A friend asked me, in effect, if the line we make in front of the Kimmel Center was some sort of picket line that people shouldn't cross. I said no and asked some of my fellow protesters, who confirmed that we are not attempting to keep anyone from seeing performances of the Philadelphia Orchestra. We'd like it if they conveyed to the Orchestra that their visiting Israel is not a good thing to do. If people want to cancel their subscription to the Orchestra, that's fine, but that's strictly a personal choice and not a request on our part.
The Anti-Defamation League put out a petition titled "Support the Philadelphia Orchestra’s Right to Travel to Israel." See, the difference between a political statement and propaganda is that no one is challenging the Orchestra's right to play wherever it pleases. As no one is claiming that the Orchestra doesn't have the right to travel to Israel, the ADL is referencing an assertion that no one is making. Their argument that the trip is "intended to build bridges" is hard to credit as it's far from clear how a cultural exchange is going to do any such thing. If the US government was committed to, say, lifting the siege of Gaza (in place for over 11 years) or to getting Israeli troops to stop shooting at protesters from Gaza who approach their Northern border or to doing something about the fact that Mahmoud Abbas, the head of the West Bank has to get permission to travel through IDF checkpoints, meaning that the President of the West Bank can't even visit parts of his own state without requesting and receiving Israeli permission, then perhaps the Orchestra could speak with a voice that was at least neutral towards Palestinians.
So, how is diplomacy going between the US and the two parties in the Israel-Palestinian conflict? President Trump feels strongly that diplomacy with both sides is going really well and cited what he felt were some positive accomplishments, including
And the American Embassy would soon open in Jerusalem.Problem is,
The president’s message to his voters was clear – because of his efforts, “America is respected again.”
And yes, the U.S. embassy in Israel is moving, but that outraged Palestinian leaders and pushed them further away from any kind of peace agreement.and that
...the U.S., once the only mediator all sides would accept, has found itself isolated after Trump’s decision to declare that the U.S. recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.A major problem with the US President's lack of understanding is that he feels no need to compensate Palestinians for his recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital. And as Israel is the only party that gained anything from that recognition, nobody else in the Middle East feels that the US has acted in a neutral or even-handed manner.
Video clip of speech at protest.
Americans may consider the shooting of Palestinians of Gaza to be far more important than the words of a Hollywood star, but Israelis "bristle" at the criticism of Natalie Portman, who has said that the killings on the Gaza-Israel border are "not in line with my Jewish values." Also, In a piece about her and Gaza, she makes it pretty clear that she sympathized with the Palestinians there and not with the IDF that's shooting at them. Piece includes very bitter criticism of Portman from the Likud Party.
Al Jazeera piece on women and the "Great March of Return" Movement. No pictures of women carrying guns, because the Palestinians have been accused of, at worst, of using rocks and molotov cocktails, but plenty of them acting in support of the men who are up closer to the border.