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The Keys To Boycotting a Boycott:  Alicia Keys played Tel Aviv on the 4th of July
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The Keys To Boycotting a Boycott: Alicia Keys played Tel Aviv on the 4th of July

By Nathan Guttman

Published October 22, 2013, issue of October 25, 2013.
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The latest show business clash over Israel involved Grammy award winner Keys, who performed in Tel Aviv on July 4 despite a massive mobilization of critics that organized a petition signed by 16,000 people, calling on Keys not to “play apartheid Israel.” The protest was joined by Pink Floyd musician Waters and by author Alice Walker, who wrote a series of personal open letters to Keys appealing to her to boycott Israel.

In response, the music industry executives on CCFP’s advisory board contested Walker’s comparison of Israel to apartheid-era South Africa. The group also organized a counter petition in which more than 18,000 signatories called on all artists to proceed with their plans to perform in Israel and to allow “the power of your music to help bring hope and peace to the region.”

At the end of the day, it was the pro-Israel activists who won this battle when Keys went ahead with her July 4 performance.

Renzer, former head of Universal Music Publishing Group; Steve Schnur, a top executive at the leading video game producer EA, and Ran Geffen-Lifshitz, an Israel-based music producer, are the founders of CCFP.

The group’s website offers a view of Israel aimed at pop artists and their followers, showcasing Israel’s cultural diversity and technology. But it touches only briefly on issues relating to Israel’s conflict with the Palestinians, the topic at the core of the boycott campaign.

The website describes CCFP as a group composed of members with diverse political views about how Israel can attain peace. But it also takes positions that appear to be held by only a narrow spectrum among Jews who support Israel. Among other things, it argues against the notion that settlements are an obstacle to peace with the Palestinians though Secretary of State John Kerry recently stated that “the United States of America views all the settlements as illegitimate.” A recent survey of American Jews by the Pew Research Center found only 17% of American Jews believe that settlements help Israel’s security.

As does StandWithUs, CCFP also disputes the use of the term “occupation” — a description that even right-wing Israeli leaders such as Ariel Sharon have acknowledged as accurate — to describe Israel’s hold over the West Bank.

The website also strongly challenges the pro-boycott activists’ claims of Israeli apartheid practices as a “false description.”


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