Israel,  Music

Now Pete Seeger Is Called an Enemy of Peace

This is a cross-post from a Rabbit’s Eye-View of the Hyperborean North.

After, like dogs barking up the wrong tree, failing to force Jethro Tull to abandon performances in Israel and, like a bunch of incoherent drunk girls, failing to do similar with LCD Soundsystem, the screaming-at-mice brigade have turned their attentions to a 91 year old man.

Fifty years ago, before many of the screamers were born, Pete Seeger was the victim of McCarthyist witchhunts, and for a fortnight now a similar campaign is being conducted on a Facebook fan-page. By the looks of it, there was minimal activity beforehand and Seeger certainly does not read it, but a handful of individuals have been posting increasingly personal remarks against Seeger and appropriating titles from his work.

This, it goes without saying, includes Yael Kahn whose “Catholic taste in music” includes everything from Johnny Rotten to Jethro Tull to whomever is next playing in Israel. Thus, it is no surprise that her father’s favourite song apparently was Seeger’s Where Have All the Flowers Gone?’.

This refers to an upcoming Internet-based concert in which Seeger will appear. With Earth and Each Other (also on Facebook) appears to be a micro-level activism group aided by both Israelis and Arabs, Muslims and Jews (and Christians) in an apolitical atmosphere.

The excuse bone-of-contention for the screamers is not the association of individuals like Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull, but that of Friends of Arava and its parent body, the Jewish National Fund.

Connected to the Arava Institute, this is, in turn, another micro-level group which aims to bring together all nationalities and ethnicities from across the Middle East and, amongst other goals, to offer scholarships to deserving Palestinian Arab students. One of its successes has been to overturn the IDF’s blanket ban on student visas for Palestinian Arabs.

For some reason, the screamers have a pre-occupation of portraying Israeli Jews as alien plants sapping the life-force of Palestinian Arabs who grow naturally in the local land. This might be through water-theft and well-poisoning or, in this case, through the JNF’s planting of trees on appropriated Palestinian Arab land.

I do not know the precise land tenure record of where the JNF does plant trees but, erring on the side of caution, I consider the screamers to be vexatious litigants and anything they say to be a lie until proven otherwise. It is true there have been cases of Bedouin Arabs removed from encampments, but not being able to read any Hebrew let alone the complex legal documents, I am not about to pass judgement on the dynamics of a historically transient population which only in the past few decades has become static (and, as a result of a preference for many to remain in Israel following the hand-back of Sinai in 1980, in a lesser area).

Furthermore, given the French State’s outraged response to criticism of their policy against Romani, and support for this from the British and German Governments, it is clear that Europeans do not like it up them.

Oh sod it, back to my prurient curtain twitching (TM. Israeli Nurse, 2010) about a regional conflict at the eastern end of the Mediterranean.

Gene adds: In 1951 Pete Seeger and the other members of The Weavers perform “Tzena Tzena Tzena,” a song “from the new land of Israel.”