I received an email yesterday informing me that the Rolling Stones are planning a concert in Israel, and asking me to include my name among people who are asking the Rolling Stones to boycott Israel; as various other artists and academics have. I replied to the email, included my information as requested, and then set up an online petition using the same text I was sent. Since, to my mind, that is probably a better way of collecting signatories. I then forwarded the web address of the petition to everybody on my contact list. In case you still don’t know where the petition is – it’s at http://www.petitiononline.com/suncity/petition.html
At least one person replied to the effect that we are impotent in this matter, that we cannot ask the Rolling Stones to boycott Israel, and that the Rolling Stones, along with the rest of the West, simply don’t ‘give a rat’s ass’.
Here’s my reply to that:
In the eyes of the uneducated and unwilling to learn, maybe. But that only applies if your expectations are very low. Mine aren’t.
Some people know damn well what’s going on. A good example that I came across a couple of weeks ago is Alan Rickman of Die Hard, Galaxy Quest, and the Potter movies. Rickman directed a play based on the diaries of Rachel Corrie – the 23 year old American woman who was killed on March 16, 2003 by an Israeli Army bulldozer while she was protesting against the demolition of Palestinian civilian homes.
I wouldn’t for a second think that Alan Rickman, for instance, didn’t give a ‘rat’s ass’.
Artists who choose to inform themselves of the realities of the situation should act responsibly. And in this day and age, not informing yourself is simply irresponsible.
If the Rolling Stones don’t, as you say, ‘give a rat’s ass’ – then we should make it clear to them that we, in turn, won’t give a rat’s ass about them. It’s that simple.
Of course we can ask the Rolling Stones to boycott Israel. Whether or not they do so is another matter. One of the people who signed the petition laid it out very simple, and I quote him:
“Would you Exchange your fans in the Middle East (around 300 million people out of which more than 70% are in the youth stage) with just 10 million people (out of which only 45% are in the youth stage)??Let Your Manager do his job and calculate the correspondent risks and negatives of such a concert, before you take that risk.”
In any case, the whole ‘it’s hopeless and we can’t do anything attitude‘ – just doesn’t cut it for me, and it shouldn’t for anybody who’s still got a pulse.
You do what you can.