Jews Need Not Apply

Update  a year later…

The Custody of the Holy Land FINALLY admitted that the Magnificat Institute piano competition, now named “Nikolaus de la Flüe” (their holy sponsor), is for Palestinians. They FINALLY admit the Jewish sounding names of their staff are really “Russian teachers with Israeli citizenship”.

Spreading about names ending with -ski for years was a nice trick to attract attention and prospective funds abroad. Now, they are not Jews – ha, ha.

So WHAT has all this tripe been about, getting prizes for coexistence, endless self-promotion for making peace in the Holy Land through music if JEWS ARE NOT WELCOME to participate, assuming that there are still Israeli Jews in the school?

The fact that the Custody MUST make this auto-da-fe in their promotional material (that really strains credulity for the kind of claims they make  -“The Oldest Musical Competition”) as Palestine TV filmed the winners’ concert (only 30 kids participated, most of them from their own organization and reaping  most of the prizes as usual – a pretty poor showing).

How about “the most bombastic competition over nothing”, “the competition that is not a competition” anytime the President of the school, Armando Pierucci, is the head of the jury, “the Potemkin village of competitions”, in a Potemkin village of peacemaking and a fake Potemkin  religious organization that doesn’t have a shred of modesty, accountablity or honesty – instead a disgusting collection of money grubbing conartists and charlatans.  Shame on you all. (end of update)

Jews need not apply for the 11th Tavasani Piano Competition* to be held at the Magnificat Institute in Jerusalem,  January 2010, a music school of the Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land. 

This should not be surprising since not admitting Israeli Jews has been the general policy for 10 years, except for the one so-called Rome Prize for which the Palestinians and the “rest of the world” have their own separate categories, so they are spared from having anything to do with one another.

Proof of identity**  is needed in a place where “we don’t ask anyone’s background and where no racial, religious or linguistic discrimination is practiced, a little miracle of coexistence, a veritable laboratory of peace.” ***

Voltaire wrote that “those who would have you believe absurdities, would have you commit atrocities”.

In an upside-down universe, The Custody of the Holy Land has been aggressively promoting its alleged  coexistence activities via the school, racking up innumerable peace prizes, honorariums and even the Knighthood of the Italian Republic, but will not allow all those Israeli bambini in their school to compete in its own competition.

When does 2 + 2 = 5? When the Church says so, of course.

Item: what has been the point of all the self-promotion, self-congratulation, strutting around like peacocks with the Italian tricolor draped from shoulder to waist when the number of Jews and Moslems in their peacemaking school are so miniscule  compared to similar local  institutions with a much higher proportion of integration and not using such a premise to raise money when they already have tons of it?

Announcing a competition only two and a half months before doesn’t mean their own students have had a head start, does it? Or that the traditional head of the jury who is also the president of the school would not be a conflict of interest? In their own site for the last competition was written that the school’s students took the lion’s share of the prizes (very profitable, by the way) but “no one knew that they were from the Magnificat”!

Well, does the writer have selective memory or Alzheimers? Judging by the senile scribblings that are supposed to pass as music compositions, one could conclude he forgot the rules of harmony as well, or never really learned them or never regarded them as important.

Please note the latter: rules that are important in the outside world– accountibility, honesty, fairness (not intentionally rigging competitions to suit oneself, otherwise don’t call them competitions!) — simply don’t exist in the rabbit hole of the Franciscan Compound of the Holy Land.  If such blatant misrepresentation can directly from the Church, I as a Christian, humbly ask, what else have they been lying about all these years? After all, they taught me in Catholic School not to lie and to confess if having done so.

 To sum up, this must be an example of the modern day miracle of having a cake and eating it too.

 Only one possibility is true in the real world. Either (A) they never had any significant number of non-Christians and all the peacemaking propaganda (to raise money and get fame for the administrators) was false.

 Or (B) as they say there are plenty of Jews and Moslems singing together**** in a flooded basement and the former kindly agreed to be discriminated against in the school’s own competition.

So what is it? A or B? It cannot be both.

*AKA “Concorso Tavasani”, the information packets being mainly in English, Italian (why???) and Arabic (not Hebrew, of course).


***  This is only one example of the fulsome self-praise lavished on the school

“…Nel clima generale di tensione della Terra Santa, l’Istituto Magnificat nasce nel 1995 con l’idea di costituire un luogo di educazione al rispetto reciproco ed alla pacifica convivenza, nell’imparare l’arte della musica, tra allievi e professori di diverse origini sociali e confessionali: cristiani di varie confessioni, ebrei, musulmani.…La scuola costituisce di per sé un piccolo miracolo, poiché le iniziative di Pace e di convivenza sono molto difficili da portare avanti in una terra il cui clima generale incita alla divisione. La scuola ospita oramai oltre 200 giovani allievi e circa 18 professori, con un successo crescente. Véronique Nebel


An amusing ADDENDUM to the above, is the glowing write up for the end of the Tavasani Concorso on the Magnificat website.

Now, in a school according to their own propaganda, they have “200” students playing and singing in “peace” and in a country where other good music schools like the “National Conservatory” having more than 700 students in Jerusalem, Bethlehem and Ramallah, ONLY 3 kids showed up for the first category!!!

There were NO participants above the age of 17 (except for the much trumpeted “Rome Prize” but virtually unknown in the country due to the paucity of advance announcements for it).

This is REALLY weird as the thrust of their own self-promotion rests on preparing musicians on a high level. They “suddenly” drop out of music when they enter University!?!?!

There may be better explanations than the above for a Competition that has become a non-event except for writing it up in a palatable form and translating it into Italian for donors who can’t check what’s really going on.

The possibilities:

 1) Outside students don’t like to participate in rigged competitions that favor the children of adminstrators in the school. As usual, the home team gets the “lion’s share” of the prizes, which are pretty substantial in terms of hard cash.

2) All of their 200 students suddenly disappeared or went abroad for their Christmas holidays, so didn’t feel like practicing for the competition.

Strange to note –“Yonatan” appears as one of the winners of Category B, not a very “Palestinian” name, although this competition was for “Palestinians” and “proof” was needed, except as noted above for the “Rome Prize” where a few token Israelis would be expected to appear and later be paraded around Italy for concerts.

Back in the 60’s was a saying, “What if you have a war and no one comes?”

To paraphrase, “What is the use of a competition without actual competitors?”


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