A couple of months ago, we learned about a wooly little Norwegian singer, who decided against accepting an invitation to play in Israel, citing alleged illegal construction on the West bank, and principally, that he really, really disliked the feeling of being used in a political game. Well, that same wooly Moddi has accepted an invitation to provide musical entertainment and talk about his experiences from his visit to Palestine earlier this year (perhaps he will inform the congregants about the depressing state of affairs for Palestinian Christians in the West Bank and Gaza, or the steady deterioration for Palestinian journalists in the same areas?). The PalCom in Norway is preparing an Israel hate fest where Moddi is going to be the guest of honor, accompanied by among others Erik Hillestad (Kirkelig kultur verksted, a Christian recording company) and the YMCA/YWCA (why am I not surprised to see them there). Top of agenda: More BDS. So much for spineless little mice.
Much more impressive is the courageous stance adopted by one of the former leading proponents of BDS in Norway, Henrik Placht. After years of loudly promoting Israel boycott, he now says this is a very bad idea since it leads to no solution at all. Now thats a man for daring to reconsider and to stand up for revised opinions. I am sure it will come at a tremendous cost for Mr. Placht. All the more sincere my admiration for going public.
lifted from aftenposten.no, very bad google translate.
“Those who boycott dialogue”
Visual artist Henrik Placht has gone from being one of the most ardent advocates of the boycott of Israel to be its adversary.
Ida De Rosa
Two cats paw around on the concrete floor of Henrik Placht airy and cube -like studio at Holmlia in Oslo. Large, colorful and abstract paintings hanging on the walls. The building was designed by the Norwegian – Israeli architect Dan Zohar .
– These will be shown in Jerusalem this fall , says Placht , pointing to the pictures.
From 2003 to 2009 he built up the international art academy IAAPA in Ramallah in the West Bank . He fronted the boycott against Israel and took strong advocate for cutting cooperation with Israeli arts and cultural institutions and stopping guest lectures at Israeli universities.
In an article in Aftenposten fall 2009 Placht wrote that : “By boycotting the state-supported institutions / organizations will be placed more pressure on these communities in Israel to work actively to oppose the occupation. A good friend tells you when you do something wrong, a bad friend pretends nothing and let it continue . ”
Now it’s only three weeks since he came home from Tel Aviv after guest lectured to graduate students at the Israeli Bezalel Academy of Art .
– I went because I no longer believe in the boycott . By cutting the dialogue one does not but help the enemy images are maintained. Then you nowhere , says Placht .
Artists boycotting Israel
Friday Aftenposten wrote that religion professor at the University of Oslo, Torkel Brekke , met with strong reactions from other graduates when he invited three Israeli scientists Norway , with a view to establishing a partnership with the University of Tel Aviv.
Also, many artists , writers and actors believe Israeli universities and art institutions should be boycotted. The website ” Petition for academic and cultural boycott of Israel ” has collected more than a hundred signatures .
Placht think it’s absolutely the wrong way to go if you want to support the Palestinians.
– There are many more Israeli academics and artists who are critical of the occupation than we do here in Norway . It is them we thus boycotting . I also think it is important that all votes will appear. Then you have the opportunity to argue against it, says Placht .
He went to Israel after being contacted by an Israeli art student by e – mail.
Then he received a formal invitation to visit Israel from the Dean at Bezalel .
– They wanted to hear about the genesis of the Art Academy in Ramallah . Students were curious about the Palestinian art students , what they created , and wanted to meet them and welcomed me as a mentor for a bridge-building project . It got me thinking . I could not help but go.
– Before believed that it was unethical to guest lecture at an Israeli university because it was supporting the Israeli state. What has changed?
– I do not think you should say no because you want to be principled . That Palestinian and Israeli students meet each other is much more important than being rigid. Rhetoric to boycott founders are so fundamental that it destroys dialogue . It has no flexibility and therefore seems counterproductive .
– How can it be possible to show distance to Israeli policy and settlements ?
– One can boycott economically, for example. Many artists and academics have an image of Israel as a brutal occupier . I would travel down to try to look behind that and find the good forces to create a dialogue. And I found them , says Placht
What can I say? KUDOS!