Cyndi Lauper – Choose Equality, Don’t Entertain Violent Segregation

Cyndi Lauper, the country you are planning to entertain imposes violent segregation, not equality

By Leehee Rothchild

I’m glad that you believe in equality, so do I. Unfortunately, my country doesn’t. In the state of Israel, equality is a word frequently used, but rarely practiced.

In the occupied territories, under Israel’s control, in East Jerusalem, and the West Bank, Palestinians and Israeli settlers share the same ground, but that’s all they share. There are separate legal systems, military for Palestinians, civil for Israeli, segregated roads, buses, and check points. There are different water quotas, and different building permits, as in, none of those for Palestinians. Settlers have freedom of movement, of work, of protest, of speech, Palestinians have none of those.

Every Palestinian protest is violently suppressed by the Israeli army. Also, most of the Palestinians living in the West Bank, cannot cross into Israel, whereas all settlers can do that. Many of them, will probably come to your show. It goes without saying that all of the Palestinians living in Gaza, under siege since 2006, will not be able to make it. Many of them are without electricity, 16 hours a day, fuel is running out. Medical operations are made in candle light, and many pay with their lives, for the fuel shortage created by Israel’s closure of the strip’s borders.

As for those Palestinians who are so-called citizens of the State of Israel. Yes, they have citizenship, but their equal status begins and ends with this piece of paper. They don’t get equal funding, for school, for welfare, for infrastructures. The Israeli education system invests 8 times more in an Israeli pupil, than in a Palestinian one. Most Palestinian towns get no public transport, and not a single train station operates in any of those. The state of Israel operates in order to Judaeise areas in which there’s a high concentration of Palestinians, such as the Naqab or the Galilee. These programmes include the demolition of Palestinian houses, the eviction of Palestinian citizens, and the expropriation of Palestinian lands. As for romantic relationships between Palestinians and Israelis, there are several organizations, supported by various Members of the Knesset, that are working to intimidate such couples, with insults, humiliations and violent threats. Such a couple will never be able to get married inside Israel, as only religious marriages are possible. And while we’re on the subject I’ll add a word about lack of equality against non-Palestinians. I’m living in a religious state, in which as a woman, I can never get equal status. I’m living in a state in which state-funded buses operate, on which women are boarding from the back, and men are boarding from the front, to cater for an orthodox community, whose equality, seems to be more important than my own. I’m living in a state in which there’s a religious court system in which only men can serve as judges, and these men decide on every matter of marriage and divorce, according to laws set more than 2000 years ago. I’m also living in a state that as we speak, rounds up African refugees into an enormous prison, for the sole crime, of seeking asylum.

Dear Cyndi, we both believe in equality, we believe in freedom, in peace, in justice, and I hope that some day, we can celebrate them together. But you can’t find freedom, where there is occupation, you can’t find justice under apartheid, you can’t find equality in the state of Israel.

Moddi, Don’t Entertain Israel, the Oppressor of Palestinians

Open letter from Gaza to Moddi: Do Not Entertain Our Oppressor!

Dear Moddi

[Besieged Gaza, Palestine] We are a group of academics, students and youth from Gaza, and our only fault is being born Palestinian. You might think we are in an era from where you should not be murdered, tortured, forced to leave your houses and villages, denied water and electricity, restricted movement, imprisoned and regularly harassed and humiliated – all because of who you are when you are born, because of what is written on your identity card. But this encapsulates the reality of our entire lives for decades under the Israeli Apartheid that you are intending to entertain on 1st February and we implore you to take a stand by refusing to perform there.  

The Israeli occupation of our land is the longest running in modern history. In Gaza we are in the seventh year of the Israeli imposed, medieval siege with our families and loved ones in what major Human Rights Organizations call the largest open air prison in modern history. Two thirds of us are UN registered refugees still dreaming of a return to our homes – the hundreds of Palestinian villages, towns and cities destroyed by Israeli bulldozers, tanks and missiles. The state you are planning to entertain is committed to a process of ethnic cleansing against us the indigenous people, a process that began with the Nakba in 1948. And now it is engaged in, what the Israeli academic Ilan Pappe calls, “slow motion genocide” against the 1.7 million population of Gaza, the majority of whom are children.

As this letter is penned from a refugee camp near Gaza City, it is Christmas Eve. And now the news comes through from East of Al-Maghazi refugee camp, central Gaza, that 3 year old Hala Abu Sabikha has been killed by shrapnel from an Israeli shelling. Her mother and her brothers, 3 year old Bilal and 6 year old Mohammad were injured while standing outside their house near a chicken farm. How will their family ever recover, overcome with permanent grief and loss from Gaza’s depleted hospital wards while those celebrating Christmas day in Norway and the rest of Europe sit in silence?

Hundreds of Palestinian Christians in Gaza are denied by Israel the possibility of going to Bethlehem, a one hour drive, for Mass this Christmas, and many more are denied entry coming from countries from outside. The Israeli regime controls all points of entry to Palestine.
We love music. But, we are deprived of it. For years musical instruments were one of those items banned from entering by Israel’s blockade, along with toys, pasta, school books and chocolate. The sound of Israeli-US made F16s, F15s, F35s, surveillance planes, white phosphorous bombs, naval gunboats and Merkava tanks drown the music and song that we delight in performing and listening to. Even listening to music on computers is impossible – in the last few months the Israeli siege and attacks on our power supply means we are now limited to 6 hours of electricity a day! The sewage system has also collapsed and many of the camps are flooded. Yet this is not an environmental disaster, this is imposed by the regime to which you plan on bringing your music.
Do you know that most of the people in your audience will have served or are serving in the Israeli army? You are aware that we in Gaza could never cross the Israeli checkpoints to enjoy your music because we are Palestinian, born to mothers who do not have the “right” religion? We call upon your free soul that has been adding uplifting music into this disenchanted world of ours, to join those courageous people of conscience, artists like Elvis Costello, Annie Lennox, Roger Waters of Pink Floyd, Massive Attack, Gil Scott-Heron, Faithless, Carlos Santana, Vanessa Paradis, Natacha Atlas and Devendra Banhart. They are heeding the call to boycott Israel until it complies with international law, and until justice and accountability are reached just as the global Boycott Divestment and Sanction movement helped make way for the collapse of apartheid in South Africa. 

The late, great Nelson Mandela said “We know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians.” Archbishop Desmond Tutu on his visits to Palestine described some of Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians as worse than apartheid. Would you have performed in Apartheid South Africa? How would that look now? Endorsing the 2005 Palestinian call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Tutu described as ‘unconscionable’ the prospect of the South African ‘Cape Town Opera’ performing in Israel earlier this year.
We ask you now, like so many people of your nation have stood with the oppressed in the past, to stand on the right side of history, to respond to our call from the Gaza ghetto to not turn your back on us. If you play in Israel, then we will be a short distance away from where you are playing. But your beautiful tunes will break our wrenching hearts and not sway our souls.

Don’t entertain Apartheid this February 1st

Palestinian Students for the Academic Boycott of Israel

University Teachers’ Association


Chill Out Culture

The All Purpose Guide on How to Handle Criticism™ has been developed for when you’ve written very silly/racist/bigoted/mean things on social media and someone has the outrageous temerity to query you on them.

1.0 Scream “You gatekeepers!” and metaphorically roll eyes at sycophants.
1.5 Important update to improve book sales of defended icon: “You OBVIOUSLY haven’t read the book!”

2.0 Complain bitterly about being censored and silenced.
2.1 Whine piteously about how the critic is being “divisive”.
2.2 Quick security fix: “You’re singling out [Insert object of emotive bias] for criticism!”
2.3 Special multi-purpose combined update – “You have no sense of humor!” “it’s just a joke!!” “It’s only words on a screen.” “Get off your computer and do something important!”

3.0 Wail about “bullying” and launch into a satisfying tirade of ad hominem. They started it.

4.0 Moan about “call out culture” and call the patronising sods out back in a never-ending loop where “discourse” disappears up its own meta-orifice.

Coming soon …

5.0 …… Intellectual honesty?

This program is evolving open source software with a Creative Commons licence, so feel free to develop your own version – if you forget to credit the above version history, expect an interloper, who will test you on your proficiency with the program.

Callout Culture

Hi ho the diddlio
A-trolling I shall go,
First thing in the morning,
while i’m still a-yawning,
sizzling up some tender meat
racist ranters smell so sweet.

Oh white saviour –
the burden of empire
faithfully carried
on the backs of the willing,
Oh white saviour –
with rightness of whiteness
imperial bait and switch
rules still over the outflung colonies
with their vanguard ingrates.

Jinjirrie, December 2013.

Related Links

B-grade politics and reaction
CastleVainia: On a divisive consensus in favour of hating identity politics

Australian academic faces Israeli lawfare attack from the Shurat HaDin

The right to criticize the policies of another country are at stake

Today an Israeli based law centre, Shurat HaDin, filed a case in the Federal Court of Australia, against Professor Jake Lynch from the University of Sydney’s Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies. They claim that he has supported policies which are racist and discriminatory by his specific endorsement of an academic boycott of Israeli institutions and individuals representing them. Jake Lynch has refused collaboration with Hebrew University because of its support of the illegal occupation of Palestine and close connections with the Israeli armament industry.

This lawfare attack against academic freedom and freedom of speech has been condemned by over 2000 Australian and international human rights advocates from some 60 countries, who have all signed a pledge supporting Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel because of its well documented and clear violations of international and humanitarian law, and offering to be co-defendants in any legal action taken against Lynch.

Shurat HaDin has taken many similar actions internationally against groups who support the BDS movement. Professor Stuart Rees comments, “It seems that this firm, Shurat HaDin works in the civil courts as a proxy for the Israeli government and security forces, seeking to shut down any criticism of the state of Israel and its ongoing human rights abuses and violations of international law.”

In August, Shurat HaDin lodged a complaint in the Human Rights Commission against Jake Lynch’s refusal to sponsor an Israeli academic from the Hebrew University, now they want to silence this highly regarded academic, by taking their complaint to the Federal Court. This challenges the right to take non violent action in support international human rights law and the rights of the dispossessed Palestinians. Australians for BDS condemns racism in all forms, and specifically anti-Semitism.

“Israel’s occupation and ethnic cleansing machinery continue unabated but the moral force that used to drive that process is fast eroding and, as out of touch as the Abbott government and anti-BDS activists in Australia may be, there is an undeniable shift in the balance of moral power. International civil society is holding Israel to account in a way no government has ever been able to do”.

Press release by Randa Abdel Fattah, Australian Palestinian lawyer and writer.

Press conference with Professor Stuart Rees and Professor Peter Slezak
Date: WED Oct 30th (today)
Time: 2pm
Location: Queen’s Square, Junction of King, Phillip and Macquarie Streets, Sydney (St James Station)’s_Square,_Sydney


Professor Peter Slezak speaks at the press conference:

Related Links

Academics to fight Federal Court action claiming support for BDS racist
Two Thousand Defendants For Human Rights
Israeli lawyers group Shurat HaDin unmasked as Mossad proxy
Defending The Right To Dissent
Defend free speech and human rights and support the BDS
The Israeli government’s official ‘lawfare’ contractor

Victim Diva

Betty Boop Banalitytabloid burnt offerings
grovel to my dictates
shock horror twerking scandal!
if you could ask Elvis,
would he not say
my heaving gyrations
transcend colour, sex,
class and race?
your acquiescence
in this rotting pop corn age
my attention-seeking militates.

tread those egg shells lightly
i throw down each day,
my name writ smooth and broadcast,
to remain in orbit, you must obey.
i have no allies,
only competitors in crimes
of appropriation,
fickle backslappers –
fans are not fans who disagree,
my privilege is to make decrees,
blogged, statused and tweeted.

form inverted Vs,
witless adoration fuels
my trajectory,
that dance i made my own?
there’s nothing new under the sun
that has not been borrowed or
stolen in show biz
from non-white cultures,
just ask Elvis –
from above i may watch,
so twerk your tail feather
and coyly brush your crotch.

yet this sympathetic magic
can never transmute you to me –
are exploiter and exploited,
voyeur and object,
entertainer and entertained
on the same branch of the tree?
trust me, this industry enslaves us all,
i need you more than you need me,
get busy, buy my song,
pity me, and dance my dance.

Jinjirrie, October 2013.

Focus on elite individuals and their manufactured victimhood serves as a bait and switch – instead of challenging the structure of capitalist patriarchy, we are baited to participate voyeuristically in the divide and rule show enabled by the ruling elite and their oppressive structures, especially the media. There’s something to be said for the Australian tradition of tall poppy lopping.

It benefits the ruling capitalist patriarchy if women are seen to be attacking other women, if folks are absorbed with their own gripes and not on the structures of oppression. The ‘meritocracy’ divides, rules, disempowers and kneecaps the coordinated class struggle.