Thursday, February 26, 2009

Noa and Mira Give Peace A Chance

This year's Israelis at Eurovision are Achinoam Nini, also known to her fans simply as Noa, and Mira Awad. That's the two of them on the right. Aren't they cute?
I am a longtime Noa fan. Mira I only heard of recently, when she made a splash in Israel starring in a popular sitcom about an Israeli Arab family. The pair of them are going to Eurovision, where they plan to sing in Hebrew, Arabic and English..and not everyone happy about it.
I grant you, it may seem a little kitschy (Awad suggested 'cynical') to send a Jewish and an Arab singer to represent Israel at Eurovision, but then again, what could better represent Israel? I usually don't do well with cutesy 'peace gestures', but somehow, this duo singing the Beatles' "We Can Work It Out" just seems genuinely hopeful and heartfelt to me, in a way that this kind of thing usually doesn't.

Awad has come under attack by other Arab entertainers, in and out of Israel, who feel that going to Moscow for Eurovision represents a false image of Israel. A petition aimed at the duo states

"The Israeli government is sending the two of you to Moscow as part of its
propaganda machine, which is trying to create the appearance of Jewish-Arab
'coexistence' under which it carries out the daily massacre of Palestinian
Part of the tension about this seems to come from events surrounding a fundraiser for humanitarian aid for Gaza. Noa and Mira were going to perform, but were asked to withdraw, because of a letter Noa published during the last days of Operation Cast Lead, reading in part:

"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.

"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."

Noa's website shows a range of causes that she supports, which range from MEMRI to Rabbis for Human Rights--my kind of gal, in other words. I think she and Mira will do Israel proud at Eurovision.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Zionists and the BART Police

Last week, the juniors at my school had a retreat.

When they emerged at the end of the day, I asked if they had enjoyed themselves. The kids I talked to were rather subdued, and said it was OK, but emotionally wearing.

When I checked with one of their teachers about what had happened at the retreat, she mentioned that they had one speaker who talked about gang violence, one who talked about human trafficking and, wait for it, a Palestinian activist who discussed 'what's happening over there'.

I did a small flinch, but assumed that whoever it was, it was someone fairly reasonable, and dismissed it from my mind.

Today I was talking to one of our administrators who says it was a fiasco. He quotes the speaker as saying, among many other things, that 'the people who killed Oscar Grant' trained in the same place as 'the Zionist army'.

Gently banging head against wall.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Things I Love About Catholic High Schools #106

As you walk to the library to meet with your after-school study group, you encounter a sturdy young man, wearing khakis and a school polo shirt. He is also wearing a Roman-style infantry helmet, and bearing a very large wooden cross over one shoulder.

"Ah," one says to oneself. "The Mystery Players are practicing in the cafeteria again. It must be spring."