Sloping Slipperily toward Anti-Semitism

Barely a sequel but related nevertheless to wde’s latest entry.

In Raving on stage: Concert by Roger Waters ends in scandal, Berliner Zeitung author Frank Junghänel, submits a commentary posing almost as a concert review. He has something to say about the blurry line between the criticism of the policies of the State of Israel and anti-semitism and last night’s performance by Roger Waters at the, cough, Mercedes Benz Arena is somewhere in his sights.

Caveat lector: This is my translation. My comment on/at the original follows:

Berlin – When Roger Waters pulls out a piece of paper before the encore, on which he wrote down a few comments, one cannot not expect the usual. Being in Berlin again is not his agenda. In Vienna, he protested against the shift to the right in Europe, for which he made the Federal Chancellor Sebastian Kurz partially responsible, in Zurich he criticized affluent Swiss society – and it was always about Palestine.

Waters denounces Israeli policy
Wherever Waters appears these days, he uses the stage to denounce Israel’s policies toward the Palestinians in the Occupied Territories. You have to be prepared for that. Before the concert, a small group of BDS activists distributed leaflets at the entrance to the hall. “Dear Roger Waters,” is says, “We, your fans of BDS Berlin, are pleased that you stand with us for the rights of the Palestinians…”

The co-founder of rock band Pink Floyd has been considered by some activists of the organization for several years a prominent spokesman for anti-Israeli movements such as “Artists for Palestine” or BDS (boycott, divestment, sanctions) calling for a cultural and economic boycott of the country. As presented by some of its activists, it has anti-Semitic undertones. Because of this commitment, five ARD institutions, including the RBB [state sanctioned, compulsory fee-payer funded broadcasting in Germany], had decided in November to neither promote nor broadcast the concerts of the Water’s tour of Germany.

Roger Waters is well informed about German domestic politics
The speech, which the as aggressive as he is controversial musician held on Friday evening in the Mercedes-Benz Arena in Berlin at the end of his (fantastic) concert, has confirmed those fears. He hears that there is a new Federal Anti-Semitism Commissioner, Waters begins. He even wrote down his name: Felix Klein. Great, really great. “Anti-Semitism is obscene”, he theatrically calls out to the audience in order then to get into an approximately furious five-minute  speech, the content of which one can hardly follow.

He calls on “this Felix Klein” no longer to criminalize the BDS, referring to the Declaration of Human Rights at the Paris UN Conference of 1948: “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.” So also the Palestinians. In the hall, PLO banners are occasionally swung. But there are also hisses when Waters begins to read a message of the day, in which the arbitrariness of the Israeli settlers against the population in the West Bank is discussed. Some people leave the hall. Then comes the last song of the evening, “Comfortably Numb”. Cheers, applause, lights on.

With Felix Klein, Roger Waters chose the right addressee for his tirade. It’s amazing how well informed he is about German domestic politics. “I consider BDS an antisemitic current whose activities I strongly condemn,” the anti-Semitism commissioner had recently said in an interview with the Jüdische Allgemeine [a German Jewish newspaper] “With its call to boycott Israel, it uses patterns of argument from the time of the Nazis, which is simply unbearable.”

Fluid boundaries toward manifest hatred of Jews
Roger Waters is free to criticize Israel’s repressive policies towards the Palestinians. Many Israelis also do that, including prominent writers and even former intelligence chiefs. But at BDS, the boundaries between alleged criticism of the Israeli occupation and manifest hatred of Jews are fluid. In September, the BDS had urged Arabian musicians to cancel performances at the publicly-funded Pop Culture Festival in Berlin, because Jewish artists were also invited, whose flight costs were paid for by the Israeli embassy. Waters also repeatedly presses artists into not appearing in Israel, such as the band Radiohead or the musician Nick Cave, but they have not allowed themselves to be instrumentalized like that.  [Well ain’t that a hoot?! More in my comment below]

Show based on classic Pink Floyd albums
Until this unworthy conclusion, the more than two-hour concert had gone off without a hitch. Even the notorious flying pig was no cause for alarm. When it emerged five years ago at Olympic Stadium next to the dollar sign, adorned with among other things also the Star of David, it led to protests by Jewish organizations. It bore the inscription: “Stay Human”.

Conceptually, 74-year-old Roger Waters’ show was based on the classic Pink Floyd albums “The Dark Side Of The Moon” and “Animals,” as well as pieces from his solo album “Is This The Real We Really Want” released last year. The surround-sound in the hall was excellent, the light show was terrific, all the way to the finale, a laser pyramid shining in prisms of light appeared above the audience. There were the hits like “Wish You Were Here”, “Money” and “Another Brick In The Wall” with a dozen Berlin girls on stage who bestowed a humane, life-affirming dimension to the for the most part perfectly orchestrated agitprogrock that included the vilification of Trump and the denunciation of war. It could have been one last great evening with the everlasting music of Pink Floyd. It was. But then Roger Waters took the note out of his pocket.

About which I had this to say, also my translation, though this time, likely more accurate all around:

The bands performing in Israel are allowing themselves to be instrumentalized. That is the point. Artists from outside Israel are not allowed to participate in events there without explicit backing of the state. Indeed, the Israeli state leadership tries thus to achieve a countermovement to that of the BDS, and they have the upper hand, as is evident from the decision of the five ARD broadcasters not to show Waters’ concert as well as from this commentary by Mr. Junghänel.

What the latter achieves is actually to advocate for that flowing boundary between criticizing the policies of the Israeli state and anti-Semitism. How Junghänel, for example, implies with his, in my opinion, lazy formulation that it is of particular importance to the BDS that the artists invited to the Pop Culture Festival were Jewish and not primarily because their airfare was paid for by Israel. I confess, as far as my understanding of the latter is concerned, that my German language skills may be lacking. I can well imagine that this ironic serviceability also contributes to the author’s assertion that “one can hardly follow the content of Waters’s speech”.

Conclusion: One may criticize the politics of Israel halfheartedly and impotently. Try to achieve results and the boundaries will flow with negative consequences. Every time Palestinian children are killed by weapons from Israel, the IDF claims that Hamas use the children as human shields. Could this be how the State of Israel uses the Star of David? After all, ARD and Herr Junghänel allow themselves in this way to be fluently instrumentalized.

26 responses to “Sloping Slipperily toward Anti-Semitism

  1. now this is great, davidly, and i need to read it again. in your comment you’d you’d addressed the most sour note i’d seen in your translation: “How Junghänel, for example, implies with his, in my opinion, lazy formulation that it is of particular importance to the BDS that the artists invited to the Pop Culture Festival were Jewish and not primarily because their airfare was paid for by Israel.”

    thanks for posting this, i’ll be back later, but so many other things to take care of along the way!

  2. Bottom line: Israel is a disgrace and engages in anti-human, vile action of a people in a prison. Israel as a state is a historic irony, and its cruel treatment of human beings should provoke decent people to boycott and divest from this hell.

    Must borrow from Richard Falk:
    “Nadia Murad’s words [on ISIS] contained a single message: ‘Sympathy is not enough. Sympathy does not create change. We need action.’ … ”

    Listening to the soft-spoken Arabic words of Nadia Murat I could not refrain from thinking of Palestinian suffering. Sympathy for Palestinians is widespread these days in response to the Jerusalem embassy move by the United States and IDF massacre of unarmed Palestinian demonstrators at the Gaza fence, yet still far less intense than Palestinian prolonged suffering and subjugation deserves. Action on their behalf remains anemic, and is subject to social, and even legal, pushback, even punishment. Israel shirks responsibility. Israeli leaders offer allegations and inducements intended to distract onlookers, and heaps denunciation on those who do choose to act, however mildly.”

    Enough. You know why Trump and Israel are so close? They are of a kind: nihilistic and brutal.

    • A most excellent post; spot on.

    • welcome to the café, michael leon. good quote, but i have to say there are many other motives twining trump and bibi (as well as most of the amerikan political class), but we’ve spoken a lot of those here in the past. although…

      ‘Under Trump, the Israel lobby is a Hydra with many heads’, #IsraelLobby
      Since Trump took office, the Israel lobby has mobilised four other powerful lobbies: Christian evangelicals, the alt-right, the military-industrial complex and Saudi Arabia’, jonathan cook, may 30, middleeasteye.com

      “But under Trump, the Israel lobby has come to exercise unrivalled power, because it is now far more than just one lobby. It is a five-headed Hydra worthy of Greek mythology, and only one of its heads relates directly to Israel or organised American Jewry.

      In fact, the lobby’s power now derives not chiefly from Israel. Since Trump’s election, the Israel lobby has managed to absorb and mobilise an additional four powerful lobbies – and to a degree not seen before. They are: the Christian evangelicals, the alt-right, the military-industrial complex, and the Saudi Arabia lobby” (iranian regime change or war), anti-shi’a, CUFI Xian dispensationalists.” hella lotta fund-raising from all.

      http://www.middleeasteye.net/columns/under-trump-israel-lobby-has-grown-many-headed-hydra-1970608671

      anyhoo, glad you’ve come by, and hope you come again.

  3. hope you don’t mind i’ve added the photo from the Berliner Zeitung (and a ‘more’ break, and i took this to c99% to mimi who lives in germany. she was on ‘dance you monster’s diary about not only the recent kuwaiti (?) resolution to the UN security council ‘urging protection of the residents of the Gaza Strip. Actually, this was a watered-down version to try to hook those position-evading diplomats. via al jazeera:

    “Ten countries, including Russia and France, voted in favour of the Kuwait-sponsored resolution on Friday. Four others – Britain, Poland, the Netherlands, and Ethiopia – abstained, while the US, a major ally of Israel, was the only country to vote against it.” and you’ll remember darlin’ nikki blocked the last such resolution. US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley described the resolution as “grossly one-sided” as she pinned the blame on much of Palestinians’ suffering on the Hamas movement, which runs the Strip.”

    but what aje had that RT hadn’t had was this:

    “But then there was another revised draft resolution. This one was submitted by the U.S. The US version had omitted references to Israeli use of force and protecting Palestinians. It instead demanded that Hamas and other Palestinian groups cease “all violent provocative actions” in Gaza.

    This time eleven nations abstained, and three rejected the U.S. version outright. Only the U.S. voted in favor of its version.” the rejecting nations weren’t named.

    i did spend a silly lot of time trying to find roger walters call out to felix, but failed. but i find a filmed version of ‘wish you were here’ at the event. and yeah, the ‘pig’ i saw in a video didn’t have a swastika, soooo glad the columnist noted *that*, bless his agitprop little ♥.

    So, so you think you can tell
    Heaven from Hell
    Blue skies from pain
    And can you tell a green field
    From a cold steel rail?
    A smile from a veil?
    Do you think you can tell?

    And did they get you to trade
    Your heroes for ghosts?
    Hot ashes for trees?
    And hot air for a cool breeze?
    Cold comfort for change?
    And did you exchange
    A walk on part in the war
    For a lead role in a cage?

  4. So many “useful idiots” for the fanatical meatballs of Hamas!

    So what if the Palestinians in Gaza elected a “government” whose only agenda is the destruction of Israel?

    So what if the Palestinians in Gaza elected a fanatical cult whose only measure of “success” is the misery of their captive population?

    So what if EGYPT ALLOWS ZERO HUMANITARIAN AID through its border with Gaza? ALL OF IT runs through the Kerem Shalom crossing!

    So what if Palestinian “leaders” like Arafat plundered the infrastructure of Gaza for their own multi-billion dollar corruption, and “Arafat’s commodity monopolies could accurately be seen as gouging his own people, especially in Gaza?”

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yasser_Arafat#Financial_dealings

    It’s gotta be all about Israel all the time!

    • Or never about Israel, eh, Mister Freeze?

    • well, arafat’s been dead since 2004, but what the hell? over… duno kerem shalom, but al sisi opened the rafah crossing for the duration of ramadan, i reckon many hope it might be permanent, but i sure don’t know all the issues involved past morsi’s time.

      http://www.egypttoday.com/Article/1/50288/President-Sisi-orders-Rafah-crossing-opened-throughout-Ramadan

      “On May 14, Egypt dispatched humanitarian aid, food, relief and medical supplies to Gaza while keeping the Rafah crossing open for individuals and those injured in the Israeli attacks on the strip.” whatever that means, how long, etc.

      • “Whatever that means…”

        What it means is that the Egyptians brokered a deal with the PA (not Hamas!) to temporarily open the PEDESTRIANS ONLY Rafah crossing, which remains under PA (not Hamas!) control, because Egypt doesn’t even recognize Hamas as the legitimate government of Gaza, and instead treats them as a terrorist organization on a par with Daesh and al Qaeda.

        So why aren’t there major riots at the Rafah crossing, instead of Kerem Shalom, where ALL significant aid and every other commodity crosses into Gaza? Because the Egyptians would shoot Hamas and their stooges all to pieces if they pulled that shit at the Rafah crossing, and it wouldn’t even make make page Z-26 in the NYTimes, and because the ONLY REASON FOR BEING for Hamas is to sacrifice their captive population for publicity in the service of their meat-head irredentist distortion of Islam.

        “What did he say?”

        I said “the ONLY REASON FOR BEING for Hamas is to sacrifice their captive population for publicity in the service of their meat-head irredentist distortion of Islam.”

        Meanwhile Egypt opens the Rafah crossing once or twice a year for a trickle of hand-carried aid to appease their useful idiots in the West, but only under the condition that it’s all supervised by the PA instead of the terrorists of Hamas.

        https://www.haaretz.com/middle-east-news/palestinians/after-decade-of-hamas-control-pa-opens-gaza-egypt-border-1.5466494

        • holy crow. first it’s:
          Jacob Freeze | May 31, 2018 at 3:10 am
          ‘If anti-Semitism is Israel’s get-out-of-jail-free card, would you also say that “Racism is Black America’s get-out-of-jail-free card?”’

          now to prove your hasbarist point, you link to haaretz? brilliant! of course the palestinians set fire to the crossing so the idf could bomb the shit out of it and note that the evil hamas palestinians would have to rebuild it. what the fuck, jacob freeze? i used to respect you in many ways, as i’ve said here before as having one of the earliest to twig to what a consummate con-man obama is/was. now?

          i swear i give up on you.

          • Before you give up on the only person you know who ever set foot in Palestine, you might as well LEARN that Hamas is NOT the Palestinians, any more than Yasser Arafat represented anybody except himself and his corrupt East Bank mafia, so when you say that “the palestinians set fire to the crossing so the idf could bomb the shit out of it,” it sounds absurd, but if you plug the REAL ACTORS into your silly sentence, and say “Hamas set fire to the crossing so the idf could bomb the shit out of it,” you would be exactly right, and once again…

            The ONLY REASON FOR BEING for Hamas is to sacrifice their captive population for publicity in the service of their meat-head irredentist distortion of Islam.

            BTW I only quoted Haaretz to the effect that Egypt opened the Rafah crossing last year, because it’s hard to find that kind of news anywhere else, and they got that simple fact exactly right.

        • Yeah, it’s not like Israel’s prior treatment of Palestinians had done anything but insure Hamas’ eventual election. They have used not just their existence but the existence of any resistance whatsoever — whether the PLO under Arafat or a kid throwing rocks — for the existence of the concentration camp in which they’re kettled. Why anyone would want to settle in that kettle reveals the existence of an inherited sociopathic illness passed down by the ideology of the state as a birthright, which, if we’re generous enough, we might deem as the state’s “only reason for being”.

          • So when I talk about Hamas’ only reason for being, one of the useful idiots thinks it means the same as Gaza’s only reason for being, and this sentence is already too complex for the useful idiots.

            HEY! IDIOTS!

            Gaza is NOT the same as Hamas!

            Palestine is NOT the same as the PA!

            The Palestinian people are NOT the same as the fanatical meat-heads who compose their so-called leadership.

            And once again, the only program and the only agenda and the only reason for being for Hamas is to sacrifice the Palestinian people for a meat-head irredentist distortion of Islam.

            And NOW let’s add one useful word to the pitifully impoverished vocabulary of so many useful idiots!

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irredentism

            • You might want to deliver the news to Israel that Gaza is NOT the same as Hamas! I suspect, however that they know that, even if they have successfully propagated to a significant enough portion of its citizenry that the distinction moot. As far as Gaza’s only reason for being concerns the leadership of the State of Israel, or for the purposes of the following pithy citation, Ben Nettin’ Yeehah: “Apartments” We’re talking about apartments!”

            • fuck all with your HEY IDIOTS jacob freeze. that’s exactly what the march of return IS: irredentism, if you will. that’s what has become to be known in zionist circles as: destroy israel! but such a logical fallacy: “Before you give up on the only person you know who ever set foot in Palestine, you might as well LEARN that Hamas is NOT the Palestinians,..”, yada, yada. as if that makes you quite the expert. on edit: back when you were a military batt as i believe you once self-identified?

              and you’re correct in that in past times, palestinian protestors disregarde what the leadership had advised while they were busy infighting on UN observer status, for instance. and i’ll bring once again jonathan cook’s essay on the self-immolation of fathi harb on the streets of gaza, including this:

              “Who did Harb hope to speak to with his shocking act?

              In part, according to his family, he was angry with the Palestinian leadership. His family was trapped in the unresolved feud between Gaza’s rulers, Hamas, and the Palestinian Authority (PA) in the West Bank. That dispute has led the PA to cut the salaries of its workers in Gaza, including Harb’s father.

              But Harb undoubtedly had a larger audience in mind too. Until a few years ago, Hamas regularly fired rockets out of the enclave in a struggle both to end Israel’s continuing colonisation of Palestinian land and to liberate the people of Gaza from their Israeli-made prison.

              But the world rejected the Palestinians’ right to resist violently and condemned Hamas as “terrorists”. Israel’s series of military rampages in Gaza to silence Hamas were meekly criticised in the West as “disproportionate”. [snip]

              “In fact, worse still, the demonstrators have been cast as Hamas stooges. The United States ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, blamed the victims under occupation, saying Israel had a right to “defend its border”, while the British government claimed the protests were “hijacked by terrorists”. (bernie sanders said the deaths were tragic, and the idf used ‘disproportionate force’.)

              but really, i’ll try to be finshed with commenting here; i’ve been collecting notes on ‘the new’ nato and its meaning for venezuela, got a dozen emails and other messages to answer, and…sunday chores. so you keep on with your hasbarist take as the only expert in the room, jacob.

              • I have to admit that Wendy’s choice of Fathi Harb as a spokesman for Gaza is surprisingly accurate, and a vote for Hamas is more or less the same as self-immolation. This sort of self-destructive “protest” is always delightful for hate-Israel ghouls like Jonathan Cook, their meat-head playmates in Hamas, and so many useful idiots in the West, whose only concern with Gaza and the Palestinian people is “fuel” to stoke their latest orgy of repulsive self-righteousness and imaginary moral superiority.

                But while we’re on the subject of silly publicity stunts and the fools who fall for them, I may as well pass along an anecdote from the glory days of Hollywood!

                Annoying customer in the Brown Derby: “What does somebody have to do to get a glass of water in this restaurant?”

                John Barrymore: “Why don’t you set yourself on fire?”

                • gotta give you credit here, jacob. of the 18,695 comments here since i’d first built the site, this one of yours may be one of the most ignorant, not to mention illogical ever. (just deleted the reasons; never mind.)

    • That’s such a weak ass excuse now. It’s been used over and over in trying to distract people from the evidence that’s right in front of anyone who wants to look. It’s saying the couple million Arabs in Gaza deserve to be imprisoned, killed and starved because they supposedly elected the government they had no choice in, just like we don’t have any choice in our government.
      It’s like the U.S. blaming the Afghanistan people for allowing the Taliban in their country, like blaming the Syrian people for electing Gaddafi or the Iraqi people for electing Saddam. That’s it’s their own fault that millions of them died because they allowed it to happen.
      It’s like the blacks in this country being to blame because of the government they elected, or how about the Native Americans?
      Ridiculous man.

  5. All in all, we’re just another brick in the wall. Money talks bullshit walks, that’s what it’s all about. The power of jewish money but no one really wants to talk about that because it’s “anti-Semitic.

    Well, it’s kind of like racism but different. I read this article at the Counter currents blog, a blog recommended by someone at C99, can’t remember, but I don’t know why. It’s titled, “Roseanne was Right”, and makes the case that black people really do look like gorillas therefore what’s the big deal.
    I couldn’t believe it.

    https://www.counter-currents.com/2018/05/roseanne-was-right/

    Anyway, we have to end rule by the rich.

    • on later edit: strictly speaking, it’s money for the zionist project (many contributing groups including some evangelicals, not ‘jewish money’. and also strictly speaking, and O/T theme/link should be on an open menu, the most current on the right sidebar in ‘categories’.

      rec’d it *why*, or er…for an example of something? ye gods and little fishes, i need a shower after a third of it. dig it:

      “It’s so true that when the best artificial intelligence researchers at Google — one of the most diverse companies in the entire United States, hardly some bastion of white corporate power ..” breathtaking in his ignorance. me, i’ve long loved julian assange’s ‘google is not what it seems’ (dated, but on, the photos and text!

      https://wikileaks.org/google-is-not-what-it-seems/

  6. Well, now the Israeli butchers have killed a female nurse; a sniper shot her in the chest.
    But it’s okay, she was a Palestinian…

  7. read more at RT. ;-)

  8. a small matter in the grand scheme perhaps, but BDS is just one more piece of evidence that capitalism is absolute BS. “market forces! market forces!” and now watch the law & the guns & the shaming & lying when people try to use “market forces” to effect change, via something like BDS. so it’s “anti-Semitic” not to spend one’s money on something? that’s hilarious. freedom’s just another word for supporting Israel, I guess.

    • And to state the obvious, we can tell it is not anti-Semitic by observing what it is not, which is not a call to boycott Jewish businesses just as the boycott of South Africa was not a call to reject the Netherlands. What reeks of desperation from middling journalists like the one cited in this entry is their eagerness to point out that there are anti-Semites amongst the ranks of those who support BDS. Indeed. And there are misanthropes amongst philanthropists.

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