Re: [Bristol-PSC] Re: Attitude of the JSQ
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I read this interview some time ago and drew similar conclusions to yourself.
The interviewer is extremely anxious to present a rosy, compassionate and philantropic picture of these musicians, and poses a succession of very leading questions calculated to foster this image.
In reality, there is no doubt that they are ( knowingly ) used as valuable propaganda for Israel (and its Zionist policies ).
A blatant attempt to present a civilised face for a brutal regime.
Whilst the musicians themselves purport not to represent Israel, they make no effort to dissociate themselves from this publicity - until they are challenged, when they are quick to deny that they act in this role !
As I stated before,this very tour to Australia was partly funded by the Israeli Government !
Also, Daniel Barenboim, the conductor mentioned in the article, and with whom they are keen to be associated, is himself a signatory to the growing group of Jewish and Israeli artists refusing to perform for Israelis in the settlements.
The new state-of-the-art theatre in the illegal settlement of Ariel has been specifically targetted by this boycott.
Compare this facility with what Palestinian artists have at their disposal.
I recently was priviledged to attended the performance by Trio Joubran at St. George's in Bristol ( they are Christian Palestinians, but make no distinction on this score ). The leader spoke briefly, and in a very dispassionate manner, of some of the problems faced by Palestinian performers as a result of the occupation.
They themselves have had their homes damaged deliberately on more than one occasion. Concerts are cancelled by the occupation authorities for no reason and with no right of appeal.
Even their instruments, which are hand-made by one of the members, have been confiscated.
Musicians promoting traditional Palestinian music and instruments are specifically harassed.
The leader of the group bore no malice whatever, and stated that their only weapons are their instruments and their music !
For them travelling abroad is an ordeal and fraught with difficulties.They are never sure of when they will be granted permission to travel, and hence arranging foreign concerts is problematic.
Compare this with the easy, state sponsored and promoted, arrangements of JSQ and the contrast is enormous ! And yet, have they done anything to ease the lot of their fellow musicians in Palestine ?
I am convinced that not trying to bring this to the attention of the public would be remiss of us and a betrayal of the hardships suffered by Palestinian musicians.
A special pamphlet pointing out these injustices and inequalities would be useful, rather than vilifying or disrupting the JSQ.
By the way, they were originally named the Jerusalem Quartet, ostensibly "String" was added to make them more acceptable and "audience friendly " - another ploy in enhancing the pro-Israeli image.
Regards and best wishes,
--- On Wed, 20/10/10, Monica Jones <monicaseejay@...> wrote:
From: Monica Jones <monicaseejay@...>
Subject: [Bristol-PSC] Re: Attitude of the JSQ
To: "Alistair Lowde" <alistairlowde@...>
Cc: bigbromo@..., "BRISTOL PSC" <bristol-psc@...>
Date: Wednesday, 20 October, 2010, 12:21Dear Alistair -Thank you for this.I notice the mention in the interview of Arab musicians facing problems in their home countries if they have been to or played in Israel - all quite true. Nothing is said, though, about the impossibility, for many West Bank and nearly all Gaza Palestinians, of getting into Israel at all - or even of being able to get out, in the first place, of the occupied lands that have become their prison.It may be genuine naivete on this man's part, rather than disingenuousness, to have overlooked this fairly obvious point. In which case, someone should point out that while working with Daniel Barenboim's orchestra might in some circumstances be acceptable - even commendable - playing for the Israeli Occupation forces on a regular basis really is not !How would we feel about musicians whose main job in a particular ensemble was to play for the Burmese military? Or for Chinese troops in Tibet? Or British musicians with a regular contract to entertain British troops in Afghanistan? (Who at least are there by invitation of the current Afghan government - which is more than we can say of Israeli troops on the West Bank.) Wouldn't we want to be there handing out a few leaflets?Anyway, thank you for gving us the chance to read this interview.Best wishes - Monica
From: Alistair Lowde <alistairlowde@...>
To: ; bigbalistairlowde@...romo@...; sallydean22@...; anlecliffhy@...; monicaseejay@...; schimi@...; emileaboud2000@...
Sent: Tue, 19 October, 2010 21:43:51
Subject: Attitude of the JSQ
Found this. 2nd violinist Amichai Grosz and viola player Kyril Zlotnikov of the JSQ in interview in Australia where they are musicians in residence:
Rachael Kohn: Well one of the personalities in the music world that is so well-known is the Argentinian-born Israeli Daniel Barenboim, and I gather, Kyril and Amichai, that you have both worked with him. Tell me about his impact on your careers.
Amichai Grosz: The first time we met Daniel it was with the quartet that we played and it was a piano quintet, chamber music in Jerusalem. When was it? Which year was it?
Kyril Zlotnikov: 2000.
Amichai Grosz: 2000. Of course he was so busy so we didn't think about it, asking him maybe we can play again. And then Kyril and I, we decided to join, Kyril was I think two years, or even one or two years before me, he joined the Divan Orchestra, that is a fantastic project of Barenboim, creating an orchestra that the musicians of course are Israelis and Arabs, playing together, talking about not just of course political things, issues about life, trying to just speak about everything. And this orchestra, first years, this summer will be eight years?
Rachael Kohn: Nine years. And that's the West East Divan Orchestra.
Amichai Grosz: West East Divan Orchestra, yes. And now Kyril and I are leading the cello and the viola section, and Kyril is also teaching the section, and it's fantastic. It's a wonderful experience, because year by year, people start to know each other, and the same people coming again, most of the people are coming again. I'm talking about people that come in from Lebanon, from Syria, from Iraq, from Egypt of course, from Jordan, from Turkey.
Rachael Kohn: And Palestinians?
Amichai Grosz: Yes, yes, of course. There are a few Palestinians.
Kyril Zlotnikov: There are a couple there. What he does also now, he started up the musical kindergarten, which is I think, this is the most crucial age for kids to start, to get them interested in something different. I think it's an amazing thing that he actually talks about not just the conservatory, not just the school which is there also, but also musical kindergarten for kids. Hopefully in a few years there will be more kids who are going to come to this orchestra, because meanwhile they're only two or three, but you should see their passion, how they play under this maestro. And of course there's two weeks of every summer that the project takes place. It's based in Seville in Spain, every summer, and there are two weeks of really intense rehearsals and then Daniel comes, when the orchestra is already somehow can play together, and then starts the real work.
Rachael Kohn: And are the performances only in Seville, or are they in Israel?
Kyril Zlotnikov: No, of course there are a couple of concerts just to run through in Spain and then -
Amichai Grosz: South America.
Kyril Zlotnikov: Yes, we went even to Brazil, to Argentina, and most of the European countries, even to Morocco one year ago we played in Ramalla live concert on TV.
Rachael Kohn: That's the next question. Are you playing in Arab countries?
Amichai Grosz: This is actually the main role of the orchestra, to go to all the countries that there's representatives.
Kyril Zlotnikov: And in Israel of course.
Amichai Grosz: Of course, yes. So to go to all the countries where there are representatives of the orchestra from.
Rachael Kohn: So do you really feel that this is an example of music being able to transcend tribal and political differences, or is your experience a little of this, and a little of that? How would you describe it?
Amichai Grosz: Mr Barenboim also said that it cannot solve the peace problem in the Middle East of course, and it's not a political project. But it can show that you can put aside all of the killing and the political problems and try to think of each other as a human being, and try to walk together. If it's in music and if it's in a different field of art, and it's happening. I mean it will take time, but what can we do. Also the reason that we are not playing in Syria, in Lebanon, in like I said in Israel, it's mainly because of political problems, bureaucratic problems. The Arabs cannot, as they want to, cannot come just to play in Israel, they would have a lot of problems coming back to their Arab home countries.
Rachael Kohn: They're not allowed to play in Israel.
Amichai Grosz: No, they're not allowed, and this is why Daniel said we cannot have a concert in Israeli only with Israelis, what's the point of it?
Rachael Kohn: How sad.
Amichai Grosz: So we hope that a few years from now, and then it can - I'm sure if we will have a concert in Syria or Lebanon, that will be a big effect for everything, not just in Europe.
To: alistairlowde@...; bigbromo@...; sallydean22@...; cliffhanley@...; monicaseejay@...; schimi@...; emileaboud2000@...
Subject: Re: JSQ discussion and suggestion
Date: Tue, 19 Oct 2010 11:19:47 +0100Dear Alistair,Thank you so much for your considered thoughts.I think you underestimate the way the JSQ functions and is used as pro-Israeli propaaganda- see Monica's letter.However the Vigil outside the concert would be ideal and not aggravate but to some extent educate.We need some literature to disseminate probably from PSC.I think Ed Hill has some.I will be there at 6pm outside the concert hall.Chris