Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Noa writes open letter to Gazans

Internationally renowned Israeli singer Noa writes moving letter appealing to Palestinians in Gaza and everywhere, calling for eradication of common enemy: Fanaticism


Published: 01.08.09, 02:32 / Israel Culture

Internationally renowned Israeli singer Noa has written an open letter to Palestinians in Gaza and everywhere. The letter was published on the Israel-based iPeace website, an international social network which has more than 14,000 members from 180 countries.

Dear Palestinian brothers,

It is with a heavy heart I write to you today. Gaza is burning. The border with Israel is under fire. Children on both sides of the fence are terrified, traumatized for life, wounded in body and soul. Life!! Life is lost. Blood flows! Pain and tears and anguish abound.

How familiar it all is, my brothers? How well we know these images, this fear clutching our throats, hope slipping away from our hearts?

A new year has begun. I am sitting here near my computer in the dark night, in my home by the sea. This sea that is ours, our Mediterranean sea, our culture, we the people of wandering, we the homeless, the homesick, we the fighters ,the builders, the survivors, our dreams like waves and tide, pulled by the moon and stars to eternity.

Since that fateful day in 1994 when Rabin was murdered a few feet from me, since that awful moment, I have dedicated much of my public life to singing and speaking for peace.

I have seen the peace process rise and fall and rise like the breast of a woman breathing in the night. I have seen opportunities missed, so many missed, so many chances, so much ignorance and stubbornness and bullheadedness, so much beauty trampled under the heavy boot of pride.

I have sung and I have spoken, I have argued and I have embraced, I have been moved to tears so many times, I have made the most unlikely friends….friends I would give my right arm for, friends I would run across the border under fire to protect.

And today, today I say this; we have one joint enemy, one awful joint enemy and we must all work together to eradicate it! That enemy is fanaticism my friends. That enemy is extremism in all its ugly reincarnations and manifestations.

That enemy is all men who put "god" above life, who claim "god" as their sword and shield, who claim "god" is on THEIR side. Jews, Muslims, Christians, all share this black streak. All have fallen to this destructive, horrible fanaticism at some point in their histories and the results have been devastating.

I have often spoken out against fanaticism in my country, for I find it repulsive and unbearable. In government, in settlements, in synagogues, I am passionately against it. I have risked my career and my wellbeing for this belief.

Now I see the ugly head of fanaticism, I see it large and horrid, I see its black eyes and spine-chilling smile, I see blood on its hands and I know one of its many names :Hamas.

You know this too, my brothers. You know this ugly monster. You know it is raping your women and raping the minds of your children. You know it is educating to hatred and death.

You know it is chauvinistic and violent, greedy and selfish, it feeds on your blood and screams out Allah's name on vain, it hides like a thief, uses the innocent as human shields, uses your mosques as arsenals, lies and cheats, uses YOU, tortures you, holds you hostage!!

I know this is true my brothers!! I know YOU know the truth!! And I know you cannot say it for fear of life so I will say it for you!! I fear nothing!!

I am privileged to live in a democracy where women are not objects but presidents, where a singer can say and do as she pleases! I know you do not have this privilege (yet…but you will, inshallah, you will…)

I know you are SICK of being held hostage by this demon, this ugly beast, not in Gaza, not in Iran or Iraq or Afghanistan, not anywhere!!! You are a people destined to flourish in peace! Your majestic history is overflowing with creativity, literature science and music, endless contributions to humanity, not crippling, torturing fanaticism, yelling Jihad and Shahid!

I see you sometimes, out in the streets, demonstrating with the monsters, yelling 'death to the Jews, death to Israel!! But I don't believe you! I know where your heart is! It is just where mine is, with my children, with the earth, with the heavens, with music, with HOPE!! You want nothing of this but you have no choice! I see through your veil of fear my brothers, through your burka! I embrace your hopes for they are mine!

My country has made many many mistakes over the years, I have watched it miss so many opportunities, and as a citizen of this country I am the first to admit it and criticize its foolery. I demonstrate, I vote, I speak out, I sing loud and clear.

But, now, today, I know that deep in your hearts YOU WISH for the demise of this beast called Hamas who has terrorized and murdered you, who has turned Gaza into a trash heap of poverty, disease and misery. Who in the name of "allah" has sacrificed you on the bloody alter of pride and greed.

My brothers, I cry for you. I cry for us too, yes, I cry for my fellow countrymen suffering the bombs in the south and north and everywhere, I cry for the kidnapped soldiers and the murdered ones, for their bereft families, for the innocence lost forever, but I cry especially painfully for you for I know your suffering, I feel you, I feel you!!

I can only wish for you that Israel will do the job we all know needs to be done, and finally RID YOU of this cancer, this virus, this monster called fanaticism, today, called Hamas. And that these killers will find what little compassion may still exist in their hearts and STOP using you and your children as human shields for their cowardice and crimes.


And then… then, maybe, Inshallah, we will again have an opportunity... we will again pick up our broken bodies and souls and walk slowly towards each other, reach out a tired hand, look into eyes filled with tears and with a choked voice say: "Shalom. Salam. Enough. Enough my brother ….

you want some coffee? Here, sit for a while…let's talk….we know the words, we know the songs, we know the road….



With a broken heart still yearning to love,

Your friend,


If you (or I) were Palestinian

Yossi Sarid / If you (or I) were Palestinian
By Yossi Sarid
Tags: Hamas, Israel News, Gaza, IDF
This week I spoke with my students about the Gaza war, in the context of a class on national security. One student, who had expressed rather conservative, accepted opinions - that is opinions tending slightly to the right - succeeded in surprising me. Without any provocation on my part, he opened his heart and confessed: "If I were a young Palestinian," he said, "I'd fight the Jews fiercely, even by means of terror. Anyone who says anything different is telling you lies."
His remarks sounded familiar - I had already heard them before. Suddenly I remembered: About 10 years ago they were uttered by our defense minister, Ehud Barak. Haaretz journalist Gideon Levy had asked him then, as a candidate for prime minister, what he would do had he been born Palestinian and Barak replied frankly: "I would join a terror organization."
This is not my own answer; terrorism by individuals or organizations or states is always aimed at exacting casualties in a civilian population that has not drawn any blood. Not only is terror blind - consuming both the saint and the sinner - it also expands the circle of the hot-headed, whose blood rises to their brains: Our blood is on their heads, their blood is on our heads. And when an account of the blood of the innocent is opened, who can pay it in full, and when?
I hate all the terrorists in the world, whatever the purpose of their struggle. However, I support every active civil revolt against any occupation, and Israel too is among the despicable occupiers. Such revolt is both more just and more effective, and it does not extinguish one's spark of humanity. And perhaps I'm just too much of an old codger to be a terrorist.
But, and pay attention to this but, if a normative young person has a spontaneous answer that is different from mine, and that answer also escaped the mouth of an Israeli lieutenant general, then every individual must see himself as though his son is running with the wrong crowd. If things were the other way around, our son-whom-we-loved would be a damned terrorist, almost certainly, because he is of the third and fourth generation of refugeehood and oppression, and whence cometh salvation? He has nothing to lose but his chains.
Whereas we, his mother and father, would be weeping for the departing son because he will never return to see the land of his birth and us, except in his photograph on the wall as a shahid, a martyr. Would we detain him before he carries out his plan? Would we be able to hold him back if we wanted to? Would we not understand what he is feeling? What Ehud Barak understood in his day - would that be impossible for us to understand?
Young people who have no future will easily give up their future, which they can't see on the horizon. Their past as guttersnipes and their present as cursed unemployed idlers lock the opening to their hope: Their death is better than their life, and their death is even better than our life, as their oppressors - that is how they feel. From the day they are born to the day they leave this earth, they see their land ahead, to which they will not come as free people.
There are no good and bad peoples; there are only leaderships that behave responsibly or insanely. And now we are fighting those whom a goodly number of us would be like, had we been in their place for 41 and a half years.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Al Jazeera gives away its footage.

On the Al Jazeera site, bloggers, filmakers, media and whomever can grab Al Jazeera's Gaza crisis footage. They put every minute of Gaza footage online under a they "Creative Commons license". Creative Commons licensing allows people to legally repost and resuse their footage. This is unheard of from a news corp.

As mentioned in a International Herald Tribune article "Western news media have been largely prevented from reporting from Gaza because of restrictions imposed by the Israeli military." Al Jazzera says they just want people to see what is going on there. Interesting...