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Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Thomas Friedman, "Daring to Fail": Blackmail, Pure and Simple

Do you remember Eric Burdon's "House of the Rising Sun"? It's one of my favorites from the Sixties.

Today, in his latest New York Times op-ed entitled "Daring to Fail" (, would-be Middle East expert Thomas Friedman applauds US Secretary of State John Kerry's efforts to restart peace talks between the Palestinians and Israelis. Seeking to explain Israel's urgent need for a peace settlement with the Palestinians, Friedman writes:

"Let’s start with a small item in Britain’s Independent newspaper on July 24, which began: 'He once sang, ‘You Gotta Get Outta This Place,’ but now Eric Burdon is not even turning up at all having deciding to withdraw from a planned concert in Israel. ... The Animals frontman, whose hits include ‘House of the Rising Sun,’ and ‘San Franciscan Nights,’ had been due to perform alongside local Israeli bands in Binyamina. ... However, in a statement, Mr. Burdon’s management, said: ‘We’ve been receiving mounting pressure, including numerous threatening e-mails, daily. ...’ Burdon was just the latest of a rising number of artists and intellectuals who have started boycotting Israel over the occupation issue.'"

Okay, I favor a two-state solution of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, involving land swaps for Israeli settlements, which, by the way, are not as intractable a problem as Friedman makes them out to be.  As acknowledged by Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat, "an aerial photograph provided by European sources shows that settlements have been built on approximately 1.1% of the West Bank" (

But back to Eric Burdon. How can one claim that someone who is being threatened with harm to prevent him from coming to Israel is participating in a boycott?

Rather, this is blackmail, pure and simple.

And as much as I like "House of the Rising Sun," can Eric Burdon's failure to appear in concert seriously affect Israel, which is being threatened with destruction by Iran, now closing in on weapon's grade plutonium (see:

Get serious, Tom.

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