hearing this and almost laughing out loud, I asked if the staffer was serious – she replied ‘he stated this publicly, it’s his position’. So I called back a few minutes later and asked whichever staffer I got (I think the same one) to slowly repeat it so I could write it down. At that point, the staffer must have gotten excited as she went on to add other statements of the Senator like: “Let me say this so that the people can hear me all the way to the Senate floor. I will carry our message that in the Senate, we stand with Israel”(staffer informed me this was while speaking at the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago). Other quotes: “His heart goes out to the men and women of the IDF” – when I heard this I asked if the Senator’s heart goes out to the men and women of the US Armed Forces too – I got no answer. Another quote: “We should not have a cease fire until Hamas is militarily defeated by the IDF” and finally “Was is exactly what Hamas wanted, so we should make sure that they lose it” – I asked who ‘we’ was referring to – I got no answer.

    ‘Senator Kirk’, I asked, ‘Did he take the oath to protect the US from all enemies foreign and domestic?’ I asked. “He sure did” – the staffer responded. “Well I hope he always puts the interests of the United States of America first – don’t you?” – no answer from the staffer.


  15. Peace2All on August 4, 2014, 11:05 pm

    i am glad that you’re aware now what a spin bibi n his thugs been doing !!! they are a disgrace to humanity and an insult to those who suffered ‘Holocaust’ …the zionist israel is like a dangerous animal roaming our planet earth; have to be stopped.

  16. Tom Pessah on August 14, 2016, 9:25 am

    Phil, could you please add that she is an accomplished musician in her own right, apart from being Ravi’s daughter? it seems unfair to refer to her only in her role as daughter.

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