Macy Gray Ignores Calls to Boycott Israel

macy gray.jpg
Marc Pagani
For soul singer Macy Gray, it started out as a simple Facebook status update inviting discussion concerning upcoming concerts. "I'm booked for 2 shows in Tel Aviv. I'm getting alot of letters from activists urging/begging me to boycott by NOT performing in protest of Apartheid against the Palestinians," she wrote on Monday. "What the Israeli government is doing to the Palestinians is disgusting, but I wana go. I gotta lotta fans there I dont want to cancel on and I dont know how my NOT going changes anything. What do you think? Stay or go?"

The question exploded with more than 7,000 replies before Friday morning. The singer's wall instantly transformed into a heated forum with people on both sides of the contentious issue posting in favor of the scheduled February shows to go on while others hoped to sway Gray toward a cancellation.

In her original status update, the singer seemed caught between her sympathies for Palestinians and her desire to perform for her fans in Israel. She didn't seem to agree on the notion of a boycott or its efficacy, but she genuinely wanted to listen to all viewpoints. By Wednesday, Gray had made up her mind, one way or another, and informed all via Twitter that the Tel Aviv shows would indeed go on writing, "Dear Israel fans. Me and the band will be there in 20 days. Can't wait. See you then. Peace." Peace...if only.

After the decision, the U.S. Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (USACBI) issued an appeal to Gray on Thursday stating, "To go to Tel Aviv is to actively lend your support to Israel's discriminatory and illegal occupation of Palestine, which has been recognized as a form of apartheid by statesmen like Jimmy Carter and Bishop Desmond Tutu, by numerous human rights groups including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, and by millions of ordinary citizens worldwide." The organization, in its open letter to the singer, went on to cite the historical example of Artists United Against Apartheid, when in 1985, a diverse group of musicians including Miles Davis, Bob Dylan and Herbie Hancock vowed never to play Sun City, South Africa in protest. USACBI then provocatively asked Gray if she would have defied them back then if given the chance and performed just the same.

The soul singer is not the first to have faced the boycott question in regards to Israel. The Pixies, Carlos Santana and Elvis Costello all canceled scheduled performances there after facing pressure from activists to do so. On the other side, Paul McCartney and Elton John refused such petitions and played in spite of them. While Gray was putting the question to her fans, British band The Fall faced a similar campaign in the lead up to their show yesterday at the Barbi in Tel Aviv.

Following her tweet around noontime on Wednesday, the heated debate flowed from Macy Gray's Facebook to her Twitter page. It was there that she noted her feelings that some of the "so-called" boycott advocates were "assholes" before reiterating that she didn't support oppression. The day took a toll on the singer as she tweeted that her brain was overbooked by the floodgates that had been opened on the controversial issue. By the evening time, she was busy tackling a new subject: the premiere of the new season of American Idol.
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1 comments
eileen fleming
eileen fleming

The Palestinian aspiration for a viable independent state is also negated by the Wall, for it isolates villages from their mother cities and divides the West Bank into disconnected cantons: which in Afrikaner is spelled Bantustans and universally understood as ghettos!

"Financed with U.S. aid at a cost of $1.5 million per mile, the Israeli wall prevents residents from receiving health care and emergency medical services. In other areas, the barrier separates farmers from their olive groves which have been their families' sole livelihood for generations."

In 1985 Bono joined forces with a group of artists concerned about Apartheid in South Africa. Inspired by his meetings with several of them, he wrote "Silver and Gold."

Yep, silver and gold.This song was written in a hotel room in New York City.'Round about the time a friend or ours, little Steven,was putting together a record of artists against apartheid.This is a song written about a man in a shanty town outside of Johannesburg.A man who's sick of looking down the barrel of white South Africa.A man who is at the point where he is ready to take up arms against his oppressor.A man who has lost faith in the peacemakers of the west whilethey argue and while they fail to support a man like bishop Tutuand his request for economic sanctions against South Africa.Am I buggin' you?

I hope to ‘bug you’ Macy@http://wearewideawake.org/inde...

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