To Mr Mark Sofer, Israeli ambassador to Australia
Dear Mr Sofer,
Today I received the shocking news about the storming of the Edward Said National Conservatory of Music and the Yabous Cultural Centre in East Jerusalem on July 22 (https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/israel-palestine-yabous-edward-said-centre-east-jerusalem-stormed). Suhail Khoury, (General Director, National Conservatory of Music) stated that he and his wife, Rania, had been arrested and that,
“In the Israeli police’s statement released the day of the attack, they mentioned that they targeted two institutions that promote Palestinian culture. Guilty as charged. But what we also promote is hope. We teach tolerance, respect of the other, gender equality, freedom of speech, cultural exchange, and fundamental human rights. We teach children to love Beethoven, Mozart, Sibelius, Bizet, Rossini, Albeniz, and all of the great European and world classical composers. But we also teach the music of Abdul
Wahab, Rahbanis, Said Darwish, and all of the great Palestinian and Arab composers ofthe 20th century. So how can they silence us? They have chosen to attempt to smear our reputation by falsifying evidence of money laundering, an outrageous and baseless accusation. To get an Israeli Judge to grant the police a warrant, they must make it seem dangerous; thus, the money laundering had to be for supporting terrorism. That is why the attack was accompanied by an extremist Israeli media campaign to try to discredit the work of hundreds of artists and the music learning of thousands of children.”
Hanan Ashrawi, a member of the PLO Executive Committee, said in a statement that Israel’s campaign against Palestinians in Jerusalem “aims to erase the Palestinian presence and alter the demographic and cultural make-up of the city through numerous home demolitions, forced evictions and targeting the daily livelihoods of Palestinian Jerusalemites”.
Mr Sofer, will you as a presumably educated and civilized man use your good office and utterly condemn these assaults by the forces of barbarism, ignorance and racism?
Gareth W R Smith
Byron Friends of Palestine
“Those who can make you believe in absurdities can make you commit atrocities.” Voltaire
George Orwell, ‘Political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.’
“The sleep of reason produces monsters.” Goya