Monday, October 8, 2012

The Power Behind Israel's Harp Contest


Let's take a close look at some of the sponsors of the Israel International Harp Contest contest.  Understanding who finances the contest helps to show why its a good idea to refrain from participating.  The contest website shows these sponsors. 
  1. State of Israel Ministry of Tourism  http://www.tourism.gov.il/Govheb Participates in promoting migration to illegal settlements in the West Bank.
  1. Jerusalem Municipality  (implicated in  home demolitions of the indigenous people of Palestine, see a video of a Palestinian home being demolished by the Jerusalem Municipality) http://www.jerusalem.muni.il/jer_main/defaultnew.asp?lng=1
  2. Tel Aviv Municipality http://www.tel-aviv.gov.il/Pages/HomePage.aspx  (Tel Aviv Municipality operates schools that are segregated and funds programs to prevent Jews and Arabs from dating.).  Building permits are denied to Palestinians. More at http://bit.ly/sGG0mC
  3. State of Israel Ministry of Culture and Sport  (actively promotes “Zionist culture” and penalizes Israeli artists who will not perform on the illegal settlement Ariel)
  4. Tel Aviv Univ. - A state funded university involved in research serving the occupation and which recruited the lawyer who authorised the phosphorous attack on Gaza.
  1. Israeli Bank Hapoalim, Bank Leumiand Israel Discount Bank, all three are involved with and/or finance the illegal settlements and violations of international law.
Young harpists should not be falsely lured into thinking it is a good thing to have Israel on their resume.  Its not prestigious to be seen as endorsing Israel's policies. Harpists are being sold the notion that historical sites in  "the Land of Israel await you,"  and then expected to blindly think that Israel is a normal, or even advanced nation through its "vibrant musical life."  
The boycott seems to have taken hold in other genres of the musical world, with well known Roger Waters of Pink Floyd among many others.  Should harpists be expected to leave behind their conscience, and go ahead and ignore the boycott?  Roger Waters wrote not long ago:
Artists were right to refuse to play in South Africa's Sun City resort until apartheid fell and white people and black people enjoyed equal rights. And we are right to refuse to play in Israel until the day comes – and it surely will come – when the wall of occupation falls and Palestinians live alongside Israelis in the peace, freedom, justice and dignity that they all deserve.                                                                             (see http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/mar/11/cultural-boycott-west-bank-wall)