Good things

On Harry’s Place, Gene. An orchestra from Jenin performs for Holocaust survivors. A new project initiated by prominent figures in Europe and the Muslim world will combat Holocaust denial and emphasise good Muslim-Jewish relations.

UPDATE: Commenters below link to news items reporting that the orchestra from Jenin has been disbanded by the Palestinian Authority as a direct consequence of the performance. More from Ben Cohen.

“Adnan Hindi of the Jenin camp called the Holocaust a “political issue” and accused conductor Wafa Younis of unknowingly dragging the children into a political dispute.”

The lines are being drawn –  it’s peace-makers like Wafa Younis against war-makers like Adnan Hindi. And the Holocaust is used as a bargaining chip again.

25 Responses to “Good things”

  1. Joshua Says:

    PA dismantles W. Bank youth orchestra

    ‘Palestinian authorities disbanded a youth orchestra from a West Bank refugee camp after it played for a group of Holocaust survivors in Israel, a local official said on Sunday.

    Adnan Hindi of the Jenin camp called the Holocaust a “political issue” and accused conductor Wafa Younis of unknowingly dragging the children into a political dispute.

    He added that Younis has been barred from the camp and the apartment where she taught the 13-member Strings of Freedom orchestra has been boarded up. ‘

    http://tinyurl.com/c4codd

  2. Yaniv Says:

    Unfortunately, the Palestinians have dismantled the orchestra since they have participated in a “political event”. The Jewish people holocaust, according to Genin’s refugee’s camp authorities, is a political matter. They have even denied the Orchestra’s director the right to enter the refugee camp.

    http://www.nrg.co.il/online/1/ART1/872/638.html?hp=1&loc=2&tmp=5955

    (currently only in Hebrew)

  3. Susan Says:

    I’m sorry to have to post this article from Ynetnews:

    Jenin orchestra shut down after playing for survivors

    Palestinian official explains youth orchestra disbanded because it played for Holocaust survivors in Israel; refers to Holocaust as ‘political issue’
    Associated Press

    Palestinian officials in a West Bank refugee camp say they have disbanded a youth orchestra after it played for Holocaust survivors in Israel.

    Full Story
    Jenin refugee camp official Adnan Hindi says the 13-member Strings of Freedom orchestra should not have played for the survivors, calling the Holocaust “a political issue.”

    Hindi added Sunday that the conductor has also been barred from entering the camp. Conductor Wafa Younis says she was not informed of the ban.

    The orchestra performed a goodwill concert for elderly survivors in the Israeli town of Holon Wednesday.

    “I feel sympathy for them,” Ali Zeid, an 18-year-old keyboard player said after the concert. He said he was shocked by what he learned about the Holocaust, in which the Nazis killed 6 million Jews in their campaign to wipe out European Jewry.

    “Only people who have been through suffering understand each other,” added Zeid, who said his grandparents were Palestinian refugees forced to flee the northern city of Haifa during the war that followed Israel’s creation in 1948.

  4. Bill Says:

    The Holocaust is a “political” issue because it didn’t happen? or because it involves Jews? or because it was done without the knowledge of the local petty officials so they couldn’t play it to their political advantage.

    Why do I think it’s curtain number 3?

  5. Noga Says:

    I wonder what Daniel Barenboim’s position is on this story?

  6. benw Says:

    Alas, I think this proves the truth of the comments I made here in response to the original posting about the event:

    https://engageonline.wordpress.com/2009/03/27/reconciliation-and-understanding-not-boycotts-and-exclusions/#comments

    Note this comment from the Washington Times article:

    “The move highlights the sensitivity of many Palestinians over acknowledging Jewish suffering, fearing it would weaken their own historical grievances against Israel.”

    i.e. knowledge of the Holocaust is actively suppressed by many (most?) Palestinians because it would demonstrate the falsehood of the narrative of purely evil Jews bringing down the Nakba on the Palestinians.

  7. john Strawson Says:

    “The Holocaust happened, but we are facing a similar massacre by the Jews themselves”

    Adnan Hindi, Head of Jenin Refugee Camp’s Popular Committee, as quoted in the Guardian March 30 2009.

    Holocaust denial by false analogy?

  8. Toby Esterhase Says:

    Yes that is right, though, isn’t it? Have you not heard of the stories of how children in Auschwitz were taught to play musical instruments and then they went on trips to German cities to play for injured veterans of the First World War and to solidarize with them in their suffering?

    Happened all the time.

    Sometiems when the Kapos found out, though, they forbade the orchestra from making such trips outside of Auschwitz in the future.

    • Brian Goldfarb Says:

      Careful, Toby, there are people out there, like johng , John Wight, and even, dare I say, like the Deborahs, who might just believe you, and not, of course, demand documentary evidence for your assertion. Just accept this as truth.

  9. Saul Says:

    This is from another thread, but seems appropriate here

    [to a previous poster]

    Your comment is not cynical, just lacking in sensitivity.

    You state,
    “but now one of the musicians has compared the Holocaust to Jenin” and then follow it with a quote that says nothing whatseover about the Holocaust, but rather talks about “great suffering” (although in the context, that is probably what Zeid is referring to).

    No one here thinks that the Palestinians have not suffered. No one here thinks that the experience of the Holocaust denies or delegitimises people’s or peoples’ experience of their hardships, trials and “great sufferings”.
    No one here thinks that living in a refugee camp for some 60 or so years is not a “great suffering”.
    No one here does not recognise that both Jews and Palestinians and the people who comprise these people have suffered considerably and “greatly”.

    Zeid does not say that casue of the “great suffering” of the Palestinians is the same as the cause of Jews’ great suffering (although I should imagine Zeid does blame the Israelis for it and why not; it may not be the whole truth, but it is a large part of it. (A truth does not deny others’ responsibilities too; from the Brits, the Arab League, etc.).
    Zeid does not say that what the nazis did to the Jews is the same as what Israel is doing to the Palestinians.
    Zeid is not saying that it is because of the Holocaust that Jews/Israelis are doing the same to the Palestinians.

    Zeid is recognising that both people have suffered each in their own way; each of which constitues “great suffering”.

    To think otherwise is to think that in the antisemitic framework that portay Jews as thinking that not only do they have a “monopoly on suffering”, but “use” that “monopoly” to oppress others, to “silence debate”, to “blackmail the world”; that the Jews “great suffering” has inverted into a weapon, or as other less reputable folk call it “the Zionists main card”.

    So, no, Zeid’s comments are not antisemitic in the slightest.

    In their trip to Israel, these teenagers have found that not only the Palestinains, but also the Jews and the Israelis have also suffered greatly.

    One hopes that those who spoke to the players and read this story also learnt the nature of Palestinian suffering.

    A recognition that “great suffering” is shared by many and can come in many different forms is not antisemitic; never has been and never will be.

    That is what Zeid meant in the sentence that,
    “Only people who have been through suffering understand each other” (a view that I think, though poignant is not necessarily the case).

    Reply
    Saul Says:
    March 30, 2009 at 3:50 pm
    n.b. compare Zeid’s comments with those of Adnan Hidni – i.e. the Jenin bureaucrat instrumental in disbanding the orchestra,

    “The Holocaust happened [!], but we are facing a similar massacre by the Jews themselves”.

    [a view immediately contradicted by the alleged substance of the “similarity”,
    “We lost our land and were forced to flee. and we’ve lived in refugee camps for the past fifty years”.]

    The difference between Zeid recognition of Jews’ suffering and the Palestinians and Hindi’s rhetoric is immediate and apparent.

    Moreover, it is the dignity and strength of Zeid’s comments that it confronts Palestinian suffering on its own terms and one that does not fall into the murky trap of Holocaust “soft-denial” not only to make his point; but also to bring that point into even greater relief in its own right.

    Reply

  10. Noga Says:

    “Have you not heard of the stories of how children in Auschwitz …”

    http://transmontanus.blogspot.com/2008/01/photograph-of-year-from-israels-2007.html

    “Na’im El’iam was trying to get home in order to bury his son, who died of a congenital heart defect in Israel’s Tel Hashomer Hospital, after doctors tried to save his life.”

    Commenter:

    “jee, how “humane” and “generous” of his prison guards.Concentration Camp Gaza”

  11. vildechaye Says:

    If you want to see real hate in regard to the orchestra visit, read this, and also check out the comments that follow; it will break your heart:

    http://palestinethinktank.com/2009/03/29/shame-on-us/

    in particular there is a comment by an elderly vancouver island woman who converted to Islam who fancies herself a humanitarian and spews the foulest anti-semitic bile.

  12. Absolute Observer Says:

    I am not surprised.

    I was wondering at what point the analogy would be made between the Jenin orchestra and the camp’s musicians.

    But, let’s be frank here shall we.

    It is no different from the Jacqueline Rose/Caryll Churchill position that Jews have become/are now nazis.

    Perverse isn’t it.

    Having attempted to exterminate the Jews, we are now told by these good, cariing people that it is the antisemites and the nazis that beget the Jews (or, at least the Zionists).

    One can almost see the pictorial image. Maybe the cover for Rose’s next work, a reworking of Angelo’s “Creation of Adam”.

    In place of God, Hitler. In place of Adam, Herzl – Zionists made in the image of their Creator.

    Time to speak out, anyone?

  13. Saul Says:

    Noga,
    But see how that comments were responded to.
    It is also a very powerful image.

  14. mary Says:

    It’s always interesting how people distort facts.

    First of all, every Palestinian has the sacrosanct right to not wish to see their youth instrumentalised for political purposes, whatever that may be, especially as they are aware that they are judged “a priori” as being bad and owing something to the kind Israelis. Including the matter that they will be judged for whatever they do, and they just can’t win.

    Where is the Israeli children’s orchestra coming to acknowledge the suffering of Palestinians in Jenin or in Gaza? We can judge the reactions when we see that day happen, which I don’t believe will ever come. At the most, Israelis do determine which Palestinians are “good” (anti-Hamas) and which are “bad” (pro-Abbas).

    Furthermore, I have read that some of the folks in that public were quite too young to have been in Auschwitz, unborn even. But of course, put a few survivors in, and you have your media event.

    Besides, Arabs have NEVER attempted to exterminate Jews, close them off in concentration camps or exploited them for cheap labour or sympathy. They have been regularly the victims of aggression and occupation by the Jewish State. I would imagine this little fact goes unnoticed in these quarters, so some of this indignation in the audience seems exaggerated. I doubt that anyone’s heart is breaking reading the comments on this or any site. It’s just the daily dose of “paint Palestinians in a bad light” that I am sure many on this board are savouring to the hilt.

  15. Absolute Observer Says:

    “First of all, every Palestinian has the sacrosanct right to not wish to see their youth instrumentalised for political purposes.”

    I adore puns.

    Barenboim’s orchestra plays for peace in Ramallah | World news …22 Aug 2005 … Barenboim’s orchestra plays for peace in Ramallah. This article was first published on guardian.co.uk at 00.14 BST on Monday 22 August 2005. …

    “But of course, put a few survivors in, and you have your media event. ”

    Fuck off!

  16. Absolute Observer Says:

    I suppose it was the evil Zionists who disbanded the orchestra?
    I suppose it was the evil Zionists who boarded up the conductor’s apartment?
    I suppose it is ok to support draconian judgements that deprive 11 – 17 year olds their “sacrosanct right” to develop their talents.

    “Where is the Israeli children’s orchestra coming to acknowledge the suffering of Palestinians in Jenin or in Gaza?”

    Tell you what Mary, why not try and arrange it?
    I am sure the Power to which you are in thrall will say. “Hey, yes, what a great idea”.
    You know nothing, do you Mary?

    You know nothing about the history and politics of the region, of Israel and of Palestine.

    You are an unthinking and uncritical Nationalist.

    You support naked Power and refuse to challenge it.

    In short, you care even less about Palestinians which you patronise.

    You disgust me!

  17. Jonathan Romer Says:

    “It’s always interesting how people distort facts.”

    Isn’t it?

    Mary,

    A concert was played by West Bank Palestinian children led by an Israeli Arab, for an Israeli audience containing many Holocaust survivors, on “Good Deeds Day”. What was the distorted message wrenched out of that news by the devious Zionists?

    Across the Zionist world that act was portrayed as an entirely good thing: A small reaching out by Palestinians to Israelis, an indication that they recognise their humanity, and an opening to be built on toward peace. Is this the “politicisation” you resent on the Palestinians behalf? If you were right that no Israelis have made comparable gestures of humanity and sympathy to the Palestinians — which you are not — would that make these children’s offering less generous, or more? So when some small-minded bigot shuts down the orchestra, who suffers, what is lost, and whose image is harmed?

    Last question: Would it be fair to describe your politics as “knee-jerk”?

  18. Bill Says:

    “It’s always interesting how people distort facts.”

    Yes, Mary, Yes it is interesting. We get that a lot here..

    “First of all, every Palestinian has the sacrosanct right to not wish to see their youth instrumentalised for political purposes.”

    As opposed to training and indoctrinating them into becoming child soldiers with kiddie vid filled with incitement. That’s not serving the cynical political goals of (bad) Hamas or even (good) Fatah when they do it..

    “Besides, Arabs have NEVER attempted to exterminate Jews”

    We’ll that WOUD be a bad idea considering… but Speaking of Google (that’s what AO used to get the dish on the orchestra that you said never happens, and Barenboim has also used both Israelis and Palestinian kids in his performances, go fig.) do look up the (bad?) Hamas charter. Not to mention the broadcasts during Israel’s war of independence warning how they were going to push the Jews into the sea, finish what Hitler started etc…

  19. Absolute Observer Says:

    “Besides, Arabs have NEVER attempted to exterminate Jews, close them off in concentration camps or exploited them for cheap labour or sympathy. They have been regularly the victims of aggression and occupation by the Jewish State.”

    Not sure of the connection here between attempts to exterminate Jews and Jewihs “aggression and occupation”.
    I am aware of the grossly ignorant, who think there was an unmediated link between the Holocaust and the founding of Israel.

    But surely Mary can’t be that stupid. Surely, Mary must have read at least one serious book on the history of Zionism and the founding of Israel.

    “Besides, Arabs have NEVER attempted to exterminate Jews, close them off in concentration camps or exploited them for cheap labour or sympathy.”
    Does anybody know that this means – “cheap labour or sympathy”?

    Is the not so bright Mary saying that the nazis exploited them for “sympathy”? Or, in alleging Israel “exploits” survivors for “sympathy” – the “first the world is blackmailed by live Jews, but not it is blackmailed by dead Jews school of thought – she is confusing nazis and Jews? Nah, can’t be, can it?

  20. Brian Goldfarb Says:

    This is, presumably, the same “Mary” who, several pages ago, said she was going away to read what she had been referred to. She clearly hasn’t read that material, let alone understood, because here she comes with the same old wrong assertions, completely unfounded (no evidence, no argument, no chain of logic), and expects us to roll over with our legs waving gently in the air, so she and her ilk can tickle our tummies – entirely metaphorically speaking, I wouldn’t allow any of them any near _my_ stomach – and is astonsished when we start to disagree, argue and demand evidence.

    Mary should go away and _actually_ read what she said she was going to read all those weeks ago. She should add Benny Morris “1948: The First Arab-Israeli War”, for documented evidence of Bill’s point about pushing the Jews into the sea back in 1947-48. 5 Arab armies couldn’t manage it then, indeed, they lost the war, but that doesn’t stop certain of them or their successors continuing their assertion and demand for an Islamist state from the river to the sea.

  21. Omri Says:

    Actually, Mary, some Arabs DID in fact try to exterminate Jews, round them up in camps, et cetera.

    Haj Amin Al Husseini. Founder of the Palestinian national movement, for one.

    And a participant in the logistics of the Holocaust.

    Look him up.

  22. Susan Says:

    Mary, Husseini was the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem and a personal friend of Hitler. Arab opposition caused the British to close the borders of Israel to Jews when Israel was the only country in the world who wanted Jewish immigration.

    Hadassah, a hospital and a Ziionist organzation treats Palestinians for free even during the Gaza invasion. They have trained Palestinian doctors and nurses.


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