Temple Beth Israel’s Peace Concert.

Temple Beth Israel is putting on a concert featuring David Broza:

Israeli superstar David Broza has been considered one of the most dynamic and vibrant performers in the singer/songwriter world. His charismatic and energetic performances have brought to worldwide audiences, a fusion of three different countries in which he was raised: Israel, Spain, and England, filling concert halls with famous guitar playing…

…More than a singer/songwriter, Broza is also well known for his commitment and dedication to several humanitarian causes, predominantly, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Beginning in 1977, Broza has been working to bring the message of peace to the masses by joining peace movements, and singing what has become the anthem of the peace process, his hit song, “Yihye Tov”.

2014 saw the release of one of the most challenging albums in Broza’s long career – an album recorded in the Palestinian Sabreen Studio in East Jerusalem. The collaborative work of the Israeli and Palestinian musicians and others who came to assist and be part of the eight days and nights, produced a beautiful, intimate and special album and documentary ” East Jerusalem West Jerusalem”.

The concept of a divided Jerusalem, with its underlying assumption that those opposing it are somehow anti-peace, is problematic. Jews have always longed to live in peace. Psalm 122:6 tells us to “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem.” Jerusalem was the capital of ancient Israel and where kings David, Solomon, and Hezekiah established their rule. Despite what many countries insist, the capital of the State of Israel is not Tel Aviv, but Jerusalem, the city where the Prime Minister lives, the home of the Knesset, and of Israel’s Supreme Court.

Teddy Kollek, former Mayor of Jerusalem, said

“For three thousand years, Jerusalem has been the center of Jewish hope and longing. No other city has played such a dominant role in the history, culture, religion and consciousness of a people as has Jerusalem in the life of Jewry and Judaism. Throughout centuries of exile, Jerusalem remained alive in the hearts of Jews everywhere as the focal point of Jewish history, the symbol of ancient glory, spiritual fulfillment and modern renewal. This heart and soul of the Jewish people engenders the thought that if you want one simple word to symbolize all of Jewish history, that word would be ‘Jerusalem.’”

From Wikipedia we learn:

Broza was born in Haifa, Israel… Broza’s grandfather, Wellesley Aron, co-founded the Arab-Israeli peace settlement, Neve Shalom – Wāħat as-Salām (The Oasis of Peace) and the Habonim youth movement.

In early 2013, Broza recorded sessions at Sabreen Studios in East Jerusalem with a band composed of both Israeli and Palestinian musicians… The resulting album, “East Jerusalem/West Jerusalem,” … was released in early 2014.

An activist who is committed to several humanitarian causes, Broza was appointed a goodwill ambassador for UNICEF. His song “Together” (co-written with Ramsey McLean) was the theme song for the UNICEF 50th anniversary celebration in more than 148 countries. He toured the Middle East with Jordanian musician Hani Naser to promote peace through music. They were invited by the Israeli and Jordanian governments to perform in concert during the peace signing between the two countries

Needless to say, Haaretz enthuses:

David Broza sings for peace, but the message is lost on Diaspora Jews

… his album “East Jerusalem / West Jerusalem,” brings Broza squarely back to his roots as a peace activist, and continues to connect listeners to the diverse, multilingual and layered sound that his listeners have come to expect.

Over 14 tracks, each recorded, unrehearsed, in a single take, “East Jerusalem / West Jerusalem” is mostly English with bits of Hebrew and Arabic, and features many original songs by Broza, some other notable collaborations (the lyrics of “Lion’s Den” are by Judea Pearl, father of slain journalist Daniel Pearl), Earle’s own song “Jerusalem,” plus a handful of covers of songs by Elvis Costello, Pink Floyd, and Cat Stevens.

Broza said working with Earle is “so intellectually wrapped up in everything that I feel is important in life.”… For eight days and eight nights — like a musical octave, Broza suggests; the Hanukkah symbolism occurred to him only later — the group of Israeli, Palestinian, Palestinian-Israeli and American musicians gathered in a recording studio in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah.

Palestinian reluctance to collaborate with Broza proved a partial stumbling block. “Unfortunately the only real hardcore Palestinian who would play is Muhammad Mugrabi,” a resident of the Shuafat refugee camp, who collaborated on the trilingual pop-rap track “PEACE Ain’t Nothing But a Word”).

Meanwhile, the irony of including songs by two artists — Elvis Costello and Roger Waters — who have publicly advocated a boycott of Israel is not lost on Broza. Believing that “music triumphs over everything,” he opposes cultural and intellectual boycotts,

both by international artists against Israel, and by his fellow Israeli artists of locations like Ariel theater in the West Bank. Boycotts “kill any humane aspect of society,” he says.

With the album titled as it is, and including multiple references to “walls” and song titles like “Why Can’t We All Live Together,” I pressed David-Broza-the-peace-activist on the kind of long-term, political solution he seeks. Two states, or one?

I’ve interviewed Broza for these pages before, when we spoke about what he actually means when he sings about “leaving the territories” in the peace anthem “Yihyeh Tov” decades after he first sang it.

“We’re artists, we’re not political activists, running barricades, running political parties. We are digging into each other’s souls; creating common ground, sharing something beautiful….” He adds, “We are not the ones who are going to solve the problems, but if we open ourselves to each other, then there’s a chance that from the grass roots it’ll grow to the political level.”

Despite his reluctance to discuss borders and states — “I can’t really define it,” he says — he ultimately comes down on the side of two states for two peoples. “Zionism was originally a utopian dream. That utopia should also be adopted by the Palestinian people; they should have their own utopian ideal of creating their own state; each utopian system should be able to look at each other, saying we can live as two entities, two identities…each sing[ing] in their own voice.”

Sadly, I suspect the Palestinian’s utopia consists of one state in all of Israel!

It’s ironic Broza the peace activist includes songs by two Israel haters; nothing very peaceful about Costello and Waters! As for Cat Stevens (now Yusuf Islam), who called for Salman Rushdie to be killed just for writing a book, how is that an example of “sharing something beautiful”?

Broza has his own Peace Page, where he writes:

Of course, it will be the politicians and diplomats who will negotiate the terms of a peace deal, but… an enormous amount of work needs to be done, on the human level, to prepare the ground for a historic compromise, and to solidify the deal, once the ink dries.

I believe that each and every one has access to tools to promote peace. The tools I have are my voice, my guitar, and my strumming fingers. They help me speak a language that everyone understands, the language of music. And through music they help me reach hearts and minds on both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian divide.

So what is the Peace Now movement? Discover the Networks explains:

Established in 1981, Americans for Peace Now (APN) describes itself as “the leading voice of American Jews who support Israel and know that only peace will ensure Israel’s security, prosperity and continued viability as a Jewish, democratic state.” “The only viable” means of achieving such peace, says APN, is to permit the creation of an independent Palestinian state alongside Israel.

APN derides Israel’s “failed” efforts to “pressure Hamas” by means of boycotts and the Gaza blockade, measures that have “neither ousted Hamas from power nor forced it to accept international conditions.” Instead, says APN, such “collective punishment” has created “a miserable humanitarian situation” in the Palestinian regions while drawing “harsh criticism of Israel” from all over the world. To address this problem, APN urges the U.S. to “press Israel to finally end the siege on Gaza,” even as America joins the Jewish state “in demanding that Hamas end/prevent rocket and mortar attacks on Israel.” By APN’s reckoning, Hamas’s sworn intent to permanently destroy Israel should not, in itself, disqualify the terror group from being viewed as a legitimate participant in Palestinian government.

APN contends that the expansion of Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem not only “extinguishes hope among Palestinians that Israel is serious about peace,” but also “destroys the credibility of Palestinian moderates who reject violence and tell their people that negotiations will deliver a viable state.” APN president/CEO Debra DeLee, who also sits on the directors’ board of J Street, accuses the Israeli government of failing to “enforce the law against settlers when they rob, vandalize, and assault Palestinians.”

APN urges the U.S. to continue its “robust” economic assistance to Israel, provided that none of those funds are used to support settlement-related activities in the West Bank. By the same token, APN maintains that American aid should play “an important role” in funding Palestinian humanitarian projects, civil-society programs, and training initiatives that could “bolster Palestinian moderate leadership.” “Those who support settlement in East Jerusalem and oppose negotiations over the future of the city,” APN suggests, “are in effect calling for Israel to live forever by the sword.”

As an alternative, the organization advises “a mutually-agreeable, negotiated solution” whereby “Palestinian areas of East Jerusalem would be under Palestinian control, Jewish areas under Israeli control, and the Old City under special arrangements agreed to by both sides.”

APN’s president/CEO Debra DeLee served as chair of the Democratic National Committee from 1994-95… Other noteworthy members of APN’s board of directors include Jeremy Ben-Ami (executive director of J Street), Peter Edelman, and Peter Weiss.

Broza might sincerely believe

“We are digging into each other’s souls; creating common ground, sharing something beautiful….”,

but by failing to acknowledge Palestinian rejectionism, his message that peace will come if only Israel appeases those with genocidal intent, he is making peace less likely.

Oh well, I guess this Concert is better than TBI’s Sacred Music Concert, which featured Islamists reciting a sura about deflowering young virgins and the Islamic Call to Prayer !

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