One of the nice things about “comments” here is you can learn while contributing. Earlier today, I posted a largely positive note about the two Israeli singers who will compete in Eurovision in May. From the recent New York Times account, we get the impression that Achinoam Nini (Noa) and Mira Awad were being criticized from the left because their appearance (as a Jew and a Christian Arab) constituted “an effort to prettify an ugly situation.”
Alas, thanks to an alert jwn reader (h/t Richard Parker), we discover that Ethan Bronner left out something — that “Noa” recently uncorked some screeds that raise questions about what rail her peace train rides.
Even as Israel’s bombs were “falling down like acid rain” on Gaza (in the words of one Syrian-American singer), Noa on 8 January wrote a long open letter to Palestinians that justified the slaughter. After condemning the “one joint enemy… of fanaticism, of all who who claim “god” as their sword and shield,” she moved to a rabid depiction of Hamas and called for its eradication:
Now I see the ugly head of fanaticism, I see it large and horrid, I see its black eyes and spine-chilling smile, I see blood on its hands and I know one of its many names: Hamas.
You know this too, my brothers. You know this ugly monster. You know it is raping your women and raping the minds of your children. You know it is educating to hatred and death….
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.
So much for finding “a better way.” One self-dubbed Noa fan, Richard Silverstein, on Jan 27th observed that,
The level of sheer condescension and cultural superiority represented by this statement is mind-boggling. It shows that even those who speak out of heart-felt passion and concern can sometimes make fools of themselves. Passion must be informed by judgment and analysis. This Noa lacks. She blames Hamas for all the evils of Palestinian society. She claims she is critical of her own government and society, but whispers not a word about WHY there is poverty, suffering and misery in Gaza.”
After the Israeli blitz on Gaza ended, a more restrained Noa apologized for her “harsh… finger pointing” and said that
“we all brought this catastrophe upon ourselves and now it is our responsibility to do what we can to change it! That means…exchanging negative, violent rhetoric…with a rhetoric of peace, acceptance, dialogue and joint recognition.”
But barely a month later, Noa was back in hasbara mode, attributing the rightward drift of Israeli politics to the:
“INCREDIBLE propaganda spread around the world by the ENORMOUS amount of Anti-Semites and Jew- haters who are bent on destroying Israel. When the Israeli population sees the lies spread around, the hypocrisy of the world who sees Israel as the aggressor rather than a country acting in self defense, a world whose eyes are blind to the killing and the massacres by the MUSLIM fanatics of the Palestinian people… then it is clear that the elections will go right.”
So does that mean that if the world just loved Israel more, then Israel would go “left,” would stop building settlements, would replace the “iron fist” with the dove?
While she was at it, Noa excused Israel’s recent wars with the Nazi card:
Israel was acting in self defense against fanatic, cruel, Nazi-like organizations, the Hamas and Hezbollah, who are holding innocent people captive, Arabs and Jews as one, and using them as human shields in their death-loving Jihad.
Just yesterday, in a commentary worth reading whole, Silverstein laments,
I’m sorry to say that Noa has done a “Benny Morris” on us. Like that New Historian and former progressive who turned against his former liberal beliefs to become as anti-Arab as the most noxious of Israeli politicians, Noa has taken leave of her intellect and her senses.
I’ve got news for Noa: you can’t detest a legitimate representative of the Palestinian people and claim in the same breath that you’re all for peace between Israelis and Palestinians. What you really mean is that you’re all for peace as long as the Palestinians put forward leaders you like. If not, then what are you for? Meaningless platitudes…
…. a canoe without a paddle, an ark that leaks.