Tony Greenstein | 30 June 2012 | Post Views:

The Hypocrites and Prostitutes of Pundits like Jonathan Freedland & Aaronovitch

are no greater hypocrites than the pundits and prostitutes of the spoken word –
the Jonathan Freedlands and David Aaronovitches – who wax lyrical about the
terrors of the Cultural Boycott whilst turning a blind eye to the ongoing
attacks of Israel’s war machine against all manifestations of Palestinian culture.  The Freedom Theatre in Jenin, whose Director
Julian Meir Khamis was murdered last year, is a case in point.
In the words of Stanley Baldwin it is“Power
without responsibility – the prerogative of the harlot throughout the ages.”
But Boycott
the Habima Theatre Production in London or the Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra
in the Albert Hall and civilisation as we know it has all but come to an end.
This is
a good example of the racist hypocrisy of western imperialism.  Don’t do to us what we are allowed to do to
you.  The same arguments were made over
the Cultural Boycott of South Africa and the Freedlands of the day were
spouting the same nonsense then as now. 
In fact
a Cultural Boycott is one of our strongest weapons.  No one seriously thinks that an economic boycott,
at least in the short-term is going to pay dividends.  The backing of the United States will see to
that.  But the Cultural Boycott is
different.  It undermines the psyche of
the coloniser, it affects their morale, just as it did in South Africa.   
That is why Gilad Atzmon and his anti-Semitic rotweiller,
Sarah Gillespie, are as fervent in their opposition to the Cultural Boycott as
any Zionist.  Gillespie recently wrote on
Atzmon’s ‘deLiberation site’ 
under a picture of Stalin that the
BDS Cultural and academic boycott …  is
not principled, & it lacks integrity. By refusing to have the argument you
have lost the argument.’ 
By the same ticket by boycotting South
African Apartheid and disrupting those who came from the laager we had lost the
argument!  In reality Atzmon and co. don’t
wish to make any sacrifices for the cause they allegedly support unlike people
like Miriam Margolyes.
The question I always ask is what would
have been your reaction to the tour of Hitler’s apologists – the Berlin
Symphonic Orchestra and its world famous director Wilhelm Furtwangler.  Would you have welcomed them too?  Atzmon would, to be sure.  Would the Zionists?  Yes they also would have had no difficulty,
double confirmation we are right!
Tony Greenstein

Nabil al-Ree
reported by Mondoweiss,
last night at 3am, Israeli troops entered the home of Nabil Al Raee, Artistic
Director of the Freedom Theatre in Jenin Refugee Camp, and arrested him at
gunpoint, giving him and his wife no explanation for their actions, and
terrifying his three-year old daughter. He is currently being held in a nearby
military prison.
Jenin is
in Zone A of the West Bank, under Palestinian control and administration, and
this arrest by the IDF violates the Oslo Accords.  To be arrested without
charge also violates Nabil Al Raee’s human rights.
Writers in Support of Palestine condemns in unequivocal terms this violent,
illegal and repressive act, which is part of a systematic campaign of
intimidation clearly directed at the Freedom Theatre itself.   For
the last three weeks Freedom Theatre co-founder Zakaria Zubeidi has been held
without charge in a prison in Jericho.  The IDF investigation of the
murder of founding Artistic Director Juliano Mer Khamis has only ever been
directed at Freedom Theatre Staff, and has now been officially closed, ignoring
significant forensic evidence.
Writers in Support of Palestine
demands a full and proper investigation into
the murder of 
Juliano Mer Khamis, and the immediate release of Nabil Al Raee
and Zakaria Zubeidi, neither of whom have been charged with any crime.  We
thank our colleagues in the Irish
Palestine Solidarity Campaign
for their comprehensive statement placing
these recent arrests in the context of the increasing abuse of Palestinian
prisoners by Israeli military courts.  With the IPSC we call for the end
of Israel’s policy of Administrative Detention and its Unlawful Combatants Law,
by means of which Israel interns people without charge; and demand that Israeli
courts treat all Palestinian prisoners in accordance with international law,
and free all Palestinian political prisoners.
thoughts are with Nabil and Zakaria and their families and friends at this dark
and uncertain time.
Release from The Freedom Theatre in Jenin Refugee Camp, northern West Bank June
6, 2012
approximately 03:15 am the Israeli army entered the home of Nabil Al-Raee, the
Artistic Director of The Freedom Theatre, and took him to an unknown location.
Julian’s Students
wife, Micaela Miranda explains what happened: “The dog started barking so I
went outside and saw soldiers jumping over the gate and come into the yard of
the house. They asked for my husband and I asked what for, that it’s my right
to know and it’s my house. The soldiers replied that they were not going to
tell me. They then took Nabil, brought him to an army jeep and drove off. We
are very worried because we don’t know where they took him and why.”
Stanczak, Managing Director of The Freedom Theatre: “I live on the floor above
Nabil and when I heard what was happening I tried to go down to talk to the
soldiers because I speak Hebrew. The house was surrounded by masked Israeli
soldiers and three of them immediately pointed their weapons at me and pushed
me back into the house.”
were immediately made to contact the District Coordination Office of the Israeli
army but to no avail. More than half the employees of The Freedom Theatre were
recently called to interrogations by the Israeli army, including Nabil Al-Raee.
All came to the appointments as scheduled and answered to their best of their
knowledge the given questions even though they were intimidated and even
Stanczak continues: “I don’t understand why they do this after they know they
could simply have made a phone call to Nabil and he would have come to answer
any questions or concerns that they might have. Since this has happened so many
times in the past, I can’t interpret it as anything else than an ongoing
harassment of the employees of The Freedom Theatre and their families by the Israeli
At this
point it is unclear if any other members of The Freedom Theatre have been taken
during the night. Several of them have not responded to phone calls.
A Tribute to Juliano
2011 was
a devastating year for The Freedom Theatre. In April, Juliano Mer Khamis,
co-founder of The Freedom Theatre and its visionary leader, was murdered. We
staff and members of The Freedom Theatre, will not forget and we will not cease
to demand, unconditionally, that those responsible for Juliano’s death be
brought to justice. Just as The Freedom Theatre was built on the inspiration
and legacy of Arna, Juliano’s mother, so will its future work be built on the
legacy of Juliano. It will carry on his message to promote freedom-not only for
the Palestinian people but for all human beings. We are mourning, but we will
continue our resistance through art, continue our struggle, continue to do our
better than best. As Juliano would say: The Revolution must go on!
“You don’t have to heal the
children in Jenin. We are not trying to heal their violence. We try to
challenge it into more productive ways. And more productive ways are not an
alternative to resistance. What we are doing in the theatre is not trying to be
a replacement or an alternative to the resistance of the Palestinians in the
struggle for liberation, just the opposite. This must be clear. I know it’s not
good for fundraising, because I’m not a social worker, I’m not a good Jew going
to help the Arabs, and I’m not a philanthropic Palestinian who comes to feed
the poor. We are joining, by all means, the struggle for liberation of the
Palestinian people, which is our liberation struggle. We’re not healers. We’re
not good Christians. We are freedom fighters.”
Juliano Mer Khamis, 1958-2011

“The revolutionary message
will not pass away. It will come storming the yellow sands and the mountains
covered by almond trees…from here, from the Freedom Theatres stage, where men
were and are made to be free and engaged in the cultural revolutionary battle for
freedom. In thousands of silences only one voice is raising up; it’s the
freedom fighters, to whom you taught how to carry the cultural gun on their
shoulders. Juliano, your mother’s children have passed away, your mother, Arna,
has passed away and so did you-but your children are going to stay, following
your path on the way to the freedom battle, and we will go on with your
revolution’s promise, the Jasmine revolution.”
Juliano’s students

“I think it was 1989, we
were in Geneva attending one of the international women conferences, trying to
make bridges and common action against Israeli occupation. We were a group of
palestinian, israelies and international women, among the israelies there was
Arna. I was taken by her love for humanity and by her sharp vision. Not all the
israelies liked her, she was too radical for some of them, but i immediately
felt she was unique. We talked about our life and she spoke about Juliano, she
was proud of her son. I met Juliano many years later, when he presented Arna’s
film in Jerusalem to the Women in Black International conference. After the
film, we all danced and i finded a pipe fo water, we started to throw water to
each other and we were jocking like child. He also was unique. The freedom of
his thought, the determination to deal with his plurime identity, his frankness
that sometime sound rudness, but also his humanity and kindness. A real human,
being able to face also his contraddictions. I admired his committment to go
back to Jenin and among the ruines to rebuild this time not the Stone Theatre
but the Freedom Theatre. I felt so honored, privileged and moved when he ask me
to be part of the Freedom Theatre foundation. When he was killed, the pain for
his loss was immense and is still there. I thought about the people of the
Theatre, about Zakaria and all the people he lost. But we are still here and
resist, resist the military occupation, the occupation of the mind and the
fanatics who killed Juliano. Art is freedom, culture is freedom. Juliano is
with us and the Jenin Freedom Theatre lives.”
Luisa Morgantini
former Vice President of the European Parliament
Spokeperson of the Italian Peace Association

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Tony Greenstein

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