Stephen Horenstein
Music, Arts and Society

A Call to Israeli Artists!

To artists throughout Israel:

We are coming down to the wire!

Monday is the day of deliberation and decision regarding the Cultural Loyalty Law.

There is a chance that the law might be PASSED, and if so it will be a new chapter in our cultural and moral reality. Obviously, we need to do everything in our power to prevent this. Hopefully through demonstrations and conversations with members of the Knesset we know, we may be able to persuade the “powers that be” of the ludicrousness of this impending law. Perhaps a well-designed filibuster will tire enough people, or in the process, one or two lawmakers will have the courage to “cross the line.”

The argument that all cultural support will now potentially be centered around one person is a good place to begin the conversation. There are others arguments even more compelling. I, for one, will put energies into speaking/communicating with members of the Kulanu party, as they may be more flexible than others…

Nonetheless, we must have a Plan BI call all independent Israeli artists to come together and build a wellspring of alternative funding for the arts. We can no longer be dependent upon government funding, especially with oppressive conditions and seemingly random decision making. We need to combine our wisdom, experience and cooperation to develop additional financial resources for the arts. In fact, it may be time to boycott all government subsidies, so only then second-rate projects of a certain type and/or quality will be presented through the government,  paled to what will hopefully flourish: independent, cutting edge art born out of artistic freedom. Artists’ hands and voices cannot be tied. We are the voices of conscience. We are the voice of hope and vision.

We need to fight on two fronts:

1) to defeat the Cultural Loyalty Law, once and for all. And if this should NOT work, and the Law is heaven-forbid passed

2) we should continue to fight to repeal it, while at the same time building greater independent funding resources, for both younger and veteran artists, who need and deserve support.

LET US UNITE!

Signed,

Dr. Stephen Horenstein, Director, Jerusalem Institute of Contemporary Music/ Coordinator, Eric and Edith Siday Fellowship for Musical Creativity/  Director, Music on the Edge Festival / Recipient, Israel Prime Minister Prize for Composers

About the Author
Stephen Horenstein is a composer, researcher and educator. His repertoire of musical works has been performed and recorded worldwide. He has been a recipient of the Israel Prime Minister's Prize for Composers and the National Endowment of the Arts (USA). His teaching has included Bennington College, Brandeis University, Tel Aviv University, Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance; residencies at Stanford University, York University, California Institute of the Arts, and others. He is Founder and Director of the Jerusalem Institute of Contemporary Music, established in 1988 to bring the music of our time to a wider audience.
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