Wednesday, 15 June 2011
Israel strikes a note of defiance
THE Israeli government has capitalised on a fresh, young musical talent to mount a cultural strike against Sydney's Greens-led, pro-Palestinian Marrickville Council.
Charming and sassy 27-year-old Efrat Gosh has recently been declared Israeli Singer of the Year, for her passionate and punchy jazz-infused tunes.
In her first tour of Australia, she will perform tonight in the very same council zone that attempted to boycott and sanction any Israel-based companies, products or cultural activities.
In a press release yesterday promoting the singer's performance, the Israeli embassy said Gosh had chosen to perform in Marrickville to help Sydney's inner-west residents recognise Israel's cultural contribution to the world.
"They can also seize the opportunity to learn more about Israel," the press release read.
"Proponents of the boycott who failed to see the country's vibrant and multicultural heart should watch Gosh's performance and experience a piece of the real Israel."
While Gosh lamented the politicising of her music, she said she thought Marrickville Council was short-sighted in its condemnation of Israel and she felt "sorry" for those who had not experienced Israeli culture.
"Of course, it is a complicated situation, but unless you've actually lived there, through it, you don't really have an understanding of the people and the place," she said yesterday.
"There are so many religions, different types of people, and a great music scene in Israel.
"It is really them that are missing out."
Inspired by jazz greats such as Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald, Gosh has grown up in a household of music, but also one of looming war.
"My brothers had to serve in the army and, like most Israelis, it was hard for them to see what goes on between the two sides," she said.
Embassy spokeswoman Einat Weiss, who has helped to promote the singer's tour in Australia, was not so diplomatic and criticised Marrickville Mayor Fiona Byrne.
Ms Byrne last December helped pass a motion to protest against Israel by introducing a boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) plan.
The plan called for a boycott of all goods made in Israel and any sporting, academic, government or cultural exchanges.
"I would say to Fiona Byrne you have misrepresented and misjudged the people of Israel," Ms Weiss said.
Ms Byrne did not return The Australian's calls. The council has since dropped the BDS proposal.
Gosh will be performing at Camelot Lodge in Marrickville from 8pm today.