I didn’t know that Pete Seeger was still singing. As a song writer back in the 1960’s, he will be best remembered for songs such as “If I had a Hammer” and “Where have all the Flowers gone?”
Now, at the age of 91(!), with a long history of support for environmental causes, he is scheduled this November to visit Israel to participate in a concert as the guest of the Jewish National Fund. Needless to say, Israel boycotters, like Prof. Jeff Halper, founder of the “Israeli Committee against House Demolitions”, are calling for him to change his plans.
Halper’s politics are clear. He argues that such a visit would come “in the wake of brutal assaults on Gaza and aid flotillas.” (Halper has a personal interest here, since he was on one of the vessels that attempted to break the naval blockade of Gaza.) One cannot help but wonder whether he was as equally vocal in the defence of Israelis when Kassam missiles were raining down on the innocent residents of Sederot.
However, why should Halper, an Israeli citizen, be seeking to stir up trouble and encourage boycotting the Jewish State at the very time that Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Mahmoud Abbas are meeting together to advance the cause of peace?
It is strange that someone, who has worked so hard to lift the blockade on Gaza, should wish to impose one on Israel. After all, whereas there is every reason to fear that allowing cargo vessels into Gaza will lead to the free flow of weapons to the Hamas, all that Pete Seeger would bring to Israel would be the music of the 60’s with its message of civil rights and freedom.