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Brian Eno condemns Israeli action in Gaza as ‘ethnic cleansing’

This piece originally appeared in the Guardian.

The producer took to David Byrne’s website to write an open letter, characterising Israel’s military action against Palestine as a ‘colonialist war’ by a ‘ragingly racist theocracy’

Brian Eno in his studio, London 10/10/12

Brian Eno, who has criticised Israel over its attacks on Gaza. Photograph: Martin Godwin for the Guardian

The producer and musician Brian Eno has penned an open letter addressing the current crisis in Gaza, which heavily criticises the US government’s backing of Israel and asks the question: “Why does America continue its blind support of this one-sided exercise in ethnic cleansing?”

The piece, which was published on David Byrne’s website, means Eno has joined the likes of Penélope Cruz and Javier Bardem, as well as as other high-profile Spanish film personalities including director Pedro Almodóvar, in condemning the recent Israeli attacks in Gaza.

His passionate plea, entitled Gaza and the Loss of Civilization, begins with an anecdote about a young Palestinian boy named Mohammed Khalaf al-Nawasra, who had been allegedly killed by an Israeli missile. He subsequently lambasts America’s reluctance to sign up to an UN investigation looking into possible war crimes committed by Israel.

Eno then goes on to label Israel a “ragingly racist theocracy”, and attacks the ideology behind Israeli ‘settler militia’ who target Palestinian homes. “Most of them are not ethnic Israelis – they’re ‘right of return’ Jews from Russia and Ukraine… with the notion that they had an inviolable (God-given!) right to the land, and that ‘Arab’ equates with ‘vermin'”. Eno eventually compares America’s financial support of Israel “like sending money to the Klan.

He ends his letter saying that “like it or not, in the eyes of most of the world, America represents ‘The West'”, and “despite all our high-handed talk about morality and democracy”, the West continues to support a war that “has no moral justification”.

He also received a response from a friend, Peter Schwartz, which was then published by David Byrne alongside the first letter. In his introduction to both pieces, Byrne writes: “What’s clear is that no one has the moral high ground.”

Eno, who has produced records for U2 and Coldplay alongside a series of often leftfield personal projects, has already co-signed a letter published in the Guardian condemning the Israeli action. His co-signatories included Desmond Tutu, Alice Walker, Noam Chomsky and Slavoj Zizek, and the group called for “a comprehensive and legally binding military embargo on Israel, similar to that imposed on South Africa during apartheid.”



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