Lara Fabian, a Belgian-Italian singer, is a friend of ‘Israel’, and makes no secret of it. In May 2008 she performed at a special concert in France to commemorate the creation of the Zionist state, ending off her performance with ‘I love you, Israel’. The show was directed by her Jewish French partner Gerard Pullicino. In March 2010, she held a concert in Tel Aviv, and in June 2011 she participated in the ‘Cercle Ben Gourion’ festival in Brussels.
Despite her obvious warm feelings toward the racist and belligerent Zionist colonial state, she planned to perform on February 14 and 15 at the Casino du Liban in Jounieh. Having performed in Lebanon twice before, she never saw the massive boycott campaign coming: the Campaign to Boycott Supporters of Israel in Lebanon fiercely opposed her performance, until she announced on January 19th on her Facebook page that she had cancelled the concert.
This BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) victory is quite significant. It sends a strong message to artists who choose to ignore the massive injustices perpetrated by the state of ‘Israel’, not only against the Palestinians, but also against its neighbouring countries and against ethnic minorities who make a living in the self-proclaimed ‘Land of the Chosen’.
No more tolerance for racism
It is unfathomable that in 2012, a state that grants racial exclusivity to anyone who is considered to be genetically connected to the historical tribe of the ‘Israelites’, is still tolerated in the international community. After all, it is no longer unkown to the citizens of today’s world, that the land of Palestine was expropriated by Zionist invaders from Europe, who expelled the Palestinians in 1948 at gunpoint in order to create an exclusivist state for Jews.
But things are changing, and this is why Lara Fabian’s cancellation is significant. More and more, and worldwide, those who choose to cosy up to the racist ideology of Zionism, and celebrate the expulsion and oppression of the Palestinians together with the Israelis, are made to pay a price. Citizens and artists of conscience have made it an issue to exert pressure upon those who support the Apartheid state to learn the lessons from the successful cultural and economical boycott efforts against the South African Apartheid regime in the 1980’s, which helped bring down that systematic injustice. It is high time for occupied Palestine to also be relieved from the yoke of Zionist racism, and the number of people dedicating their energy to making this happen, is growing from day to day.
In 2006, ‘Israel’ unleashed an atrocious attack on Lebanon, killing at least 1200 people, overwhelmingly citizens. Apparently, there are many people in Lebanon who still rightfully feel that being a declared ‘friend of Israel’ is not compatible with being a welcomed guest in Lebanon. This attitude does not only exist at a popular level, but spills over into positions taken by political parties. For example, on December 13, several political parties among which the Free Patriotic Movement, Hezbollah and Amal signed a joint statement calling for the boycott of “all concerts, companies and troops supporting the Zionist enemy.”
As’ad Ghsoub, spokesman for the Campaign to Boycott Supporters of Israel in Lebanon, makes it very clear that this has nothing to do with ‘cultural censorship’. As he told NOW Lebanon: “Israel is a state that is an enemy of Lebanon, and we are in a state of war … can you imagine a pro-Hezbollah superstar singing in Tel Aviv?”
The Musical Intifada follows and supports all anti-normalization and BDS efforts, as becomes clear from the various articles on the subject that have been published here. It is clear that the cultural boycott of ‘Israel’ is starting to catch on, and to reverberate far beyond the region of the Middle East. The list of artists from the West that refuse to perform in ‘Israel’ is growing, and we applaud their moral courage. They set an example for all peace-loving musicians in the world, and their courage is admired and emulated by an ever-increasing circle of performers.
As far as As’ad Ghsoub is concerned, all is not lost yet. “She should reconsider her actions and join this global movement that many artists are joining. If she makes a statement at least distancing herself from Israel, we have no problem welcoming her next time. We’ll throw a red carpet down for her.”
Lara Fabian is not the first, and will not be the last artist to receive these lessons in true equality and tolerance. Anti-normalization with ‘Israel’ will continue, hand in hand with BDS-efforts, and those who wish to help create a world where racism is not tolerated, will definitely support these campaigns. The tide is rising. Get your surfboards, and ride the wave!
(www.docjazz.com / 22.01.2012)