Turns out the dabke is an Israeli dance, according to The New York Times

Israel/Palestine
on 51 Comments

The English invented curry and paisley, right?

The dabke (or debka) is an Arab dance. I’ve seen Arabs dancing it in several countries. Zvi Gotheiner is an Israeli-born choreographer in New York. He has a dance called the “Dabke,” and the New York Times has given his dabke a lot of ink over the last year or so.

June 3, 2012 in the Times:

The dabke is a line dance of the Levant. At weddings in Jordan, Lebanon and Syria, people link up arm to shoulder or hand in hand and stomp out rhythms and patterns. Israelis, so often at odds with their neighbors, also have a version. Dances are easier to share than territory.

The Times again, June 19, 2013:

The dabke is a line dance, traditionally for men only, often performed at weddings and celebrations in Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, Israel and the Palestinian territories. But it is just Mr. Gotheiner’s starting point. Music makes people dance communally, and the sense of community in “Dabke” is so strong that at times we feel that we are on a kibbutz.

The Times August 1, 2013, in dance listings:

ZviDance (Saturday) Inspired by the Arab Spring, the Israeli-born, New York-based choreographer Zvi Gotheiner created “Dabke,” named for the traditional, celebratory line dance performed at Muslim weddings in the Middle East. (The title means “stomping the ground” in Arabic.) A free class in Lebanese dabke and its Israeli offshoot, debka, precedes this Lincoln Center Out of Doors performance, which is a split bill with El Gusto, the recently reunited Algerian band of Muslim and Jewish musicians.

Hasbara: First we made the desert bloom. Then we invented hummus. Then we came up with an amazing line dance. Thanks to Helen Schiff.

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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51 Responses

  1. Donald
    August 4, 2013, 5:25 pm

    Phil, I’m a little puzzled here. The NYT isn’t claiming that the Israelis invented this dance. The last story even explicitly talks about “the Israeli offshoot”. (I never followed the great hummus controversy with the attention it no doubt deserved, no doubt because I’m too busy eating the stuff, but have heard the desert bloom silliness, including from a friend of mine once. I’m not seeing how this story fits in with those.)

    • Dutch
      August 4, 2013, 6:10 pm

      Donald, I don’t think Phil is saying that the NYT claims the dance ‘originated’ in Israel, but that it ‘suddenly became an Israeli dance’. If you look at the three reports we can expect the next one to claim what you believe Phil is saying already.

      The heading for this soon to be published claim: Thanks to the Nakba we now dance the Debka.

    • eGuard
      August 4, 2013, 6:20 pm

      Well, the last quote simply says: Inspired by the Arab Spring, the Israeli-born, New York-based choreographer Zvi Gotheiner created “Dabke,”

      So yes right Gotheiner created it, straight from the Arab Spring. You see, the Arabs (or Muslims: when or why would NYT know the difference?) only invented it themselves two years ago.

      Also you might notice how, in three quotes in one year, “Israel” is squeezed in. Quote #1 does not even mention Palestine. NYT writing “Levant” in quote #1, because writing “Muslims in the Middle East” absolutely would have required mentioning Israel.

  2. piotr
    August 4, 2013, 6:18 pm

    I guess that the reverse of “cultural imperialism” is worse. Shortly after the battle that saved Vienna from being conquered by the Ottomans, Viennese bakers invented crescent shaped pastry to commemorate the victory. When an Austrian princess became a queen of France, croissants became and remained popular in France, and since the episode of French rule, also in Syria. Now Muslim fundamentalists in Syria try to outlaw that decadent anti-Muslim pastry.

    By the way, croissants were also noticed by the Israeli theocrats. Starting this year, the parve and non-parve filling should be indicated by curved and straight shape (I do not remember which is which).

  3. Katie Miranda
    August 4, 2013, 7:13 pm

    Don’t forget the kefiyya yisraelit: link to jewschool.com

  4. Mayhem
    August 4, 2013, 8:44 pm

    Weiss miscuing in public once again. Some guy has created a dance which he has called “Dabke” and that is too much for Weiss. Notwithstanding Weiss’ grumblings let’s recall the expression “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery” at times like this.

    • Inanna
      August 5, 2013, 6:54 am

      It’s not imitation, it’s cultural appropriation. It’s fine when Americans take pizza and pasta and make something out of it that your average Italian would shake his/her head it – the US is not busy repressing and occupying Italians. But in this case Israel is busy repressing and occupying Palestinians so it’s understandable Palestinians would be pissed. Not to mention that calling his show ‘Dabke’ is incredibly arrogant. It’s like creating a show called ‘Ballet’. Noone would dare to do it since it’s incredibly presumptuous to think that you can capture Ballet or Dabke is one show. But then I guess that people like the Israelis who have stolen a land and massacred or ethnically cleansed its people, having the chutzpah to give the name of entire art form to a show is to be expected.

      • Walid
        August 5, 2013, 7:29 am

        Speaking of cultural appropriation (or cultural repression), what to say about Israel preventing Palestinians from harvesting the wild za’atar.

        Remembering Jeff Kline’s piece on this subject from June 2011:

        link to mondoweiss.net

        Zionist concern for the pristine natural environment is highly selective, in any case. Altering the original landscape and destroying the indigenous flora for agricultural development – or more likely in recent years for real estate speculation – has been a relentless practice since the earliest days of Jewish colonization in Palestine. Of course, most of the country was never a “desert” and the Zionists did not make it bloom.

        The obsession with “tree planting” has long been a means to lay claim to the land and remove the original inhabitants of Palestine. Pennies collected by the children of Diaspora Jews for the Jewish National Fund more often than not went to plant fast-growing pine or eucalyptus trees over the ruins of Arab villages or to forest hillsides with non-native species in a manner that did violence to the indigenous eco-systems but “redeemed” the landscape for the Zionist colonizers. One result was the devastating series of forest fires that scorched thousands of square kilometers in the Galilee last year.

      • hophmi
        August 5, 2013, 10:55 am

        “It’s not imitation, it’s cultural appropriation.”

        Which is called art everywhere else but the pro-Palestinian community.

        ” But in this case Israel is busy repressing and occupying Palestinians so it’s understandable Palestinians would be pissed.”

        It’s not exclusively a Palestinian dance. It’s an Arab dance. Israel is not oppressing the entire Arab world.

        ” Not to mention that calling his show ‘Dabke’ is incredibly arrogant. ”

        You know what’s incredible arrogant? Telling a Jew that he can’t dance an Arab dance until there’s peace in the Middle East.

        “It’s like creating a show called ‘Ballet’. ”

        No, it’s like creating a show called “Hora” or “Mazurka” or “Waltz” or “Tarantella.”

        “Noone would dare to do it since it’s incredibly presumptuous to think that you can capture Ballet or Dabke is one show.”

        Since no one claimed that the entire show captures all of Dabke, I have no clue what you’re referring to.

        “But then I guess that people like the Israelis”

        I guess people like the Jews, people like the Arabs, people like the Russians, people like the . . . . .”

        Stop hating.

      • Walid
        August 5, 2013, 12:38 pm

        “Stop hating.”

        If by now you still haven’t understood why there is so much hate, you never will.

      • Inanna
        August 5, 2013, 7:20 pm

        It started with thousands massacred, hundreds of thousands ethnically cleansed and having their lands and homes and country stolen from them. Where did the hate come from hophmi? It came from the Jews and Israelis who kicked out the Palestinians and continue to repress them to this day. The projection of hate by zionists like you who are the ones who condone hate and death and theft is what needs to stop.

  5. tokyobk
    August 4, 2013, 9:21 pm

    It would be Hasbara if it was appropriated without acknowledgment and made to seem as part of a sui generis miracle in contrast to a nonexistent or inferior Arab landscape.

    Looking for cultural purities (in the colonizer and in the native) is not only fanciful but simplistic and always in the service of a static and conservative world view. Food is the most appropriated and reinvented. Curry did change to what we know it as now because of its export to England and a world demand and ingredients from all over the world, not just Indus Valley. You can find California Rolls on the menu of traditional Japanese sushi restaurants now, (sushi being a Mekong Delta originality btw but don’t tell a Japanese nationalist this.)

    • Inanna
      August 4, 2013, 11:07 pm

      Wrong. It’s hasbara because it’s news when an Israeli does it.

  6. RoHa
    August 4, 2013, 10:07 pm

    Chicken tikka masala is now as British as fish and chips. It is not clear whether or not it was invented in Glasgow, though this is widely claimed.

    British supermarkets sell chicken tikka pizza. In the US there are pizzas with Mexican toppings, and here in Australia we have Thai chicken pizza.

    I use these as metaphors for the type of integrated society I want to see, as distinct from societies with separate “cultural” “communities”. Then I eat the pizza.

  7. thankgodimatheist
    August 4, 2013, 11:22 pm

    “celebratory line dance performed at Muslim weddings in the Middle East.”

    It has no religious significance, ye ignorant. It’s also routinely performed by each and every creed and faith in the region. Every one!

  8. ToivoS
    August 5, 2013, 2:02 am

    I recall doing this dance when I was a student at Berkeley. This was a folk dance club and it was described as a Turkish dance. I think this is a positive development. It means that that the Israelis are becoming integrated into Mid Eastern culture. It is really silly to see them claim that traditional Palestinian cuisine is Israeli but it is a sign that at some level Israeli Jews can be one with their neighbors. All of those European immigrants are slowly becoming part of that culture. Hopefully the process can continue peacefully without some horrible war.

    I recall from reading the history of the crusades that something similar happened. In one book I was reading there was a long quote from a French monk that visited the Kingdom of Jerusalem about 100 years after the initial conquest. He noted in his diary how the native Crusaders had become almost indistinguishable from the native people — they looked the same, they ate the same food and adopted many local mannerisms. Of course, that is not a precedent that we would wish for the Israelis since it was only another generation or so that those European Crusaders suffered a terrible military defeat and most ended up fleeing back to Europe (except for those that didn’t and either converted or blended into the Christian communities that were welcomed by the new Muslin overloards).

    • Elliot
      August 5, 2013, 8:52 am

      @ToivoS
      ” It is really silly to see them claim that traditional Palestinian cuisine is Israeli but it is a sign that at some level Israeli Jews can be one with their neighbors. All of those European immigrants are slowly becoming part of that culture.”

      One of my favorite places to eat is a popular Jordanian restaurant. Cheap, plentiful, tasty fare. And I’m not the only one. This is where I run into lots of Jews I know. Socially, it serves the social function of the Jewish delis of older Jews. When Jews and Jewish institutions cater an “Israeli” event, they often get the food from this restaurant.
      I agree with you that this is more than just cultural appropriation. There is a desire to be close to Arab culture and a possible openness to more than that. (Arguably, that has always been the case, starting with the early Zionists.) The appropriation of Palestinian culture by Israel and Jews can serve as a bridge. After all, if Jews needed their Palestinian food to be Jewish, they would go to an Israeli restaurant (btw, the two that I know of are owned by Arab Jews).
      I’d love to learn more about the cultural context of Palestinian culture, like Taxi’s post about Debka in Lebanese villages and the Joe Klein article about Za’atar.

  9. yrn
    August 5, 2013, 2:39 am

    As Usual I am amused……..
    what level. what intellect amazing, reading the comments on such an issue is lot’s of fun.
    Phil Next time Israeli’s invented the “Hamsin……..” no need for air condition.

    • Walid
      August 5, 2013, 5:12 am

      “Phil Next time Israeli’s invented the “Hamsin……..” no need for air condition.”

      I wish you guys would get it right; the word is “khamsin” and not “hamsin” it’s the opposite for “Hamas” that you keep mispronouncing as “Khamas”. The khamsin is very windy, dusty and hot, so you definitely need air conditioning for it.

      • Shmuel
        August 5, 2013, 5:49 am

        I wish you guys would get it right; the word is “khamsin” and not “hamsin”

        Pronunciation aside, although the Hebrew word hamsin does derive from the Arabic, the Hebrew cognate of khamseen (the number 50) is actually written with a , not a kh.

        Hamas is written in Hebrew with (and jives nicely to Israeli ears with the Biblical word ḥamas – theft, wickedness), but standard spoken Israeli Hebrew (as you’ve realised by now), which is a mixture of traditional Ashkenazi and Mizrahi pronunciation, does not distinguish between the two letters. Hence, khamas, khizballah, khumus, khamsin, khevron, khanuka, etc. — although English transliteration often reflects orthography rather than pronunciation.

      • Walid
        August 5, 2013, 6:40 am

        Thanks for the insight, Shmuel. This throws us back to the khamsa amulet that is meaningful to both Jews and Muslims. There is so much in common but I have to admit that most of it has been borrowed from the Jews.

      • Shmuel
        August 5, 2013, 7:13 am

        This throws us back to the khamsa amulet

        Written ḥamsa in Hebrew :-)

        I was surprised to discover that “brother” is written “akh” in Arabic, as it is written aḥ in Hebrew. This results in some over-correction in current Israeli slang, which sometimes uses the Arabic akhuy (my brother) in place of the Hebrew aḥi as a general term of endearment between men — but pronounces it aḥuy!

      • Walid
        August 5, 2013, 9:33 am

        Shmuel, “akhuy” is colloquial Palestinian for “my brother”. Classical Arabic for “my brother” is “akhi”. This takes us back to your “ahi”.

      • Taxi
        August 5, 2013, 9:40 am

        “There is so much in common but I have to admit that most of it has been borrowed from the Jews.”

        There is practically very little “in common” between Arabs and euro jews. Hebrew and Arabic are off-shoots of Aramaic – some Arabic and Hebrew words resemble each other because of their common Aramaic roots. There are few Hebrew words in Arabic, and there are also few Arabic words in Hebrew. But, “most of it has been borrowed from the Jews”? Nah, not at all, Walid.

      • Shmuel
        August 5, 2013, 10:25 am

        Hebrew and Arabic are off-shoots of Aramaic

        Ugaritic? Akkadian? Canaanite? Arabic and Hebrew (and Aramaic) are believed to derive from a hypothetical “proto-Semitic” language. They have a lot in common, but not as much as say Hebrew and Phoenician (or Judaeo-Aramaic).

        I don’t know exactly what Walid was referring to (if it was just the khamsa/hamsa symbol, I don’t think that was “originally” Jewish either, although I could be wrong), but Hebrew was greatly influenced by Arabic in the Middle Ages — affecting e.g. grammar, poetry and philosophical and scientific vocabulary (just as Hebrew was greatly influenced by Greek in the early centuries CE). It stands to reason that a minority language/culture would absorb far more from the dominant language/culture than vice versa, but that is not to say that the relationship is entirely unidirectional.

      • Shmuel
        August 5, 2013, 10:32 am

        “akhuy” is colloquial Palestinian for “my brother”.

        That’s the only Arabic I’ve studied, I’m afraid. As a Hebrew-speaker, I had a huge advantage over my fellow students, and my teacher (a Palestinian) said that he had picked up Hebrew in a flash.

        Something else I found interesting is that the Israeli currency, which is written with a q in Hebrew, is pronounced with a k in Palestinian Arabic — as per standard Israeli pronunciation.

      • Walid
        August 5, 2013, 12:17 pm

        Taxi, it wasn’t just the amulet. I was thinking of the language and mostly about religion. During the first 20 or so years of Islam, the faithful prayed 3 times a day facing Jerusalem. Before the Ramadan fasting was instituted, Muslims fasted with the Jews and celebrated some of their holidays with them, such as the 10 days of repentence, the Ashura (still celebrated by some Sunnis in Pakistan), and Yom Kippur.

      • Walid
        August 5, 2013, 12:21 pm

        Shmuel, you are right about most of these customs predating Judaism. Still, the copying by the Muslims was of Jewish customs, that of course had been copied from elsewhere.

      • thankgodimatheist
        August 5, 2013, 8:38 pm

        “ḥamsa”

        This dot under the h that I thought was a speck of dirt on my screen, I tried to wipe it off quite a few times before I gave up.

      • Taxi
        August 5, 2013, 5:52 am

        How can you tell that the stranger you’re chatting with at a cocktail party is a zionist?

        Just ask them to say ‘Hamas’.

        All zionists have a speech impediment that compels them to say khkhkhkhkhkhkhamas instead of Hamas.

      • Elliot
        August 5, 2013, 7:25 am

        …also the cocktail party dip: khkhoomus.

      • yrn
        August 5, 2013, 10:01 am

        Elliot

        Do you have this speech impediment issue khkhkhkhkhkhk………

        Or not, because you are not Zionist

      • Taxi
        August 5, 2013, 11:40 am

        You have more than just a “speech impediment”, yrn. In the cognitive department. And in the moral department, for sure.

        You do know that racist colonialism is immoral, right? Yet YOU do it, no problem. What else should we make of your despicable lifestyle?

      • Elliot
        August 5, 2013, 12:25 pm

        @yrn – when I order humus at an Arab restaurant in the US, I do so in American. The American soft ‘h’ is closer to the Arabic than the Ashkenazi ‘kh’. It is amusing to see an Israeli ordering “khoomoos” . The Palestinian cashier repeats the order as “humus”.
        I once mentioned a Palestinian by the name of Hanania (pronounced ha-na-NEE-ya) to an Israeli relative. He replied: ” ah, kha-NAN-ya”. Israelis do this all the time. And Zionist ideology planned the appropriation of Palestinian culture and language. How many times did I hear a tour guide on one of the mandatory high school three day hikes (“tiyul shnatee”) identify an Arab village with a Biblical Hebrew cognate.
        This stuff must be amusing or maddening to an Arab (or someone like Taxi who lives in an Arab environment) depending on how their day is going.
        And yes, the same goes for a White USian appropriating Black culture (or similar) in the context of a collective crushing dominant/minority relationship.

      • yrn
        August 5, 2013, 1:47 pm

        Elliot

        I am sure you have never been to Israel……
        Brooklyn is not Israel Elliot.

      • Elliot
        August 5, 2013, 2:22 pm

        @yrn – you could have fooled me. I hear Brooklyn is full of Israelis, aval ani, mah ani yodea….

      • Elliot
        August 5, 2013, 5:37 pm

        Yrn,
        Glenn Greenwald makes his home in Brazil but he is fully involved as an American in American journalism, arguably undoing power bases in DC; David Sedaris has lived in France for years, yet he is a force in American cultural life through his books, performances and “This American Life.”
        Yet, you have said, if one leaves Israel and is critical of Israel, one is assumed to have converted to Islam, to be mentally unhinged and to have never been an Israeli anyway.
        Which is it? Is the State of Israel the national home of world Jewry as a birthright (as Netanyahu will declare in his upcoming Jewish New Year message to all Jews) or, OTOH, as you say, it’s not even home to Israelis, if they do not adhere to the Zionist ideology.

      • gamal
        August 6, 2013, 8:59 am

        Elliot, Ray Hanania, in an interview with David Horowitz, which he eventually terminated due to the extreme right wing insanity of DH, that his name Hanania was of Hebrew rather than Arabic, does that seem plausible?

      • gamal
        August 6, 2013, 9:14 am

        Hebrew origin rather than Arabic and there was a said missing, and stuff I hope Roha is on holiday.

      • Elliot
        August 6, 2013, 12:16 pm

        @Gamal – ḥanania (ḥa-NAN-ya) was a popular, biblical name. There were at least eight people by that name in the Hebrew Bible (not counting similar names with the identical meaning: Hananyahu and Hananel). The name can be translated as: God (yah) bestowed grace/gifts (hanan). The name continued to be used in Rabbinic Hebrew (1500 years ago), down to modern times.
        I do not know if the Arabic name “Hananiye” is a cognate of the Hebrew. I expect Ray Hanania was doing his best to make nice to David Horowitz. He’s still entiteld to his name, in Arabic.

      • gamal
        August 6, 2013, 1:37 pm

        oh thanks, yes David seemed unimpressed.

        “He’s still entiteld to his name, in Arabic.” , “Record I am an Arab, ….”

        I had a moment anyway thanks man.

      • Walid
        August 6, 2013, 3:17 pm

        Elliot, you have to go to the Christian Bible (Acts 9) that recounts the conversion of the Jewish Saul to the Christian Paul. You’ll remember Saul’s journey to Damascus to take care of business with some Christians when from a blinding light, he fell off his horse and became blind on the road to Damascus. Jesus told him to go on to Damascus and also told his disciple in Damascus, Ananias, to go heal him, which he did and Saul was baptized and became Paul.

        The name Ananias is Greek and most probably taken from the Hebrew Hananiya. Ananias in Arabic is Hananiya.

        Ananias became the first bishop of Damascus. Today, a chapel stands where Ananias’ house stood.

        link to en.wikipedia.org

      • RoHa
        August 6, 2013, 8:25 pm

        “I hope Roha is on holiday.”

        Not on holiday, but I concentrate on correcting poor English. I’ll let you work on the poor Arabic. I don’t even know whether or not a comma after a subject clause is correct in Arabic.

  10. Walid
    August 5, 2013, 2:53 am

    While Phil may have “overdone it” in his title to express yet another case of theft, the wrong of the Israeli dance troup getting into it is better explained by a NYC dabke dance group; the dabke is danced in various forms in Turkey, Greece, Armenia and all over the former Yugoslavia:

    Published on 3 Aug 2013

    **Text of video below**

    ZviDance, a New York based dance company founded by Israeli-born dancer and choreographer Zvi Gotheiner, has appropriated Dabke and added it to their repertoire, performing at multiple venues and most recently, as part of Lincoln Center’s Out of Doors festival. Although ZviDance acknowledges that Dabke’s roots are in Lebanon, Syria and Palestine, the Company fails to realize that by performing Dabke and labeling it Israeli, they are engaging in cultural appropriation. We acknowledge that culture is fluid but so long as there is inequality, there can be no cultural exchange.

    Dabke dancers across the world have a message for ZviDance: our cultural heritage is not your natural resource.

    Join us in asking ZviDance to stop its cultural appropriation.

    Tweet at ZviDance, Lincoln Center, and Out of Doors:
    @LincolnCenter
    @ZviDance
    @LCOutOfDoors

    TEXT OF VIDEO:
    We are dancers in a New York-based Dabke troupe. This message is in response to ZviDance’s Dabke performance at Lincoln Center. Zvi, you’re right. Dabke’s roots originate in Syria, Lebanon and Palestine. And yes, Dabke comes from the Arabic word meaning “stomping the ground.”

    We get that your goal is “cross cultural” expression, but Zvi, your delivery just misses the mark. As dancers, we know that art is a powerful thing. Art has the power to change people. But stomp as hard as you might, art will not break down real physical barriers that separate people. You can’t simply dance away barriers and borders that are policed by tanks and teenage soldiers armed with lethal weapons.

    Palestinians and Israelis could never dance together so long as a concrete wall divides them. While you, and other Israelis have appropriated Dabke for your own purposes, and no one restricts your free cultural expression, Palestinians have been arrested for dancing Dabke by the Israeli military. Their right to free expression is limited by the Israeli military occupation that governs their lives.

    We all know that under Israeli law, Israelis and Palestinians do not have equal rights. Like it or not, by appropriating dabke, and labeling it Israeli, you further the power imbalance. This makes us feel taken advantage of.

    Exploited.
    You may not realize it but your cultural appropriation is our cultural loss.

    Dabke is inherently communal; hand in hand, stomping in unison, we express our joys and sorrows alike. Our problem is not with Israelis dancing Dabke. Our real problem is with the whitewashing of reality and ignoring the consequences it has on the people who live it.

    Our cultural heritage is not your natural resource.

  11. Taxi
    August 5, 2013, 5:30 am

    My my so much Dabke going on in the Levant. And you don’t have to be a professional dancer to dabke well and good:

    From Lebanon:
    link to youtube.com
    link to youtube.com
    link to youtube.com

    From Palestine:
    link to youtube.com
    link to youtube.com

    From Syria:
    link to youtube.com
    link to youtube.com

    Here’s the “Longest Dabke In The World”:
    link to youtube.com

    The village in the south of Lebanon where I’m staying, as well as the surrounding Levant villages, have a tradition of dabke dancing every saturday night in the village square (that’s how young people used to meet and fall in-love in the old days). Unfortunately, since the israeli invasion in 1982, this tradition is now practiced only occasionally, due to the funereal atmosphere in villages nowadays – so many villages have lost loved ones in wars and they’re still mourning for them. There’s a monthly Dabke club in a christian village down the road which I went to check out last year. I was disappointed that I was the only one who turned up (with my dog in tow) – two old ladies who ran it were also there. They told me stories about their youth and how they watched their grandparents doing the dabke every Saturday night – the only entertainment available in those days. And memorably, about a blind flute player who lived in the moslem village next door, who would do the rounds from village to village all night long on Saturday, accompanied by a muscular tabla player who drove him around in a beat up taxi. The flute player was so popular amongst villagers, and he was so dedicated to playing dabke music, that he was still performing at the frail age 89, the age when he died.

    Dabke is not just art, it’s people’s personal history.

    • Walid
      August 6, 2013, 1:39 pm

      “My my so much Dabke going on in the Levant. And you don’t have to be a professional dancer to dabke well and good”

      Hey Taxi, ever been in a hora circle? Tried it once and got “spinned” out of control and crashed after only 2 rounds. It was like being on a mechanical bull. Much harder than the dabkeh. To my surprise, I learned that this dance is not authentically Jewish.

  12. a blah chick
    August 5, 2013, 10:15 am

    I can recall back in the seventies when Bo Derek jogged along that beach in her tiny braids and soon after women were going to their local hairdressers asking for a “No. 10.” But they were called “cornrows” and Black folk have been wearing them for years. I know that there are African Americans who don’t like to see elements of our culture appropriated but that sort of thing happens when different peoples live amongst one another. Most of the time people just want to have their cultural contributions acknowledged. Phil’s take on the Dabke issure is that Israeli Jews do not always acknowledge their cultural debt to Palestinian Arabs.

    • Walid
      August 5, 2013, 12:44 pm

      “Israeli Jews do not always acknowledge their cultural debt to Palestinian Arabs.”

      The problem is not with their not acknowledging anything, it’s with their neverending attempts at erasing the Palestinians, their language, their culture and everything else about them. It all started when 500 Palestinian villages were dynamited or bulldozed and it has never stopped.

      • Philip Weiss
        August 5, 2013, 12:54 pm

        Thanks Walid. I’m all for cultural interchange, and for Americans making curry and hummus and for Jews dancing the dabka. But you state the true context.

  13. hophmi
    August 6, 2013, 2:56 pm

    As I commented on the other thread, it’s a myth that the NY Times gives a disproportionate amount of space to Israeli dance companies that do the Dabke. Every article that has mentioned it with the exception of the two Phil quoted, has covered it as an Arab dance, and there have been several.

  14. miriam6
    August 6, 2013, 6:19 pm

    Thanks Walid. I’m all for cultural interchange, and for Americans making curry and hummus and for Jews dancing the dabka. But you state the true context.

    Whilst we are on the subject of supposed misappropriation/ theft , how exactly does Phil Weiss square his tantrum throwing at what his sees as Israeli theft of something that belongs to another , while AT THE SAME TIME pushing Phil Weiss’s ahistorical , nonsensical white – man’s – burden – style claim that Bradley Manning / the Twitter sphere helped start the Arab Spring ?

    Does Weiss really believe that those Arab folks in Tunisia needed to be taught democracy by white westerners?

    I wonder, exactly HOW does Weiss reconcile such blatant contradictions in his own head..

    BTW Weiss, few commenters on this site seem to be buying your nonsense about Manning / Western social media triggering the Arab Spring .

    You first attempt only garnered 20 comments..

    Let me remind you who actually triggered the Arab Spring;

    link to msnbcmedia.msn.com

    link to mondoweiss.net … Only 20 comments…

    Also , Is Weiss really so insecure about his own Western value system that he needs to get his kicks by looking down his nose at the cultural pretensions of a small foreign country such as Israel.

    All three pieces/articles Weiss quotes make it CLEAR that the Dabka dance is Arab in origin.

    The pieces Weiss oh so selectively quotes from actually use sentences and single words like this;

    one refers to;

    Gotheiner’s APPROPRIATION of the dabke for his own purposes…

    so often at odds with their neighbors, ( the Israelis ) also have a VERSION (of the dabka)

    The world of the Israeli kibbutz and the BROADER Middle East comes to us in Zvi Gotheiner’s “Dabke.”

    In one paragraph the following sentence is found :

    It is a contemporary work that BORROWS TRADITIONAL elements..

    Perhaps Weiss simply doesn’t like the descriptive words used about the work of an Israeli artist like Mr Gotheiner’s such as ;

    enchanting ,infectious ,celebratory , inspiring..

    Weiss’s claim that no true context about the origin of the dance is stated in all three articles is simply untrue.

    For one so fond of bashing Israel for its failure to embrace multi-culturalism etc. , Weiss seems intent on xenophobia rubbishing the end results of such multi-cultural historical or present day intermingling / mix and matching.

    Whether it be sneering at the English ,the Scots or the Israelis.

    The English invented curry and paisley, right?

    Sneers supercilious Weiss .

    Wrong, the English – the BRITISH as we prefer to be known , population cheerfully acknowledge that it is Britain’s immigrant Asian population that brought curry to us, which has become one of our favourite foodstuffs.

    We know we didn’t invent Asian cuisine ourselves.

    As for the paisley pattern this website makes it clear the paisley pattern originated in Kashmir

    While the swirling arabesque pattern was certainly not invented here it is almost universally known for the town which gave rise to its popularity in the 18th and 19th centuries – Paisley, Scotland.
    Paisley became the epicentre (more shawls were produced here than in any other location) for weaving shawls and, as a result, “Paisley” became the generic term for the pattern.

    link to thistleandbroom.com

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