(Most of this post originally appeared as a comment at PP’s blog, but I liked it too much to just let it linger in comments limbo, so I’ve stretched it out as a post in its own right. I am not treating the subject very seriously at all, instead taking it off on a surreal tangent. If you want to see an intelligent response to the issue, read the whole of PP’s piece.)
John Berger (a writer of some repute, apparently – at least, that’s what it says on his profile), has written an article on Comment Is Free, calling for a global cultural boycott of the Israeli state due to the ‘illegal occupation of the Palestine territories of the West Bank and Gaza’. So far, so Comment Is Free. It’s the sort of thing you’d be surprised not to see written on the site.
Anyway, he rambles on and on about who should be joining the boycott, and why, and how. But the most bizarre passage has to be this:
How to apply a boycott? For academics it’s perhaps a little clearer – a question of declining invitations from state institutions and explaining why. For invited actors, musicians, jugglers or poets it can be more complicated. I’m convinced, in any case, that its application should not be systematised; it has to come from a personal choice based on a personal assessment.
Yeah, sounds great John. But, err, sorry, can we back up there for just a minute? Jugglers???? Is there a cultural exchange programme for jugglers going on that I wasn’t aware of? I’m trying to understand why there would be much demand for jugglers being invited to Israel at all. But the idea of jugglers being invited, but declining for political reasons has flipped my Surreal-O-Meter into hyper mode. I can just picture it…
We proudly present JAZ: Jugglers Against Zionism. A two hour juggling extravaganza highlighting the plight of the Palestinians crushed under the military and ideological weight of Israeli occupation. From the people that brought you Sword Swallowers Against Israeli Aggression and the award winning Fire Breathers For Palestinian Freedom.
“Unquestionably the finest political juggling act I have ever seen.” – John Pilger
“The way these jugglers captured the plight of the Palestinian people by throwing three squishy balls up in the air brought a tear to my eye.” – Robert Fisk
“Bush and Blair should be forced to watch this brave juggling performance. At gun point.” – George Galloway
COMING IN 2007: Midget Pyramids on Motorcycles will push Israel back to its pre-1967 borders. Book your tickets now!