Monday, March 30, 2009

Concert for Peace, Or Not

Last week the NYT carried this nice fluffy story about a youth orchestra from Jenin that preformed for a public of Holocaust survivors in Holon, Israel. It was the idea of the orchestra's Israeli Arab director, Wafaa Younis, (no idea if she's fluffy) and funded by Shari Arison, Israel's wealthiest woman, who no doubt is fluffy headed (but means well). I briefly toyed with the idea of linking to the story, but seem not to have. It was too fluffy for me, and didn't seem to have much significance beyond the good-feeling markup.

Apparently I was wrong. Some influential group in Jenin has fired Ms. Younis, forbidden her to enter town, and put an end to her harmful escapades.

Adnan al-Hindi, the leader of the camp’s Popular Committee, a grass-roots group representing the Palestine Liberation Organization, said the young musicians had been exploited by the orchestra director, Wafaa Younis, for the purpose of “normalizing” ties with Israel. He said by telephone that the children had been “deceived” and dragged unwittingly into a political situation that “served enemy interests” and aimed to “destroy the Palestinian national spirit in the camp.”

“It was a shock and a surprise to the children and their relatives,” he said, adding that Ms. Younis had told the young musicians’ families only that the trip to Holon was an opportunity for artistic self-expression.

Ms. Younis, from central Israel, has been traveling to Jenin every week for several years to teach music in the camp. Mr. Hindi said that the house she rented as a studio had been sealed, and that she was barred by the Popular Committee from all activity in the camp.

Depressing, isn't it. And note that al-Hindi is Fatah, not Hamas.


Anonymous said...

This just makes me so sad. When I read the 1st paragraph, I thought how wonderful. We need so much more of this. So sad.

BTW, I am reading your book "Right to Exist" at the moment. I should be required reading for everyone.


Anonymous said...

Meant to write "It should be" not "I should be"


Matt said...

I can understand the accusation of fluff, but the story was a good reminder that there are avenues for peace that don't involve boycotting. One argument from boycotters is the need to "do something," while ignoring how much is being done.

Claudio said...

Would you pay attention to some remarks by a Palestinian named Khalid Amayreh on that topic? "Shame on us!", he writes, But don't think he is ashamed of suicide bombings next to a Teenie disco, killing dozens of Jews on a Seder Celebration or teaching children to hate Israel:

If this is the stuff Palestinian "thinkers" a made of, I'd not recommend to hold your breath until the idea of peace will be adopted by this people.

Best from Hamburg, Germany


(, a German written blog)