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Jello Biafra bucks international BDS call, will play show in Tel Aviv

Discussion in 'General political debates' started by punkmar77, Jun 10, 2011.

  1. punkmar77

    punkmar77Experienced Member Staff Member Uploader Admin Team Experienced member


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    Jello Biafra bucks international BDS call, will play show in Tel Aviv

    Luay Sababa

    Someone once said that “punk rock is dead.” Alas, another nail in the coffin was hammered in on Tuesday, when punk rock legend and former frontman of the anti-imperialist, anti-corporate San Francisco-based band Dead Kennedys, Jello Biafra, decided to go ahead with a planned gig in Tel Aviv despite pressure on him to respect and honor the Palestinian-led call for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS).

    Attempting to explain his (in)action to the public, Biafra posted this confusing letter to the facebook page of his band, Jello Biafra and the Guantanamo School of Medicine, and addressed it to the Palestine Solidarity Campaign:

    My problems with Jello’s milquetoast justification for playing a gig in Tel Aviv are multi-fold. One, well, he’s playing a gig in Tel Aviv, which is something that so many artists, writers, and performers of conscience have refused to do on the basis that Palestinians — and plenty of Jewish-Israeli activists as well — have called for this international boycott which includes playing gigs in Israel.

    Two, Jello says that he met with one Palestinian “peace activist” in Ramallah (but doesn’t name names) who apparently speaks on behalf of all Palestinians in the West Bank, Gaza Strip, inside the state of Israel, and in the global diaspora. Jello then uses that kind of careless street cred to justify his action to break the boycott.

    Three, he is plain wrong on his assertion that the boycott movement is “nowhere near as solid or as unified as the boycott against apartheid in South Africa.” Here’s why: the official Palestinian-led BDS call is not even six years old yet. In this short amount of time, however, thousands of boycott activists from Sydney to Chicago, Edinburgh to Johannesburg, have been instrumental in pressuring universities, corporations, local governments, labor and educational unions, musicians and artists to respect the boycott call. Moreover, Jello’s claim that this movement is not “solid” or “unified” enough to warrant paying attention to is just the very kind of misinformation that is being used by the Israeli government and its sympathizers when trying to discredit the incredible amount of victories that the BDS movement is claiming, every day.

    That the Israeli government is warning its citizens and the international community that the BDS movement is a “strategic threat,” even a “potentially existential threat,” to the state, means that this nonviolent movement is highly effective and that the Israeli government is being put on notice by a worldwide community. Surely an unorganized, non-unified, un-solid movement would not elicit so much attention from Israeli policymakers.

    I think it’s great that Jello Biafra wants to travel to Palestine-Israel to see for himself what’s really going on. More artists should. He unfortunately misunderstands the BDS call to not accept money to play a gig in Tel Aviv by saying that he believes he is being told not to “set foot in Israel.” The two ideas are diametrically opposed. Nowhere within the cultural boycott call does it say that the boycott applies to anyone visiting the state. Only if that person is accepting money to — for example — play a concert, or show a photographic exhibition, or give a speech, does the boycott apply.

    Finally — and forgive me, this rant is longer than I expected — if Jello Biafra really wants “to bring down that goddamn wall,” he should start by not entertaining an audience whose government is using US taxpayer money to build it, and instead take a cue from one of his old songs:

    Any kind of real change / Takes more time and work / Than changing channels on a TV set
    (from Chickenshit Conformist, Bedtime for Democracy, 1986)

    http://electronicintifada.net/blog/nora ... w-tel-aviv
     

  2. SurgeryXdisaster

    SurgeryXdisasterExperienced Member Experienced member Forum Member


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    :ecouteurs:
     
  3. Burn1ng

    Burn1ngExperienced Member Experienced member Forum Member


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    Thanks for posting this Punkmar, it's always good to know when those who used to believe in something end up selling out, to be honest I had no idea such a boycott existed and Jello Biafra should know better, fortunatelly from the messages on FB I see there are more people disgusted by this, hopefully Jello will change his mind, if he wants boths sides of the conflic he should play in Palestine and then visit Israel as a visitor.

    However, can we really say that punk is even more dead because of the actions of one individual? I'm not a punk but I think that no one "owns" punk, besides people change and if Biafra plays in Tel Aviv he should no longer be considered a punk.
     
  4. The Freakboi

    The FreakboiExperienced Member Experienced member Forum Member


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    I don't think playing Tel Aviv should have any bearing on whether or not he's a punk, and I don't think playing in Palestine is even an option. However, Jello's shit about wanting to understand the conflict better is utter bollocks. You don't have to play gigs to learn about a country, he could have gone by himself between tours.

    Jello Biafra's punk credibility is irrelevant, even if he was a popstar he shouldn't play Tel Aviv. It pissed me off when I heard John Lydon was playing there, it pissed me off when Lady Gaga played there and this is no different. Now, I am aware that the Israel boycott isn't as black and white as South Africa was (no pun intended) but the fact is that the Israeli people DID vote in this government and the tax collected from gigs ARE paying for the maintenance of the blockade surrounding Palestine. If you want to bring down the wall, SPOILERS: this isn't how to go about it!
     
  5. vAsSiLy77

    vAsSiLy77Experienced Member Uploader Experienced member Forum Member


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    Jun 21, 2010
     
    Right, whatever he is doesn't matter - but what he's doing matters much - even because of his old fame.
    And somehow I wonder that he's allowed to play in public in israel with the small chance of a mtv-get-off-the-air-act in tel aviv - how desparate the officials must be to take that risk?
    Presumably there is no risk at all and his "I'm allowed because there might be some somewhere opposing the boycott" statement is only the most saddest sign what has become of ol'jello :o :'( :o
     
  6. Burn1ng

    Burn1ngExperienced Member Experienced member Forum Member


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    That's what I was getting at when saying he should no longer be considered a punk if he plays the gig on Tel Aviv, because he would be pretty much betraying the ideals he and his fans have associated with punk most of his life. True, it doesn't matter what he is these days, he can be anything he wants, but to me it would be really hypocrite of Jello to consider himself the same punk he's been all his life if he goes on with this.
     
  7. vAsSiLy77

    vAsSiLy77Experienced Member Uploader Experienced member Forum Member


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    Well, guess you know how I think about "punk changing the world" - so the issue "is he (still) a punk?" is secondary for me - important is the political damage he does, dismissing/disqualifying the struggling palestinians as not solid/unified and giving an bad example for others with some cheap excuses.
    Freakboi already said it, it doesn't matter if he's doing pop, polka or punk - it's his fucking lack of simple things like solidarity, conscience or at least a sense of shame - some basics of humane feeling and thinking minds...
    And thinking of ignorant steve for another bad example, I'll guess even critisizing his personal failure is useless, won't change a thing - so the important part is purely the political - and I really hope he'll have to "bleed" for this bullshit/career...
     
  8. Burn1ng

    Burn1ngExperienced Member Experienced member Forum Member


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    Well you and Freakboi are talking about Jello the person, but I'm talking about Jello the punk, in either case what he's doing is reprehensible regardless of who he is, however I don't really care if he's a punk or not anymore since to me punk will exist with or without him anyways.
     
  9. vAsSiLy77

    vAsSiLy77Experienced Member Uploader Experienced member Forum Member


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    So why this:
    but I think you already got the message too:
    (and the real punk right now is the 9 and a half months old wild maned ruffian sitting on my lap and trying to take over the typing:

    eersynmöocyemrä###+m,sfä ljsfda333 öjdsaöfkl ölkä) :D :o
     
  10. Burn1ng

    Burn1ngExperienced Member Experienced member Forum Member


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    Because he'd be selling out his punk ideals which overall go against injustice, if your whole concept of punk is based on an ideal and you betray that then he'd be a hypocrite to keep considering himself a punk IMO. Although as you pointed out I do know that punk goes on regardless of what Biafra does or not.
     
  11. Bakica

    BakicaExperienced Member Experienced member Forum Member


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    Feb 21, 2010
     
    Jello was a great man, until he ran for mayor of SF. And I don't accept the fact that he wanted to change the system from inside, bullshit.
     
  12. Inle

    InleMember Forum Member


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    How do people feel about a real DIY band playing a real DIY gig/show in Israel?
    There are anarchist groups and bands in Israel who disagree with the Israel. Would playing gigs/shows for these people, in Israel be considered wrong?
     
  13. butcher

    butcherExperienced Member Uploader Experienced member Forum Member


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    Mr slackbastard has blogged about this recently:
    check out the original as @ndy uses heapsa links in the text that I've got no intention of redoing here.
     
  14. Ferago

    FeragoActive Member Forum Member


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    So playing a gig in a corrupt country means you support that regime? I guess all bands should stop touring the US then. What a goddamn joke.
     
  15. nike

    nikeExperienced Member Experienced member Forum Member


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    from corrupted munich, germany, 21th of june 2011:
    whats-left-of-jello-the-image was doing a spoken word gig in the feierwerk venue, after i visited some friends in the city i was invited to attend the gig, i didn't knew about the israel-issue and talked with a bunch of pro-palestinian people handing out flyers with the translated Luay Sababa text in front of the venue.
    the door security watched me and my mates standing with the pro-palestinians and later refused us to enter the building, despite our tickets - "we don't want trouble makers" we were told.
    while we were debating what to do next, a bunch of people was thrown out of the building - again unwanted trouble makers which somehow made it into the building and started handing out their flyers amongst the audience.
    more people left the venue protesting against the eviction of the activists, a little crowd gathered and remained debating in front of the building - after 10 minutes several riot-cop-vehicles appeared and the black armoured warriors took position.
    because i'm currently on probation for militant resistance i was dragged away from the scene by my friends, who later told me that the usual security of the feierwerk was replaced by jello's own people - what a goddamn joke? o_O
     
  16. Caps

    CapsExperienced Member Experienced member Forum Member


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    This is confusing to me. I could understand Jello being misguided or his views not necessarily sitting with mine but this seems so wrong that it seems either stupidity or sinister. His answers are very poorly thought through.

    I don't think this is necessarily wrong. Especially if done in support of resistance groups such as AATW. I'm not sure but I think Hellobastards may have played in Israel. Their political stance on this issue is unquestionably in support for the Palestinians.
     
  17. butcher

    butcherExperienced Member Uploader Experienced member Forum Member


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    Or Honduras...
    Actually, pick a country, any country...

    According to the boycott call, artists, academics, etc are asked "to comprehensively and consistently boycott all Israeli academic and cultural institutions as a contribution to the struggle to end Israel's occupation, colonization and system of apartheid... [my emphasis]"

    On this basis, i would assume that it'd be ok.

    However, using this as a guideline raises the question of how, exactly, Jello is scabbing on the boycott by performing in Israel? Most specifically, what constitutes an Israeli cultural institution? Only State-owned/sponsored venues? Private, for profit venues (as is the case inre Jello)? Any and all venues in Israel?

    The argument put forward by PACBI is that Jello's performance means that "Israel will use such a performance to show that it is a bastion of culture, music and tolerance, and to cover up its terrible record of human rights abuses"...
    "By performing in Israel you may not be announcing support for the far right government of Netanyahu, true; but you would be lending your good name to be used by this government to make it sound like business as usual could go on despite its crimes. Why else did the African National Congress, in its struggle against apartheid, ask all artists to entirely boycott South Africa and not to perform in Sun City, in particular?"

    two things
    1. As mentioned above, unlike the African National Congress' boycott, this one calls for a boycott of Israeli academic and cultural institutions, rather than Israel as a geographical location. A call similar to the ANC's could be made (the pros/cons of doing so I'm undecided about), however, this doesn't seem to be the case atm.
    2. PACBI appears to be saying that whilst Jello Biafra isn't directly lending his support to the regime (as would be the case should he perform at an Israeli State institution), instead he is indirectly crossing the picket by performing at a venue in Tel Aviv; a performance that will, in PACBI's opinion, be used as fodder for Israeli propaganda. The perceived propaganda win for Israel appears to be that, one of perception; the degree to which a performance in an Israeli pub by a relatively obscure (punk rock has a niche market, etc), perceived 'leftist', washed up hack entertainer who carries on like a fuckwit when asked to account for his decisions (see: his letter to the Palestine Solidarity Campaign) would constitute an act of legitimisation of Israeli state terror is kinda debatable.

    Either way, as my last paragraph suggests, he's acting like a fuckwit, and PACBI's requests for him to come in a private capacity prior to making any decision to play, or not, seems totally logical.
     
  18. butcher

    butcherExperienced Member Uploader Experienced member Forum Member


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  19. punkmar77

    punkmar77Experienced Member Staff Member Uploader Admin Team Experienced member


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    At least he's somewhat come to his senses, it does say something when decades old friends start to question your motives, and I believe Jello downplayed that considerably when he said that only 2 or 3 friends were upset with him; as I personally know 2 or 3 mutual acquaintances, not including myself, that have stated this was the last straw....so yeah..
     
  20. butcher

    butcherExperienced Member Uploader Experienced member Forum Member


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    In somewhat connected news:

    Boycott law fuels outrage in Israel

     
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