Mark the date: Sunday April 21st 8pm.
Note the participants: Marc Ribot, Elliott Sharp, Zafer Tawil, Frank London, DJ Muta Massik, Raz Messinai, Roy Nathanson, Marty Ehrlich, Anthony Coleman, poet/activist Kathy Engel, poet Barbara Barg, poet/writer Ammiel Alcalay and many others.
Location: Knitting Factory, 74 Leonard St between Broadway and Church St. NYC.
Talk with musician Elliott Sharp
Guitarist, composer, and musician at llarge Elliott Sharp's discography lists over 200 CDs. He performs all over the globe (well... almost, see below) and his art is appreciated by many musicians. Reviews on his work were published, among others, in Cover Arts New York, The Wire (UK), MM (Denmark), Option, Keyboard, The New York Times, Guitar Player, Rodnic (a Latvian magazine), Mondo, Creem, Revue & Corrigee (France), Rumore (Italy), Carbon 14, Signal to Noise.
o-n: You said, Saturday at the march across the Brooklyn Bridge, that you have not participated in a demonstration for 25 years. What happened?
E#: I have been active in different ways. Donating money to organizations, reading, disseminating information, doing benefits... but I have not actually marched in a rally for a very long time. But now I felt so fed up with what Israel is doing, and I think it's especially important for Jews who oppose what Sharon is doing to speak up, because the world thinks all Jews support this.
o-n: It seems like a lot of Jews here do support this.
E#: Yes. And there too. A lot of Jews here have progressive views about most things but when it comes to Israel they feel they have to protect their people. That's a grave misperception. One's self -interest is ALWAYS linked to the self-interest of others. Jews think they have a monopoly on suffering but the world is filled with too many holocausts. And you know, during the Ottoman empire, they were all Palestinians: Muslims, Jews, Christians, Socialists, Anarchists... and got along pretty well. But a lot of Israelis were not born there, they came from Europe, from the U.S. Some people from the U.S. have actually caused a lot of trouble. It's a colonial outpost. They talk of anti-Jewish sentiment - you know, you can't say anti-Semitism, they are all Semites, Arabs and Jews - but this is not about religion. It's colonialism. I think, considering all the manipulations and crimes the Zionists committed, that Israel is a mistake. Something needed to be done because Europe and the US were abdicating their responsibilities, but not this. Now, you can't turn the clock back but you can still rectify certain wrongs.
For me, my mother is a holocaust survivor, and I feel strongly about this: when they say 'Never Again' it should mean 'Never Again for Everybody.' The idea of alliance based on nationality, or religion, is false and ancient. Probably more people have died for religion, or country, than for anything else. and its all for the benefit of the ruling class.
I also note that in the meantime, oil prices are going up. I'm sure George Bush isn't crying about it. One has to be careful about conspiracy theories, but it seems like a lot of people are dying so that some plutocrats here can make more money.
o-n: Would you perform in Israel now?
E#: No. In fact, I had an invitation to go in May and I said 'not until things are settled in a progressive way.' I see the situation in Israel as very similar to when South Africa had its apartheid system - world response, and especially by artists, was vital in changing those injustices.