First They Take Manhattan

A pro-Palestinian group called the Coalition for Justice in the Middle East staged a protest outside of a Leonard Cohen concert at New York’s Radio City Music Hall on Sunday. What was the famed musician and poet’s crime, you ask? Did he declare that Palestinians should be wiped off the map? No. Did he write a pro-Israel song? No. Did he make a statement reaffirming Israel’s right to self-defense (God forbid!)? No.

Actually, Cohen’s crime was to schedule a concert in Tel Aviv in September as part of his current world tour, which the protesters are demanding he cancel.

According to the organization’s own account:

Protestors chanted “Leonard, Leonard Have A Heart, Don’t Help Apartheid With Your Art” and sang “Ain’t Gonna Let Occupation Turn Me Round, Gonna Keep On Walkin’, Keep Boycottin’” to the tune of “Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Round”. A particular crowd favorite was, to the tune of Frere Jacques,

Are you sleeping, Are you sleeping,
Leonard Cohen, Leonard Cohen
While your songs are so fine
Israel’s taking Palestine
Don’t go there, Don’t go there

A friend of mine who attended the concert confirmed the presence of the protesters, who also circulated a drawing of a guitar turning into barbed wire. More photos of the protest here.

As an aside, I attended a Cohen concert at the Merriweather Post Pavillion in Maryland last week, and he was fantastic. See him if you get the chance.