Israel is an illegal state. Alongside the Vatican City, Pakistan and Bangladesh It is the only state created for a religion. The occupiers of Israel claim biblical scripture as their legitimacy. It was a process of gerrymandering by empire. Like any other state there is a political continuum from hardline supporters to dissidents.
Over the years many musicians (usually they are the ones to be isolated from the rest as we tend to have an emotional attachment) are castigated, pressurised, ridiculed… because of their decision to play live in Israel. Why? Because Israel is an occupier and a subjugator.
Fair enough. Absolutely fair enough. As is the boycott of Great Britain for the occupation of Northern Ireland. And the United States for its occupation of North America. Shall I go on? We can point at a map and find occupations. Northern Cyprus perhaps? Gibraltar? Crimea? Eritrea? Tibet? We cannot be picky. That is simply not fair.
So to Morrissey.
Morrissey’s position is curious given that Irish Catholics tend to sympathise with Palestinians and critique Israel. ‘Catholics tend to imagine themselves in Palestinian shoes — ruled for hundreds of years by a foreign force, the Protestant English monarchy. Protestants, many descendants of Scottish and English settlers, see themselves in the Israelis’ position — staking a righteous, ancient claim to territory in defiance of a force they view as bloodthirsty insurgents, the Irish Republican Army.’ (Aljazeera America)
However, given that Morrissey’s family derive from Dublin this may be less so.
Although personally I adore the music of The Smiths and Morrissey as a solo artist I cannot pretend that his views are sometimes not contradictory. However, until I can sit down with him for a lengthy period and converse with him I suspend my judgements. Believing the corporate media both here and abroad is never a clever thing and is not a fountain for enlightenment. If we must be critical don’t be parochial. Go for it. Every occupier must be condemned not just Israel.
What we could also do is stand outside the Saudi embassy every day with a placard. Can I suggest ‘F••• Off Out Of Yemen’ and ‘Compensate Them For Your Genocide’. And while we are there take a walk down to Whitehall and ask them why they are fuelling the genocide in Yemen, Iraq, Libya and many others as well as many here in the UK.
Once we have done all of this then the likes of Morrissey can come next. But only then.