Denise Jannah Expresses Support for BDS

EXTRACTS from Denise Jannah statement [for full statement see link below]

September 10, 2011.

Please let me start by telling you this: of a cultural BDS boycott Ramon and I had NO knowledge, none at all. This is where the problem started, for had I known I would have done things differently: the reasons for this boycott are valid. Saying this I do acknowledge all those in Israel who do want Peace and are equally tired of the whole situation. I too detest what is happening in Gaza and the way the Israeli government is going about, it’s all absolutely horrendous! And this is the same reason why Ramón and I have sincerely supported “Music For Gaza” in Rotterdam, September last year. This had not been my first time supporting the Palestine case, by the way, I once did through Amnesty International as well. To be accused of violating this boycott is extra painful to us. The boycott is supposedly a worldwide one, known also in all Europe. I hereby respectfully suggest to the BSDI to make sure that this becomes a 100% reality indeed. Because unless I seriously missed something I had never heard about it in the Dutch Jazz scene, and I am still to hear from any of my Dutch colleagues what they know about it; nor have I received word from any musical organization here in the Netherlands so far about this boycott, I’m sorry to say.

And then we are being urged -understandably so!- to cancel our concerts, just 2 days before. I have no objections against the open letter sent to us. I respect its writers, its contents, and agree with them/it too. But any serious working professional would know that breach of contracts will have legal consequences. Unfortunately no one of those pleading with us or downright accusing us have come forward with any idea whatsoever for a possible legal solution in this matter. In this light all we can do is stick to our sincere intention that we’ve had in the first place: to work through our Music with the talent that we’ve been blessed with to help spread Love, preach Peace, talk to people’s hearts and point out to everyone in our audience that we ALL have a responsibility to help make this world a better one, be it on a smaller or very big scale. And with all this in our hearts it’s extremely painful to have been accused of all we have been accused for and to have been called all that we were called unto this day.

The accusation that we work/have worked (in our case as musicians, work=to perform) for the Israeli government is very far from the truth and I strongly object and resent it. Maybe people don’t know this, but performing in a certain venue doesn’t automatically mean that one has been hired by that venue itself or whoever is behind it, as other musicians will also know. The agency that booked us for a few concerts is privately owned, besides: Jazz is considered commercial music and therefore doesn’t get any government support in Israel anyway. Anyone thinking that I would willingly perform for the Israeli state doesn’t know me at all. But I can’t blame anyone either. I’ll have to be content with knowing that they who really know me, will also know that I have never shied away from taking a stand, be it political or otherwise. Again I regret to not have known about the BDS boycott, and I also wish that Ramon and I, especially after “Music For Gaza”, had been informed personally, be it as a follow up, together with all the others that were involved that evening (or maybe they have been? I don’t know.) With better international information by BDS/BDSI, Ramón and I wouldn’t have to feel as if we’re standing trial today.

The Palestine people simply deserve their Freedom, their Justice, their Land, and I pray for Peace for the whole region.

In spite of everything I want to thank everyone who has reacted towards me/us this past week, no matter how harsh and painful it has been for me/us to swallow sometimes. I can still say thanks because I believe in the Divine who knows my heart, and I know too well that every experience is a learning one and that everything happens for a reason. No, my conscience has not been blinded (another one of the accusations), quite the contrary. The talks and encounters I’ve had while in Israel: I’m grateful for these chances of direct communication and enlightenment. The talks were with Israeli and non-Israeli who oppose their government/the Israeli regime and have dedicated themselves to the Palestine cause. We talked about me returning and crossing the border with them into Gaza. I have been on the Israeli radio in a live interview that was to be about my music, where I openly talked about me and Ramon performing for the children of Gaza at the event “Music for Gaza”, last year September, and what moved us to do so. And in that same live interview I also mentioned and talked about the BDS movement and its boycott: that I hadn’t known about it beforehand but that I fully agree with the reasons that have originated this boycott. I knew beforehand that I wouldn’t leave our strive for Peace and Justice untouched during our concerts, and I haven’t. Music is our art, and also our tool.

The BDS boycott and movement is a legitimate way to raise public awareness and a nonviolent way of resistance.

Please know that our strive for World Peace, which I think we all share has only gotten stronger since last week’s experience. And to use our talent as artists to keep giving our efforts accordingly, will be the only way, in moving forward from here on, to make up to everyone we have made feel let down.
Peace and Blessings,

Denise Jannah

 

FULL VERSION BELOW THE FOLD

FULL VERSION

(We understand you understand Ramon Válle also supports this statement, but have not heard from him directly)

September 10, 2011.

In this past week I have had a lot to deal with. It hasn’t been easy. Pianist Ramón Válle and I have been accused of violating a cultural boycott against Israel. We have been accused of giving ‘apartheid concerts’. We have been accused of having been hired by the Israeli government. Of working for a state funded organization, the Tel Aviv Museum of Art. Our integrity has been seriously doubted. And we have had to deal with enormous pressure to cancel our concerts and ‘not to support the oppressor’… I’ve kept quiet for a while, and not without reason. I have prayed and deliberated, God and I myself know best what’s in my heart. I have had the opportunity to engage in conversations with people who live certain situations and could tell me their experiences, people who strive for Peace, also Israelis in Israel, working on the Palestine case and supporting it.

Please let me start by telling you this: of a cultural BDS boycott Ramon and I had NO knowledge, none at all. This is where the problem started, for had I known I would have done things differently: the reasons for this boycott are valid. Saying this I do acknowledge all those in Israel who do want Peace and are equally tired of the whole situation. I too detest what is happening in Gaza and the way the Israeli government is going about, it’s all absolutely horrendous! And this is the same reason why Ramón and I have sincerely supported “Music For Gaza” in Rotterdam, September last year. This had not been my first time supporting the Palestine case, by the way, I once did through Amnesty International as well. To be accused of violating this boycott is extra painful to us. The boycott is supposedly a worldwide one, known also in all Europe. I hereby respectfully suggest to the BSDI to make sure that this becomes a 100% reality indeed. Because unless I seriously missed something I had never heard about it in the Dutch Jazz scene, and I am still to hear from any of my Dutch colleagues what they know about it; nor have I received word from any musical organization here in the Netherlands so far about this boycott, I’m sorry to say.

And then we are being urged -understandably so!- to cancel our concerts, just 2 days before. I have no objections against the open letter sent to us. I respect its writers, its contents, and agree with them/it too. But any serious working professional would know that breach of contracts will have legal consequences. Unfortunately no one of those pleading with us or downright accusing us have come forward with any idea whatsoever for a possible legal solution in this matter. In this light all we can do is stick to our sincere intention that we’ve had in the first place: to work through our Music with the talent that we’ve been blessed with to help spread Love, preach Peace, talk to people’s hearts and point out to everyone in our audience that we ALL have a responsibility to help make this world a better one, be it on a smaller or very big scale. And with all this in our hearts it’s extremely painful to have been accused of all we have been accused for and to have been called all that we were called unto this day.

The accusation that we work/have worked (in our case as musicians, work=to perform) for the Israeli government is very far from the truth and I strongly object and resent it. Maybe people don’t know this, but performing in a certain venue doesn’t automatically mean that one has been hired by that venue itself or whoever is behind it, as other musicians will also know. The agency that booked us for a few concerts is privately owned, besides: Jazz is considered commercial music and therefore doesn’t get any government support in Israel anyway. Anyone thinking that I would willingly perform for the Israeli state doesn’t know me at all. But I can’t blame anyone either. I’ll have to be content with knowing that they who really know me, will also know that I have never shied away from taking a stand, be it political or otherwise. Again I regret to not have known about the BDS boycott, and I also wish that Ramon and I, especially after “Music For Gaza”, had been informed personally, be it as a follow up, together with all the others that were involved that evening (or maybe they have been? I don’t know.) With better international information by BDS/BDSI, Ramón and I wouldn’t have to feel as if we’re standing trial today.

It is not at all my intention to start the discussion anew. The Palestine people simply deserve their Freedom, their Justice, their Land, and I pray for Peace for the whole region.

In spite of everything I want to thank everyone who has reacted towards me/us this past week, no matter how harsh and painful it has been for me/us to swallow sometimes. I can still say thanks because I believe in the Divine who knows my heart, and I know too well that every experience is a learning one and that everything happens for a reason. No, my conscience has not been blinded (another one of the accusations), quite the contrary. The talks and encounters I’ve had while in Israel: I’m grateful for these chances of direct communication and enlightenment. The talks were with Israeli and non-Israeli who oppose their government/the Israeli regime and have dedicated themselves to the Palestine cause. We talked about me returning and crossing the border with them into Gaza. I have been on the Israeli radio in a live interview that was to be about my music, where I openly talked about me and Ramon performing for the children of Gaza at the event “Music for Gaza”, last year September, and what moved us to do so. And in that same live interview I also mentioned and talked about the BDS movement and its boycott: that I hadn’t known about it beforehand but that I fully agree with the reasons that have originated this boycott. I knew beforehand that I wouldn’t leave our strive for Peace and Justice untouched during our concerts, and I haven’t. Music is our art, and also our tool.

The BDS boycott and movement is a legitimate way to raise public awareness and a nonviolent way of resistance.

Please know that our strive for World Peace, which I think we all share has only gotten stronger since last week’s experience. And to use our talent as artists to keep giving our efforts accordingly, will be the only way, in moving forward from here on, to make up to everyone we have made feel let down.
Peace and Blessings,

Denise Jannah

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