Sunday, 18 April 2010

Gil Scott-Heron: poet, campaigner and America's rough healer

Four different comments by three contributors were deleted from the discussion on this article

They have now deleted a further comment from Ilan making five

·         ilan

18 Apr 2010, 3:06AM

·         Of course Gil taking drugs does not detract from his writing about the harm that drugs can do but his playing in Israel does suggest that his anti-apartheid days are well and truly over. Jamie Byng makes no mention of this. He does indeed have a lot in common with the formerly great man. Gil Scott Heron doesn't list his gig in Tel Aviv on his website either.
The Israeli media isn't so bashful. Au contraire

·         diana1711

18 Apr 2010, 5:52AM

·         Oosdadaddy says that Gil Scott Heron will be playing for anti-Zionist Israelis. .
I am afraid that there are almost no Israelis who are anti-Zionist. In fact the majority of Jewish Israelis expect to maintain their privileged position vis a vis the Palestinians. They benefit economically from the occupation and show no interest in challenging Israel's apartheid state. They serve with pride in their army of occupation and defend the country when abroad. They would still go to see Gil Scott Heron and enjoy his performance as they have a disjunction between their treatment of the Palestinians and other racisms. They genuinely believe that they have impunity. They are encouraged to see themselves as victims and think that those they persecute are a threat to their security. Impartial observers would believe that this is the opposite of the truth..
There are concerned Israelis in despair about the nature of their extremist apartheid society and they join with the rest of the world in asking that we show their compatriots that there is a price to pay for benefiting from the subjugation of another people. When someone with the anti-racist credentials of Gil Scott Heron decides to play in Tel Aviv he undermines all the hard work that the Palestinians and their Israeli comrades are doing to challenge Israeli apartheid. If he continues to play and take the Israeli shekel, he will undermine his anti-racist credentials.

·         ilan

17 Apr 2010, 5:12PM

oosdaddy - there were many South African whites who opposed apartheid but Gil Scott Heron boycotted South Africa and called on others to do the same. Israel is worse than an apartheid state. It is a state predicated on colonial settlement, ethnic cleansing and racist laws to copper-fasten the colonial settlement and ethnic cleansing of the past and to facilitate more of the same for the future.
If you are so sure that Gil Scott Heron is going to play for anti-zionist Israelis then why has he not announced his up-coming gig in Israel on his website? I am guessing that his time with drugs and in prison has left him a little skint and that is why he feels that an offer from Israel is one he can't refuse.
Well he should refuse if he wants to be true to his anti-colonialist past and lyrics. The idea of him singing What's the word? Johannesburg in the last of the colonial settler states would be ridiculous.
Israel has been militarily unassailable for decades now (in fact pretty much since its inception) and yet its violence against natives and neighbours of Palestine has been relentless and it is intensifying. The attack on Gaza 2008/9 that the Israeli government named after a festive family game, Cast Lead, was a case in point. The war was no different from the war on Lebanon in 2006 and yet Israel was reckoned to have lost the Lebanon one whilst it is said to have won in Gaza. The reason for that is that the government didn't set any war aims in Gaza, it simply set out to kill lots of Arabs, which of course it did. In Lebanon the aim was the same but the government claimed that it was going to defeat Hizbullah, which it didn't do.
Through being treated as normal, indeed better than normal by its allies in the US and EU, Israel has now incorporated increasing violence into its guiding zionist ideology. In common with many states, the zionists used violence to secure their state. Now they secure the state to inflict the violence. The end has become the means and vice versa. And America gives Israel aid and the EU gives it preferential trade.
By playing in Israel, Gil Scott Heron will be conveying the impression that Israel is nothing like the South Africa he refused to play in. If he goes ahead with this we could see the curious spectacle of many people in the new South Africa boycotting him.
You claim you are no friend of Israel but anyone who treats this racist entity as a normal state is a friend of Israel. If Gil Scott Heron plays there, he is being a friend of Israel. That is why clear thinking anti-racists who have enjoyed Gil Scott Heron's work and his message over the years are calling on him to cancel this gig. The zios who have hired him will probably sue him but then he could do fund-raisers for himself and get a hero's welcome worldwide for re-joining the anti-racist camp.
Anyway, please check out the link and ask yourself why the Israel performance in May 2010 is missing from a list that runs from April to September 2010. He is showing one shred of decency; he is ashamed, as well he might be.




Now you're being ridiculous and projecting your own presumptuousness onto others. You know nothing of anti-zionists and Palestine solidarity activists, save what they say about themselves.

When someone does something that is in breach of their previously professed principles then there has to be a reason. If the reason isn't given nor the breach even publicised or announced by that person then it is fair for supporters of that person's previously professed position to draw logical inferences.

Gil Scott Heron is very politically articulate and knowledgeable . He presumably knows that Israel practices segregation both within its pre-1967 boundary and more intensely in the territories it occupied in 1967. He presumably knows that zionists were ethnically cleansing Arabs from the time of their arrival in Palestine but that there were two great rounds of ethnic cleansing in 1947-49 from what became Israel and 1967/8 from the West Bank. He presumably knows that Israel has been relentlessly aggressive to the natives and neighbours of Palestine since then and that it is getting more racist and more violent the stronger it becomes and the more the west looks the other way and pretends that Israel is normal.

As an American he must know of the various propaganda ploys of the zionists including the co-option of anti-apartheid and anti-segregation campaigners to absolve themselves of state backed racist rule.

He must therefore know that his decision to perform in Tel Aviv would dismay those fans who like him as much for his music as for his politics. He should therefore know that his action is in need of an explanation or people will assume not that such a bright spark is ignorant that he has gone to lecture racists in Tel Aviv but that he has taken the shilling.

All fair assumptions.

The idea that those of us who are opposed to zionism are interested in boosting our egos is preposterous. If that was it, why don't we support a position that doesn't get routinely deleted from the comments here? Why don't we support a position that would get us into the mainstream media rather than mostly excluded from it?

You have no backing for your ludicrous presumption. His motive for playing Tel Aviv is neither here nor there but our position on why Gil Scott Heron is playing in Tel Aviv is perfectly sound given that he has not publicised the event on his website. If he had that much to say to expose the racist war criminals of the State of Israel then he could use his site first. That he has failed to do so suggests that he is ashamed of what he is doing and anyway, given the use to which the zionists will inevitably put the support the State of Israel is getting from him, anything he says against Israel will be negated by the fact that he is there.

Whether or not Mandela rejected violence is completely irrelevant to a non-violent strategy of boycotting. And the reference to Gandhi is equally irrelevant for the same reason. Boycotting Israel is not an act or violence, it is an act of non-violence.

I was going to ignore the silliest of your suggestions but since space allows for it, no one has said that Gil Scott Heron has become a racist. By playing Israel he is giving respectability to a racist state. His motive doesn't matter. His action does. It's not too late for him to pull out and, rather than making excuses for him or casting aspersions on the motives of his critics, anti-racists should be trying to persuade him not to go.

I am guessing that many zionists will be anonymously or pseudonymously making comments making out that as anti-zionists they feel a boycott is inappropriate. Just as Gil Scott Heron must be wise to Israel, I'm sure he will be wise to the false flag antics of its supporters on line. They won't bring him comfort. Hopefully they will make him realise how low he has sunk in performing for such a dishonest bunch.

 This item was posted and removed several times. An edited and reduced version was eventually allowed but this version wasn't.


17 Apr 2010, 5:48PM


Indeed there are "Israelis Who are vehemently against Zionism and the oppression and persecution of the Palestinians" - I am one of them.

We do this by, among other actions, supporting the Palestinians' "CALL FOR ACADEMIC AND CULTURAL BOYCOTT OF ISRAEL".

See the call by PACBI (Palestinian Campaign for the Academic & Cultural Boycott of Israel) at: <

Unfortunately, there are NOT "a lot of Israelis Who are vehemently against Zionism and the oppression and persecution of the Palestinians". So far we are very few, though we have campaigners for justice who are doing fantastic work against "the oppression and persecution of the Palestinians".

The problem is that many Israelis like the world to perceive Israel in better light than it deserves. They thrive to obtain international recognition that Israel is a nice place (democracy, gay friendly, etc) and the only problem is the "ardent rightwingers", etc. This is how the apologists promote Israel and this is the whitewash veneer we are trying to remove by the academic and cultural campaign.

My guess is that the majority of the Israelis, who would be entertained by Gil Scott-Heron at the Tel Aviv gig, would be those protecting their privileges and refusing to share their future with Palestinians and accept their Right of Return. Yet they wish to portray themselves as conscientious to human sufferings, except of course to their own victims, the Palestinians.

One can observe this contradiction in the efforts made to demonstrate Israel's dedication to save lives in ... Haiti, while it daily prevents food, medicine and humanitarian workers from entering Gaza. It team was seen rescuing people in Haiti from the rubbles, but they could have saved many more human lives had they stopped Israel's wanton killings and mass destruction in Gaza.

The Israeli war crimes are NOT exclusively committed by the "ardent rightwingers". In fact, it isn't that long ago that the latter were a very small minority in the military leadership.

Thursday, 1 April 2010

I mourn The Bill's passing

Ian Blair wrote a sentimental piece about teh axing of The Bill. Comments that taleked about police corruption of the shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes were moderated including:

28 March 2010 11:32AM
LOL Nice one. Are you angling for a badge of honour too? I acquired mine earlier, along with a few other notable and noble entries.

As for police TV series I prefer the German Cobra and the Spanish Los Hombres de Paco
BTW Despite having 40 years of mediaevalism, brutality, torture, state murder and out od control authoritarianism, Spain will send bent officials to jail if need be.

When is the UK going to catch up.

[I am not clear if the moderators found attacks of the Fascist Franco or on bent cops most offensive]

They even removed metacomments such as "so far 38 out of 87 comments are showing as removed" - its the moderators equivalent of a super-injunction. Not only is there censorship, they censor mention of the censorship.

You can see before and after screen shots at