The Battle For Cultural Freedom
As a teenager in Bury in the 1980’s, it was almost obligatory to be a fan of The Smiths. From the moment that the first thrilling chords of “What Difference does it make” rolled across the school common room, I was a fan. And if you were a fan of The Smiths, then you came to know well the idiosyncrasies and utterances of their lead singer, Morrissey.
Through his equally successful solo career after The Smiths, Morrissey has luxuriated in his idiosyncratic attitudes and contrary comments. Those of us who are fans are well used to these and take them with a grain of salt, as evidence of Morrissey’s individual world view. In the last two weeks, though, his contrariness in relation to Israel has exposed him to the wrath of the “Boycotteers”- three ageing entertainers- Roger Waters, Brian Eno and Ken Loach- of whom, more later.
Morrissey, in recent years, has become a fan of Israel. He has played there a number of times and was shown enthusiastically performing whilst draped in an Israeli flag. It clearly had an impact on his creativity as two tracks on his new solo album are inspired by his experiences- They are called “Israel” and “The girl from Tel Aviv who would not kneel”. He has taken on the Boycotteers in the public arena, and stuck to his guns in playing in Israel.
The JLC Chief Executive brings a weekly video update on the week's events.
In his weekly video blog this week, JLC Chief Executive Simon Johnson talks from Jerusalem about Jewish Legacy Month, which the JLC are the key sponsor this year. To find out more visit http://www.jewishlegacy.org.uk/
It is not often that I, as a Leeds United fan, would approvingly quote Gary Neville for an article.
But, switching my phone on after Yom Kippur on Saturday night, I came across a tweet which had already attracted and would continue to attract much comment and reaction.
He said “To have to drive past a place of worship and see a visible security presence in your home city is depressing”. He later confirmed that the “place of worship” to which he had referred was in Prestwich.
I have used my powers of deduction to work out that he must have been driving past the Shrubberies shul- the Prestwich Hebrew Congregation, where I spent my first 21 Yamim Noraim. I assume he was driving from town up the Bury New Road to the junction with the M62 to travel to Huddersfield for their lunchtime game against Spurs. Shrubberies is the most visible place of worship on that route and he will clearly have seen the high level of both volunteer and police security for the Yom Kippur service.