As a Chicagoan, I have never gone to a Daniel Barenboim concert at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, but I am intrigued by his idea to use music to heal Palestinian-Israeli tension.
Barenboim conducts the “West-Eastern Divan Orchestra,” which consists of 103 young musicians who are Israeli, Palestinian and other Arabs, as well as Spaniards.
He announced another such performance to take place in Ramallah, but I wonder if he has chosen the wrong place. Maybe he should try Qalqiliya or Nablus.
Barenboim probably hasn’t heard much about Qalqiliya, the Palestinian city surrounded by the 25 foot tall wall Israelis mockingly call “a fence.”
The Wall has choked off its inhabitants so much that in the past municipal elections, emotion-stricken voters gave their support to candidates backed by Hamas.
And that has brought to the surface the ugly double standard of bigotry that exists in Palestinian society, but that few like to address.
Jews, Christians, secular Muslims
Recently, gunmen broke up the concert of a popular West Bank singer at an-Najah University in Nablus after he refused to limit his repertoire to political songs. Then they banned a music festival in Qalqiliya to prevent “the mingling of the sexes.”
Hamas and Islamic Jihad don’t just hate Jews. They also hate Palestinian Christians and secular Muslims, too.
Blinded by passion
Barenboim wouldn’t know this because he is too blinded by passion to do good. Stop being blind, Barenboim. It's a problem Richard Gere and others also sometimes share. In the drive to promote peace, they fail to see the extremists who are exploiting them.
Hamas represents an extremism that is as much a threat to Palestinians as it is a threat to Israelis.
They wear Western clothing like Nike gym shoes and “stylish” T-shirts, but they insist their women cloak themselves in berqas, the covering that symbolizes for many the enslavement of women.
Hamas prefers the green banner with the inscription of the Kaleema, or Muslim Creed, to the Palestinian flag. When they do wave the Palestinian flag, they distort it by placing the Kaleema on the white banner as a religious warning to Christians and secular Muslims.
Palestinian activists don’t like to speak about the abuses of their own extremists, just as they always avoid condemning Hamas terrorism.
Making the wrong friends
This should concern Barenboim, who is hooking up with the wrong crowd. But he’s typical of the “Lost Jewish tribe” that blindly seeks out peace with any Palestinian, including those extremists who are good at doublespeak.
So I suggest Barenboim rededicate his concert, not just to bring Palestinians and Israelis together, but to bring Palestinians and Palestinians together.
But, he’ll need a litmus test to distinguish between Palestinians who oppose peace and Jews, and Palestinians who support compromise, if he has the courage to hear the truth:
- Question 1: “Do you support compromise based on the two-state solution?”
- Question 2: “Are Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorist organizations?”
- Question 3: “Do you denounce suicide bombings as an immoral atrocity, or do you consider those who commit suicide bombings to be ‘martyrs’ (the term that really applies to innocent Palestinians killed by the Israelis who are not engaged in violence or who are killed while defending their homes and properties)?”
Okay, question 3 might be a little too complicated. But the bottom line is this, too many so-called advocates of "peace," like those who back Barenboim, are really wolves in disguise.
He also might wish to realign the list of songs he will perform, to include a few rewritten renditions of popular American rock tunes:
- “I’m a Believer,” by the Monkees. All the Islamicists can bounce around and jiggle in their T-shirts and blue jeans, while their wives are forced to wear burlap berqas.
- “Imagine” by John Lennon, who was murdered by a fan who sought to use his death for fame, Mark David Chapman (Israeli settlers can sit around in orange uniforms and hope for a future that doesn’t include Palestinians or the need to compromise).
- “Blowin’ up in the Wind,” a special rendition of the Bob Dylan
classic altered to remind all of us how futile suicide bombings and helicopter missile assassinations really are.
- “Sympathy for the Devil,” by the Rolling Stones. It doesn’t have any real meaning, but it would be cool to see Barenboim do an imitation of geriatric rocker Mick Jagger on stage.
- “Lonely Jew,” the song made famous by the American cartoon character Kyle Broflofski on the still-popular, racism-filled TV program “South Park.” With a voice deep enough to be the Fourth Tenor, Shimon Peres can sing the operatic solo!
Ray Hanania is a Ynetnews columnist. Find more material at his website, www.hanania.com