INTERVIEWS, REVIEWS & RELATED ARTICLES
Pitchfork JULY 30, 2014 - by Jeremy Gordon
BRIAN ENO COMPARES "RACIST" ISRAEL TO THE KLAN, BLASTS "HYPOCRITICAL" AMERICA FOR SUPPORT
Letter posted on David Byrne's website asks, "Why does America continue its blind support of this one-sided exercise in ethnic cleansing?"
On his website, David Byrne has published a letter from Brian Eno about the current strife between Israel and Palestine. "I received this email last Friday morning from my friend, Brian Eno," Byrne writes in a preface. "I shared it with my office and we all felt a great responsibility to publish Brian's heavy, worthy note."
In the letter, Eno questions America's response to the violence:
Why does America continue its blind support of this one-sided exercise in ethnic cleansing? WHY? I just don't get it. I really hate to think its just the power of AIPAC... for if that's the case, then your government really is fundamentally corrupt. No, I don't think that's the reason... but I have no idea what it could be.
The America I know and like is compassionate, broadminded, creative, eclectic, tolerant and generous. All of you symbolise those things for me. But which America is backing this horrible one-sided colonialist war? I can't work it out: I know you're not the only people like you, so how come all those voices aren't heard or registered? How come it isn't your spirit that most of the world now thinks of when it hears the word 'America'? How bad does it look when the one country which more than any other grounds its identity in notions of Liberty and Democracy then goes and puts its money exactly where its mouth isn't and supports a ragingly racist theocracy?
Eno says he witnessed the tensions firsthand during a 2013 trip to Israel. He says he doesn't understand why America continues to financially support people who believe that "'Arab' equates with 'vermin' - straightforward old-school racism delivered with the same arrogant, shameless swagger that the good ole boys of Louisiana used to affect. That is the culture our taxes are defending. It's like sending money to the Klan."
Toward the end, he writes:
Like it or not, in the eyes of most of the world, America represents 'The West'. So it is The West that is seen as supporting this war, despite all our high-handed talk about morality and democracy. I fear that all the civilisational achievements of The Enlightenment and Western Culture are being discredited - to the great glee of the mad Mullahs - by this flagrant hypocrisy. The war has no moral justification that I can see - but it doesn't even have any pragmatic value either. It doesn't make Kissingerian 'Realpolitik' sense: it just makes us look bad.
Byrne also published a note from Eno's friend, Peter Schwartz, that lays blame at both sides. "I don't think there is any honor to go around here. Israel has lost its way and commits horrors in the interest of their own survival," Schwartz writes. "And the Arabs and Persians perpetuate a conflict ridden neighborhood with almost no exceptions, fighting against each other and with hate of Israel the only thing that they share."
In his introduction, Byrne says, "What's clear is that no one has the moral high ground."