The Latest Victim of BDS? An Israeli Anti-War Play

In response to a scheduled production of To the End of the Land, based on David Grossman’s novel of the same name, an organization called “Adalah-NY, the New York Campaign for the Boycott of Israel” has issued an open letter to Lincoln Center demanding that it cancel the play’s performance. The letter, signed by a group of playwrights, actors, and directors—some with high profiles—claims that staging the play “will help the Israeli government to implement its systematic ‘Brand Israel’ strategy of employing arts and culture to divert attention from the state’s decades of violent colonization, brutal military occupation, and denial of basic rights to the Palestinian people.” Kyle Smith comments:

The point these artists are making is ludicrous on two levels. First, though the play is sponsored by Israel’s Office of Cultural Affairs, it’s an anti-war piece, not simple-minded cheerleading for the state of Israel. David Grossman . . . lost his son Uri to fighting on the last day of Israel’s offensive in Lebanon in 2006. Since then, writes [one reviewer of the play], “Grossman has become among the most outspoken Jewish Israeli voices against war and occupation. He has frequently protested the demolitions of houses in east Jerusalem and the West Bank.” . . .

Even assuming you agree that Israel’s treatment of Palestinians is unconscionable (and I don’t), why should Israel’s theater community be punished for this by denial of state subsidies? Alternatively, is alleged cruelty to Palestinians the only subject allowed in state-sponsored Israeli theater? These [advocates of boycott] wouldn’t hold their own country to that standard: they certainly wouldn’t demand that any National Endowment for the Arts-subsidized play recount the horrors of slavery or the administration of Donald Trump, though you can be sure that they abhor these two institutions in equal measure.

Read more at National Review

More about: Arts & Culture, BDS, David Grossman, Idiocy, Israel & Zionism, Theater

Israel Can’t Stake Its Fate on “Ironclad” Promises from Allies

Israeli tanks reportedly reached the center of the Gazan city of Rafah yesterday, suggesting that the campaign there is progressing swiftly. And despite repeatedly warning Jerusalem not to undertake an operation in Rafah, Washington has not indicated any displeasure, nor is it following through on its threat to withhold arms. Even after an IDF airstrike led to the deaths of Gazan civilians on Sunday night, the White House refrained from outright condemnation.

What caused this apparent American change of heart is unclear. But the temporary suspension of arms shipments, the threat of a complete embargo if Israel continued the war, and comments like the president’s assertion in February that the Israeli military response has been “over the top” all call into question the reliability of Joe Biden’s earlier promises of an “ironclad” commitment to Israel’s security. Douglas Feith and Ze’ev Jabotinsky write:

There’s a lesson here: the promises of foreign officials are never entirely trustworthy. Moreover, those officials cannot always be counted on to protect even their own country’s interests, let alone those of others.

Israelis, like Americans, often have excessive faith in the trustworthiness of promises from abroad. This applies to arms-control and peacekeeping arrangements, diplomatic accords, mutual-defense agreements, and membership in multilateral organizations. There can be value in such things—and countries do have interests in their reputations for reliability—but one should be realistic. Commitments from foreign powers are never “ironclad.”

Israel should, of course, maintain and cultivate connections with the United States and other powers. But Zionism is, in essence, about the Jewish people taking responsibility for their own fate.

Read more at JNS

More about: Israeli Security, Joseph Biden, U.S.-Israel relationship