Sunday, June 8, 2008

Debbie Schlussel: Phil Collins, Israel & Anti-Semitism

By Debbie Schlussel
Yesterday, after I posted the videos of Genesis' "Turn It On Again," yesterday, and extolled the virtues and talents of lead singer Phil Collins, I received a number of inquiries from Jewish readers regarding rumors that have long swirled about Collins in the Jewish community.
When I was a kid, I heard the story that at a Genesis concert in Great Britain, Collins asked all of the Jewish attendees to leave because he supports the Palestinians. And there are other incarnations of the story, alleging that he gave money to the P.L.O., etc. Because of these rumors, many Jews believe Phil Collins is anti-Semitic, anti-Israel, and pro-P.L.O. But while I never knew whether or not the stories were true, I looked into them a while ago, and I believe they are urban legends. That's why I had no qualms about praising Genesis and Colins and posting its videos.

(No, I did not check the fallacious Snopes, which needs to be Snoped, itself. They get so many things wrong, and I'm not sure who appointed these liberals at that site King of the Truth. They ain't.)
In October, just after the Genesis reunion tour hit Detroit, I saw my friend, Rolling Stones and Billboard writer and rock critic, Gary Graff, at a roundtable interview of Jerry Seinfeld. Gary is Jewish, and I told him about these stories. He'd probably know about them, if they were true. He said he thought they were preposterous and that Collins has a lot of Jewish staffers, something which I already knew from this announcement of the Genesis reunion tour, where many Genesis PR and tour officials identify themselves as Jews. (That, however, doesn't prove a thing, since Jews are often the first to embrace pan-Islamist apologism.)
I have checked and checked, and I could never find anything confirming any of the stories about Collins' alleged anti-Semitism and anti-Israel sentiment. But I did find this: In 2005, after years of major recording artists cancelling concerts in Israel because of Palestinian terrorism and security issues, Phil Collins was the first to announce a major concert appearance there. His announcement spurred lots of other major artists to follow suit and was a huge coup for Israel after years of Passover Massacres, blown up pizza shops, cafes, and bars, and countless other Palestinian mass-murders there.
True, it was Collins' first performance ever in Israel, and it's curious why he and/or Genesis never appeared in the State before in their decades-long career of international concert tours. Still, if he truly hated Jews and Israel, I doubt he'd perform there now and be the pioneer in doing so, post-9/11. It's hard to believe--even with alimony payments to three ex-wives and child support for many of his progeny--that Phil Collins suddenly became that hard up for money in 2005 that he suddenly gave up a long-running hatred for Israel (if one truly existed) in order to perform there.
Also, there is a well-known Phil Collins--not the same guy as the Genesis lead singer--who is also British. He is a pro-Palestinian, pan-Islamist photographer and videographer, whose exhibits are very anti-Israel and pro-Palestinian. And that may be a source of the confusion. (Some of his amateurish pro-Palestinian videos are up on YouTube.)
And then there's this discussion from IsraellyCool, which appears to debunk the whole set of rumors as myth, including a purported report from Phil Collins' agent.
Based on all of this information, I have to conclude that the allegations against Phil Collins are mythical and false. And if that's the case, I'm glad.
Fred Taub of Boycott Watch said he, too, hasn't been able to find anything to confirm the rumors about Phil Collins, but he's looking into it further.

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