Celine Dion to perform on ethnically cleansed land

Canadian singer Celine Dion is set to perform in an Israeli park this summer built on top of ethnically-cleansed Palestinian land.

Dion is scheduled to perform during Tu B’Av, celebrated by some as Israel’s Valentine’s Day, in August.

The venue – Yarkon Park in Tel Aviv – is built on the ruins of Jarisha, a village that was completely depopulated of its Palestinian inhabitants by the Irgun, a Zionist militia, in May 1948.

Weeks earlier, the Irgun, led by future Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin, had carried out the notorious massacre in the village of Deir Yassin, which sowed panic and fear across Palestine.

Zionist paramilitary forces ethnically cleansed some 800,000 Palestinians during the 1948 Nakba to clear the way for the establishment of the State of Israel.

Yarkon Park has been the site of a number of such concerts and festivals that help whitewash Israel’s crimes against Palestinians.

By rebuffing the Palestinian call for a boycott of Israel, these concerts are tantamount to crossing an international picket line.

The Canadian singer prepared a video message expressing her excitement to perform “for the very first time in Tel Aviv.”

Fifty Palestinian musicians, actors and artists are urging Dion to heed the call by Palestinian civil society not to perform in Israel.

“The far-right Israeli regime exploits all performances by international artists to whitewash, or artwash, its systematic violation of Palestinian human rights,” the artists said in a letter appealing to Dion.

“In this context, all artists have an ethical obligation to do no harm to our struggle for justice.”

“Consider Mandela’s words”

Notably, Dion named one of her twin sons after Nelson Mandela, who headed the liberation movement against South Africa’s apartheid government.

Dion met Mandela during a trip to South Africa in 2008 and mourned his death in 2013.

The Palestinian appeal to Dion quoted a comment made by Mandela on the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People in December 1997.

“We know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians,” Mandala declared.

“It is in this spirit that I have come to join you today to add our own voice to the universal call for Palestinian self-determination and statehood.”

Signatories urged Dion to “to consider Mandela’s words and her own place in the history books.”

The Palestinian boycott, divestment and sanctions movement is modeled on the global campaign that had helped end apartheid in South Africa.

The organization Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East is also urging the artist to cancel the performance.

And the Canadian BDS Coalition has issued an appeal to Dion. It was signed by Roger Waters and Thurston Moore, best known for their work with the bands Pink Floyd and Sonic Youth, as well as many other artists.

Astroturfing

4IL, a propaganda outlet of Israel’s strategic affairs ministry, celebrated Dion’s planned performance and urged social media users to “show her some love”:

The Israeli government-backed Act.IL app was used to launch a fake grassroots social media campaign – a tactic known as astroturfing – that directs users to praise the singer’s planned performance:

Israel advocacy group StandWithUs is attempting to depoliticize Dion’s concert.

“Music should never be politicized, and instead of bringing people together, the haters are trying to encourage division,” the group stated.

The notorious Islamophobic bigot Pamela Geller was thrilled about Dion’s upcoming performance, calling it a “BDS fail” on Twitter:

“The world’s greatest artists are flocking to Israel,” Geller added.

Israeli concert promoter Shuki Weiss is organizing the event and financing the construction of the amphitheater where Dion’s concert is set to take place.

Weiss is a long-time opponent of the BDS movement and has helped artists cross the international picket line set by Palestinians. He has also urged Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, to intervene by persuading artists to come to Israel.

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Celine Dion was always a very mediocre, over bloated, MOR (Middle of the Road), and in my opinion, talentless singer. The fact that she is unthinking should come as no surprise. White Supremacist, apartheid, fascist Israel deserves someone as second rate as her, and she deserves as nation as second rate as Israel!

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Many (3) FB friends from Gaza especially, have asked me for donations and I am appalled at the force used against Palestinians by the IDF. I wish I could make a greater contribution to improve the lives of my friends. International solidarity and respect of the just struggle of Palestinians is needed here. We can't all support the US-Israel peace plan or participate in it without whitewashing or artswashing Israeli ethnic cleansing. Time to take a stand Celine! Israel is an evil state whose cruelty will take it over and destroy it by the inside. Zionism cannot keep the world silent on the rights of Palestinians.

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"Music should not be politicized". It always is. All art is. The great lie which dominates our aesthetics is that commitment debases art. On the contrary, absence of commitment renders art feeble, irrelevant, mediocre, flat and time-serving. The supposedly non-political artists are mere apologists for the status quo. Dion is not an artist, but an entertainer. All entertainment is debased art. Art is at its pinnacle, in every regard, when it engages with the world, not when it withdraws into an etiolated aestheticism which cannibalises itself. Aeschylus was committed. Sophocles, Euripides, Seneca, Shakespeare, Tolstoy, Hildegard of Bingen Bach, Beethoven, Rembrandt, Jane Austen, Walt Whitman. Art is alive when it grapples with the conflicts and problems we all face. Our artistic culture is dominated by a vacuous commercialism which robs it of relevance. This week in the UK we have been treated to the risible circus of the launch of yet another Hilary Mantel door-stopper about Thomas Cromwell. "People talk to me about what's happening," whined Ms Mantel. "I say, I've been away. I've been in the 1530s". What better way to stop art touching people's vital sensibility? It isn't the dead politics of five centuries ago we need novels about, but the urgent politics of our time. What stopped Ms Mantel writing about Palestine? Simple. They wouldn't permit a novel about that to win the Booker. Such is the quiet censorship which spreads stupefaction, conformism and robs people of the internal resources to resist. You could read the poetry written in the UK since 1948 and have no idea about Israel/Palestine. Isn't there something odd about that? Isn't it the pressing moral issue of our time? Why are our artists silent? The delusion of artistic freedom conceals the reality of subtle suppression of the subversive. Every artist should support BDS. Art is for all people, it has to be universal. It must refuse racism, class division, oppression. Dion is a disgrace.

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Ms. Dion:
Please cancel your upcoming Tel Aviv performance since that performance is helping to white wash the multiple egregious behaviors that Israel has committed against the Palestinians: killing of 2500 Gazans in 2014 including almost 500 children; continuous imprisonment of over 300 Palestinian children in Israeli jails mostly on "administrative" charges; continuous siege of Gaza since 2009; unlawful eviction and demolition of Palestinian homes from Israel's birth until the present. Israel is a racist, apartheid state, not worthy of your participation.

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Celine as a loving and grateful fan since my teenage please don't ruin your amazing voice by performing in occupied Palestine don't let them use your legends may God give the same courage you sang about to call it off

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To be an artist it means to be a human, feel with people who are suffering because of crimes anti humans. The occupation killed people and stole their houses ,churches and mosques, modified them to clubs where u r ready to sing. To be a star it's a responsibility to be beside the public and not fascist regimes.

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Tamara Nassar

Tamara Nassar is an assistant editor at The Electronic Intifada.