ISRAEL DESPERATELY NEEDS A ROGER WATERS

He is no Roger Waters, the singer who opted to boycott Israel. We and he don’t have a single, brave and honest performer like Waters. Not one.

Israel has no Roger Waters

Those who have attacked, poisoned, uprooted and burned will be coming this evening to applaud Ehud Banai, a singer representing Israel’s heart and soul.

By Gideon Levy

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Pink Floyd co-founder and bass guitarist Roger Waters performs his 'The Wall' live concert in Buchar
Pink Floyd co-founder and bass guitarist Roger Waters performs his ‘The Wall’ live concert in Bucharest, August 28, 2013. Photo by Reuters

There’s a show on tonight. Hundreds will put on their holiday finest, maybe dressing in white. They’ll grab their weapons and kids, and off they’ll go. They’ll park their cars in the parking lot that was especially arranged (without permission, of course) on land owned by the Shraytah family, and in they’ll go to the West Bank site that was once the Palestinian village of Sussia.

Until 1986, it was home to hundreds of residents who lived in caves and niches there. They were expelled by Israel in an “expropriation for public use,” with the administration of the site turned over to the nearby Jewish settlement (also called Sussia) as an additional source of income – “for public use,” of course.

At the rear of the site, the settlers had set up several huts, where the Palestinians became squatters. They were evicted from their new location twice, until the High Court of Justice ruled in 2001 that a “mistake” had been committed. That happens, but the threat of eviction is again hovering over the Palestinians.

Throngs of people will be coming to Sussia this evening. Some will be people who have poisoned Palestinians’ wells, attacked Palestinian shepherds, and uprooted their trees and burned their fields. People from Sussia, the Lucifer farm, the Maon farm, Mitzpeh Yair, Avigayil, Mitzpeh Asahel, and elsewhere. A popular singer will be performing in this violent no-man’s-land, this apartheid district. Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome that performer of strong opinions, Ehud Banai.

Banai was evasive on his Facebook page: “I wanted to come to perform at Sussia despite my views … to convey a message that we should come together in the spirit of the Sukkot holiday,” he wrote.

He apologized to the “residents” – meaning, of course, just the settlers – for his previous, premature notice that his show was being canceled. He had come to an agreement with the head of the local settlement council, Zviki Bar-Hai, that his concert would not take place – “due to the not-good atmosphere that developed around it” – but immediately backed down, for reasons that are not clear.

A resident of the Palestinian village of Sussia, Nasser Nawaj’a, responded to Banai, also on Facebook. “When you perform at the site, Mr. Banai, look around you. You will still be able to see remnants of the village, the caves where we used to live, and the water holes that we drank from.”

Nasser was just 4 when he was evicted from his home, a site that is now the location where Banai will be performing this evening. And for the information of a singer who expressed the wish to bring people together, Banai should know that Nasser’s elderly father, Mohammed, attempted to visit the site. A documentary film immortalized the occasion. The father was expelled by the settlers, to his tearful chagrin.

In his song “Aharei has’ara” (“After the storm”), Banai sang: “Just for one woman / whose home the winds took away / it’s as if time stopped.” He should think about that lyric this evening. And in an entirely different context, Banai once sang, in his song “Zmancha avar” (“Your time has passed”), “We are guests here for the moment / look around / that is not our bus.” And, again in a different context, “Bluz kna’ani” (“Canaanite blues”), he sang about how “hahosheh gover kan” (“darkness is taking over here”).

Darkness is indeed taking over. And this evening it will extend its reach even further. Banai will give the settlers a good time with his music, which, of course, is his prerogative – although he should have boycotted them. The man should have performed somewhere else this evening. In Khirbet Makhoul, in the Jordan Valley, for example, where dozens of Palestinians remain without a roof over their heads after the Israeli army demolished their village. But performing at such a place would never occur to an Israeli singer. Banai could also have performed at Sussia but invited the Palestinians who were evicted from there, in an effort to bring people together. Instead – because he is “opposed to boycotts” – he opted to perform at a Sussia where, as a practical matter, Palestinians are denied admission. He opted to perform there “despite his views,” which remain unknown.

I would have had more respect for him if he had declared allegiance to the right wing. He is no Roger Waters, the singer who opted to boycott Israel. We and he don’t have a single, brave and honest performer like Waters. Not one.

I once met an elderly shepherd, Khalil Nawaj’a, and his wife, Tamam, at Sussia. The two had been attacked twice, by settlers with clubs. I also once saw dead and poisoned sheep in nearby Khirbet Tawani, and also saw a red jeep leave the settlement of Sussia. The occupants of the vehicle stole their olive harvest by force.

Those who have attacked, poisoned, uprooted and burned will be coming this evening to applaud Banai, a singer representing Israel’s heart and soul.

 

 

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4 Comments

  1. September 24, 2013 at 15:33

    […] He is no Roger Waters, the singer who opted to boycott Israel. We and he don't have a single, brave and honest performer like Waters. Not one. Israel has no Roger Waters Those who have attacked, po…  […]

  2. Isaiah said,

    September 24, 2013 at 17:08

    How can Banai represent Israel’s “heart and soul” when it has neither?

  3. Redpossum said,

    September 24, 2013 at 21:02

    Meh, one more fat capitalist pig grunting out cheap excuses while gorging himself at the trough.

  4. September 28, 2013 at 03:47

    […] ISRAEL DESPERATELY NEEDS A ROGER WATERS | Desertpeace […]


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