Thursday, May 22, 2014

Ester Rada of Israel: Why Rada is a Gig to Boycott

A well-orchestrated hasbara tour:
Ester Rada of Israel tours the US.
Israeli apartheid is not jazzy.
by DPAI (Don't Play Apartheid Israel)
Israeli musician Ester Rada is on a tour of the US to include four gigs in both California and New York as well as many other states.  
The Bio on Ms. Rada's website does not mention the fact that she previously served in the IDF as a singer [1], and that she continues to sing at Israeli state-sponsored events. Her current tour is being sponsored by the Israeli Consulate. [2] On 1 Feb, the official twitter for the state of Israel tweeted "Ester Rada is one of the most promising and #unique artists in #Israel. hear her out" Again on 17 May, Israel's twitter promoted Rada and tweeted, "Meet Ester Rada, Israel's rising #music star." The Israeli consulate in Atlanta also promoted Ms. Rada on twitter.
The Israeli government has a long-standing history of using artists like Ms. Rada as part of a clearly whitewashing campaign, designed to distract the global community from Israel's well-documented human rights abuse and war crimes. 
After the Gaza massacre in 2008-2009, Israel decided to allot an extra $2 million towards "cultural and information diplomacy." Israel's former Deputy Director General for Cultural Affairs, Arye Mekel, was quoted as saying, "We will send well-known novelists and writers overseas, theater companies, exhibits... This way you show Israel's prettier face, so we are not thought of purely in the context of war." [3]  

The current use by Israel of Ms. Rada can also be interpreted as an effort to cover up Israel's persecution of African asylum seekers and violent anti-African racism that was outlined in an article by +972 Mag titled:
"A year in review: Anti-African racism and asylum seekers in Israel" [4]
The BDS campaign does not oppose any artist based on their nationality, race or religion. Artists such as Ms. Rada are boycotted not because they are Israelis, but because they are willingly complicit in Israeli criminal activities by being part of the government's whitewashing campaign.
The BDS campaign is a widely supported, historically proven method of resistance. Among the many high profile artists that have either supported the campaign explicitly, or have cancelled performances per the BDS call, are Roger Waters and Nick Mason of Pink Floyd [5], Grammy-winning jazz artist Cassandra Wilson, Stanley Jordan, Nigel Kennedy, award winning filmmaker Mira Nair, Carlos Santana, Elvis Costello, acclaimed guitarist John Williams, and Pete Seeger. Professor Stephen Hawking, the renowned University of Cambridge physicist and cosmologist, has also joined the academic boycott of Israel.

NOTES
[1]Self Written Solo EP " Life Happens "-Ester Rada  http://addishappening.com/index.php/addis-view/jazz-up-addis/item/29-ester-rada
[2] There are many examples showing Rada's sponsorship by the Israeli Consulate, here are just a few:  
A. Consulate General of Israel in Atlanta Annoucement http://embassies.gov.il/atlanta/NewsAndEvents/calendar-of-events/Pages/Ester-Rada-at-the-Atlanta-Jazz-Fest.aspx
B. For more, contact Dena Weiss, Director of Public Affairs, Consulate General of Israel to the Southeast  http://atlantajewishtimes.com/israeli-musician-ester-rada-take-main-stage-atlanta-jazz-festival/
C. Consulate General of Israel to the Midwest, http://www.citywinery.com/chicago/ester-rada-5-23.html
The Consulate General of Israel https://www.eventbrite.com/e/ester-rada-unplugged-tickets-5647002336

[3]  After Gaza, Israel Grapples With Crisis of Isolation, NY Times, 3/18/09
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/19/world/middleeast/19israel.html?_r=0

[4] http://972mag.com/a-year-in-review-anti-african-racism-and-asylum-seekers-in-israel/72381/
[5]http://www.salon.com/2014/05/01/pink_floyds_roger_waters_and_nick_mason_why_rolling_stones_shouldnt_play_in_israel/