Suzanne Vega On BDS: “I Didn’t Want To Be Bullied”
“I’ve always been warmly embraced in Israel, from the release of my first album,” Vega told Creative Community for Peace (CCFP), an organization representing prominent members of the entertainment industry devoted to promoting the arts as a means to peace. “I came this time because I really wanted to play with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra. I felt it was important for my growth as an artist.”
“I think the cultural boycott punishes people who make their living in the arts, both in Israel and [around the world],” Vega said. “If culture is the medium by which we have dialogue, boycotting cuts this off. It doesn’t add to it.”
Vega believes that a better approach is to perform in Israel and support organizations fostering dialogue in the region. “I think a group such as ‘A Crack In The Wall’ is a better idea,” Vega said, referring to the group whose aims is to create cracks in the proverbial walls separating the peoples of the region by enabling opportunities for dialogue. Vega believes music can be a vessel for such dialogue and understanding, and this comes through in her music. Vega has a song called “A Crack In the Wall” which she performed in Tel Aviv.
“I wanted to sing my song ‘Horizon’ in Israel,” Vega told CCFP, “as it’s a song about transcending your limitations and your conflicts through the ideal of love. I didn’t want to be bullied out of it.”
When asked about her connection to her audience in Israel, Vega said: “I make a distinction between the people and the politics,” she said. “How could I not? I come from America and believe me I have not always agreed with the policies of my own government. Yet I still choose to live there. These things must be worked through.”