Monday, November 29, 2010

Amnon Yitzchak and the music ban

I'm not sure if you have been following this story, but for the past many months Amnon Yitzchak, through his 'Rabbinical advisory board' has been lambasting just about every Jewish musician and calling all Jewish music not kosher (it is a good thing I try very hard not to listen to Jewish music - saves a lot of problems). He produces a colourful multi-page parsha sheet each week, and at least one full page, and sometimes two, have been dedicated to pushing the agenda against Jewish music. He published photos of those singers and musicians who he doesn't approve of (which is basically everyone), he published 'ask the rabbi' pages dedicated to boycotting Jewish music, and he had 'haskamos' from Gedolim encouraging his ban (including Rav Elyashiv's signature, despite the fact that Rav Elyashiv doesn't actually support Amnon Yitzchak).

When someone gets this crazy about something, it is clear (unfortunately) that there is a money angle somewhere. I have been waiting each week for the 'kickback'. Well, this week all was explained.

He has launched his own 'hechsher' for music. If you agree to abide by their impossible conditions (literally impossible - you have to agree to listen to whatever they say, even if they say that right is left and left is right) and not have anything to do with any non-kosher musicians, and live a Jewish life, and submit all lyrics and music to their committee for checking, and many other conditions - then they will give you a hechsher for your music. - Oh, did I forget to mention that you also have to give them a 15,000 shekel deposit which they will keep in the event that you don't fulfil any of their conditions.

You can read the terms and conditions here (on page 7) if you read Hebrew.

(The link seems to be unavailable at the moment. I'm not sure if they have removed it from the website, or if they are just updating the website)

If you just want to look at some more photos of forbidden musicians have a look on page 6 for a 'rogues gallery' of 15 singers (including someone called "Klippy Shmeltzer" - perhaps he is related to Flipper).

Unfortunately the best way for Chareidim to make money is to ban something, then charge for the kosher alternative. We have seen this so many times over the past few years, it is quite sickening. Still, at least they don't have to leave Yeshiva and get a job!

The only question remaining, is whether anyone will pay any attention to this hechsher at all. Will it cover the costs of any libel suits if any of the 'banned' singers decide to try to stop his campaign?

As we learnt from the New Zealand anti-shechita campaign - always look for the money. That always explains the real truth behind things.

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