Hey Elton John

Here is the cheesy video by John Greyson that’s intended to goad Elton John to cancel his Tel Aviv concert in June. Greyson is a professor of Film at York University in Toronto. This is a simple video with some stock footage (unattributed, of course), a singer or singers who abuse Elton John’s music and some fancy editing. This type of simple project requires time, thought, planning and execution. I’d love to find out whether Greyson uses York University equipment, or time, when he’s supposed to be teaching students or preparing a book or whatever a professor of film is supposed to to to progress in his career, to make little propaganda films like this. If so, is that permitted at his university?

Watch it, please. It is cheesy, but the best part is when he tries to claim that Bibi is using gay tourism as a band-aid for Israeli war crimes…right after the film mentions the killing of a gay man in Egypt. No mention of what happens to gay men who live under Palestinian rule in Gaza or the West Bank, though. Nope. Also, no mention of any Palestinian violence whatsoever. Apparently, Israel just acts in a vacuum because it has nothing better to do than attack Palestinians for fun. There’s also no mention of the rights enjoyed by gay men and women in Israel, a country whose military (!!) accepts the rights of gay partners as equal to heterosexual partners (in the US we still have “Don’t ask, don’t tell).

Hey Elton, this isn’t about gay politics. That was just part of the attempted manipulation. Peace will be forged when the two sides come together. People like Greyson are helping the extremists – on both sides – to harden their positions and gain greater traction. The boycott movement targets one side only, Israel, while studiously ignoring or glossing over the evils of the Palestinians and many Arab countries that stand in opposition to Israel (that’s why Greyson ignores the lack of gay rights in Palestinian areas in his cheesy video). That’s a recipe for greater friction, not greater understanding or peace.

None of the boycott-movement manipulators can explain why the Palestinians rejected the 2008 Olmert peace plan when he was Israel’s PM. It offered the Palestinians a state over 100% of Gaza, 96% of the West Bank with land inside Israel to exchange for the missing 4%, tens of billions of dollars in reparations, a limited return of original refugees, and a division of Jerusalem that included an international force (that included Arab armies) to control the Holy Basin (the area with the key historic holy sites in Jerusalem) so that everybody and nobody would be sovereign. It was an exceptional offer; a true offer of peace! There could be a Palestinian state standing today, had the Palestinians accepted. They didn’t.

There are excuses being bandied about as to why they didn’t, such as the excuse that Olmert was a weak prime minister. They’re fig leaves to cover the nakedness of their position. We could have peace already, with two states living side by side. No talk of occupation, apartheid, Nazis, anti-Semitism or Gay band-aids. Peace. Real peace. But some people don’t want peace with two states. They want a single state, so that the only state of the Jewish people would cease to be the only state of the Jewish people. Apparently, everybody else gets to have a state, but not Jews, unless they are willing to make it an Arab state with people who have expressed hostility to them for 100 years.

Apparently, having a thriving democracy that creates exceptional art, exceptional technology, has vigorous freedoms of speech in place, a strong judiciary, a strong and free press, a robust electorate and political universe, provides freedom of religion to its many minorities, is composed of many minorities of all colors and stripes, views itself as the expression of a Jewish longing to return to Zion for thousands of years AND has offered to compromise on the land with the Palestinians 5 times in history, including 3 times in the past decade, IS NOT GOOD ENOUGH. Apparently, Israel needs to become a different country in order to appease those who oppose it.

Imagine, if you will, Elton, what would happen if the same forces for boycotting Israel would instead apply pressure to their friends among the Palestinians to give up the dream of overtaking Israel (a vision of which you can see at the conclusion of Greyson’s cheesy video), and instead focus on peace and compromise. Imagine how quickly this conflict would settle if the Palestinians were made to recognize, by their friends like Greyson, that compromise is not only inevitable but the only true recipe for peace. Ahh, then we would have two states and peace faster than you can say Goodbye Yellow Brick Road.

I hope you enjoy your concert and your visit in Israel.

More on John Greyson:

Trying to get people to boycott a Tel Aviv student film festival (he’s a film professor!)

Trying to get an international film festival to reject Israeli films while organizing an openly biased Palestinian film festival

Unsuccessfully trying to manipulate Margaret Atwood to boycott a prize she was awarded by a foundation that gives out the prize in Israel (in the link, you can read her eloquent response to supporters of cultural boycotts and why she rejects them)

UPDATE: Elton John performed in Israel…and it was good. Needless to say, with respect to the Arab-Israeli conflict, his performance meant nothing, just as Elvis Costello’s stupid boycott of Israel meant nothing.

About the author