Officials at the Haifa port seized a shipment of thousands of plush dolls with raised hands holding toy rocks.
The shipment, from the United Arab Emirates, was on its way to the Palestinian Authority, according to the Times of Israel. The shipment’s paperwork said it was carrying clothing, rugs and plastic products.
The dolls are clad in keffiyehs, and they’re wearing scarves with the Palestinian colors, a picture of the Dome of the Rock, and the words “Jerusalem is ours” and “Jerusalem, we are coming.”
Port officials believe the dolls are part of a campaign to incite to violence and are conducting an investigation into the shipment.
“The customs authority continues its daily work in preventing smuggling, with a focus on smuggling weapons and preventing the infiltration of inciting material, especially at this time,” said Kobi Yahav, the director of customs at Haifa port, according to the Times of Israel.
A few weeks ago, we introduced you to eight Israeli bands worth listening to right now. However, in our listening escapades, we also found a number of bands from the region with multicultural members that are using music to help aid in communication, share peace-building techniques, and entertain and inspire across geographic and political lines. Members of these groups, many of which have both Israeli and Palestinian members, have chosen collaboration over destruction, art over war in order to address the complicated current events plaguing the Middle East right now.
Here are four bands from the Holy Land building peace through music. Check them out:
1. Diwan Saz
This multicultural group of musicians fluctuates in size from seven to 10 members who come from Jewish, Muslim, Christian, and Bedouin backgrounds. The band, based in north-central Yodefat, Israel, performs the ancient music of these diverse cultures and sings in Hebrew, Arabic, Aramaic, Turkish, and Persian in order to promote “peaceful dialogue through music,” as they say. Diwan Saz performed at South by Southwest this year and finished a tour throughout a North American in March. Currently, the group is crowd-funding a new album.
Watch “Fidayda” here:
Learn more here.
The primary goal for non-profit organization Heartbeat: Amplifying Youth Voices is to unite Israeli and Palestinian youth (aged 14-24 years old) through music. Founded by Maryland-native Aaron Shneyer in 2007 as part of a mtvU Fulbright, the program has reached more than 100 young musicians of both backgrounds through retreats, workshops, camps, field trips, and local and international performances. Heartbeat students learn music theory, improvisation techniques, and songwriting skills, combining them all to write original music. The Heartbeat touring ensemble takes these tunes on the road, representing a band of both Israelis and Palestinians who sing, perform, and discuss current events in peaceful co-existence. The band just returned from its fourth U.S. tour.
Watch their tour video here:
Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder also recently announced that all proceeds from his cover of John Lennon’s “Imagine” will be donated to Heartbeat. Download “Imagine” here.
Learn more here.
3. Bint el Funk
Self-described as “Yemen Funk,” this Jerusalem-based musical collective is led by Yemenite-Jewish singer Shiran Karny. The band, anchored by a heavy section of trumpets, trombones, and saxophones, performs both original songs and reimagined traditional tunes in Yemenite, Hebrew, Arabic, and English. They bring up-tempo, danceable tunes to both festivals and local clubs across Israel in an effort to blend musical genres and cultural origins. And just last week, Bint el Funk played a TEDxJerusalem event.
Watch “MUJIK” here:
Learn more here.
4. System Ali
This hip-hop group got its start in a bomb shelter in Jaffa in 2006. With rappers, singers, and instrumentalists who include Arabic Muslims, Jewish Israelis, Russians, and a female Palestinian (who has a burgeoning solo career of her own), the multilingual ensemble address issues of political relevance in Arabic, Hebrew, Yiddish, Russian, and English and often draws comparisons to the Wu-Tang Clan and Gogol Bordello.
Watch “War” here:
Learn more here.
Someone in the Clickhole (The Onion’s Buzzfeed-like equivalent) offices woke up yesterday morning with the most glorious of ideas: What better way to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict than through Facebook comments?
And so, the following message was posted to social media: “Want to argue about Israel and Palestine? Have at it in the comments!”
As you know, the conflict is a subject we deal with often. And well, when people have at it on our page, they really have at it — sometimes, it ain’t so pretty. Which is maybe why fellow Jewish publication Tablet has decided to charge people to comment.
But on Clickhole, the whole experience is kind of cathartic. I’m not sure whether I should thank their expert curation or if Clickhole Facebook users are just way more more respectful (unlikely), but the whole thing makes for a real enjoyable read (with the occasional inevitable troll). My husband and I lay in bed last night with our laptop, laughing our heads off at a subject that causes so many fraught and frustrating discussions in our day-to-day life. So, thank you Clickhole, for that precious gift.
Here are some choice comments:
Queen Bey, meet Bibi.
A J Street campaign called “Put a Border on It” is applying Beyonce’s admittedly flawless rhetoric to the Israeli Palestinian conflict.
The organization has been tweeting out a poster advertising their petition calling on Benjamin Netanyahu to halt settlement expansion in the West Bank. The slogan plays on the chorus from “All the Single Ladies” which goes “if you like it then you should have put a ring on it,” replacing it with “if you like it you should have put a border on it.”
“Countries should only build within their recognized borders,” the petition reads. “Instead of announcing new settlements, Israel should announce its commitment to peace: offer a serious proposal for a secure border between Israel and Palestine, recognized by the entire world. Israel needs peace; the Palestinians need a state. It’s time to put a border on it.”
Tell @IsraeliPM: If you like it, you should put a border on it. http://t.co/QBodUKKA2i #BorderOnIt pic.twitter.com/2MsbHwLBew — Put a border on it (@BorderOnIt) September 28, 2014
In case you felt the need to sing along, they’ve also helpfully provided appropriate lyrics.
♫ Don't play shocked when Abbas goes to the UN for it. ♫ ♫ If you like it then you should put a #BorderOnIt http://t.co/NmGMHTKQFx ♫ — Put a border on it (@BorderOnIt) September 29, 2014
Everyone seems to be divided over Gaza — One Direction has all but lost its identity over the issue. And the media is no exception.
In a segment on The Colbert Report devoted to the conflict, Stephen Colbert lamented the current state of affairs.
“This conflict in Israel has been going on for — What is today? July 31?” He paused. “3,000 years.”
Colbert then went on to outline the accusations of a pro-Israel slant in the media, showing clips of interviewees criticizing the prevalence of Benjamin Netanyahu on American television screens.
“I never see one Palestinian being interviewed,” said Rula Jebreal, MSNBC contributor, in one clip.
Colbert dead-panned that he hasn’t noticed any pro-Israel bias in the media — and mocked CNN’s Wolf Blitzer for reporting from the “Situation Kibbutz,” rather than the “Situation Room.”
On the other hand, all images of dead bodies and destroyed buildings abound — the real anti-Israel bias, according to Colbert. After all, “We all know whoever has the most dead bodies wins.”
Colbert then tried to report on the conflict without any bias, and predictably couldn’t get any words past the censor.
Well, except the comment: “The entire situation is f***|ing BS.”
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