From the Editors
Heeb Magazine recently asked the question: “Is Israel’s Air Supply Boast Proof of Cultural Boycott’s Strength?” As YNET reports, “Veteran Australian soft rock duo Air Supply will arrive in Israel in September for a series of concerts, following the success of its previous visit to the Holy Land three years ago.”
Heeb’s Bernard Mendelbaum suggests that the fact that Israeli officials have been “reduced to bragging that the 80s shlock band is coming to visit” represents “one of the sadder examples of how the cultural boycott against Israel is having success.” But Air Supply’s visit is also part of a new strategy for the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement.
According to an unnamed source who spoke exclusively to me, while the call for the academic and cultural boycott of Israel continues to appeal to all people of conscience to “comprehensively and consistently boycott all Israeli academic and cultural institutions,” musicians and other artists who have demonstrated a total lack of integrity, not to mention talent, are being actively encouraged to visit Israel.
“We have had such an amazing group of artists who have come out publicly in support of the boycott, and in some cases have cancelled concerts. In terms of musicians and bands, there’s Elvis Costello, Santana, the late Gil Scott Heron, Pixies, Snoop Dogg, Klaxons, Gorillaz, Roger Waters, just to name a few."
“But at the same time, we found ourselves engaged in campaigns to try to convince lame, unprincipled performers like Justin Bieber to also honor the boycott,” the source continued. “Then it hit us: not getting to hear Bieber perform actually didn’t seem to be a sanction at all. It seemed more like a reward. That’s when we started to evolve this new strategy.”
The source revealed that BDS supporters have come up with a short list of performers who they plan to urge to go to Israel in order to suck there: the list includes Ke$ha, Black Eyed Peas, and Katy Perry, “ideally playing on the same bill together for maximum suckage,” according to a draft proposal that was shown to me.
There is also hope that other “veteran” (i.e. forgotten and desperate) bands will follow in the steps of Air Supply and Deep Purple and schedule concerts in Israel, perhaps even getting back together to do so. “Is Asia still together? They would be good. Or, say, the guys in New Kids on the Block who aren’t Wahlbergs,” the proposal goes on to suggest.
My source added: “I’ve also heard that Gene Simmons has publicly criticized musicians who honor the boycott call, so we’re sort of hoping he rounds up some other sad reality-show has-beens for a tour of Israel. Maybe he’ll even perform with Ozzy Osbourne. Man, imagine how hard that would suck.”
The new strategy isn’t limited to musicians. Campaigns are underway to encourage sucky performers from across the arts to go and suck in Israel: for example, boycott supporters are calling for “Spiderman: Turn Off the Dark” to move to Tel Aviv, as well as for a retrospective of the films of Michael Bay.
The unnamed source acknowledged that a situation in which great artists of conscience continued to honor the boycott campaign, while sucky performers were encouraged to visit Israel, would have adverse effects upon those inside Israel who support the academic and cultural boycott.
“But these supporters realize that at the end of the day, in the face of the Israeli government’s continued flouting of international law and implementation of apartheid measures, performers like Justin Bieber and Air Supply have to follow their sold-off consciences, and just do what they do best.
“Which is to suck,” the source added.
As of press time, Beyonce, who was responsible recently for the liberation of the women of Egypt, was unavailable for comment.
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The upshot of all this is to say, alongside a veritable chorus of academics, activists, policymakers, and citizens in Lebanon and beyond, that sectarianism has been forged over time through specific institutional and discursive practices and, therefore, could be modified or undone.click | email | tweet
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