24 April 2012

Noa's performance at Memorial Day events for Jewish and Palestinian families. (Tel Aviv, Israel)

A Facebook group is calling for a boycott of the popular Israeli singer Noa.
More than 3,500 members have signed on to the group, which launched following her performance last week at an alternative Memorial Day event for bereaved Jewish and Palestinian families. Many of the members have called the singer insulting names playing off her name.
Noa, whose name is Achinoam Nini, says she is shocked by the negative reaction to her performance.
“I am just shocked by this stupid and ugly distortion,” Nini posted on her Facebook page. “I sang at an alternative ceremony, at which Jews and Arabs remember and cry together for their loved ones who were lost in the ongoing war between us.”
Nini called the ceremony “moving,” and marked by “unity, understanding, empathy, and especially peace.”
Combatants for Peace, a joint Israeli-Palestinian group that originally was comprised of former Israeli soldiers and Palestinian militants, organized the alternative ceremony.
In a blog post following the start of the campaign against her, Nini wrote that “Israel is now going thorough one of the darkest periods of her short history. The amount of brainwashed people walking the streets here, the amount of RACISM and blind hatred, is simply mindboggling (and this goes for both the Jewish and the Arab population within Israel). I am but one of a long list of people and organizations with views similar to mine who have been bashed, banned, ostracized, ridiculed and marginalized, virtually OUTLAWED, since the present right-wing government has been in office.”
The singer called on Jews and Israelis to neither blindly criticize nor support everything that Israel does and to support organizations calling for peace. Her list of such organizations includes J Street, One Voice and the Abraham Fund.

Read more: http://www.forward.com/articles/155525/pro-peace-israeli-singer-faces-boycott/#ixzz1tcC1us5R

MIVASSERET - It was cold enough on the eve of Memorial Day that at one point the muscles of my jaw cramped shut. It was cold enough and dark enough that something in the specifics of the pain and the paralysis made sense. It was a night to say nothing. To listen and to feel. To feel for one family. To take in anew the awe and the horror in an entire country struck mute by its own air-raid sirens.
The people of this town facing Jerusalem had gathered to recall the more than 100 loved ones Mivasseret has lost to war and terrorism. But they were there in particular to mourn its most recent tragedy. A soldier we killed by ourselves.

Everyone in town, it seemed, had known Hila Betzaleli, who as a youth had volunteered for ambulance duty with the Magen David Adam rescue service, later becoming a senior medic and a mentor for other medics in the army. They knew the kind of person that she was. The true heart of this country. The sort of person who explains why and how this country continues to exist. The sort of person this country was built on, and survives because of, and seldom if ever pays attention to. Until nights like this one, when it is already too late.
Near her base in the Jordan Valley, Palestinians knew that if relatives needed urgent medical attention, they could come to where Hila served. "In the last case," her mother told a local paper a few days after her death, "Hila phoned and told me that people had left a four year old girl, burned all over, at the gate, and disappeared. Hila wasn't the duty medic at the time, but she ran there, of course, and began working to save the girl's life. Human life was her holy of holies, it made no difference if it was the life of an Arab or of a Jew, whatever their politics."
We killed Hila. We killed her on Holocaust Memorial Day by not taking minimal responsibility for this life which took so much responsibility for others. This is the New Israel which privatized and profitized even the central ceremony of Memorial Day and Independence Day. This is the darkness and the coldness of this New Israel, incapable even of keeping warm lights in the air long enough to keep them from falling to earth and killing Hila Batzaleli
It was this New Israel of ours, the dark side of the start-up nation, shorn of its kid leather executive driving gloves and the thin permanent film of a smile. This is the darkness which takes the best that Israel has, its young people of warmth and goodwill and talent, and chews them up and spits them down like so many dishonored contracts.
That same day, down the mountain from here, Achinoam Nini, known internationally as Noa, another Israeli woman of rare love of country, was working to make this a more human, a better place for the people – the peoples - who live here.

She sang for the tens of thousands who gathered in Rabin Square to commemorate fallen soldiers. And she sang, as well, for the thousands of Arabs and Jews who took part in the Alternative Memorial Day service organized by the remarkable Combatants for Peace movement, founded by Israelis and Palestinians who once bore arms against each other.

Remarkable, and yet necessary and, in fact, thoroughly natural. We are all of us bereaved. We are all of us combatants. We are all of us victims and heroic and flawed and human and deserving of peace, of respect, of hope, of life. Of healing. Healing is what Hila Betzaleli's life was about. And Achininoam Nini's as well.
In the end, the efforts to boycott and ban and ostracize Achinoam Nini - the terrible slurs hurled at her in recent days by people who believe that to support Israel is to keep your hand cramped into a fist - have this to teach us: There is no weapon on earth more powerful and more dangerous than the human voice. When a human voice becomes a vessel in the service of change, a lever in the service of good, stand back.

That is why there is so much passion and, often, so little sanity, in efforts to silence it. Something is about to move. And when it does, someone will be threatened.
The hard left and the hard right want you to believe that the true heart of this country is the firebrand with the gun and the gospel and the jones for what is, in deed, someone else's land.
But it is Hila Betzaleli and Achinoam Nini who are the true heart of Israel. This is the heart which needs support and protection and recognition. This is the heart which saves rather than savages. This is the reason that there's still an Israel to love.

Jerusalén. (Efe) - Ahinoam Nini, más conocida fuera de Israel como Noa, es objeto de un boicot en Facebook por haber participado la semana pasada en un acto en recuerdo de víctimas árabes y judías del conflicto de Oriente Medio.

El boicot lo ha emprendido en la popular red social un grupo que le acusa de haber cantado por terroristas en el Día en memoria de los soldados israelíes y las víctimas del terrorismo (Yom Hazicaron, en hebreo), según informa la edición digital del diario Haaretz.

La cantante, según el diario, participó en un acto alternativo que, en lugar de recordar únicamente a las víctimas judías del conflicto palestino-israelí, también rendía homenaje a las víctimas árabes.

"Estoy sencillamente conmocionada por esta distorsión estúpida y desagradable", dice en su página de Facebook la cantante, conocida por sus posturas pacifistas y que en 2010 concursó en Eurovisión con la árabo-israelí Miri Awad con la canción There must be another way (Debe haber otro camino).

"En la ceremonia, judíos y árabes recordaron y lloraron juntos a sus seres queridos que han muerto en la continua guerra entre los dos pueblos", según la artista. "La ceremonia fue conmovedora (..) Fue un ejemplo de unidad, entendimiento, empatía y paz", prosigue la artista, que en un tono provocador alega que, si cualquier árabe es un terrorista, entonces, sí, ha cantado por los terroristas. No obstante, agrega: "Por la misma moneda, cualquier israelí es un asesino. ¡Vamos, que estaba en buena compañía!".

El grupo que exhorta al boicot de la cantante cuenta ya con unos 3.500 seguidores, y en la página se refieren a ella como 'Aji-zevel' y 'Aji-goal', una combinación de su nombre con los términos hebreos 'mierda' y 'repulsiva' respectivamente. También exhortan a una manifestación en el próximo lugar en el que actúe.

Ofer Pesenzon, director artístico de Noa, dijo al diario que lo que más le ha sorprendido es la intensidad, y no el estilo de la protesta. "Dios nos libre, este criticismo viene de la extrema derecha y de gente que no sabe de lo que habla", subrayó. El boicot del grupo israelí se suma al que la cantante debió afrontar hace tres años, esta vez de grupos pro palestinos, en un concierto en Barcelona con motivo de la Diada.

Las protestas la encabezaron entonces medio centenar de activistas de la Plataforma Aturem la Guerra, que protestaba el apoyo que ella había expresado meses antes a la ofensiva israelí en Gaza 'Plomo fundido', en la que murieron unos 1.400 palestinos y 13 israelíes.

En un improvisado discurso en el escenario, Noa lamentó la sangre vertida en Oriente Próximo, defendió el diálogo como solución al conflicto y terminó con una sentida declaración de que su sueño es estar presente y cantar en la firma del tratado de paz entre Israel y Palestina.

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