Margaret Atwood Accepts Israel's Dirty Prize Money - Shame!

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NDPP
Margaret Atwood Accepts Israel's Dirty Prize Money - Shame!

Defying Appeal from Gaza, Atwood Set to Accept Israeli Prize

http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article11255.shtml

"On Sunday Booker Prize-winning author Margaret Atwood will accept the Dan David Prize at Tel Aviv University and her portion of the $1 Million payout that goes with it. Atwood will be accepting her prize despite a world wide call--initiated by the Palestinian Students Campaign for a Cultural and Academic Boycott of Israel..."

 

al-Qa'bong

Three cheers for Apartheid's Handmaid!

Frustrated Mess Frustrated Mess's picture

I read the article. Her logic is shocking. This is very disappointing. If I never purcahse another of her book's is that a cultural or commercial boycott?

Star Spangled C...

Frustrated Mess wrote:

I read the article. Her logic is shocking. This is very disappointing. If I never purcahse another of her book's is that a cultural or commercial boycott?

Actually, it's the logic of the anti-Israel crowd which is "shocking." Since when is accepting an award for literature an endorsement of every single policy of the country in which the award is based? When she wins the Booker Prize, is accepting it an endorsement of whichever government happens to be in power in Britain at the tme? If she were to win the Giller Prize, would accepting that be an endorsement of each specific policy of the Harper government?

N.Beltov N.Beltov's picture

Atwood will write something "ironic" and the bourgeois literary establishment will respond with prolonged, noisy, and tumultuous applause. Gah.

Who was it who said that artists either side with freedom or they side with slavery?

Star Spangled C...

Also, as to the asinine complaints of the prize's affiliation with Tel Aviv University (which has done some incredible work, by the way), in 2004 Atwood accepted an honourary degree from Harvard. Bush was president at the time. Does accepting an honourary degree from a school which receives federal funding (including DOD contracts) mean that Atwood supports the war in Iraq? Of course not. But the anti-Israel crowd never miss an pportunity to aply their revolting double standard.

N.Beltov N.Beltov's picture

In any case, Atwood is talking out of her ass. There's no logic to her remarks. A child could take them apart.

But her views seem to be in transition, e.g., she participated in a boycott of Tel Aviv International Film Festival last winter. So, a good swift kick in the butt (figuratively speaking for the metaphorically challenged - ha ha, you know who you are) , and a reminder of the reasons for the boycott may be all that is necessary to get the famous author on the straight and narrow.

She certainly can't hide under a rock and plead ignorance. Not that she is.

 

NDPP

Perhaps if you had buried your famly and other members of your community due to the genocidal terror campaign of an illegal occupier - and if all the pretty words about anti-colonialism and anti-authoritarianism written mean anything at all - then surely accepting the blood money of such an oppressor from  a supposedly 'oppositional intellectual' can only mean that their words, in the final analysis, meant nothing at all. And if you specifically asked that writer to support you by not taking the big, fat cheque of your enemy, perhaps you might feel differently. You are right about pointing out that neither should she have accepted the honourary degree from Harvard, in my view.

N.Beltov N.Beltov's picture

What boycott or BDS campaign is Harvard under right now? Spare us the bullshit.

Star Spangled C...

NoDifferencePartyPooper wrote:

Perhaps if you had buried your famly and other members of your community due to the genocidal terror campaign of an illegal occupier - and if all the pretty words about anti-colonialism and anti-authoritarianism written mean anything at all - then surely accepting the blood money of such an oppressor

The money comes from the foundation of Dan David. He made his fortune manufacturing photo booths. This qualifies as "blood money" now?

As for your opening statement, my family and community lost plenty of its members to a genocidal terror campaign - which was endorsed and cheered on by the Palestinian leadership of the time.

Star Spangled C...

N.Beltov wrote:

What boycott or BDS campaign is Harvard under right now? Spare us the bullshit.

I'm sure it's under one. But, who cares? Atwood is an individual who can make her own decisions. The fact that there's a "BDS campaign" against Israel doesn't obligate anyone to follow it.

N.Beltov N.Beltov's picture

from the letter to Atwood wrote:
After the wiping out of entire families in broad daylight, what else do some public intellectuals need to see in order to make a bold move?"

It's shit or get off the pot. Liberals hate that.

 

 

NDPP

N.Beltov wrote:

from the letter to Atwood wrote:
After the wiping out of entire families in broad daylight, what else do some public intellectuals need to see in order to make a bold move?"

It's shit or get off the pot. Liberals hate that.

NDPP

especially when there's a big fat cheque with their name on it...

Star Spangled C...

The people who call themselves "Palestinians" today certainly considered the people living in what they think of as "Palestine" during the 30s and 40s to have been "Palestinian" back then.

Cueball Cueball's picture

The grand Mufti of Jerusalem was not "the Palestinian" leadership. He was a single Imam who the British bestowed the title of Grand Mufti upon -- this because there is no formal hierarchy of religious leadership in Sunni islam. It's really begining to get hard to tell if you are engaging in distortion and vilification of an identifiable ethnic group, on purpose, or if you just don't know what you are talking about.

According to Golda Meir, a former Prime Minister of Israel, Palestinians didn't exist even as late as the 1960's, so your statement is not only absurd in the terms you frame it but also overtly self-serving, since Palestinians would not have existed in 1944 either, therefore.

N.Beltov N.Beltov's picture

Here is the outstanding letter sent to Atwood. She "claims" not to have received it.

Quote:
An Open Letter to Margaret Atwood from Gaza: Don't Stand on the Wrong Side of History

Dear Ms. Atwood,

We are students from Gaza representing more than 10 academic institutions therein. Our grandparents are refugees who were expelled from their homes in the 1948 Nakba. They still have their keys locked up in their closets and will pass them on to their children, our parents. Many of us have lost our fathers, some of us have lost our mothers, and some of us lost both in the last Israeli aggression against civilians in Gaza. Others still lost a body part from the flesh-burning white phosphorous that Israel used, and are now permanently physically challenged. Most of us lost our homes, and are now living in tents, as Israel refuses to allow basic construction materials into Gaza. And most of all, we are all still living in what has come to be a festering sore on humanity's conscience - the brutal, hermetic, medieval siege that Israel is perpetrating against us, the 1.5 million Palestinians of the Gaza Strip.

Many of us have encountered your writing during our university studies. Although your books are not available in Gaza - because Israel does not allow books, paper, and other stationary in - we are familiar with your leftist, feminist, overtly political writing. And most of all, we are aware of your strong stance against apartheid. You admirably supported sanctions against apartheid South Africa and called for resistance against all forms of oppression.

Now, we have heard that you are to receive a prize this spring at Tel Aviv University (TAU). We, the students of besieged Gaza, urge you not to go. As our professors, teachers and anti-apartheid comrades used to tell us, there was no negotiation with the brutal racist regime of South Africa. Nor was there much communication. Just one word: BOYCOTT. You must be aware that Israel was a sister state to the apartheid regime before 1994. Many South African anti-apartheid heroes, including Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, have described Israel's oppression as apartheid. Some describe Israeli settler-colonialism and occupation as surpassing apartheid's evil. F-16s, F-15s, F-35s, Apache helicopters, Merkava tanks, and white phosphorous were not used against black townships.

Ms. Atwood, in the Gaza concentration camp, students who have been awarded scholarships to universities abroad are prevented, every year, from pursuing their hard-earned opportunity for academic achievement. Within the Gaza Strip, those seeking an education are limited by increasing poverty rates and a scarcity of fuel for transportation, both of which are direct results of Israel's medieval siege. What is TAU's position vis-à-vis this form of illegal collective punishment, described by Richard Falk, the UN Special Rapporteur on Palestinian Human Rights in the Occupied Territories, as a "prelude to genocide?" Not a single word of condemnation has been heard from any Israeli academic institution!

Participating in normal relations with Tel Aviv University is giving tacit approval to its racially exclusive policy toward Palestinian citizens of Israel. We are certain you would hate to support an institution that upholds so faithfully the apartheid system of its state. Tel Aviv University has a long and well-documented history of collaboration with the Israeli military and intelligence services. This is particularly shameful after Israel's bloody military assault against the occupied Gaza Strip, which, according to leading international and local human rights organizations, left over 1,440 Palestinians dead and 5380 injured. We are certain you would hate to support an institution that supports a military apparatus that murdered over 430 children.

By accepting the prize at Tel Aviv University, you will be indirectly giving a slight and inadvertent nod to Israel's policy of ethnic cleansing and genocide. This university has refused to commemorate the destroyed Palestinian village on which it was built. That village is called Sheikh Muwanis, and it no longer exists as a result of Israel's confiscation. Its people have been expelled.

Let us remember the words of Archbishop Desmund Tutu: "if you choose to be neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor." As such, we call upon you to say no to neutrality, no to being on the fence, no to normalization with apartheid Israel, not after the blood of more than 400 children has been spilt! No to occupation, repression, settler colonialism, settlement expansion, home demolition, land expropriation and the system of discrimination against the indigenous population of Palestine, and no to the formation of Bantustans in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip!

Just as every citizen knew that s/he had a moral responsibility to boycott apartheid in South Africa after the Sharpeville massacre, Gaza 2009 was the world's wake-up call. All of Israel's academic institutions are state-run and state-funded. To partake of any of their prizes or to accept any of their blandishments is to uphold their heinous political actions. Israel has continually violated international law in defiance of the world. It is illegally occupying Palestinian land. It continues its aggression against the Palestinian people. Israel denies Palestinians all of the democratic liberties it so proudly, fictitiously flaunts. Israel is an apartheid regime that denies Palestinian refugees their right of return as sanctioned by UN resolution 194.

Attending the symposium would violate the unanimously endorsed Palestinian civil society call for Boycotts, Divestments, and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel. This call is also directed toward international activists, artists, and academics of conscience, such as you. We are certain that you would love to be a part of the noble struggle against the apartheid, colonization and occupation that the Palestinian people have been subjected to for the past 61 years, a struggle that is ongoing.

Ms. Atwood, we consider you to be what the late Edward Said called an "oppositional intellectual." As such, and given our veneration of your work, we would be both emotionally and psychologically wounded to see you attend the symposium. You are a great woman of words, of that we have no doubt. But we think you would agree, too, that actions speak louder than words. We all await your decision.

Besieged Gaza

The Palestinian Students' Campaign for the Academic Boycott of Israel (PSCABI)

Endorsed by The University Teachers' Association in Palestine

What's bizarre is that on the same page an ad from some organization promoting visits to Israel also appears. That's capitalism for ya.

 

Cueball Cueball's picture

Again, the Grand Mufti was not "the Palestinian" leadership. He was an official appointed by the British. In fact, he was appointed over the objection of the Arab council that was supposed to elect him, after he lost a vote for "Mufti". The position "Grand Mufti" was invented by the British, and has no historical basis even in the Ottoman period.

Your claims are libelous and historically unfactual and seem designed to denigrate an entire ethnic group. Making unfactual statements about an ethnic group is generally considered to be propogating racism and therefore is against the policy of this web site.

NDPP

Call for Margaret Atwood to Join Cultural Boycott of Israel

http://www.thepeoplesvoice.org/TPV3/Action.php/2010/04/09/call-for-marga...

"The Palestinian community of writers and intellectuals is highly disappointed by your decision to accept the Dan David prize...

in this light, your acceptance of a prize administered by Tel Aviv University and awarded in the presence of the Israeli President Shimon Peres can only be interpreted by Palestinian civil society as complicity in whitewashing Israel's crimes, colonialization and system of apartheid.

Your vast literary portfolio will forever be attached to the draconian machine of Israeli colonialism and racist policy.."

Tell Margaret Atwood to Decline the Prize

Publishers email: mail@mcclelland.com

http://www.mcclelland.com/about/contact.html

UK Publisher- Bloomsbury 'attn Margaret Atwood'

info@curtisbrown.co.uk

website: http://margaretatwood.ca

Frustrated Mess Frustrated Mess's picture

Star Spangled Canadian wrote:

Frustrated Mess wrote:

I read the article. Her logic is shocking. This is very disappointing. If I never purcahse another of her book's is that a cultural or commercial boycott?

Actually, it's the logic of the anti-Israel crowd which is "shocking." Since when is accepting an award for literature an endorsement of every single policy of the country in which the award is based? When she wins the Booker Prize, is accepting it an endorsement of whichever government happens to be in power in Britain at the tme? If she were to win the Giller Prize, would accepting that be an endorsement of each specific policy of the Harper government?

Actually, I am pro-human rights. Something you anti-Palestinians wouldn't understand. I appreciate you see your role as defending a racial supremacist state, but you could have at least read and understood what Margaret Atwood has said. Would she accept a Khomeini Literature Award from the Islamic State of Iran? From her logic, not only would she, she must. Likewise, she must accept a Mullah Omar Award from Afghanistan, and the General Tzbo Literary Award from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. And perhaps even the Good Writin' Award from the Grand Dragon of the Ku Klux Klan.

But I bet Atwood could rationalize a new logic for refusing to accept literary prizes from any and all of the above.

And I appreciate the defenders of ethnic supremacy like to avoid simple facts, but Britain is no longer denying an entire people their human rights while displacing and dispossessing them and engaging in acts of cultural genocide. Israel is doing all of those things and much, much worse. Atwood has condemned such actions by other states.  She supported the boycott of South Africa which included academic and cultural boycots. Where is her sense of justice now?

mahmud

Star Spangled Canadian wrote:

Frustrated Mess wrote:

I read the article. Her logic is shocking. This is very disappointing. If I never purcahse another of her book's is that a cultural or commercial boycott?

Actually, it's the logic of the anti-Israel crowd which is "shocking." Since when is accepting an award for literature an endorsement of every single policy of the country in which the award is based? When she wins the Booker Prize, is accepting it an endorsement of whichever government happens to be in power in Britain at the tme? If she were to win the Giller Prize, would accepting that be an endorsement of each specific policy of the Harper government?

Very few would stand tall and proud and say I am recipient of a Nazi Germany prize, even for making the largest bubble with  chewing gum. Besides, I doubt you would have taken this stand when your fellow Star-Spramgled in the south boycotted the 1980 Moscow games.

Star Spangled C...

This isn't a prize of the Israeli government. It's a literary award given by a businessman who happens to be an Israeli citizen (as far as I know, he's a citizen anyway. He apparently now lives in Italy). If a German philanthropist wants to give me a prize, I'll certainly accept it.

Cueball Cueball's picture

Germany is not presently persecuting people for their racial or ethnic background, as a matter of state policy.

You going to retract your defamatory comments about Palestinians or not?

This is the second set of completey innaccurate and defamatory statments made by you on this web site this week. Neither of which you have retracted. I guess they don't teach integrity in medical school these days.

Star Spangled C...

Cueball wrote:

Germany is not presently persecuting people for their racial or ethnic background, as a matter of state policy.

Neither is Dan David. THe guy made a bunch of money making photo-booths, moved to Italy and set up a foundation that gives out grants and awards to writers like Margaret Atwood. How does accepting it constitute acceptance of "blood money" or contribute to "persecuting people for their racial or ethnic background"? "State policy" is irrelevant. This guy is not the state.

If someone accepts a Canadian award like the Giller Prize, that's not an endorsement of Stephen Harper. It's not even accepting government money as far as I know. I think the sonsor is Scotia Bank.

Frustrated Mess Frustrated Mess's picture

Star Spangled Canadian wrote:

This isn't a prize of the Israeli government. It's a literary award given by a businessman who happens to be an Israeli citizen (as far as I know, he's a citizen anyway. He apparently now lives in Italy). If a German philanthropist wants to give me a prize, I'll certainly accept it.

Again you did not read the artilce. He is not just a businessman he is a Zionist and who sits on the board of university that is a research component of the military infrastructure employed in the cultural genocide of Palestinians. I suppose you would accept a literary prize named to commemorate German businessman, Fritz Thyssen. I am relatively certain Atwood wouldn't.

But even if we are to accept that it is not a state sponsored award, there is no reason for Atwood to go to Israel to accept the award, is there?

remind remind's picture

Well now, Ms Atwood, guess a million dollars buys a soul these days.

 

 

Star Spangled C...

Frustrated Mess wrote:

Again you did not read the artilce. He is not just a businessman he is a Zionist and who sits on the board of university that is a research component of the military infrastructure employed in the cultural genocide of Palestinians.

Oh no! A ZIONIST businessman?? Then it's certainly horrible to accept an award from someone who supports ZIONISM!!

By the way, do you think Jack Rabinovtich, the founder of the Giller Prize would describe himself as a Zionist? I'd be willing to bet money that he would. So should Atwood never accept the Giller Prize? Or is it just Israeli "zionists" who arepersonae non grata? Heather Reisman who owns Indigo, probably Canada's largest book retailer, is also a zionist. SHould Atwood insist that her books not be sold there?

As for teh non sequitar about his affiliation with Tel Aviv University...yes, they receive military contracts. So does Harvard, where she accepted an honourary degree several years ago. Should she have turned that down? Do you think no Canadian schools get military contracts? Getting back to Tel Aviv University, they do a lot of great work. I happen to know that researchers from there just madea major breakthrough in terms of treatment for diabetes. Please clarify: if a diabetic were to avail themselves of the treatment developed by "zionists" at a school which is involved in "cultural genocide", would that be acceptable to you?

NDPP

Atom Egoyan, who also refused to sign the TIFF anti-Zionist film- makers' declaration, won in 2008, and Tony Blair in 2009. The point is Atwood was directly asked to support the Palestinians' call to boycott and has refused. People should draw their own conclusions and respond to her violation of the boycott as they will. If you disagree, why not tell her so?

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Star Spangled Canadian wrote:
The people who call themselves "Palestinians" today certainly considered the people living in what they think of as "Palestine" during the 30s and 40s to have been "Palestinian" back then.

SSC, I don't know what you mean to imply by the scare quotes, here, but just a reminder that Palestine's right to self-determination is not up for debate on babble. Your subsequent attempts to smear Palestinians as Nazi sympathizers is also borderline. You don't have to agree with the BDS campaign, but you need to respect babble policy which takes a pro-human rights tack. If you can't do that, I'll ask you to stay out of this thread.

Frustrated Mess Frustrated Mess's picture

Star Spangled Canadian wrote:

Frustrated Mess wrote:

Again you did not read the artilce. He is not just a businessman he is a Zionist and who sits on the board of university that is a research component of the military infrastructure employed in the cultural genocide of Palestinians.

Oh no! A ZIONIST businessman?? Then it's certainly horrible to accept an award from someone who supports ZIONISM!!

By the way, do you think Jack Rabinovtich, the founder of the Giller Prize would describe himself as a Zionist? I'd be willing to bet money that he would. So should Atwood never accept the Giller Prize? Or is it just Israeli "zionists" who arepersonae non grata? Heather Reisman who owns Indigo, probably Canada's largest book retailer, is also a zionist. SHould Atwood insist that her books not be sold there?

As for teh non sequitar about his affiliation with Tel Aviv University...yes, they receive military contracts. So does Harvard, where she accepted an honourary degree several years ago. Should she have turned that down? Do you think no Canadian schools get military contracts? Getting back to Tel Aviv University, they do a lot of great work. I happen to know that researchers from there just madea major breakthrough in terms of treatment for diabetes. Please clarify: if a diabetic were to avail themselves of the treatment developed by "zionists" at a school which is involved in "cultural genocide", would that be acceptable to you?

I wouldn't accept a prize from a Zionist any more than a neo-Nazi, a Klansmen, or a skinhead, and niether should Atwood nor anyother person of conscience. Zionism, like the others, is an ideology of racial supremacy, exclusion, and, ultimately, by extension of the other two, hate. Which is why I keep asking why this one flavour of racial supremacy and exclusion is tolerated on this board.

ETA: I do not shop at Chapters/Indigo and i would encourage others to purchase from independent booksellers or on-line.

remind remind's picture

She is just a typical hyprocrit that pretends she isn't.

 

Frankly she, lost my respect and I threw out all her books when she advocated "strategic voting".

 

This latest has only affirmed that she deserves no respect, and a boycott.

NDPP

The Dan David Prize Speech, And the Context - by Amitav Ghosh and Margaret Atwood

http://marg09.wordpress.com/2010/05/09/the-dan-david-prize-speech-and-th...

"All who truly want a chance for Palestinian people to be able to live a decent life, to be compensated for what they have wrongfully lost and for the destruction of their infrastructures - and all those who hope Israelis will be able to live without rocket fire, bombings and worse - can only wish these [US Proximity] talks well, trust that those engaging in them are doing so seriously, and in good faith, and hope that a fair and secure two-state solution will finally result....

In other words the all-or-nothings want to bully us into being their wholly owned puppets. The result of such a decision on our part would be - among other things - to turn us into sticks with which to beat other artists into submission, and that we refuse to do.."

skdadl

Frustrated Mess wrote:

 From her logic, not only would she, she must. Likewise, she must accept a Mullah Omar Award from Afghanistan, and the General Tzbo Literary Award from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. And perhaps even the Good Writin' Award from the Grand Dragon of the Ku Klux Klan.

 

These are the sentences that helped me most to figure out my own thoughts on this subject.

 

Atwood is in an odd situation as an officer of PEN International, rather as representatives of Amnesty International or the CCLA or ACLU or ICRC often are. There are political positions she cannot take because of the absolute commitment to the human dignity of any and every human being, above and beyond any political or other category. And of course that commitment is a profound commitment of literature.

 

I think that must be the logic she's running on, and that previous admirable winners have run on. But I agree with FM that accepting or declining an award to oneself is not the same thing as advocating for a boycott. That she is prevented from advocating for a boycott does not mean she is forced to accept an award to herself if it bothers her conscience.

 

I'm probably putting that badly, but I see her difficulty, although I wish she could have seen her way out of it.

Frustrated Mess Frustrated Mess's picture

Quote:

Both of us are PEN members. Margaret was a co-founder of PEN Canada, and is now an International Vice President. To do as our correspondents demand would be to destroy our part in the work we have been doing with PEN for decades – work that involves thousands of writers around the world– jailed, exiled, censored, and murdered. Writers have no armies. They have no militant wings. The list of persecuted writers is long, ancient, and international. We feel we must defend the diminishing open space in which dialogue, exchange, and relatively free expression are still possible ...

... an open space to which Palestinians are neither welcome nor permitted. Israel affords them no right except to disappear into the pages of history. Not fiction.

skdadl

Thanks for the link, NDPP. You have quoted the one paragraph that makes me cringe too. That's not how most of that shared speech sounds -- I found it fascinating to read, and I hope that others will take the trouble to read the whole thing.

Frustrated Mess Frustrated Mess's picture

Quote:
As you have so powerfully written, “A voice is a human gift; it should be cherished and used, to utter fully human speech as possible. Powerlessness and silence go together,” so today we are appealing for you to use your voice to support the Palestinian people who are often voiceless.

 

http://artthreat.net/2010/05/margaret-atwood-palestine/

NDPP

Unlike Egoyan, Atwood, Leonard Cohen - many more have heeded the boycott call of the beleagured Palestinians

Artists Thank Gil Scott Heron for Heeding Boycott Call

http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article11253.shtml

"Palestinian civil society has called for grassroots pressure on Israel to end its oppressive behaviour through a campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS), including cultural events. 'To salvage its deteriorating image abroad Israel has launched a rebranding campaign which uses arts and culture to whitewash its violations of international law and Palestinian human rights.

Gil Heron is the latest in a list of notable artists, including Sting, Bono, Snoop Dogg and Carlos Santana who have recently declined to play Israel.  Distinguished artists, writers and peace activists--among them Ken Loach, Naomi Klein, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Alice Walker have declared support for the BDS movement.."

 

al-Qa'bong

Quote:

Heather Reisman who owns Indigo, probably Canada's largest book retailer, is also a zionist. SHould Atwood insist that her books not be sold there?

 

Yes.

 

As for that slur against Palestinians because one guy supposedly "cheered on" Hitler, there's a thread on babble that everyone should take a look at.

 

Arab anti-fascism in World War II

 

Quote:

 

Such allegations are a foul misrepresentation of the historical record and serve to dishonor the memory of all of the courageous Muslims who selflessly fought and died in defense of the European democracies, even though many of their own lands were still suffering under the yoke of European colonization.

"At the heart of these baseless and base allegations is the fact that the Palestinian Mufti of Jerusalem, Al-Hajj Amin al-Husayni, had close ties to the German leader Adolf Hitler, and even spent part of the war in Berlin."

"While this much is true, al-Husayni's sentiments were not those of the overwhelming majority of the Palestinians, to say nothing of the rest of the world's Muslims. To use al-Husayni's ties to Hitler as a means to defame and discredit Islam and Muslims as fascists is misleading and has to be challenged."

"In fact, there were several Palestinian brigades and tens of thousands of Palestinians in the British Army who actively fought the spread of fascism."

"The existence of these Palestinian brigades was more indicative of the mood of the Arab and Muslim masses than al-Husayni's misguided actions."

"Therefore, when al-Husayni issued his call for a Muslim jihad against the allied forces his plea was largely ignored. The fascist jihad never materialized. The reason for that is simple. It had no significant support from the masses of Muslims..."

Machjo

NoDifferencePartyPooper wrote:

Defying Appeal from Gaza, Atwood Set to Accept Israeli Prize

http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article11255.shtml

"On Sunday Booker Prize-winning author Margaret Atwood will accept the Dan David Prize at Tel Aviv University and her portion of the $1 Million payout that goes with it. Atwood will be accepting her prize despite a world wide call--initiated by the Palestinian Students Campaign for a Cultural and Academic Boycott of Israel..."

 

 

Isn't there a distinction between opposing a government's policies and opposing its people?

 

For example if a Canadian student went to study at a US university, would we immediately conclude that he must be pro Iraq War? If a Canadian went to China to accept a prize for some cultural accomplishment, would we immediate assume he supports the Chinese regime? It would seem to me that the two are distinct issues, and there is no evidence that Atwood was politically otivated by this.

Cueball Cueball's picture

Yes, but Atwood is totally aware that there is an international 'cultural" boycott in place protesting the abuse of Israel against Palestinians, and as such, her acceptance is a direct challenge to that and what it stands for. Atwood is an intelligent person, and indeed once supported just such a boycott of Apartheid South Africa, as such we can assume that she does not agree with the boycott against Israel.

Machjo

Cueball wrote:

Yes, but Atwood is totally aware that there is an international 'cultural" boycott in place protesting the abuse of Israel against Palestinians, and as such, her acceptance is a direct challenge to that and what it stands for. Atwood is an intelligent person, and indeed once supported just such a boycott of Apartheid South Africa, as such we can assume that she does not agree with the boycott against Israel.

 

She may have changed her views of cultural boycotts. As she mentions with regards to the PEN club, she can no longer participate in cultural boycotts as that is an affront to a people and their culture, which is quite different from a political boycott. For instance, I could see the same Atwood voting for a candidate in an election who intends to take a tough stance on Israel at the UN, while still not cutting off her personal friendships and relationships with individual Israelis. One lies in the political realm, the other in the inter-personal realm. Clearly a cultural boycott lies in the inter-personal realm beyond the reach of politics.

Cueball Cueball's picture

I think that FM's case, is good enough for me:

Frustrated Mess wrote:

Would she accept a Khomeini Literature Award from the Islamic State of Iran? From her logic, not only would she, she must. Likewise, she must accept a Mullah Omar Award from Afghanistan, and the General Tzbo Literary Award from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. And perhaps even the Good Writin' Award from the Grand Dragon of the Ku Klux Klan.

One has to assume that she does not feel that Israeli abuse qualifies. During the anti-apartheid campaign, boycott's extended to all sectors of society, including private business's and individuals, not just government agencies.

N.Beltov N.Beltov's picture

Quote:
Cultural boycotts equal censorship, Atwood said. In addition, the Dan David Prize is a cultural event, funded by an individual, she said. "To boycott a discussion of literature such as the one proposed would be to take the view that literature is always and only some kind of tool of the nation that produces it -- a view I strongly reject."

Atwood also said via email that she is the international vice president of the literary organization PEN, which advocates for writers who are persecuted or imprisoned because of their work. As such, she is not allowed to participate in cultural boycotts, she said.

 

From the first paragraph we see that Atwood rejects what might be called a utilitarian view of literature. Problem is, she's replaced it with a view in which a specific cultural phenomenon is more important than the culture as a whole. The part is greater than the whole, says Atwood. 

I call bullshit.

The second paragraph, in my view,  points out the weakness of PEN. But it's also a way to avoid dealing with the very persuasive arguments in favour of the BDS campaign."It's not my department", "I'm not allowed to ....". These are the arguments of a bureaucrat, not an artist.

It may be classy but it's still subterfuge. Atwood would get eviscerated if she had to face a articulate spokesperson for the BDS campaign. Therefore, she will avoid such situations. Which means, she'll either get WORSE in her support of the Israeli apartheid regime, or she'll change her views and move away from the dark side.

May you live in interesting times, Ms. Atwood.

 

Machjo

Cueball wrote:

I think that FM's case, is good enough for me:

Frustrated Mess wrote:

Would she accept a Khomeini Literature Award from the Islamic State of Iran? From her logic, not only would she, she must. Likewise, she must accept a Mullah Omar Award from Afghanistan, and the General Tzbo Literary Award from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. And perhaps even the Good Writin' Award from the Grand Dragon of the Ku Klux Klan.

One has to assume that she does not feel that Israeli abuse qualifies. During the anti-apartheid campaign, boycott's extended to all sectors of society, including private business's and individuals, not just government agencies.

 

Have you ever lived abroad?

 

I have. I've lived not only in many parts of Canada, but the PRC too for some time. And I can tell you that regardless of my political views regarding China, I would never boycott the friendships I'd made with many good Chinese. If the Chinese government offered me an award for this or that, if it was a cultural and not political award, I'd accept it. To not accept it would be a slap in the face not just of the Chinese government, but of the Chinese people.

 

You need to live among another peopel to understand the inter-personal aspet of this.

Now, joining the Chinese Communist Party might be a whole other ballgame, as would accepting a political or partisan position in the Chinese government.

 

Short of that though, I'd never dream of insulting the Chinese people for what their government may have done.

 

I do not see why the same does not apply for any country.

Cueball Cueball's picture

And as I pointed out there is an international boycott of Israel. It specifically includes cultural enterprises, universities and so on and so forth. It is modelled on the boycott of South Africa. Obviously, Atwood does not support it. End of story.

Machjo

Cueball wrote:

And as I pointed out there is an international boycott of Israel. Obviously, Atwood does not support it. End of story.

 

There's an international boycott of China too, yet if the opportunity arose to go and visit my friends again in a few years time, I won't boycott them to spite their government. I couldn't care less about any anti-Chinese boycott unless it's on the part of the UN. Keep politics out of personal lives and do not politicize culture.

In this case I draw a direct parallel from my own personal experiences abroad with what Atwood is doing. She's essentially saying she will not insult a people and culture to spite a government. Never the twain should meet.

Machjo

Let's reverse the position for a moment. Let's take the treatment of FN as an example. Should the UN place sanctions against Canada?I suppose it could, as long as it doesn't affect interpersonal relationships between Canadians and others abroad and as long as it doesn't insult Canada. For example, it might involve sanctions excepting travel and tourism so as to not prevent friends from visiting each other, or to study in Canada to learn about our culture, and I suppose that could include accepting prises. That one might be more debatable I suppose. But definitely at the very least travel and tourism and cultural industries ought to always be exempted and never politicized.

N.Beltov N.Beltov's picture

There are more holes in Machjo's argument than in a piece of Swiss cheese. lol. 

 

Machjo

N.Beltov wrote:

There are more holes in Machjo's argument than in a piece of Swiss cheese. lol. 

 

 

I dislike Swiss cheese, but can you explain?

N.Beltov N.Beltov's picture

Yea, let's make this an abstract argument about "principles" and get as far away from the concrete reality of the BDS Campaign, Israeli atrocities, and consequences of those atrocities on Palestinians. And let's further talk about non-existent boycotts of China. lol.

Swiss cheese. Sorry. This mouse isn't biting. lol.

Machjo

OK, so let's take a boycott of Canada as an example. What would you consider to be acceptable and what not? Let's say I as an individual decided to present a prize for literature and it had nothing to do with the Canadian government, so that prize ought to be boycotted?

If that's the case, seeing how we treat FN in Canada, do you think the same way of Canadians who accept Canadian prizes?

Machjo

So do we boycott Canada too for its treatment of FN? And what about the US?

 

Why only Israel?

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