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Against the Israeli Boycott

Jacob Weisberg and Johnny Rotten make common cause

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Johnny Rotten.(Robert Yager/Independent)

Slate Group Editor Jacob Weisberg makes the case against the Israeli cultural boycott:

That supporters of this boycott seldom focus on China or Syria or Zimbabwe—or other genuinely illegitimate regimes that systematically violate human rights—underscores their bad faith. Boycotters are not trying to send the specific message, “We object to your settlement policy in the West Bank.” What they’re saying is, “We consider your country so intrinsically reprehensible that we are going to treat all of your citizens as pariahs.” Like the older Arab economic boycott of Israel, which dates back to the 1940s, the cultural boycott is a weapon designed not to bring peace but to undermine the country.

A couple weeks ago, former Sex Pistols frontman Johnny Rotten announced that he would not cancel a gig in Israel next month despite hate mail he has received*. Rotten expanded on his stance recently:

I really resent the presumption that I’m going there to play to right-wing Nazi Jews. If Elvis-fucking-Costello wants to pull out of a gig in Israel because he’s suddenly got this compassion for Palestinians, then good on him. But I have absolutely one rule, right? Until I see an Arab country, a Muslim country, with a democracy, I won’t understand how anyone can have a problem with how they’re treated.

Don’t Boycott Israel [Newsweek]
Johnny Rotten: ‘Don’t Call Me a National Treasure’ [Independent]
Earlier: Elliott and Rotten Keep Israel Gigs

* At the time, by the way, I compared Rotten, the punk-rocker who plays Israel, to Pink Floyd, the overproduced classic rock group that makes gestures against Israeli policies; what I didn’t know then, but learned in the profile, is that Rotten was discovered by his promoter in 1975 while wearing an “I HATE PINK FLOYD” t-shirt.

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tillkan says:

What a ignorant creep. A child in Gaza can’t have a problem with how she is imprisoned by Israel’s blockade because WHAT? A student in Gaza who wins a scholarship to a university can’t take it because of the blockade and she can’t have a problem because WHAT?

Dani Levi says:

‘nough said. Short sharp, and to the point. Respect Jonny! Go boycott China! I will boycott all those left wing English ponce bands.

Dani Levi says:

Hey tillkan!
after leaving Gaza in peace, Israel was rewarded with 8000 ( eight thousand ) rockets. And they voted for it ( Hamas ), have you read their Charter lately?. So much for Pal peace and building trust, but I guess bleeding hearts will always triumph reason.

Lois Pyles says:

I am an American Christian woman who loves Israel and prays throughout my day for God’s blessing on all Jews. I also pray for the peace of Israel continually. From reading my bible I am convinced that God is very angry with any country’s leader that attempts to divide his holy land.Giving up land for peace has only fanned the flames and made more people die. Once Israel was back in her land;I truely believe it is to be forever! Please read Ezekiel (sp?) 38 &39 and you will see God will fight other countries for his beloved people.Much love and blessings to you all in this near future.Sincerely, and with a heart of love to you all, Lois Pyles

Lois, you might wanna read your own “Gospel’s” statements. “There is no Jew or Greek” comes to mind, “Turn the other cheek”, “The one who showed him mercy”, etc etc. The whole “Jews are better than anyone else and are the only people entitled to a random strip of desert land” is unique to our own religion, as far as I know. Actually I believe a central tenant of Christianity is that no land belongs to any one group of people, it’s all ~*~The Lord’s~*~. But I’m not a Christian so I might be wrong. Anyway, perhaps you should convert if you really believe that?

Oh and JW’s Newsweek article was so sloppily written. It was poorly argued and certainly didn’t win the anti-boycott faction any friends. They should’ve picked someone more articulate to write it.

Genug Shoyn says:

The boycott against Israel has a number of sides. That Israel is a democracy is the whole point: you want to push citizens to oppose their government’s policies. The fact that the Israelis will view the boycott as yet another example of antisemitism (and they wouldn’t be wrong) and therefore ignore it shows that it is misguided. Even more misguided is the academic boycott of Israel. To boycott the intellectuals who stand against the treatment of Palestinians is also stupidly misguided.

I am a liberal, Mr Weisberg and I don’t approve of the government’s policies, but I too view the boycott as a form of posturing, a way of making yourself feel better. Stop mixing internal politics (Democrat vs Republican) with middle east politics. The sniping is counter productive. What, I have to support you while you insult me? You too are engaged in counter-productive tactics.

John Power says:

For Lois Pyles From of the Book of Jeremiah

‘I will pronounce my judgment on these people (the Jews) because of their wickedness in forsaking me…
I brought you into a fertile land, but you came and defiled my land and made my inheritance detestable…
The priests did not ask ‘Where is the Lord?’ …
Those who deal with the law did not know me and the leaders rebelled against me…
Therefore I bring charges against you, your children and against your children’s children…
These people have forsaken me, the spring of living water…
Your wickedness will punish you and your backsliding will rebuke you…
Long ago you broke off your yoke and said ‘I will not serve you!’ Indeed on every high hill, you lay down as a prostitute…
Why did you turn against me and become a corrupt, wild vine?
Although you wash yourself with an abundance of soap the stain of your guilt is still before me…
As a thief is disgraced only when caught, so too is the house of Israel disgraced…they, their kings and officials, priests and prophets have turned their backs to me and not their faces…
You have all rebelled against me…
In vain did I punish these people and yet they did not respond to correction…
Your sword has devoured your prophets like a ravening lion…
These people have forgotten me…Even the worst of women can learn from your ways…
On your clothes men find the lifeblood of the innocent poor, and yet in spite of all this you dare to say ‘I am innocent!’
But I will pass judgment upon you, O Israel…You have lived as a prostitute with many lovers. Look up to the barren heights and see, is there any place where you haven’t been ravaged? By the roadside you sat, waiting for lovers. You have defiled the land with your prostitution and wickedness. You have the brazen look of a prostitute and refuse to blush with shame…

Johnny Rotten, despite his anarchistic demeanor, makes a valid point against the Israeli boycott when he says, “Until I see an Arab country, a Muslim country, with a democracy, I won’t understand how anyone can have a problem with how they’re treated.”

Do you really think hate mail’s gonna intimidate Johnny Rotten?!?

John says:

Except that Johnny Rotten is entirely incorrect (for a myriad of reasons) with his transparently racist and simply ludicrous statement. Apparently Turkey isn’t a democratic country now?

margie says:

Turks don’t consider themselves Arabs and are not Arab.

great information, thanks!. we read your blog often at funny t-shirts


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Against the Israeli Boycott

Jacob Weisberg and Johnny Rotten make common cause

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