Israeli Eurovision (Dis)harmony
Posted by jonathanfryer on Saturday, 28th February, 2009
Israel’s choice of artists to represent the country in the Eurovision song contest in Moscow in May has put the cat amongst the pigeons, as the Jewish singer and peace activist Achinoam ‘Noa’ Nini will sing in tandem with the Israeli Arab performer Mira Awad. They will perform four songs, all in a mixture of Hebrew, Arabic and English, on Israeli TV, from which viewers will choose the song that they will take to Russia. While geographically outside Europe, Israel qualifies to participate because the Israeli Broadcasting Authority is a member of the European Broadcasting Union. Commenting on this surprise choice of representative performers, in the wake of the Israeli asssault on Gaza, Mira Awad said that Arabs and Jews have no choice but to find a way of living together. ‘It’s very important for me not to go back to the corner and just disappear.’
Her decision has come under fire from some Palestinians who have accused her and Noa of being accomplices to Israel’s ‘killing machine’ and of abetting Israeli government propaganda. While I can see where such critics are coming from, there is no question of the two artists’ sincerity. Moreover, the last thing needed in the tense and polarised Middle East region at the moment is for people to try to stamp out dialogue and cooperation between divided communities. Music is a particularly appropriate medium for this, as Daniel Barenboim and the late Edward Said underscored with the creation of the Seville-based West-East Divan orchestra, which employs both Jewish and Arab players.
This entry was posted on Saturday, 28th February, 2009 at 4:09 pm and is filed under Uncategorized. Tagged: Achinoam Nini, Daniel Barneboim, Edward Said, European Broadcasting Union, Eurovision 2009 Moscow, Eurovision Song Contest, Israel, Israeli Broadcasting Authority, Mira Awad, Noa, West-East Divan Orchestra. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.