Saturday, March 11, 2006
Exit Stage Left
Since the dance saga started late last week it has taken on a life of its own billowing into commentary, argument, exchange, hurled insults and slurs. I have observed from the sidelines as remarks are laid down on this and other blogs and these are a few of my thoughts...
- Responses from the dance magazine editor and advertising head regarding the issue were forthcoming to Jewish Chronicle of London writer Rachel Fletcher in her story. An excerpt:
...as an editor, I am entitled to choose what to print. It is my prerogative. Mr Kaul was more forthcoming, telling the JC: We are opposed to the occupation. If any company in Israel co-operates with us by adding a disclaimer saying it is opposed to the occupation, settlements and everything else, we will co-operate with them.
(What does "everything else" refer to...? slf)
- It takes little genius to understand that this incident has touched upon heartfelt complicated issues defying singularity. Tied in are historical, political, social, artistic and personal implications. In the past days I have seen the terms stormtroopers, Nazi, apartheid policy, Zionist machine, and Anti-semitism bandied about in the context of open exchange and mean spiritedness.
I have ruminated quite a bit over my own use of the term Anti-semitism; Were I to re-write the original posting would I opt for a less loaded term like "discrimination" or "anti-Israel bias" or "boycott"? I'm not sure.
- It is, indeed, an editor's right to publish according to his or her standards or guidelines. It is also the reader's and advertiser's right to be informed of the standard prior to visiting the newsstand or placing an ad. See Allison's eloquently written commentary on the subject.
A final, personal note:
I left Israel in the mid-90's when suicide bombings, Oslo II's downfall and Rabin's assassination were still fresh. A journalist for several international corporations for nearly a decade, I was exhausted from years of intifada (Palestinian uprising), peace negotiation, funeral, negotiation collapse, war, funeral, demonstration, funeral & infiltration cover.
Living in San Francisco for ten years I successfully divorced myself from the situation here convincing my conscience that with newfound tools gained through lectures, workshops and discussion groups I could return to Tel Aviv, write and stay away from hard news and politicking. I haven't owned a television in 8 years.
Silly me. Six months into my return and a dance story of all things brings me right back into the thick of the same dilemma, the same moral questioning and doubting, the same rumination and the same complicated issue that can spin your head around until you spit out everything you learned and re-think the entire situation anew.
No, art and politics cannot be divorced one from the other. Clearly not in this region. But I still think we can strive to reach understanding by being open to the message. Because the message can come from mediums one might have never thought possible.