“What inspires us is everything, especially the things that happen to us back home in Israel — I mean, not the political things,” Monotonix’s singer Ami Shalev said. “… It’s a different culture from here. … So, we got a different vibe, and we try to put it into our shows. That’s what inspires us the most in our shows. Not in the politics or in an angry way about things in Israel; we don’t deal with politics or anything like that. All it is is a vibe about a simple or common people in Israel.” Monotonix, featured in The Badger Herald, February 11, 2009RTRfm, my favourite radio station, has been featuring this band lately, Israeli duo Monotonix. Here is the Wikipedia report on them. It seems, they have got quite an Indy rep, and I don't know their politics.
I do know, however, that the Palestinian people have requested that BDS be adopted in the hopes that it can eventually end their suffering. The situation in Israel and Palestine is not equal. It is not the Israelis who are being contained behind a huge wall, denied return to their land, denied access to water, who have their lands forcibly settled, who are evicted from their houses and also have their houses demolished. All that one needs to do is to look at the deaths of Palestinians, especially children, compared to the death of Israelis across the years to see that something is seriously wrong. The Israeli human rights site, B'Tselem can easily give you these figures, as can Medicin sans frontieres, or Physicians for Human Rights.
BDS encourages Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions. It is non-violent in aim and method, and similar methods were very effective and influential in helping stop apartheid in South Africa. Nelson Mandela and Bishop Desmond Tutu have both said that the Palestinians suffer worse apartheid than they ever did. Jimmy Carter also calls the system apartheid. Malcom Fraser encourages dialogue with the democratically elected Hamas, in Gaza, as they have often asked, rather than the Israeli policy of no contact and military action.
Influential Jewish intellectuals such as Naomi Klein, Noam Chomsky, Norman Finkelstein and Antony Lowenstein are also shocked by the human rights situation in Palestine (inflicted by Israel) and writers/performers such as Alice Walker, Michael Palin and Haruki Murakami (in a Japanese only essay, I think) have all spoken out against the apartheid that exists there.
Our media in Australia does not cover the injustice that exists in the area. American media doesn't either, so it's not really surprising. Just recently, Stephen Smith, our foreign affairs minister, was saying he would not discuss further development on the use of forged Australian Passport in an Israeli assassination of a senior Hamas member (on foreign soil) as it would interfere with the process. It will get swept under the carpet.
So, the only way that things in that area can change without violence is by the people on the street through support of such movements such as BDS. For example, the Church of England no longer invests in Caterpillar as their bulldozers are used (and some say specifically designed) for demolishing Palestinian houses.
Chomsky has spoken out against BDS. Of course, there are many many many Israelis who are against the human rights abuses that go on in the Occupied Territories, such as ex Knesset member, Uri Avnery, B'Tselem, Active Stills (also on flickr), Israeli Committee Against Housing Demolitons and so on. It seems that BDS might also affect those who do not support the occupation as much as those who do. However, the Palestinian people have asked that this method be employed to bring attention to their plight and to hopefully alleviate it, and eventually solve it in a positive way.
Monotonix, according to Wikipedia, left Israel after being banned from venues for their stage show, but they have since returned to sellout shows. I opposed Leonard Cohen playing Israel, too (though, after his collapse, he may not have). It is not like they have made a stand against their state's policies. I know, however, that it is hard to make it in the arts, whatever they be, and it is hard to survive as a community radio station. I appreciate RTRfm for its very existence, and admire both it and Monotonix for striving to get their particular vision out to the world. I am not greatly political, and Monotonix speak for the common people of Israel, but the common people of Israel's way of life is based on the suppression of another people.
RTRfm is a great radio station. It has featured great articles in the past on the injustice in the Occupied Territories, especially on Morning Magazine, though it remained silent on that programme during the incursion into Gaza, or so it seemed (I can't listen to it all the time!). Indy Media, too, features the issue a lot. Morning Magazine has also featured the Israeli point of view; soon after, the Palestinian features seemed to dry up, but that just might be my view of it! I think my favourite Morning Magazine announcer left. To my point of view, though, injustice is injustice, and it doesn't take a degree in rocket science to figure out that basic human rights are seriously being flouted in Palestine, by the Israelis, and in Israel, against the Palestinians, as documented by the United Nations, Amnesty International and other human rights organisations. Though we are lead to believe otherwise, there is not evenhandedness of inflict and conflict in this situation. For example, I am flabbergasted that we supported the demolition of the Berlin Wall, yet are silent on the one snaking its way through the West Bank.
Therefore, why not write a letter to the station, just telling them that you support BDS. Considering the American government provides over 30 billion dollars in foreign aid to Israel, a lot of it in military aid, and that the country has a sophisticated nuclear programme, it is highly unlikely that the western governments will ever seriously address the imbalance that occurs there. You can read through my blog to see the current Australian government's attitude towards it all (and the previous, for that matter).
All we can do are the small things that we can do (except for the extraordinary people, who seem to be able to do so much more). I know this blog is not read by too many, but for the few who do read it, especially Australians, and even more especially, Western Australians, the address is firstname.lastname@example.org , or the general manager's address is: email@example.com When I get the studio email address, it is wrong in my contacts, I will try to post it too (* firstname.lastname@example.org - this address is correct). Not because I feel that the station should not play the music that they wish to play - I have the greatest respect for the station, and it is an integral part of my day (I listen to it over here in Japan, often) - but because I feel that maybe many of the announcers do not know the seriousness of the situation in Palestine. Looking at Banksy's paintings, it isn't the Palestinians holding the guns.
This was Graeme Watson's (RTRfm's general manager) response to my email:
Thanks for the feedback, Israeli garage band Monotonix’s debut album “Where were you when it happened” is our feature album on ‘Drivetime’ this week. Thanks for the feedback, it’s always great to hear what our listeners think of our music selections.
At RTRfm our aim is to play a wide variety of independent music and provide an opportunity for our listeners to hear music that is not usually heard. As far as I’m aware Monotonix are not a political band and the station has a strong policy of non-censorship.
At RTRfm we regularly cover both sides of the Palestinian and Israeli conflict on programs like ‘Morning Magazine’ and ‘Indymedia’ and endeavor to bring insight into conditions in this part of the world to our audience.