israel

Every time I want to organise a public demonstration, the Police are at pains to point out that they respect my democratic right to protest.

Whenever I want to do something that might actually change something, challenge something, or achieve something, the Police are quick to point out how easily they can arrest me on spurious grounds.

The only right to protest recognised by the state is the right to ineffective protest. Effective protests are illegal.

Ineffective protests are welcome. Ineffective protest occurs within the strictures permitted and regulated by the state and thus reinforce state power. Ineffective protests moderates and co-opts forces that might otherwise build to challenge existing hierarchies. Let’s all give money to GetUp.

In contrast, effective protest is outlawed. The Police stand ready to arrest, the media stands ready to denounce, the Parliament stands ready to change the laws if present provisions are insufficient.

If these forces fail, and public protest succeeds in changing or forcing some small concession from state, capital, some other institution or dominant culture more broadly; then the impact of the protest is denied and other theories (usually centred around the benevolence of the changed institutions) are advanced to cover up the power of public action.

Overland, 15 July 2011: The Boycott Israel 19:

On Friday 1 July, 19 pro-Palestinian activists, including me, were arrested in Melbourne’s CBD for opposing Max Brenner, a chocolate store that sends care packages to some of the most brutal sections of the Israeli army.

The Australian, 8 August 2011: Israeli boycotts: ACCC called in:

ANTI-Israel activists face investigation for alleged secondary boycotts under landmark attempts by the Baillieu government to curb the global campaign to target companies and businesses linked to the Jewish nation.

Mr O’Brien, a former barrister who specialised in trade practices law, has written to ACCC chairman Rod Sims citing potential breaches of section 45D of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010.

He has also suggested the ACCC consider pecuniary penalties against organisations that participated in the boycott.

Take heart when you’re being arrested, sued, and denounced, you’re starting to hit home.

In solidarity with the BDS campaign.

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Update: Australians for Palestine have finally removed the article.

An article on Australian’s For Palestine claims that Canada has placed rock band The Pixies on a terrorist watch list:

Another supporter of the move was Peter Kent, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs (Americas), who said in an interview, “If the Pixies want to boycott Israel, then Canada is at war with the Pixies.”

The article lists Professor Larry Haiven of Saint Mary’s University, Halifax as the author.

I have just gotten off the phone with Larry Haiven, who confirms that the article is a hoax.

It was a joke, but uh, it was close enough to what’s true, that is somewhat believable.

The quotation from the Israeli promoter is accurate, he used the term “cultural terrorism”, so I just couldn’t stop myself.

So the long and short of it, the “news” that the Pixies have been placed on a Canadian terrorist watch list as a result of cancelling a gig in Israel, is in fact what it appears to be. Bullshit.

More: Of course, the Israeli music promoter who booked The Pixies really did describe their cancellation as “Cultural Terrorism”:

“I am full of both sorrow and pain in light of the fact that our repeated attempts to present quality acts and festivals in Israel have increasingly been falling victim to what I can only describe as a form of cultural terrorism which is targeting Israel and the arts worldwide”

“The Israeli authorities must do what they can to fight against those who are doing everything they can to prevent artists from performing in Israel”

Clearly the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions campaign is making itself felt for music fans in Israel. Other artists who have cancelled gigs in Israel include:

Elvis Costello
Carlos Santana
Gil Scott-Heron
Klaxons
Gorillaz

Artists still slated to play in Israel this year include Elton John, Rod Stewart, Seal, Diana Krall and Ozzy Osbourne.

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