According to the poster, (pdf) the concert is “dedicated to…the release of Jonathan Pollard,” an American convicted of treason for handing over U.S. secrets to Israel; “the 30th Anniversary of the Jerusalem Reclamation Project/Ateret Cohanim,” an extremist settler organization dedicated to reclaiming all of Jerusalem from non-Jews; “the more than 3,000 victims of Oslo since September 12, 1993″; “the heroic front line families and communities of Greater Jerusalem“; “the heroic pioneer families and communities” of the West Bank settlements and Golan Heights.
The poster also includes these “three no’s”:
No! to the division of Jerusalem ever.
No! to the surrender of any part of Israel.
No! to the expulsion of Jews from Judea and Samaria. (The West Bank)
Among the event’s co-sponsors is the Hebron Fund, an organization that raises money — tax exempt — for settlers in the West Bank. Israeli human rights groups like B’Tselem have documented the ongoing violence by these settlers against Palestinians, as well as the refusal of Israeli occupation forces to enforce the law against the settlers.
This B’Tselem video gives a sense of what life is like for Palestinians in Hebron:
On Sunday, the Washington Post reported on the Obama administration’s difficulties reigning in Israel’s ongoing settlement expansion, made harder as a result of a “secret agreement” between the Bush and Sharon governments in 2004, in which Bush reversed forty years of U.S. policy and indicated that Israel would be able both to retain and continue expanding its larger settlements. George W. Bush is often seen as a very “pro-Israel” president, but here we see how his “support” for Sharon led to an even more untenable and deteriorating situation for Israel in the occupied territories.
Obviously, Americans who support the continued caging of Palestinians have a right to express their views, no matter how odious or counter to U.S. (or Israeli) national security interests. But we shouldn’t have any illusions about the violence and misery perpetuated by the organizations sponsoring the May 31 concert.
I also tend to think that if Arab-American opponents of a two-state solution had scheduled a rally in Central Park, we would have heard a lot more about it.