Cutting through the bullshit.

Wednesday 14 November 2007

Fairytales crush folklore

Two years down the track, San Francisco State University has finally permitted the unveiling of a mural on the Cesar Chavez Student Center in honour of Edward Said. But not before consulting with the sensitive San Francisco Jewish community, who insisted that the depiction of Handala, the caricature of a refugee child, holding a key, was erased. And even that was not enough for David Horowitz’s Campus Watch bigots, who believe that the mural evidences a cult of Edward Said.

Zionists and Zionist organisations have enjoyed remarkable success in suppressing any form of expression that even hints that Israel has ever committed any injustice. At their behest, Brandeis University retracted its invitation to Jimmy Carter, whose explicitly proZionist book’s title included the word apartheid. The New York Theatre Workshop’s scheduled performance of My name is Rachel Corrie had to be cancelled lest it serve as a reminder that purity of arms did not preclude bulldozing an unarmed protester into the ground.

And now, they have prevented a performance by Al-Ghad Folklore Dancing Troupe of Beit Sahour at schools in the Old Saybrook, Connecticut district because it ‘was offensive to Jews and Israel’.

…the Rev. David W. Good, senior minister of the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme, where the troupe performed this past weekend…said many of the dances performed were simply traditional, but he acknowledged one was particularly upsetting to a male student in the audience. That more modern dance "certainly expressed the frustration of detention by Israeli soldiers" and dealt with curfews, checkpoints and the realities of detention, Good said.

The reason we know the student was upset was that he stalked and harassed the performers. But he wasn’t the only one who was upset. Retired Old Saybrook teacher,

Ginger Horton said she felt compelled to complain to school officials after her two grandchildren told her they were offended by the troupe's performance at the high school Monday.

"[My] grandchildren came home very frightened," Horton said Thursday…her grandson, 15, and granddaughter, 14, told her the high school performance depicted Israeli soldiers beating and torturing Palestinians.

Horton said it was inappropriate for the public school system to host what she called a hateful, politically charged event.

"My concern was that it would be stopped, and we stopped it," said Horton.

While the actual treatment of Palestinians offends nobody, depicting such a thing is so provocative that Americans must sacrifice their cherished freedom of expression lest it incite them to…who knows what?

Jewish Voice for Peace’s Mitchell Plitnick underscores the hypocrisy.

One must also wonder, if the roles had been reversed and a Palestinian was upset by the portrayal of her people as suicide bombers, would the same sensitivity have been shown?

The point of course is that while everybody fears accusations of anti-Semitism, anti Arab attitudes are downright respectable.

The story actually raises some interesting issues. Ordinarily, when people dislike a performance, the reaction is to walk out, or publish a scathing review. On this occasion, however, when one disturbed adolescent displays sociopathic behaviour, it’s enough to motivate cancellation. It’s not actually clear from the article in the Courant whether it was that incident or Ginger Horton’s complaint that instigated scrapping the performance in Old Saybrook schools. Or whether School Superintendent Joseph Onofrio, who hadn’t seen it, stopped the shows on the grounds that he had learned that ‘several parents questioned whether the performance was appropriate for their children’. Presumably, the parents hadn’t previewed the dance, either. Ominously, though, Horton

…also contacted the Jewish Federation Association of Connecticut.

Bob Fishman, executive director of the Jewish Federation Association of Connecticut, said Old Saybrook public schools should not host groups with a perceived political agenda. He lauded upset local students and family members who "stepped up."

"It was a very disturbing report [Horton] got from her grandchildren," Fishman said. "I advised her that it's not appropriate for a sponsor to say it's cultural when it's primarily political."

Fishman said his organization plans to discuss the performances with state legislators and top state education officials.

So it’s just possible that explicit pressure from the ‘leaders of the Jewish community’ may have played a role.

The Zionists have been so effective that people who otherwise in all probability have no time for political correctness are prepared to go to great lengths to dissociate themselves even from describing what Israel does. Indeed, they are prepared to lay themselves wide open to accusations of hypocrisy to avoid the wrath of the fearsome Israel lobby.

But perhaps there’s a silver lining. When it gets to the point that even acknowledging that Palestinians experience some suffering, as enacted in a dance, or to trying to stop Desmond Tutu from speaking, it seems to evidence a level of defensiveness that borders on the hysterical. Perhaps the Hasbarists fear their fairytales are wearing thin. It certainly looks like they’re worried.

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