Peoples Geography — Reclaiming space

Creating people's geographies

Women in Black Petition Members of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra

Also in .pdf (8pp, opens in new window)

Women in Black Los Angeles, PO Box 5341, Beverly Hills, CA, 90209

WomeninBlack @ | October 30, 2006

Mr Avi Shoshani
Israel Philharmonic Orchestra
1 Huberman Street
Tel Aviv, Israel

CC: Zubin Mehta, Conductor; Ilia Konovalov, Concertmaster; Elyakum Salzman, Second Violin; Miriam Hartman, Viola; Michael Haran, Cello; Teddy Kling, Bass; Yossi Arnheim, Flute; Bruce Weinstein, Oboe; Ron Selka, ClarinetDear members of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra

It is with great respect for classical music in general, and for the music of the Israel Philharmonic in particular that we, members of Women in Black, Los Angeles are writing you this letter. Some of us are Israelis now living in the US. We grew up attending concerts of the orchestra, and remember the experience with so much joy. We have the deepest appreciation for artists, musicians in this instance, and see you as being on the leading edge of Israeli society and as powerful opinion leaders in your communities.

Learning that the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra will be performing next February at the prestigious Disney Hall in Los Angeles, following other concerts in New York and San Francisco, we are inspired to ask you this:

  • Are you willing to take a public stand to denounce the Israeli Occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza?
  • Will you call for an end to Occupation as a first step toward a viable peace, and for honest negotiations between Israeli and Palestinian leaders?

We are not just speaking from far away. Some of us have been in Israel /Palestine over the past few years. We have witnessed the Apartheid Wall, the checkpoints, and the daily humiliation and violence an entire population of Palestinians has endured for nearly forty years. Like many in Israel and the global community, we feel that this occupation must end. And like many other groups in the United States and in Los Angeles, we hope that, as representatives of the State of Israel, you will take a public stand on this issue.

The Occupation is damaging both Palestinians and Israelis, with so much suffering on both sides. Former US President, Jimmy Carter, has recently written a book “Palestine: Peace, Not Apartheid” due for release November 14. In his summary Carter writes:

“Israel’s current policy in the territories is a system of Apartheid, with two peoples occupying the same land but completely separated from each other, with Israelis totally dominant and suppressing violence by depriving Palestinians of their basic human rights. Israel’s continued control and colonization of Palestinian land have been the primary obstacles to a comprehensive peace agreement in the Holy Land.”

Imagine that the Israel Philharmonic’s denouncement of the Occupation and call for peace and justice will have a huge positive ripple effect on Israeli society. Imagine a future where Israelis and Palestinians share the resources of their land with respect and appreciation for each others’ humanity, cultures and needs.

Maybe it’s the artists and musicians who will finally bring peace and justice to Israel, Palestine and the region.

We hope you will distribute the letter to the members of your orchestra, and look forward to hearing from you by November 25, 2006 regarding your stand against the Occupation.

Please respond with your comments to Women in Black Los Angeles, PO Box 5341, Beverly Hills, California, 90209, or email us at WomeninBlackLA @ gmailcom.

Thank you,

Peace and blessings,

Elana Golden, Mary Hughes For Women in Black, Los Angeles

Long list of global endorsements from groups and individuals, see .pdf (8pp, opens in new window)

3 comments on “Women in Black Petition Members of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra

  1. tellitlikeitis
    3 November, 2006

    That’s awesome. I especially like the paragraph from Carter. Certainly it leaves out much, but it also succinctly sums up the situation without tangents.

    I’ve often had mixed feelings about the IPO, and especially Bernstein’s work with it, because of the occupation. It will be interesting to see how they do or don’t respond.

    Great post–glad you caught this.

  2. allyson
    12 November, 2006

    These “women” in black should be ashamed of themselves, again. They never protest Hamas, Hezbollah, suicide bombs, but are always on Israels case. They are sick, self hateing Jews who need psychiatric help for the syndrome. I am sick of them, as are most Jews and Pro Peace activists.

  3. peoplesgeography
    12 November, 2006

    As a matter of fact, they do repudiate all violence. We need to understand violence, we don’t need to condone it. But to prevent it, understanding it is imperative. WIB are on Israel’s case for a good reason, and many of them are former Israeli’s themselves. I thought the letter was worded and toned very respectfully, as do most Jews and pro-peace activists I know, in contradiction to the ones you claim to speak on behalf of, ‘Allyson’.

    Addendum 2 Jan 2007: To the person who posted a comment asking how many Muslims and Arab women have similar organisations: Quite a few actually, including MIFTAH and others which are all listed in my blogroll. I suggest you have a look at their sites and empathy for the Other and a desire for justice is not tantamount to the Stockholm Syndrome. These courageous women and peace activists have won our hearts, minds and our support in contrast to the misinformation and prejudice peddled by AIPAC and GIYUS hacks.

    Attacking Hanan Ashrawi as somehow a self-evidential point just makes me laugh. Ashrawi, who has been a welcome visitor here a few times now, thoroughly deserved her 2003 Sydney Peace Prize. Many of us were there cheering her on, including wonderful Jewish friends. Occasionally I’ll get a comment like yours parroting this line but this propaganda simply does not cut any ice here. Thanks for returning to this post and increasing the visibility of this post in my Top Hits of the last 24 hours, much appreciated.

    As for the ‘Scary Bible Quotes’ link, that’s what the webpage-owner calls their site, I didn’t name it. I’m a Christian myself, and I’m not offended by having brought to my attention how passages can be plucked and misused from any holy book: be it the Qu’ran, Torah, Talmud, Old and New Testament, whatever. Those who would distort the Qu’ran seem to howl with protest if we see similarly objectionable passages in other Holy Books. The point is that there is good and bad in all of them, and the Bible is also a great spiritual book and resource. But then so is the Qu’ran.

    The blogroll serves no “constituency” but the site owner since you expressly wondered; that it is found to be a useful resource to a widely varied audience is just a great bonus.

    As a good friend of mine wisely observes:
    When is Israel going to renounce violence and where is the establishment Israeli org (ie one not relegated to the peacenik fringes) that renounces kicking people off their land and appropriating the West Bank and giving it to Jews exclusively?

    As I see it, this was presented very much in a respectful propositional mode, it was hardly a demand or somehow pitched as a political litmus test. Just as the boycotts of the apartheid era South African rugby team enjoyed wide support, this too deserves our support.

    Is it a boycott? No. Is it a demand? No. It is simply a respectful request in recognition of the fact that the silence of important cultural institutions serve to sustain a deplorable status quo.

    Last time I checked, the actions of these women and their many endorsing organizations very much constitutes applaudable American (and human) values.

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Timely Reminders

"Those who crusade, not for God in themselves, but against the devil in others, never succeed in making the world better, but leave it either as it was, or sometimes perceptibly worse than what it was, before the crusade began. By thinking primarily of evil we tend, however excellent our intentions, to create occasions for evil to manifest itself."
-- Aldous Huxley

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-- Diane DiPrima, "Rant", from Pieces of a Song.

"It is difficult
to get the news from poems
yet men die miserably every day
for lack
of what is found there"
-- William Carlos Williams, "Asphodel, That Greeny Flower"