Banning Anna Netrebko Like the Israelites

“I am not guilty. I am guilty of nothing,” declared Anna Netrebko, proving that she is as deaf as the spies who used the Hebrew word for “nothing” “ephes,”
refusing to fight a just war.  It is as right to ban her for her refusal to declare publicly that she opposes Vladimir Putin as it was to ban every adult Israelite who wrongly thought that doing nothing that is morally demanded can be right, to veto the invasion of the Promised Land proposed by Moses.

In “The Netrebko Question,”  NYT, June 23, 2022, Javier C. Hernández writes:
After Russia invaded Ukraine, Netrebko announced that she opposed the war but declined to criticize President Vladimir V. Putin, whom she has long supported. Almost overnight she was transformed from one of classical music’s most popular and bankable stars into something of a pariah…

In recent days, Netrebko has sought more distance from Putin. She said in an interview last month with the French newspaper Le Monde that she did not vote in the 2018 election. “Over the past 20 years, Vladimir Putin has done a lot for culture, the arts and artists, to the point that Russia is today a world cultural capital,” she told Le Monde. “Many artists have voted for him. But I never did any campaigning, including by going to sing in Russian cities.”

“I am not guilty,” she added. “I am guilty of nothing!”

Num 13:28 states:

כח  אֶפֶס כִּי-עַז הָעָם, הַיֹּשֵׁב בָּאָרֶץ; וְהֶעָרִים, בְּצֻרוֹת גְּדֹלֹת מְאֹד, וְגַם-יְלִדֵי הָעֲנָק, רָאִינוּ שָׁם.  Ephes, Nothing! The people that dwell in the land are fierce, and the cities are fortified, and very great; and moreover we saw the children of Anak there.

About the Author
Gershon Hepner is a poet who has written over 25,000 poems on subjects ranging from music to literature, politics to Torah. He grew up in England and moved to Los Angeles in 1976. Using his varied interests and experiences, he has authored dozens of papers in medical and academic journals, and authored "Legal Friction: Law, Narrative, and Identity Politics in Biblical Israel." He can be reached at
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