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.


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 is an indigenous rights activist fighting for indigenous people who’ve returned to their ancestral homelands and built great things.

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