We are writing to reaffirm our commitment to the unbreakable bond that exists between our country and the State of Israel and to express to you our deep concern over recent tension. In every important relationship, there will be occasional misunderstandings and conflicts. The announcement during Vice President Biden’s visit was, as Israel’s Prime Minister said in an apology to the United States, “a regrettable incident that was done in all innocence and was hurtful, and which certainly should not have occurred.” We are reassured that Prime Minister Netanyahu’s commitment to put in place new procedures will ensure that such surprises, however unintended, will not recur.
The United States and Israel are close allies whose people share a deep and abiding friendship based on a shared commitment to core values including democracy, human rights and freedom of the press and religion. Our two countries are partners in the fight against terrorism and share an important strategic relationship. A strong Israel is an asset to the national security of the United States and brings stability to the Middle East. We are concerned that the highly publicized tensions in the relationship will not advance the interests the U.S. and Israel share. Above all, we must remain focused on the threat posed by the Iranian nuclear weapons program to Middle East peace and stability.
From the moment of Israel’s creation, successive U.S. administrations have appreciated the special bond between the U.S. and Israel. For decades, strong, bipartisan Congressional support for Israel, including security assistance and other important measures, have been eloquent testimony to our commitment to Israel’s security, which remains unswerving. It is the very strength of this relationship that has, in fact, made Arab-Israeli peace agreements possible, both because it convinced those who sought Israel’s destruction to abandon any such hope and because it gave successive Israeli governments the confidence to take calculated risks for peace.
In its declaration of independence 62 years ago, Israel declared: “We extend our hand to all neighboring states and their peoples in an offer of peace and good neighborliness, and appeal to them to establish bonds of cooperation and mutual help with the sovereign Jewish people settled in its own land.” In the decades since, despite constantly having to defend itself from attack, Israel has repeatedly made good on that pledge by offering to undertake painful risks to reach peace with its neighbors.
Our valuable bilateral relationship with Israel needs and deserves constant reinforcement. As the Vice-President said during his recent visit to Israel: “Progress occurs in the Middle East when everyone knows there is simply no space between the U.S. and Israel when it comes to security, none. No space.” Steadfast American backing has helped lead to Israeli peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan. And American involvement continues to be critical to the effort to achieve peace between Israel and the Palestinians.
We recognize that, despite the extraordinary closeness between our country and Israel, there will be differences over issues both large and small. Our view is that such differences are best resolved quietly, in trust and confidence, as befits longstanding strategic allies. We hope and expect that, with mutual effort and good faith, the United States and Israel will move beyond this disruption quickly, to the lasting benefit of both nations. We believe, as President Obama said, that “Israel’s security is paramount” in our Middle East policy and that “it is in U.S. national security interests to assure that Israel’s security as an independent Jewish state is maintained.” In that spirit, we look forward to working with you to achieve the common objectives of the U.S. and Israel, especially regional security and peace.
HOWARD L. BERMAN
Chairman, Committee on Foreign Affairs
Ranking Republican Member, Committee on Foreign Affairs
Chairman, Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia
Ranking Republican Member, Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia
Stephanie Westbrook, The Electronic Intifada, 1 April 2010
Activists protesting outside the AIPAC policy conference carried signs highlighting Israel’s rights violations.
The theme of this year’s annual policy conference for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) lobby group was “Israel: Tell the Story.” And it was quite a story that AIPAC wanted to tell. The conference aimed at imparting to the more than 7,000 attendees “an intimate understanding of the many ways that Israel is making the world a better place,” with a focus on peacemaking and innovation. read on
Official statement released by the JQ on 30 March 2010 re the Wigmore protest. Please compare their announcement with the evidence provided by Vanesa Fuertes [see at the bottom of this email].
The announcement claims they are “not politicians”, yet it reads as if written by an Israeli official. While they claim “We are musicians, not politicians”, they try to score political points because “two of us are regular members of Daniel Barenboim’s West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, composed of Israeli and Arab musicians”. In concert with Israeli propaganda they portray the image of Israel free of Apartheid, in which all is needed is for “Israeli and Arab” to be seen together. They don’t even utter the identity of these Arabs, recognised by others as Palestinians.
As true Israeli politicians, they demand that we refrain “It is destructive of our attempts to foster Israel-Arab relations for us to be the subject of demonstrations of the kind we suffered yesterday”
In compliance with Israeli propaganda, their entire announcement not once mentions Gaza or the Siege, the ethnic cleansing of Jerusalem, etc etc. The people they recognise to endure any sufferings are “the audience in the Hall, the staff of the Hall, and the radio audience wishing to hear the concert”, who were victims of the “upsetting” “acts of the demonstrators inside the Hall”. Of course they did not omit another group of victims: themselves, for suffering from being “subject of demonstrations of the kind” at Wigmore Hall.
According to the JQ even Israeli soldiers are just “fellow citizens” for whom they played during their military service.
The JQ had not a single word of criticism of Israel, not a single criticism of it policies and actions against Palestinians, not a word of compassion for children in Gaza who have no chance of developing their musical experience under siege which deprive them of food and clean water and even pen and paper.
On the other hand, the JQ don’t hesitate to criticise “The demonstrators” for being “mistaken and ignorant and inconsiderate”.
Now that the JQ made clear its position, there should be little doubt it is a legitimate target for boycott. That is until it would genuinely change.
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ 30 March 2010
announcement by the Jerusalem Quartet
Our lunchtime concert at the Wigmore Hall yesterday, 29 March 201, was repeatedly interrupted by protesters seeking to demonstrate against the Government of Israel. The acts of the demonstrators inside the Hall were upsetting to the audience in the Hall, the staff of the Hall, and the radio audience wishing to hear the concert on Radio Three. The demonstrators were mistaken and ignorant and inconsiderate.
The demonstrators were mistaken because we are not representatives of the Government of Israel. We are Israeli citizens, but have no connection with or patronage by the Government. We no more represent the Government of Israel than the audience at the Wigmore Hall represented the Government of the United Kingdom.
As Israeli citizens, we were required to, and did, perform our National Service when we were aged 18. As it happens, none of us was in a combat unit. We served our conscription as musicians playing for our fellow citizens. To identify our conscription, particularly since it was so long ago, with support for government policies is as irrational as blaming members of the Territorial Army in this country for the invasion of Iraq.
The demonstrators were ignorant of the fact that two of us are regular members of Daniel Barenboim’s West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, composed of Israeli and Arab musicians. We teach and lead our respective sections of that orchestra. It is destructive of our attempts to foster Israel-Arab relations for us to be the subject of demonstrations of the kind we suffered yesterday.
We are musicians, not politicians. We want our audiences to enjoy our music, whoever they may be, whatever their religion or nationality or ethnicity, without unthinking interruptions of the kind that we, our audiences and the staff suffered yesterday.+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
The evidence provided by Vanesa Fuertes:
JERUSALEM QUARTET – CULTURAL AMBASADORS OF ISRAEL
The Jerusalem Quartet
· perform for Israeli Ambassadors
· accept they are cultural ambassadors for Israel
· are sponsored on tours by the Israeli Government
· were introduced to the audience by an Israeli Ambassador on stage
· have an official status inside the Israeli Army as Distinguished IDF Musicians, a status reported around the world, a status that was never withdrawn and never repudiated by them
· are seen by Palestinians as a legitimate target for the cultural boycott on the basis of accurate information.
FUNDED AND SUPPORTED.. 1SPONSORSHIP BY THE ISRAELI STATE.. 4THEIR IMAGE TO THE WORLD.. 4TOURS CLEARLY FUNDED BY THE STATE OF ISRAEL. 5ISRAELI AMBASSADOR TO THE UK REPLY TO OUR ACTIONS.. 6
FUNDED AND SUPPORTED
1) Created, supported and promoted by the Jerusalem Music Centre
“the quartet was founded within the framework of the Young Musicians’ Group of the Jerusalem Music Centre and the America-Israel Cultural Foundation [AICF] in co-operation with the Conservatory of the Jerusalem Rubin Academy of Music and Dance”. http://www.jmc.co.il/artist.asp?aid=1
“the Quartet has been busy playing concerts in Israel and abroad, including a concert in Amman at the residence of Israel’s ambassador to Jordan; the Israeli premiere of 12 Microludes by Gyorgy Kurtag in the presence of the composer; a European concert tour sponsored by the Israel Foreign Ministry featuring concerts in Oslo, Stockholm, Vienna, The Hague, Copenhagen, and Bratislavia; a concert tour to South Africa under the auspices of the America-Israel Cultural Foundation…” http://www.jmc.co.il/musicfile.asp?mid=9
To this day they are still very much supported and promoted by the JMC:
The JMC “presents the best of Israel’s chamber groups, as well as a few visiting ensembles, with an emphasis on artists affiliated with the JMC, in particular the Jerusalem Quartet.” http://www.jmc.co.il/thejmcact.asp?cid=1
1.1) The Jerusalem Music Centre (JMC), which worked to get the Jerusalem Quartet into the Israeli Army, was established by the mainstream Zionist organisation, the Jerusalem Foundation, which PACBI refers to in their support for a boycott of the Jerusalem Quartet.
The JMC/IDF link remains, as a 2007 JMC report indicates: They secured “funding [for] a part-time coordinator for the Outstanding Musicians in the IDF program, which had been run by JMC staff up until then on a volunteer basis…IDF Outstanding Musicians now have [support to]… reconcile the demands of military service with those of their musical training (and make sure they make the best of both)…”
“The Jerusalem Music Centre is the Quartet’s “home base” in Jerusalem.”
1.2) The JMC is located is an illegal settlement in the Occupied West Bank, illegal under international law.
“Our “headquarters” is situated in one of Jerusalem’s most picturesque corners – Mishkenot Sha’ananim, the first Jewish neighborhood established outside the walls of the Old City” http://www.jmc.co.il/thejmc.asp?cid=3
1.3) “Our independence allows us to operate, to some extent, as a laboratory: free from the rule of rating and the burden of bureaucracy, we can afford to explore and experiment. At the same time, we cooperate regularly with practically all leading organisations of music and music education in Israel: the Buchman-Mehta School of Music, Tel Aviv University; the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance; the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra; the New Israeli Opera; the Ministry of Education; the Ministry of Science, Culture & Sports; pre-academic music schools all over the country; and so on. “ http://www.jmc.co.il/thejmc.asp?cid=2
2) Funded and supported by the America Israel Cultural Foundation
“In the past five years alone, AICF has awarded over $6.5m in scholarships to Israeli students of the arts, supporting the next generation of Israel’s cultural ambassadors.”
Their mission is to “Depict the State of Israel as a thriving cultural environment that stimulates creativity and artistic life.” http://www.aicf.org/about/mission
“Here are a few of our most prominent artists and the years they were funded:” …
Jerusalem Quartet: Alexander Pavlovsky, violin, 1992-1999; Sergei Bresler, violin, 1991-1999; Amihai Grosz, viola, 1993-1999; Kyril Zlotnikov, cello, 1991-1999 http://www.aicf.org/about/impact/artists(Document E)
“Through the enthusiastic contributions of AICF patrons, millions in early support was given … towards the founding of the Jerusalem Music Centre (JMC). Responding to the needs for Israel’s growing pool of talented musicians, the AICF provides vital scholarships for musical study, including numerous chamber groups such as the Jerusalem Quartet, who were created, nurtured and launched onto the world scene from the JMC.” http://www.aicf.org/pics/userpics/File/AICF-Brochure.pdf (page 4)
(Document E 2)
From AICF homepage: “Unfortunately, the bulk of AICF’s endowments were invested with Bernard L. Madoff Securities”.
AICF homepage asks for donations; “funding for the arts is scarce with most resources going to security”
Donation link is http://www.saveisraeliculture.org/
“For over three generations AICF has supported over 11,000 artists and 600 cultural institutions in Israel. Included are such widely recognized names as Itzhak Perlman, Pinchas Zukerman, Gil Shaham, the Israel Philharmonic, the Batsheva Dance Company, and the Israel Museum. [and the JQ]
These artists and institutions represent Israel throughout the world. Israel’s need to allocate scarce resources to defense and security necessitates AICF’s vital contribution to the arts. ”
SPONSORSHIP BY THE ISRAELI STATE
Sponsorship or funding by the Israeli state comes with strings attached as Yitzhak Laor points out in this newspaper article – Haaretz:
Contract is “Between the State of Israel, via the Foreign Ministry, Division for Cultural and Scientific Affairs
“The service provider undertakes to act faithfully, responsibly and tirelessly to provide the Ministry with the highest professional services. The service provider is aware that the purpose of ordering services from him is to promote the policy interests of the State of Israel via culture and art, including contributing to creating a positive image for Israel.”
In order to conceal the above – after all, culture is “culture,” without intervention, without mechanisms, without state-sponsored translation machines – Paragraph 13 stresses:
“The service provider will not present himself as an agent, emissary and/or representative of the Ministry.” http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1005287.html
THEIR IMAGE TO THE WORLD
1) This article explains about how the JQ started as a quartet, the support given by the Jerusalem Music Centre (JMC), and the link to the military (in this article they were describe as “for the three immigrants, carrying a rifle in one hand and a violin in the other is the ultimate Zionist statement)
The World Zionist Press Service in 1998: http://www.jewishaz.com/jewishnews/980619/musician.shtml
2) This article explains about their start as a quartet, the support given by the Jerusalem Music Centre (JMC), and the link to the military describing their status as “status to Distinguished IDF Musicians and continue to play for troops three times a week when they’re in Israel”.
Jewish Independent of British Columbia, 21 March 2003: http://www.jewishindependent.ca/Archives/Mar03/archives03Mar21-06.html
2.1) in this article it mentions how the JMC is located in the Mishkenot Sha’ananim, where the JQ has been allocated to built studios there to practice and what they call home.
Mishkenot Sha’ananim is an illegal Israeli settlement in Palestinian occupied West Bank http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mishkenot_Sha’ananim
3) Their on CD booklet in 1996 explains how “The four members of the Quartet joined the Israeli Defense Forces in March 1997 and are serving as Distinguished Musicians”
The Jerusalem Music Centre website: http://www.jmc.co.il/musicfile.asp?mid=9
4) In 2006 in an article they were quoted as saying ”People say we are the best ambassadors from Israel, and we are happy about that,” cellist Kyril Zlotnikov said in Melbourne yesterday.
The Australian, 14th March 2006: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/
(the article can be seen in the archive but to download it they require payment)
TOURS CLEARLY FUNDED BY THE STATE OF ISRAEL
‘The quartet played at a public concert for Musica Viva at Llewellyn Hall, but on Sunday, their concert was for guests of the Israeli ambassador, Gabby Levy and his wife, Irit.’
Canberra Times, August 21, 2001
The Jerusalem Quartet are sponsored on their tour of Australia and NZ by the Israeli Embassy in Canberra, according to the Canberra Times of May 5, 2004.
The same day’s Courier Mail from Queensland, reported that the Jerusalem Music Centre actually helped to facilitate the Jerusalem Quartet’s entry into the Israeli military. They also confirm the Jerusalem Quartet’s official Israeli Army status up to at least 2004
‘The Jerusalem Music Centre even negotiated with the Israeli army for the ensemble to be conscripted as musicians. This was an unprecedented move and the quartet remains today the official Quartet-in-Residence, a role they juggle within their busy international concert touring schedule.’
1) Jerusalem Quartet concerts from the Library of Congress (across from the U.S. Capitol) in April saw the Israeli Ambassador introducing the JQ.
Where an admirer in April 2007 quotes a contemporary media release from their Record Label that ‘They now enjoy the status of Distinguished IDF’ and went on to say that ‘a group of angry Palestinian students succeeded in stopping a performance in Manchester, England.’ The concert-goer expresses irritation at the Israeli Ambassador’s ‘crude’ and ‘clumsy’ introduction of the Quartet that ‘really rub[bed] in the propaganda aspect of the event’ in Washington: http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2007/04/jerusalem-quartet-at-libr.html
2) During autumn 2007 the JQ played in the celebrations of the 60th anniversary of the creation of Israel, obviously sponsored by the Embassy of Israel
Jerusalem Quartet concerts from the Library of Congress (Coolidge Auditorium is located on the Ground Floor of the Thomas Jefferson Building of the Library of Congress (1st and Independence Sts., SE — across from the U.S. Capitol) were advertised as “Co-sponsored by the Embassy of Israel” http://www.loc.gov/rr/perform/concert/0708-schedule.html
ISRAELI AMBASSADOR TO THE UK REPLY TO OUR ACTION
The Israeli Ambassador replied to our boycott action with the following “”We must not give in to the attempts to sabotage the marketing of Israeli art and culture in Britain.”
The Jewish Chronicle 4 Sep 2008 http://www.thejc.com/news/uk-news/israel-heckled-edinburgh-festival