Really awsome article on Palestinian children that played a violin concert at a Holocaust survivors center in Holon, Israel (city south of Tel Aviv).
Some good news of the day!

Stephanie :)
Palestinians Serenade Survivors in Israel

Published: March 25, 2009
HOLON, Israel — For just over an hour on Wednesday, a club for elderly Holocaust survivors on a side street in this suburban town south of Tel Aviv came alive with an encounter of an extraordinary kind.

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The New York Times
Many Israelis see Jenin as the capital of suicide bombers.
A youth orchestra came to play for the elderly Israelis, a good turn that might pass in other countries as routine. In this case, though, the entertainers were Palestinians, a group of musicians 12 to 17 years old from the Jenin refugee camp, once a notorious hotbed of militancy and violence in the northern reaches of the West Bank.

Holocaust survivors and descendants of Palestinian refugees from the 1948 war would make bizarre companions at the best of times, but the Jenin camp strikes a particular note of discord.

The capital of suicide bombers to the Israelis and a symbol of resistance to the Palestinians, it was the scene of a bloody battle between advancing Israeli forces and Palestinian gunmen in 2002. Four years later, a young Israeli man from Holon was killed in one of the last suicide attacks in Israel, when a Palestinian from Jenin blew himself up in a restaurant in Tel Aviv.

Adding to the dissonance, one of Jenin’s militant leaders in the second intifada was commonly known as Hitler, a nickname he had answered to since his teens.

Yet for a while on Wednesday, the politics of the conflict were put aside. The youths scratched at their violins and the Holocaust survivors clapped along, trying to keep up with the changing rhythms of the darbouka drums.

“We are here to play,” Wafaa Younis, 51, the Israeli Arab orchestra director, told the rapt audience. “I do not believe in politicians, only musicians and these children.”

Any potential awkwardness may have been dulled by the language barrier — other than Ms. Younis, the Palestinians spoke only Arabic; the survivors only Hebrew and their native European tongues. Each also appeared to have only the sketchiest knowledge about the other side.

Zehava Zelevski, 73, was born in Poland and came to Israel via camps in Germany for displaced people in 1948. Her three brothers were killed during the Second World War. Ms. Zelevski said she knew about the Jenin camp from television and the newspapers, remembering that “all the terrorism came from there.”

One of the young musicians, Qusai Samur, 17, looked blank when asked about the Holocaust. He said he knew only what somebody here had told him — that these people lived alone as children because their parents had been killed.

The event, at the Amcha Center, was organized as part of Israel’s annual Good Deeds Day, an initiative of Shari Arison, a prominent Israeli-American businesswoman and immensely wealthy heiress.

Ms. Arison said in an interview before the concert that she came up with the idea for Good Deeds Day while taking a walk a few years ago. Anybody, whether rich or poor, can help a blind person cross a street, cheer someone up with a smile or help with someone’s shopping bags, she said.

Most of the day’s events are organized by Ruach Tova, an organization of the Arison Group that couples nonprofit groups with volunteers.

Ms. Younis, the orchestra director, had told Ruach Tova that she wanted to bring the Jenin camp youth orchestra, Strings of Freedom, to perform in Israel. Ruach Tova made the match with Amcha, an Israeli association that provides Holocaust survivors with emotional and social support.

The first item in the short concert was a specially composed Arabic song, “We Pray for Peace.” The youths performed it standing, with the seriousness of a funeral dirge. Things livened up a little once the darboukas came out. Ms. Arison, who attended the well-publicized event, was invited to dance.

By the end, it was hard to tell who had done the good deed for whom.

After the concert, Ms. Zelevski, the survivor, said she was “surprised” and “very excited,” seeing things were possible “not by war.” Debating the rights and wrongs of the conflict among themselves, some of the elderly Israelis commented that the Palestinian musicians were “only children” and were not to blame.

The young Palestinians, on a rare trip out of the West Bank, were all smiles. They had performed three times before in the Israeli port city of Haifa, but this was the closest they had come to the Israeli cultural metropolis of Tel Aviv.

Soon, a staff member from the Amcha Center politely asked the orchestra and attendant journalists to vacate the small hall. It was time for the survivors’ exercise class.

Outside, some of the elderly Israelis and the young Palestinians mingled, trying their best to interact.

Ms. Younis, a feisty retired music teacher, appealed for support. She said that an Israeli playwright, Dan Almagor, had donated violins for the Jenin youths, and that the Mormon University in Jerusalem had given other instruments and equipment, but that the orchestra needed more.

“Israel should give them violins,” she said. “We take the pain out of people’s hearts.”

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Basil, my world is far from black and white, and it is filled with tragedies, and genicides are happening as we speak. But , just as you indicated to Mazin "you are not at the moment discussing Zionists", it is my belief that it takes away from these tragedies to mix them. If I was Armenian and every time the genocide was broached somebody jumped in with "what about the Jews in the Holocaust?" I would be very offended. If we're discussing the Holocaust, let's dicuss the Holocaust, if we're discussing Armenians, or Darfur, lets dicuss that, and if we're discussing relative losses in genocides around the world, let's discuss that. I have seen movies about how the Russians were treated, about how gays were treated ... much has been covered. If the Jewish experience holds more fascination for people and they can learn from it so that such things never happen to anybody again, then I say "Bravo". That really is the main reason for raking over it ... to learn how to prevent these things from happening again.

As to the rest, I largely agree with you, Basil. Certainly if you feel not enough has been wrotten about the Roma, and decide to research it and write a book, I would applaud it and probably buy a copy. I have no interest in the Jewish experience predominating ... my only concern is that Jews never forget, because then they fooolishly make themselves vulnerable to it all happening again.
I also found an article about the aftermath of the event on the BBC:

Orchestra shut over holocaust row

The group began their concert with an Arabic song called We Sing For Peace
Local residents have closed down a West Bank children's orchestra after it performed a concert for Holocaust survivors in Israel.
Adnan Hindi, a social leader in the Jenin refugee camp, accused the group's director of "exploiting" the children for political reasons.
Thirteen children travelled to Israel last week to play for an audience which included holocaust survivors .
It was part of the Good Deeds Day event set up by an Israeli billionaire.
Mr Hindi, the head of an organisational committee in the refugee camp, said the concert had overstepped the purely "recreational" remit of the Strings of Freedom orchestra.
'No agenda'
The room in the house of the orchestra's director, Wafa Younis, where the teenagers practiced, has been locked and boarded up, local residents say.
Parents are also said to have stopped their children from participating in the group, saying they were not informed of the nature of the trip to Israel.

If I had known this was a political excursion, I would not have let my son go
Ibrahim Samour
Father of a member of the orchestra
"I have no political agenda," Ms Younis told Reuters news agency, and dismissed the decision to close down the orchestra as "ignorant".
Many members of the audience at the concert in the Israeli town of Horon were surprised to discover the performers were from Jenin, known for brutal fighting between Palestinian militants and Israeli forces in 2002.
And reports from the concert said it was the first time some of the young people had heard about the Holocaust, and seen civilian Israelis, rather than the soldiers they encounter in the West Bank.
"If I had known this was a political excursion, I would not have let my son go," Ibrahim Samour, father of 18-year-old Qusay, who plays the kamanja, a traditional Arab stringed instrument, in the orchestra, told AP news agency.
Neither he nor Mr Hindi deny the fact that some six million Jews were killed by the Nazis.
The need to provide sanctuary for the hundreds of thousands of Jewish refugees is widely seen to have speeded the creation of the state of Israel, which led to a war during which about 700,000 Palestinians fled or were expelled.
"I'm not denying bad things happened to them, but there has to be mutual recognition," said Mr Samour.
Good Deeds Day is an annual event to foster "hope and brotherhood" founded by Israeli billionaire Shari Arison.
"An average man's opinion would be a lot more dangerous if he though of it himself"

Unfortunately for the brainwashed, there are growing realizations among many Jews of the harm Zionism does to Jews ranging from the Nazi-Zionist collaboration and the transfer agreement (see Books by Edwin Black and Lenni Brenner and Naim Giladi) to todays stoking and nurturing of hate by all people because of the war crimes and crimes against humanity directed at the native Palestinians. The light at the end of the tunnel of the failed Zionist project is beginning to shine (see growth in BDS movement and inability to sell the BS that used to sell in the days of mythological novels like "Exodus" and mythological films of conquest and making deserts green). The choice is rather clear either peace with justice (a win win situation) or endless wars tha Israel has started to lose (see Lebanon 2006 and Gaza 2009, lose lose anyway).
Hi everyone!
After reading the several comments about this event, over what should have and should not have had happened a few things came to mind.

1) First-- the event and its consequences have already happened. We can not rewind to what has happened-- we are at the "point of no return" as they say.
Furthermore, I think that we should still honor Wafa Younis (I am not sure if Wafa is a man or a woman), for the initiative that he had done, since it came from the goodwill from his heart.
Think, how many oppurtunities do these Holocaust survivors have to interact with Palestinian children? Probably very slim, and probably too scared to go into the West Bank, via propoganda + not knowing whom to trust (which is really unfortunate). How many oppurtunities would the Palestinian children from the Jenin refugee camp would have the oppurtunity to meet Israelies, other than in combative unit or without their military uniform? Probably pretty slim as well.
Second, if the Palestinian children and their parents had known about this event, would their parents have allowed them to go to Holon in Israel proper to play for the Holocaust survivors? Maybe not (as I feel that some of the parents would think that the government was using the children as political tools).
How about if the Holocaust survivors had known? Maybe several of them would decline too, since unfortunatly, during the Second Intifada, a lot of the Suicide Bombers had come from Jenin (Now of course not all people from Jenin are suicide bombers-- a minute minority-- and the majority of them that did partake in these acts of terror was in reponse/during the Jenin massacre in 2002), and many of them may still have a fear/fixation on what the news said/previous events.
People need to be sensitive, and think about the intentions that people had, and from the good will of their hearts.

Please take a second to think about this

Also, I had posted a few questions before on this thread, and no one seemed to bother to answer them for me (and I tried to research them online, and I did not have any luck! )

1. Who is Adnan Hindi? Is he the director of the Jenin Refugee camp? Is he apart of the PA?

2. What is the status of Wafa Younis? Where is he now? Has he been allowed back into Jenin refugee camp?

Please let me know


If I may be so bold as to offer an analogy of this event and its meaning using different groups.

Over these 60 years, the Palestinians have been brutalized and killed in the tens of thousands, forced from their homes and never allowed to return, had entire Palestinian towns disappear from the map and be resurrected as Jewish towns with Jewish names, enclosed and encroached upon continuously, forced to go through Israeli check points that take so long that almost any trip from any Palestinian town to another two or three miles away takes 5 hours, have had their homes and buildings completely demolished sometimes even with people still inside who obviously die as a result, almost completely forgotten about by the international community, had thousands of them picked up and sent to an Israeli prison, often for years, and very often without any accusation or trial, realized that they can rely on the United States to veto any UN action against Israel, thus ensuring that ALL Israeli crimes committed go unpunished, watched their land in the West Bank being slowly taken over by Israelis with the entire world turning a blind eye to Israeli illegal settlements, saw their family imprisoned for those many years that children are born, grow, and die, without ever seeing anything from another country except the IDF forces aiming guns at them, felt the sheer terror of Israeli gun boats shooting at peaceful fishermen often resulting in extreme bodily harm including murder, felt the sheer terror of Israeli IDF soldiers shooting at them while they tend to their gardens, felt the almost constant Israeli aggression, such as what happened in December and January, knowing full well that Israel will stop when THEY decide, not the international community, told by an Israeli Defense Minister that the Palestinians would receive their very own Holocaust courtesy of Israel, and imprisoned in an apartheid-like hell hole, among other atrocities. THIS is what the average Palestinian thinks almost every day of their lives.

Here's my question (mainly for Americans, though others can jump in), If a private music teacher in the United States takes his/her students to play before al Qaeda or the Taliban without notifying any of the parents, will Americans see it as an "opportunity to bridge the gap" between the US and the terrorists responsible for 9/11?
As an American, I say that is a stupid analogy.

The insurance risk of playing for terrorists is infinitely greater
than the risk of playing for a bunch of senior citizens.
I am also a US citizen. A better analogy is taking some native Americans children off of the reservation without their parent's consent to play to senior citizens who fought in the Indian wars.

I understand your point, but I doubt that there are many Native Americans here, and I suspect that most Americans would find it very difficult to see that situation through the eyes of the indigenous tribes. During that period we were following two "great" policies, the Monroe Doctrine and Manifest Destiny. These are still studied today in US schools as being viable, correct policies of the US government at the time.

The Monroe Doctrine has been cited many times as the reason the US invaded other countries, even will into the 20th Century:
"In 1954, Secretary of State John Foster Dulles evoked the Monroe Doctrine at the Tenth Inter-American Conference, denouncing the intervention of Soviet Communism in Guatemala. This was used to justify Operation PBSUCCESS. U.S. President John F. Kennedy said at an August 29, 1962 news conference: The Monroe Doctrine means what it has meant since President Monroe and John Quincy Adams enunciated it, and that is that we would oppose a foreign power extending its power to the Western Hemisphere, and that is why we oppose what is happening in Cuba today. That is why we have cut off our trade. That is why we worked in the OAS and in other ways to isolate the Communist menace in Cuba. That is why we will continue to give a good deal of our effort and attention to it."

And Manifest Destiny was a policy of bringing ALL the areas between the two great oceans under American rule. Basically, "Manifest Destiny is the historical belief that the United States is destined, even divinely ordained,[1] to expand across the North American continent, from the Atlantic seaboard to the Pacific Ocean. Sometimes Manifest Destiny was interpreted so widely as to include the eventual absorption of all North America: Canada, Mexico, Cuba and Central America. Advocates of Manifest Destiny believed that expansion was not only good, but that it was obvious ("manifest") and certain ("destiny"). Originally a political catch phrase of the 19th century, "Manifest Destiny" eventually became a standard historical term, sometimes used as a synonym for the expansion of the United States across the North American continent which the belief inspired or was used to justify."

I don't think many Americans can completely disregard what they've been taught as good and just policies and put themselves in the mindset of the Native Americans who we were slaughtering right and left. It is one of the biggest genocidal events in mankind's history. The Native American population in the US area went from at least 12 million before the arrival of Europeans, to around 250,000 by the beginning of the 20th Century. I don't know too many Americans who really understand that aspect of our history.

You miss the point by a mile. This has absolutely nothing to do with security nor safety. I don't know why you are skirting the issue, but the comparison is very valid. I have given what I think goes through the minds of every Palestinian every day from birth to death.

And you balk at security???

Are you saying that it's a stupid analogy because it portrays Palestinians as human beings and not just one-dimensional aftermaths of MSM stories praising the Israelis?? You have that much contempt for all Palestinians that you wouldn't even address the message??

That's sad. I know that in the US media, Israel is ALWAYS the good guy and the Palestinians are ALWAYS the bad guy, but I was hoping that at least some Americans out there could see through the propaganda spin by the MSM and look at reality on the ground for both sides.

Do all Americans think of all Palestinians as one-dimensional cardboard cutouts of human beings who can only do wrong??
Hi Toeg.
You composed a good arguement.
But I feel that your analogy of the Palestinian playing for the Holocaust survivors to the American Children playing for Al Qaeda is a little bit skewed.
I am saying this since al Qaeda and the Taliban are terrorist groups, and who knows what they would do to the kids. (So it makes sense as to why Yigal brings up security as an issue- I probably would not feel comfortable being in the same room with someone from Al Qaeda).
The Holocaust survivors were ordinary people, that the Palestinian children played for.
Well you could argue an analogy, I feel that using the Al Qaeda + Taliban is weak, and innapropriate (comparing Holocaust survivors to terrorists).

I think Mazin illustrates a more appropriate analogy.

Also, I am Native American as well, and I know that are a few other members that are Native American (or indigenous to the Americas).

Thanks for your response. I will admit immediately that I am not Muslim, nor am I Palestinian. However, I have had the chance to know some very wonderful Palestinians and many Muslims from all over the world. Obviously, we speak often of the Near East. What I original wrote in describing the average mind of a Palestinian has come from these sources. I would like to see if many Palestinians DON'T think that way. I find it rather hard NOT to think of those tragedies especially if your father, or grandfather was kicked out of his home, perhaps shot dead in front of you or your father. Those memories linger. To this day we see dozens of commemorations about the Holocaust , and we see hundreds of millions of dollars in reparations being sent out to the survivors and/or their relatives.

Time and again my Palestinian friends would cry uncontrollably as they tell me how their family was killed in front of them, how their school was bombed, or how their next door neighbor was rudely treated by the IDF while using their home as a "strategic location." I know myself that I would think twice about someone who sent my children WITHOUT MY CONSENT to a place I may have not wanted them to be.

The analogy is valid on many different levels. Reread what I originally wrote. Are you going to say that it's not true, or that it's so trivial that no one thinks about their family's deaths anymore? In fact, my analogy only falls away in that what happened on 9/11 was a one time deal. 8 years later, absolutely no American is being harmed by these groups inside the US. BUT, after more than 60 years, Almost ALL Palestinians still suffer. Please don't tell me that you minimize their suffering, or feel that the newborn, the babies, the young children, the students, the mothers, all deserve to die, so we can't weep for them. What's going on in Gaza and the West Bank is horrific and has been for over 60 years. I defy anyone to go through the same thing and 60 years later say, "Oh, it's okay. Most of my family's dead and I live in squalor and misery, but I hold no ill will against anyone."

Why is it so hard to see this from the Palestinian point of view. Does no one care that they were recently slaughtered?? Does no one care that their mosques, hospitals, schools and even international organizations like the UN were also bombed? Do people here really believe it's normal to use White Phosphorous on civilians?? Telling people to go inside their house and then bombing it isn't a crime???

You say "the Holocausts were ordinary people." What are the Palestinians Satan incarnate?? Your analogy is confusing. I think the Palestinians are human beings who have been wronged, sorry. I didn't realize that was such a novel idea here.



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