Cinematic Strings Back Down On BDS Against Israeli

Israeli Philharmonic

UPDATE 10:00 20th Feb 2014: Renunciation of BDS by Cinematic Strings

For any who think we can’t fight BDS: here’s a result. Within hours of the original blog post kicking off a Facebook viral avalanche from our readers, the company behind Cinematic Strings has, at least technically, backed down.

As I was writing a follow up post, the owners of Cinematic Strings posted the following in various places on Facebook and in emails (my emphasis). They appear to have backed down on refusing a discount to an Israeli.

We have seen it reported in the past few hours that we do not sell our product in Israel or to Jewish people and it is simply not true. We have always allowed anyone anywhere in the world to purchase CS2; we have sold many copies to Jewish composers both within and outside Israel.

However we have historically allotted discounts case by case, at our discretion. We did withhold a discount in support of an academic and cultural boycott; we did this in order to promote dialogue aimed at ending state-sanctioned discrimination against the Palestinian people. While we stand by our reasons, we can see now that this action itself may be construed as discriminatory, and therefore we will make discounts available to all students regardless of location. If Yossela would like to contact us again we will make the discount available to him.

Thank you to those who have contacted us personally and with whom we have had polite and constructive discussions. I hope this outcome will be satisfactory to all concerned.

Kind regards,

Alex Wallbank

Answering the first paragraph: we certainly never claimed they wouldn’t sell to Jews or Israelis: only that they wouldn’t give a discount that was available to any other nationality.

After posting earlier about the company in Australia that makes the software “Cinematic Strings 2” and who wouldn’t give an educational discount to an Israel, I fired off an email to a friend of mine. He just happens to be a top Hollywood music producer. I specifically asked him for alternatives. This is the answer I received (reproduced with permission):

I am horrified.
I am about to start a new movie and have been sourcing new library.
Cinematic Brass was on my shopping list. It is now OFF.
I will do everything in my power to alert other composers to this abomination. Divestment cuts both ways and Hollywood is a place where many well known Jewish composers reside.

Your email and its unlikely subject matter arrive on the cusp of my purchase decision, and was beshert.

As far as strings are concerned, I have invested in the product of a German company – Orchestral Tools – who make a brilliant library named Berlin Strings. They also have a woodwind library called, not too surprisingly, Berlin Winds. Now, I have no way of knowing whether OT are involved in BDS or not, but would suggest applying the same approach as was used with the Ozzie mumsers.
If anything of a similar nature occurs, let me know.

With fond regards,

So there you have it. One sharp email back to an Israeli asking for a perfectly reasonable student discount which would be offered to any other nationality in the world and repercussions can start.

I just want to say this to the owners of Cinematic Strings. This is not personal, it’s business. I have a theory, expanded here, that boycotting Israel (in this case unfairly refusing an academic discount purely on national origin) will harm the boycotter more than Israel. In his speech the other night Netanyahu very clearly laid out why boycotting Israel and Israelis is so evil:

“In the past, anti-Semites boycotted Jewish businesses and today they call for the boycott of the Jewish state. And by the way, only the Jewish state. Now, don’t take my word for it. The founders of the BDS movement make their goals perfectly clear. They want to see the end of the Jewish state. They’re quite explicit about it. And I think it’s important that the boycotters must be exposed for what they are. They’re classical anti-Semites in modern garb. And I think we have to fight them. It’s time to delegitimize the delegitimises.”

I’m very pleased Cinematic Strings have understood how their actions looked discriminatory but concerned about “we stand by our reasons”. I still feel slightly sorry for “Alex and the CS team”. They’ve been deceived into hating Israel by many years of brilliantly executed propaganda financed by an enormous amount of money. You’ve bought into lies that say we oppress people for fun, steal their land and build big walls to ensnare them. I’m sorry about those lies and that so many believe them, and I’m sorry the far less exciting truth hasn’t been explained properly.

As a business owner myself, I’d be upset if my Arab customers chose to boycott me. Fortunately the Arabs (including many in the disputed territories) have no trouble trading with my Israeli company to our mutual benefit.

Perhaps, through this process of us highlighting their BDS against Israelis (and only Israelis) they’ll come to see that we’re not evil, we don’t kill or steal for sport and we dearly would like to lay down our arms and tear down our walls. We’d do all that in an instant providing we can remain a Jewish nation and sanctuary for Jewish people while accepting any willing to live peacefully alongside us. Just like the Israeli Arabs I ate my lunch with today. We’d love to pull out our troops (they’re our children!) as soon as we know we won’t be blown up on buses and in pizza parlours. But right now, they’re trying to do this almost every day and they’re trying to fire rockets almost every day.

So the walls and the security devices stay in place and, at least on our side, we still yearn for a realistic peace and security.

And I’d like to see BDS against Israelis become just as unacceptable in polite society as antisemitism, which really should be called Jew hatred, used to be.

About Brian of London

Brian of London is not the messiah, he's a very naughty boy. Since making aliyah in 2009, Brian has blogged at Israellycool. Brian's interests include electric cars, world peace and an end to world hunger. Besides blogging here, Brian of London now writes at the Times of Israel. Brian of London also hosted Shire Network News


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  • Karma’s Bitch

    Isn’t Australia itself an “illegal settlement” built by outsiders using apartheid to displace the native inhabitants?

    • ShirlinOz

      What a complete load of rubbish.

    • gads

      No that is a generalisation in a very similar vain to which this article purports to be against. Please don’t think that all of us Australians think this way as there are many strong supporters of Israel in the Australian community. Many of us are as appalled (and embarrassed) as you are of this action by this company. The best method to fight this rubbish is ensuring that others are made aware of them and refusing to spend money with their business.

  • Makronaut

    as the CS’ site’s owner refrains to copypaste the same bullshit under every critical post on the fb-site, i would still recommend to switch to the “vienna symphonic library”.

  • Harvela

    Brilliant work
    I had a pop at them on their face book wall which elicited this final exchange .

    Cinematic Strings commented on your post.
    Cinematic Strings wrote: “Hi Harvey, yes that is correct. In fact, we’ve already sent the discount coupon to the person concerned.”
    Reply to this email to comment on this post.

    It shows what can be achieved by grass roots action to undermine and reduce the effectiveness of these hate filled fascists

  • Hard Little Machine

    Too late. Every employee of that firm must be banned from Israel for life.

    • Jill

      hey I felt aggressive about them too, but posted on their FB page.
      They’ve been brave enough to face their mistake, make amends and withdraw BDS support. They deserve respect. People make mistakes, they’re an example of how to behave after making one.

      • cba

        Jill, I agree 100%.

    • AussieDave

      I tend to agree with Jill. They admitted their mistake and publicly denounced BDS, which says something.

      • Hard Little Machine

        Ok ban them for only 20 years then.

  • cba

    1. Fantastic result, good on ya!
    2. antisemitism, which really should be called Jew hatred
    Yes, it really should. be called Jew-hatred.

    • ShirlinOz

      It is. That’s how the term came into being.

      term “antisemite” was coined in Germany
      in 1879 by Wilhelm Marr to refer to the anti-Jewish
      manifestations of the period and to give Jew-hatred
      a more scientific sounding name.

      • cba

        I’ve objected to use of the term for a long time, mostly because it leads to the pathetic whine, “But Arabs are Semites too!” (it wasn’t intended to indicate being against SEMITES but against a mythical “semitISM”). But my other strong objection to it is… why on earth should we adopt the term of the bigots?!

      • steven

        Marr later in life completely rejected Antisemitism and asked Jewish People for forgiveness

  • Harvela

    Ok just received this so will call it closed . Thanks to everyone involved . Hope Yossela donates the discount to the band of the IDF

    Cinematic Strings
    Yes Harvey, that’s done, but after 10 hours of dealing with hate mail, I need to end this discussion now. Thanks for your input. -Alex
    Like · 7 minutes ago
    Harvey Garfield

    Thanks Alex
    No hate mail at least not from me . Just a determination to see an end to blatant discriminatory practice on behalf of your company . Thank you for acknowledging it and going some way to rectify the situation .
    Like · More · Just now

  • Yael

    If you think that one email did the trick, or even one blog post, I fear you are sadly mistaken. Cinematic Strings got a lot more pushback than that, more than you know. And I have to disagree with one other thing. I don’t see how this is “over” when the dupe is backing off just because his “principles” suddenly became inconvenient, and not because he saw the light. What about all that “international law” BS he was spouting? What about all that concern for the oppressed? It went flat, like Eyeore’s balloon, but does he understand that he HURT good people? That what he did was WRONG? I don’t think so, and unless and until we can get that kind of a result, we haven’t moved the needle in any significant way. My humble opinion.

    • Harvela

      You can only call it as you see it . Of course we will not change his opinion . Fascists are seldom turned so easily . What we can do is make him think twice before he pulls a similar stunt in the future . Of course we need the victim to come forward as was the case with Yosella . When that happens the offender will get hit and hit hard by a combination of law suit where appropriate and threatened divestment as was the case here with Aussie Dave and his US connection with more to come .
      It’s taken a while for grass roots Israel activism to come of age , but now that it has the BDS will come to realise boycott works both ways and they have opened a Pandora s box

      • Yael

        Harvela, I don’t understand. What makes you think grassroots Israel activism has just come of age? I don’t know of a time in history when it didn’t exist and much of what came before us was more widespread, stronger and more articulate than what we see today. I wouldn’t get too excited just because the internet makes it faster.

        • Harvela

          I ve been involved with pro Israel advocacy for more years than I care to remember and no that’s not me in the avatar .
          It bears no resemblance to the advocacy of even a few years ago , as BDS only materialised in earnest around 2005 .
          Today’s arena is multi platform and yes it is fought on social media . However grass roots activism is being played out in many different ways which I cannot go into on open forum .
          Ultimately we are all on the same side , battling a common enemy .

          • dabney_c

            But you can’t deny that there is a huge amount of apathy and ignorance in the Jewish community – both outside and inside Israel. Israelis especially seem to be living in a bubble, blissfully unaware of the hatred raging all around them. Hard to fight an enemy you’re not even fully aware exists.

            • Harvela

              And with that comment you’ve actually got to the heart of the matter . From a UK perspective , the community hasn’t a clue what is going on under their noses . Israel is a holiday / holiday home / kids live there / etc . My own community including the Rabbi were totally taken aback by an article I had published in Habimah outlining the challenges Israel faces from the delegitimisers .
              Likewise I work with Israelis here in the UK , some living here and some visiting on business . Most are totally unaware as you mentioned .
              I’m not sure if this is a good thing or not .
              Factor in the phenomenon of faux Zionist organisations such as JStreet in the US and its equivalent Yachad in the UK and we have our work cut out .

              • dabney_c

                Is it a good thing? Well, on one hand, it’s an indication that Jews are feeling safer than ever because of the existence of Israel (whether they understand the connection or not). On the other hand, if left unchecked, growing Jew-hatred and delegitimization of Israel will eventually leave Jews around the world vulnerable, like in France and Sweden. So, we can’t exactly put our feet up quite yet. But what’s it gonna take for Jews to wake up? I’m afraid it’s going to have to get much, much worse than BDS campaigns, or campus Israel Apartheid Weeks.

                • ShirlinOz

                  I’ve done a lot of work against the BDS and it’s ongoing, and I can tell you I am amazed at how many Jewish people in the ‘ghetto’ of the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney, have never heard of the BDS.!!

                  • Jill

                    Are you serious Shirl? Even with all the protoNazi BDS marches in Sydney streets, and after Marrickville?

                  • Inessa

                    It’s always amazing how the human mind can downplay or even block out unpleasant facts. I have spoken to Jewish people from Russia who claimed they never ever experienced antisemitism.

      • AussieDave

        Not me, it was Brian of London and his US connection

        • Harvela

          Ok Hat tip to you . Kudos to Brian and The Victoria Cross to both for all the amazing work you do .

    • Alex Wallbank

      Hi Yael,

      Just an update. We realised that our own stance had been discriminatory, and that was not something we meant to do. We have given the discount to the artist concerned and in fact we have emailed him today and he is happy to work with us. We have agreed to provide the discount to every student regardless of their location, and after several discussions and further research, we have withdrawn our support of the BDS. We have done this because, while we still support open dialogue aimed at achieving peace and equality, we now consider the aims of the BDS movement to be extreme and counterproductive.

      Thanks for your time.

      Kind regards,


      • Ben

        Alex, could you please explain what exactly is “illegal” (which is the claim you made) about Jews living in the West Bank? Whilst I suspect that you will cite the Geneva Convention Article 49, paragraph 6, could you describe how that convention applies to Jews who already had a legal right, protected by Article 80 of the United Nations Charter, to live in the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip? Could you also acknowledge that the state of Jordan never had nor now has any legal title in the West Bank, nor does any other state even claim such title. The Fourth Geneva Convention applies only, according to Article 2, to occupation of territory belonging to ‘another High Contracting Party’ and Jordan cannot show any such title to the West Bank, nor Egypt to Gaza.

        I understand that making reasoned arguments using logic and factual evidence is the antithesis of green politics so I don’t expect a cogent and relevant reply from you.

      • AussieDave

        Hi Alex,

        Thank you for your comment. I am glad you realize BDS is wrong (although I suspect your views on Israel are still just as wrong). Please educate yourself more about what is truly going on.

        Currently, your actions did not reflect well on you or your business. If you would like to help right things more – not just for those you hurt but also yourselves – I invite you to submit a post as to why realize BDS is Wrong. I will publish it, assuming you do not express any anti-Israel views or pro-palestinian propaganda.

      • Joe in Australia

        Alex, I’m one of those who thought your former policy was discriminatory, and I’m very glad you changed your mind. Good for you.

      • Gail Lobel Rand

        Alex, I appreciate and admire your integrity. A closer, honest look at the situation here in Israel and the West Bank, is not what is presented by the one sided untruths parroted by the members of the BDS. Good for you!

      • cba

        I admire your ability to realise you were mistaken and to publicly renounce your former discriminatory stance. I assume that, like many other people, you adopted the BDS narrative because it sounded good, without looking into it too closely.

        I hope that you will, as AussieDave suggests, take a similar close look at the entire situation. Once you do, I think you will find things are quite a bit different from how they’re generally presented.

        Thank you.

      • Guest

        Wouldn’t it have made more sense for Cinematic Strings to have done their research on the BDS before deciding to support them? Why on earth would you support a group you know nothing about?

        • cba

          Guest, although you are correct, I think very few of us research every important issue in the world to the extent we should before we decide who are the “good guys” and who the “bad guys.”

          Right now it’s popular wisdom that “big bad Israel” is being very nasty to the “poor suffering Palestinians” so most people don’t look any deeper than that–especially when that like is pushed relentlessly in just about any regular mass media forum. (Look at the BBC and the Guardian for two examples from the UK.)

          I’m glad Alex has taken the steps he has, and I hope that now his eyes have been opened he will continue to delve more deeply into the issues.

      • Resist_We_Much_10

        Bullshit Taqiyya!

        Your original post in support of the sinful foreign policy of the Caliphate stated, and I quote, “However we are fairly powerless here in Australia to act on behalf of the victims of ‘oppression’”.

        Sounds to me that you are saying that Cinematic Strings is a Shari’ah-compliant company that supports the sinful foreign policy of “Palestine”. Sounds to me that you admit you researched how best to promote the Caliphate. Sounds to me that you carefully considered the best ways to hurt the Jews in Mohammed’s accursed name. Sorry, Zionists, you meant Zionists – how to hurt the Zionists in Mohammed’s accursed name. What you call “act[ing] on behalf of the victims”.

        So you “acted on behalf of the victims” and engaged in Shari’ah. (which may subject Cinematic Strings to civil liability, and all of its employees to criminal liability at the Hague). And you proudly stood by your sinful decision.

        And we’re supposed to believe that Cinematic Strings all of a sudden did some research and changed its mind?

        Bullshit Taqiyya!

        Stick to your guns, Alex. If Cinematic Strings is truly dedicated to the sinful foreign policy of the Caliphate, then your employees should strap on their suicide vests, hop on a plane to Damascus and kill innocent children in Mohammed’s name. Lots of pro-’Palestinian’ leftists from Australia have already done so – the only thing holding you back, Alex, is your cowardice.

        Instead you apologize to your Zionist victim. Bullshit Taqiyya! What kind of brave warrior for Allah are you, Alex? Doesn’t Cinematic Strings want to “act for the victims of oppression”?

        We know what you and Cinematic Strings believe, Alex. You’re just too cowardly to actually stand up for the Caliphate because of some facebook comments. You and your company are wimps.

        My heroes have always killed colonizers – Death to the satanic false prophet Mohammed (piss upon him) and the Quranic colonists in “Palestine”!

  • Harvela

    BDS lose their appeal against conviction for aggravated trespass – UK Supreme Court ruling

  • Tzanchan77

    I guess they don’t mean me, I sent them a nasty email as is deserving of anti-semitic behaviour. My late Mother was very polite as she walked onto the cattle car to Auscwhitz and her extended family was very polite as they walked into the gas chambers. To hell with that.

    Thank you to those who have contacted us personally and with whom we have had polite and constructive discussions

  • Moshe Rubin

    Well done, Brian!

  • cba

    I just looked at the screen shot of the comment from their Facebook page (the one they deleted), which you had linked in the earlier post and I was struck by something: Although you didn’t accuse them (in the earlier post) of not selling to Jews in Israel (just of not giving them the student discount), Anne Lieberman DID.

    And what was their response (prior to the “some of my friends” bit)?

    It was, “We’ll take our chances, thank you.”

    No clarification that it applied to the discount or any refutation of the accusation.

    I find that interesting.

  • Hard Little Machine

    Someone write a song about firebombing the company, using their software as the soundtrack.

  • Efi

    Not surprisingly Alex Wallbank ran for the NSW Greens Party ( well known for its antipathy to Israel, Zionism and the Sydney Jewish Community) in the 2011 state elections:

    • ShirlinOz

      Never knew that and I was very heavily involved in the election for Coogee.

  • JRmo

    omg they actually used the “some of my best friends are Jewish” defense! Well I guess you have to win in small steps

  • blogagog

    “While we stand by our reasons, we can see now that this action itself may be construed as discriminatory”

    Should have been written “While we stand by our reasons, we can see now that this [discriminatory and antisemitic] action itself may be construed as discriminatory”

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