PETE SEEGER: IN LIEU OF A TRIBUTE
October 24, 2010 at 11:03 (Activism, Boycott Israel, DesertPeace Editorial, Entertainment, Israel, Occupation, Palestine)
It was my hope that I would never have to write this post. My public silence on the issue at hand until now was my way of protecting the image of a man so great, a man who has been the inspiration to millions of activists throughout the world. I tried to keep to myself what I am about to tell you all, hoping it would never happen.
The Arava Institute has not been hiding the fact that there is opposition to Seeger’s participation in the event. They published an article which originally appeared in the Jerusalem Post whitewashing the entire concept of the Boycott and Divestment Movement.
In part, the article states; What could be a more positive, non-political message of coexistence than that, right? Not according to over 40 organizations, led by Adalah-NY: The New York Campaign for the Boycott of Israel, which published a letter on Sunday calling on Seeger to “join the growing list of artists who have respected the Palestinian boycott call,” referring to cancellations this summer by the likes of Elvis Costello and the Pixies.The letter cited recent events in the Beduin village of Al- Arakib, where illegal structures have been torn down four times this year by the Israel Police. The letter also focused on the participation of the Jewish National Fund as a partner in the online presentation.
“The JNF, a partner organization in ‘With Earth and Each Other,’ has been engaged in the ‘Judaization’ of Palestine for more than 100 years. After the 1948 expulsion of two thirds of the Palestinian people from their lands, the JNF planted fast-growing non-native trees on the ruins of Palestinian villages in a deliberate attempt to prevent refugees from returning to their land.”
In a separate letter to Seeger, Jeff Halper, chairman of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD) wrote: “I hope that you will decide to join these artists of conscience and once again make a bold stand for justice.
The movement is gathering strength, the violators of civilized norms are fearful, and change is in the air.”
Seeger, long sympathetic with Left-wing causes, has been donating some his royalties for the song “Turn, Turn, Turn” to the ICAHD for over ten years.
Halper noted that one of the JNF’s most recent activities has been “the planting of a forest to cover a Beduin village [Al- Arakib] in the Negev from which the residents have been forcibly removed.”
From a very disturbing YNet article; Then, as now, Seeger whole-heartedly believed that songs can bring change. Seeger, America’s most important folk-music singer, says time and again that dialogue and non-violent actions are the only way to solve conflicts.
Many Palestinian organizations, including Adallah, signed a petition calling on Seeger to withdraw from the rally, but he won’t hear of it. That’s not to say that he supports Israel’s current policies. “My stand is supporting the boycott of Israeli products. I don’t know much about the artistic boycott taking place, but I understand the financial boycott. I don’t think there will be a human race here in another 50 years unless the entire world finds a way to communicate – whether it’s with pictures or music or food or sports. Words may come later, but we have to find a way to (talk) in some way”.
Now is not the time to sit around the campfire and sing Kumbayah! In order to move forward people have to communicate, not talk. A boycott is a very clear form of communication. Aside from which, it is the method of communication chosen by the victims in this crime of occupation – and as such it should be respected. After an extremely honorable life, one bordering on sainthood, he is creating great harm in his final years. As we can see, his act is being greatly exploited by the criminals . The silence of the students in Michigan this past week speaks much louder than Pete singing in that concert. Bottom line is, Pete has now made himself complicit in war crimes.
In his own words; “In 1967 I performed at a joint Israeli and Arab event (at the Hilton Tel Aviv, days before the Six Day War broke out). Before that I performed in Lebanon, where they asked me not to come to Israel. Since then, things have gone from bad to worse; Israel adopted large scale force while Palestinians use small scale force.
“Little by little I understood more how Zionism started. Of course, after the horrible experience of Hitler many people went to Israel. On the other hand, had I known more then, what was going to happen to Jews everywhere, I would consider how to prevent this terrible situation going on right now.”
There IS a way to prevent and stop the situation that is going on right now….. CHANGE YOUR MIND AND PULL OUT OF THE COMING EVENT! IT’S NOT TOO LATE!
The above was written out of love for the man, not out of anger. Pete Seeger has been a part of my life for over 60 years and a man I have known personally for over 50 of those years. He has always been there for humanity and has ‘paid the price’ for his dedication. I can honestly say, that despite all of the above, I love the man dearly, but at the moment I must say that I don’t like him very much.
Entertaining First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt and WW2 Troops…
and more recently at President Obama’s innauguration…
DON’T TARNISH THE IMAGE ….. WE HAVE SEEN TOO MANY OF OUR IDOLS FALL ALREADY!