Israel-Boycotters Have Their Sperm in the Gutter

I do not think everyone in support of a full boycott of Israel are complete and utter nutters with the slenderest grip on reality, but a lot of them are.

The US Campaign for Judenrein Cultural Boycott of Israel has averred that “the next Israeli attack on Gaza is in the name of Jethro Tull” (the prog-rock band, not the 17th Century agricultural reformer).

Genuinely insane.

This relates to a statement by Ian Anderson on the Jethro Tull website in the response to such attempts by the screaming-at-mice brigade.

Having performed concerts in the Middle East region many times over the last few years, I am well aware of the ethnic and religious tensions existing, not only in the countries concerned, but in the broader international diasporas representing the various groups and their interests.

Having long maintained the position that culture and the arts should be free of political and religious censorship and a distance kept between them, I took a decision in February of 2009 that any future concerts in Israel by me or Jethro Tull would result in charitable donations to bodies representing the development of peaceful co-existence between Muslims, Jews and Christians, and the fostering of better Palestinian/Israeli relations. A number of potential charitable beneficiaries have now been identified and are under consideration.

I speak only for my own share of concert profits here – I am not about to tell the rest of the musicians or crew what views they should hold or what to do with their remuneration. Nor do I feel pressured by human rights groups, national interests or any individuals to perform or not to perform in Israel or anywhere else. I make up my own mind in light of available facts, with my own experience and a sense of personal ethics.

To those who tell me I should “boycott” Israel (or, for that matter, Turkey or Lebanon), I can only point out that on my travels around the world I am continually reminded of atrocities carried out historically by many nations who are now our friends, and it serves to strengthen my resolve that some degree of peace and better understanding may result from my and other artists’ professional and humble efforts in such places. If I had the opportunity to perform today in Iran or North Korea, hell – I’d be there if I thought it would make a tiny positive net contribution to better relations.

It’s a long time since Pearl Harbor, Auschwitz, Hiroshima and the firestorm of Dresden and I hope that, one bright day sometime in the future, it will seem a long time since the blockading of the supply flotilla to Gaza and the bombing of Israeli citizens by Hamas and Hizbolla.

So, I decided many months ago not to profit from my work in this troubled region and hope that interested parties on all sides will understand and respect my decision and resolve. The details of recipients of my charitable donation will be posted for the benefit of the doubters, as usual, on this website later in the year.

I do not know which charities Anderson has in mind, but I would dearly love them to include OneVoice Movement and Children of Peace (and have said so on the official Facebook page; currently besieged by a bunch of monomaniacal, delusional paranoid loonies trying to shift Anderson’s heavy horses).

Jethro Tull has now played in Israel, with guest keyboardist, Shlomo Gronich who incorporates the Hatikva into his riffs (at 4 min and 5 min 10 sec).

HAT-TIP Engage Online.

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9 Responses to “Israel-Boycotters Have Their Sperm in the Gutter”

  1. Sarah AB Says:

    Thanks for suggesting Children of Peace, Alec.

    • efrafandays Says:

      Hi, Sarah, if you have any position within CoP, maybe you could contact the Messrs. Anderson and Tull themselves (?).

  2. Sarah AB Says:

    I’m a trustee – I did forward the post to our Chairman – not sure about getting in touch, particularly as JT should now be aware of the charity. But maybe.

    • efrafandays Says:

      Hmm, that gives me a point of contact for other groups I’m trying to drum-up interest in CoP with. I’ve mentioned youse amongst Quakers (especially in the context of Judi Dench’s Quaker education).

      Obviously, I don’t presuppose to know how to operate official correspondence, but recall Mira Vogel’s prospective letter to Paul McCartney when he decided to play to an Entitean audience.

  3. Sarah AB Says:

    Thanks for that – yes, I’m not myself involved in much official CoP correspondence – except liaising over items for our website from supporters of the charity. Others will have a better sense of the etiquette, and I’ll certainly forward the suggestion!

  4. Sarah AB Says:

    Hello again – the Chairman (Richard Martin) was very greatful for your support and suggestions and I believe he will try to contact JT. He also asks if you might be persuaded to join our facebook group (if you haven’t already!)

    http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=97865855161

  5. efrafandays Says:

    That’s good!

    I already am on the Facebook group.

  6. Next You Will Be Telling Us Shergar is Dead « A Rabbit's Eye View of the Hyperborean North Says:

    […] more than I would seek political advice from their bunch (not even Ian Anderson’s masterful “fuck off you maniacs” to the pro-boycott […]

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