One of many new materials meant to bring new challenges to old conversations A special…
Questions We Zionists Need to Ask About Noa’s Concert Cancellation And Our Future
So what’s all the hoopla about? Noa is the only leading musician to perform in the historic peace rally where Yitzchak Rabin was murdered. Since then, she’s become Israel’s leading celebrity advocate for the two-state solution. She collaborates with my favorite Palestinian artist, Mira Awad (actress of the Israeli TV show Arab Labor, which you can watch online).
Ironically, it is precisely Noa’s efforts to bring about harmony that spark controversy. In her lending the olive branch, she has done things that irk, or even anger, the hard right, both here and in Israel. I will use the intentionally ambiguous label “hard right” to describe those who opposed Noa’s concert invitation to Adat Shalom.
Why is she a victim of boycott by fellow Zionists? Look to college campuses across the nation and you’ll find a trend of boycotting speakers and performers. Undoubtedly, the anti-Zionist movement often puts us all on the defense. I was on the student government board at Michigan State University when “hard left” anti-Zionists were invited to speak on campus. I sat quietly in the back with other respectful, yet scrutinizing and disapproving audience members.
The discussion topic regarding what Noa has or hasn’t done is moot between oppositional political theorists. The political left will look for the potential good that can come from her “bridge building,” while the political right will see these as potential risks toward securing our homeland. There’s truth to both. It all boils down to how you want to achieve your mission and goals.
Noa’s goal is a two-state solution, as she is attempting to build a pathway of peace between neighbors, a secure Israel and an independent Palestine. Take a moment to envision the steps toward achieving your goals and establishing a two-state solution: What challenges would you face? Given the current obstacles Israel faces, how might Noa’s intentions serve us well?
So here we are at a crossroads where a difference of ideologies exists. Do we accept that the hard right has deemed her anti-Israel, determining any Israeli peacemaker at risk for reprimand? The great Zionist thinkers envisioned complementary and opposing state goals such as secular versus religious, socialist versus practical, amongst others. Is it possible to thrive as a community despite our modern-day differences?
Thus, I strongly believe this intra-faith dialogue should be held outside of the Facebook world — and outside our comfort zone. It’s important to remember that for every opinion, there is an opposite one, and many in between. I have my own points of view, ideas and answers for all these questions, but I want this essay to push the boundaries of an ordinary opinion piece and act as an appeal for critical thinking and mutual understanding.
When we engage in the latter, let’s promise to be mentsh-like. Today, every Zionist is involved in some sort of uphill battle. If we want to protect Zionism, we have to protect each other, all of us.
Ariana Mentzel is a teacher at Congregation Shaarey Zedek, a JCRC/AJC board member and a member of the Jewish News Advisory Board.