There have been some odd reactions to the announcement that the world renowned pianist Evgeny Kissin has adopted Israeli citizenship, even though he resides elsewhere.
I wrote here about a letter he sent to the BBC criticising their “slander and bias” against Israel, which is “Painfully reminiscent of the old Soviet propaganda”
On 28th November on Norman Lebrecht’s blog ‘Slipped Disc’ some strange comments appeared below an announcement about Kissin’s Israeli citizenship.
“What’s the point?”, asked pianist Sanda Schuldmann. Later, in a subsequent Slipped Disc piece on December 7th about this topic Ms Schuldmann posted another enigmatic comment, virtually amounting to: ‘If-you-like-it-so much-why don’t you go and live there’, and: “I find this right down(sic) disgusting” .
I have no idea what to make of this, but given that her Twitter feed is full of mightily (‘right-down’) abrasive tweets, her bark is probably worse than her bite. The interweb does seem to amplify fury and it’s awfully easy to misinterpret a comment or a tweet. Here’s an amusing example from this morning’s Woman’s Hour. Did you hear it?
Jane Garvey read out a Tweet from a listener: “ I’m home sick and it’s a delight to hear Woman’s Hour live for once.” (something like that) but Jane Garvey read out “I’m homesick, and it’s a delight to hear Woman’s Hour live for once ”, and added something like “I hope you’re enjoying it, wherever you are” See where she went astray?
I’m home, sick, obviously, not “I’m homesick.” Maybe the lady didn’t punctuate her tweet, but still the meaning should have been obvious from the rest of the message.
Anyway, the point is, Evgeny Kissin is a fine example of a highly respected figure exploiting his fame, eminence, stature and, yes, celebrity-dom, to highlight a political stance. But this time, for a change, it’s for a genuine and righteous cause.
Is this merely the other side of the Annie Lennox/ Alexei Sayle/ Nigel Kennedy coin, I hear you ask? The coin embraced by Roger Waters, Iain Banks, Stephen Hawking, and all the thousands of celebrity BDSers?
Am I nowt but a hypocrite who doesn’t like a dose of her own medicine?
In a way it is, and I am, but I reject their immoral ‘moral stand’ and applaud Evgeny Kissin’s because the celebrity BDSers have chosen to join a bandwagon that stems from antisemitic propaganda - and it’s unreliable in the extreme, to boot. Roger Waters feels he has studied the topic ‘in depth’ as he has read a “well written” book by Max Blumenthal. He makes no bones about his feelings.
“The situation in Israel/Palestine, with the occupation, the ethnic cleansing and the systematic racist apartheid Israeli regime is unacceptable.”
All the bog standard chants that symbolise pro-Palestinian activism, which in reality happen to be as inapplicable to Israel as they are actually applicable to “Palestine”.
“it's the Palestinian People being murdered. It's the duty of every thinking human being to ask: “What can I do?”
“Anybody who looks at the situation will see that if you choose not to take up arms to fight your oppressor, the non violent route, and the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, […]is a legitimate form of resistance to this brutal and oppressive regime.”
Meaningless garbage on all counts.
I think the propaganda machine that starts in Israeli schools and that continues through all the Netanyahu’s bluster is poured all over the United States, not just Fox but also CNN and in fact in all the mainstream media. It's like a huge bucket of crap that they are pouring into the mouth of a gullible public”
Moats and beams, Roger. It brings to mind a children’s book we used to have called “Inside, outside, upside down”, but it ain’t nearly so amusing.
“They’ve always had the Ben Gurion agenda of kicking all the Arabs out of the country and becoming greater Israel. They tell a lie as part of their propaganda machinery whilst doing the other thing..”
It’s as if he’s playing a game of ‘opposites’. You know, where everything you say has to be the reverse of the actuality, or you’re out.
So Roger Waters rationalises the narrative he has decided to embrace, the one that reinforces his antisemitic inclinations.
It’s probably a human right to ‘boycott’, if you feel strongly about some injustice or other. For example I do my best not to shop at the co-op nowadays; my late mother would turn in her grave if she found out that we own a VW.
But hey, who cares what I buy, where I go or what I do. If I were a celebrity however, I would cherish and guard my influence wisely, and I wouldn’t jump on any half-arsed bandwagon without doing some some serious self examination.
So here’s to Evgeny Kissin, and Tom Jones, Paul MacCartney and the other brave souls who dare buck the trend.