17 April 2007

Irish stew with some matzo balls

The story about the recommendation on boycott of Israeli artists issued by Aosdana, Ireland's state-sponsored academy of creative artists, did not make a lot of waves in the media. Probably because it is not remarkable enough. JP says:

Aosdana, Ireland's state-sponsored academy of creative artists, voted last week on a motion to "back the call from Palestinian filmmakers, artists and cultural workers to end all cooperation with Israeli state-sponsored cultural events and institutions."

The proposal - put to a motion by composer Raymond Deane, founder of the Irish Palestinian Solidarity Campaign, and seconded by playwright Margaretta D'Arcy - was defeated in the organization's general assembly.
Of course, as in any other place of the world, Ireland has its share of polarized opinion on the Israel/Palestine issue. Of course, the extreme political wings, as usual, miss the crucial point when taking a decision like this: the boycott will not help the situation, and polarized vision will assist only the cause of further polarization. But this is besides the point I wanted to make. Which pont is about the (almost) absolute lack of anything remarkable in that event.

First of all, we have a case of a relatively large group of artists, most of whom do not know a lot and do not care about the grave issues tearing apart our corner of the world. Then we have a relatively small hard core of the activists, not surprisingly associated with the even more hard core PSC. Using the indifference of the general public, this hard core group succeeds in pushing through a recommendation to all Aosdana members to consider the boycott (even the indifferent majority disagreed with the first, binding version).

This is not the first time that extremists abuse the public indifference, the examples are numerous and hardly remarkable. Also unremarkable is the language of the resolution, full of cliches, as usual representing only one side of the issue.

Of course, as expected, the team that spearheaded this initiative, includes its token Jew: a playwright Margaretta D'Arcy. Business as usual, and Ms D'Arcy's support makes the whole business a bit more palatable for some people who otherwise may have been wary of the rabid ways of PSC and its followers.

And of course, a response from the Israely embassy came as expected:
Israel's embassy in Dublin released a statement condemning the motion as "wrong, unjust, biased and based on misunderstanding and misinformation." Ambassador Zion Evrony said, "It appears that a very small number of Aosdana members... have misled others and imposed their views on the whole organization."
There are only two items in the whole story that may pretend to be called irregular:

Aosdana, you see, is not exactly an independent body of free-thinkers:
"What is more concerning is that by being elected to Aosdana as an artist, you get an annual salary from the state," the member explained. "As it is state-funded, it is surprising that [Aosdana] took this stance, given that political matters are not their remit."
So the Irish government is understandably unhappy with the behavior of its proteges , and condemned the resolution.

The second item is more remarkable. After the (fairly standard) response from the Israeli embassy, Ms D'Arcy, decided to explode (in public, too):
D'Arcy, for her part, wrote an open letter to the ambassador attacking his views: "Mr. Ambassador, who the hell do you think you are, interfering with Irish artists, prescribing what we may or may not reflect upon?" she fumed.

"I wonder that the Irish government does not immediately break off diplomatic relations with Israel for your absurd violation of those articles in the UN Charter of Human Rights that guarantee free expression," D'Arcy declared.
To tell you the truth, I also don't know who the hell our Ambassador is, aside of his name (Zion Evrony) and that strange way he (and any other Ambassador) should be addressed ("your Excellency" or summat). However, I was flabbergasted by that display of histrionics. The only thing our lady of letters forgot to demand of her government is that it nuke Israel within 24 hours. Or else. From that single glimpse into Ms D'Arcy's character, I guess that nary a government will deny a request from her. Fearsome, I say. Not a person I would lightly refuse an offer of a scone from, even a poisoned one.

Anyhow - if someone can tell me how the boilerplate response from His Excellency violated Ms D'Arcy's right to free expression, do not hesitate to do so. In details, please.

Meanwhile, I would like to quote here a comment to the original article in JP:
65. Long live Ireland

Jan - Norway

04/10/2007 06:37
It seems like many people reading this article do not quite get the fact that the Irish government, various media sources and even a large part of the organization that called for the boycott in fact do not support a boycott of Israel. Irland do not have anything to be ashamed of in this case. Left-wing moonbats are everywhere, but obviously they are not ruling Ireland. So lets give the Irish some credit not rebuke as Ben and other writers seem to do.
Precisely my opinion. Although - I am not sure what kind of moonbat Ms D'Arcy is - left or right, and could not care less, but moonbat she definitely is.

Too bad.

Cross-posted on Yourish.com.