It was a rare, bold gesture by an Israeli toward the people of Iran: Daniel Barenboim, the famed conductor and co-founder, with Edward Said, of the West Eastern Divan Orchestra, made plans to bring the orchestra of the Berlin State Opera, which he directs, to perform a concert in Teheran. Barenboim, who features prominently in my new book, #Childrenofthestone, has not shied away from courageous personal gestures. Once, upon receiving the Wolf Prize for the Arts by Israel's Ministry of Education, he used the occasion to denounce Israel's occupation. Later, he accepted Palestinian citizenship. He is perhaps the only person to hold dual Israeli and Palestinian passports.
Predictably, the hard right in Israel (which is more and more the center), attacked Maestro Barenboim for daring to try to play music in Iran, accusing him of aiding and abetting the "delegitimization" campaign against Israel. Undaunted, he went forward with his plans. But then he ran into another group of hardliners -- the Iranian kind. They prevailed, and Barenboim was denied entry into Iran. Thus did hardliners in Israel and Iran (not to mention in the U.S. congress) effectively join hands in their successful bid to ruin a chance for soaring cultural diplomacy. Imagine if Barenboim had been allowed in on his Palestinian passport. Either way - a genuine opportunity lost. http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/news/world/middleeast/article4542619.ece
Perhaps the most disturbing cost of the #irandeal lies not in the concessions that US and European negotiators allegedly made, but in the sharply increased impunity given Israel in the land-seizing and violence it visits on Palestinians under #occupation. In recent weeks during the Obama administration's fierce lobbying for the deal, the president and others have sought to assure certain Israel supporters that "sometimes even families argue." Clearly the administration doesn't want to "expend more political capital," in the Beltway lexicon, challenging Israel over its treatment of Palestinians.
Hence the unintended consequences of the #irandeal: An even freer hand for Israel's land-grabbing policies, and to advocate for greater violence against stone-throwing protestors. And much of this facilitated by the U.S., with "increased US military, intelligence, and security cooperation with Israel to their highest levels ever," as promised by John Kerry.
Already the stone-throwing Palestinian protestors, some as young as 14, face up to 20 years in prison. Now the prime minister of Israel suggests he will implement a policy to give soldiers a free hand to shoot those protestors to death.
Stand up to them by reducing the obscene amount of money, military materials and logistical support we provide?
Israel is not sensitive to international condemnation concerning these actions.
What actions can we take?
Jimmy Carter has come to the conclusion that many of us who have traveled to Palestine for many years have also determined: Israel is not interested in a two-state solution. The reality on the ground is one state -- some with rights, others without. Netanyahu, says the former president, "does not now and has never sincerely believed in a two-state solution for Israel and Palestine,” and accused him of deciding "early on to adopt a one-state solution, but without giving them [the Palestinians] equal rights."
read more: http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/1.671056
Sharing this wonderful review of #childrenofthestone, just published, in The Journal of Music (Ireland): "Readers of this magisterial book can make up their own minds, as Tolan presents every side of the argument sympathetically. Children of the Stone is both novelistic and scholarly... Those seeking a human interest story will find the book inspiring; simultaneously and effortlessly they will absorb a crash course in Israeli/Palestinian history, a history that involves all of us because of our governments’ failure to act decisively in the interests of #peace and #justice."
Correction: This post had earlier characterized "The Journal of Music" as a UK-based publication in error.
Friday's horrific arson attack on a Palestinian home by suspected Israeli extremists, in which an 18-month-old Palestinian toddler was burned to death, was, as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared, "a terrorist crime." What he did not say was that the attack on the Dawabshe f…
Sandy Tolan reports and comments frequently about Palestine and Israel. He is the author of The Lemon Tree: An Arab, A Jew, and the Heart of the Middle East (2006, Bloomsbury), which has earned numerous honors and has been published in five languages. He writes frequently for Salon, the Christian Science Monitor and Al-Jazeera English. Sandy and colleagues are currently at work on a 12-part series on global food security and hunger for the U.S. public radio program, Marketplace. Sandy is associate professor at the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at USC in Los Angeles.