Saturday, June 27, 2009

Beiteddine Festivals Update

Gad El Maleh has unfortunately canceled his performances scheduled for July 13-15th as part of the Beiteddine Festivals.

He has recently been a target of Almanar news website (mouthpiece of Hezbollah). They had claimed on their website that he is a French-Israeli artist, or "so called humorist" who is a supporter of Israeli "interests". They also claimed that he served in the Israeli army for 4 years and that he supports the "zionist" state and its' army.

Needless to say, all these claims have been refuted by El Maleh's producer and agent as incorrect and malicious. Understandably, in the face of accusations like these coming from Hezbollah, the artist has cancelled his travels and scheduled appearances in Lebanon, fearing his safety and the safety of his entourage.

I tried to find more information on the artist, but was unsuccessful.
It appears to me that this entire Hezbollah fuss is about the guy being Jewish, which in and of itself, would be a very sad reason to ban or veto an artist from coming to perform in Lebanon. Judaism is supposed to be an officially recognized and respected sect in Lebanon, and Lebanon's message as a cultural and pluralistic society is being tarnished.

I sincerely hope that something like this does not happen again. I don't see the guy's religion as enough cause to derail his entire performance in Lebanon. This goes against everything Lebanon stands for.

Now, if the Almanar claims are true and it is proven that El Maleh served in the Israeli army and/or is an active supporter of Israeli causes, then this course of action would be appropriate and we should not host him as a nation. However, it appears that the whole affair was unfair and more of a referendum on his religion than his actions.

BG

10 comments:

  1. At the risk of being misinterpreted as defensive or supportive of any side, let me point out that it is not about Gad being a Jew. A couple of years ago, Hezbollah hosted several European Rabbis in a well publicized conference of some sort in Beirut. It is about links like these:

    http://absikerenor.free.fr/actualites/album11.html

    http://www.juif.org/video/4253,gad-elmaleh-ambassadeur-d-israel.php

    Cheers.

    ReplyDelete
  2. thanks for the links moussa.
    it also appears that the video has been deleted.

    and like i said in my post, we should not host him as a nation if these claims are proven to be true.

    ReplyDelete
  3. OK, so Al Manar is making claims. If they are in fact not true, then why cancel the show. He's basically playing into their hands. The Al Manar article was not threatening, it simply raised a point which the Festival refuted. If you cancel, that just throws the suspicisions back at you.

    Does he have something to hide?

    ReplyDelete
  4. AGREED
    I can't seem to substantiate any claims of him being in the army, but he has definitely held pro-Israeli positions in the past.
    It also appears that he is highly opportunistic when it comes to his background/identity.
    He seems to downplay his arab roots when targeting jewish audiences and the opposite is true as well.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I do not like the way you take sides in your blog, two parties made claims, you rather take the side of Elmaleh who provided no counter-evidence rather than those of Almanar whose claims can have some truth value in them since Elmaleh is an official francophone ambassador of Israel, this alone would be enough to refuse his visa. Add to this the requirement to obtain the Israeli citizenship requires by itself to serve in the army (whether you are a girl or a boy).

    Then you proceed by assuming for what reason he canceled the trip, you assumed the fear of his safety. But maybe he just don't want to be asked about his position on the Apartheid state when it launched the inhumane war against Lebanon (That's also an assumptions among others!).

    I respect this blog very much, but it can gain even more respect once you analyze facts (that's journalism, but still!) and question their credibility.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hello anonymous;

    I did not take sides as you claim in your comment. Please refer to the post and the post-post comments and you can clearly deduce that my opinion on this was and still is that if he is found to have had pro-Israeli actions and support and if he is guilty of what he is accused of, then we should definitely not host him as a nation. And as I indicated in one of my comments above, it does appear that some of these accusations are substantiated and thus I am against inviting him to Lebanon. (I believe this would be considered as taking sides against him and not with him, not that I took anybody's side on this one. I believe I was being very pragmatic about this.)

    With all due respect here as well, I did not assume that he canceled his trip because of security reason. That actually is why he canceled his trip. It is clearly stated in the communique that his agent released which you can find at the official website for Beiteddine Festivals.
    http://www.beiteddine.org
    My appologies for not including the link the first time around.

    We appreciate your respect for this blog and are thankful for your readership. However, do keep in mind that this is a blog, and more often than not we are voiceing our opinion on various issues that we feel strongly about and this inevitably will lead to us taking side on various issues.

    cheers,
    BG

    ReplyDelete
  7. Its a slippery slope once you start excluding artists for their political affiliations. We should probably exclude any artist who supports Saudi Arabia which is a true apartheid state. Also Syrian artists should not be invited unless they denounce the repressive Assad regime. No Sudanese of course as their country is committing genocide. And why support a festival sponsored in part by a well known war criminal (Joumblat).

    Do you really want Hezbollah dictating artistic taste?

    ReplyDelete
  8. | I did not take sides as you claim in your comment. Please refer to the post and the post-post comments...
    From the post:
    It appears to me that this entire Hezbollah fuss is about the guy being Jewish...
    That's jumping into assumptions, would you bring the exact quotation where they attack Judaism? or was it only the Zionism?

    | I did not assume that he canceled his trip because of security reason.
    From the post:
    the artist has cancelled his travels and scheduled appearances in Lebanon, fearing his safety and the safety of his entourage.
    And no mention about the safety thing in the communiqué de presse from the festival site, only the denial from Gad Elmaleh agent.

    Take care

    ReplyDelete
  9. Dear anonymous:

    You actually need to read what I write and not take out of context what I say. What I say is part of a whole. When I say:

    " I did not assume that he canceled his trip because of security reason. That is actually why he canceled his trip."

    Then I mean that I did not assume, and that I followed his communique by making that statement. You can't pick the first part of the sentence and ignore the second.

    I don't know how you could have missed the statement in his communique, but for you convenience and my peace of mind, I have quoted it below. I refer you to the website again.

    " . . . considerant que ces element pourraient maitre en danger la securite de l'artiste . . . "

    that seems like "fearing his safety" to me

    I hope this makes my point clear.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Sorry, my mistake, I'm not fluent in french, I read the Arabic part. AFAIK no reputable news site diffused such information. Although I think it's a media fuss to victimize himself and make Lebanon as a war-zone country, since there are no proper reasons whatsoever to throw the safety issue in our faces!

    But still, that doesn't change that you was taking his side.

    ReplyDelete