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John Kerry and David Broza perform for AIPAC

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There were so many truly sickening staged events at the AIPAC Conference this year that I cannot even imagine keeping a detached journalistic perspective if I were actually in attendance. Maybe it is just as well that AIPAC does not give press credentials to those who are critical of its projects of threatening Iran and oppressing Palestinians.

It is more than enough to watch this vaudeville show on the Net where you can curse and mute it at will, and if you have the desire, you can report, tweet or comment with the comfort of the knowledge that you are hundreds of miles away from these Zionist lunatics.  If these people make up the nation of the Jewish people that they insist the Palestinian Authority recognize, there could be no  better argument for calling that nation’s very existence into question.

We all have seen this act before, so there is little I want to write about the shameless strutting and waving of banners of Israeli altruism, innovation, and democracy.  This year’s version of the conference seems a bit slicker, and the political actors are a bit less hysterical than in previous versions.  The persons of color are more polished and numerous than in the past.  (As a type, at Tuesday, 9:10 AM EST, they have trotted out a Chicana supporter at the podium. She was soon followed by Donna Brazile.)  The politicians are as cloying and as obsequious as ever.

As Phil Ochs sang, “Here comes the big parade, don’t be afraid, the price is paid, one more parade.”

I heard a rumor that some AIPAC organizers were bitterly disappointed that John Kerry did not dance while intoning “am yisrael chai” [long live the people (nation) of Israel] as he had promised.  However, you cannot believe Net rumors and AIPACers tend to speak hyperbolically.

[The previous sentence is meant to indicate that this paragraph  also should be understood as hyperbole and the author does not intend to state or imply that John Kerry actually promised that he would dance while saying “am yisrael chai.”]

See Kerry saying “am yisrael chai” from the AIPAC podium from 40:36.

The real entertainment for last night was David Broza. I actually find this more depressing than anything else about this year’s conference.  In the seventies, Broza sang and wrote the music to lyrics composed by Jonathan Geffen for the haunting ballad Yihyeh Tov (It will be alright). That song became a peace anthem in Israel, and to a lesser extent among Jewish youth worldwide during the decade of the eighties.  I remember listening to it and being assured (it turns out falsely) that Israel was more than a nation of war-crazed generals.

I do not know much about Broza, although I like his music.  His songs are not political, although my understanding is that he is part of the so-called Israeli peace camp.  I know he appeared at a peace event with Miko Peled in Utica, New York last year.  The liberal Zionist American-Israeli writer Emily Hauser tweeted me that she “heard @DavidBroza talk about peace, & the truth is we should be glad he’s there talking to these [AIPAC] folks.”

The appearance of Broza at AIPAC elicits a number of strong emotions for me but gladness is not one of them. The two Hebrew phrases in my twitter post are my message to the Israeli entertainer.  They are taken directly from his iconic song.

It is not alright.

The prophet has become a clown.

The song version above was chosen for my tweet solely because it contains English subtitles.  A version from the 70s which presents the a much more humble, honest, less self-promoting performance of Broza’s song that captured the imagination of many, can be seen here.

English lyrics here.

Hebrew lyrics here.

Update:  I just found this recent article on Broza in Phil’s old paper, The New York Observer.  It is titled “David Broza on Peace, Politics and Playing Music.”  The story by Matthew Kassel does not mention that Broza would be the main entertainment at this year’s AIPAC conference.

Ira Glunts

Ira Glunts is a retired college librarian who lives in Madison, NY. His twitter handle is @abushalom

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5 Responses

  1. Citizen on March 4, 2014, 12:32 pm

    Many musicians do not have a lot of brain power, and, like most people, are pretty self-concerned and not interested in being educated about the finer points of anything related to foreign policy. Their career is utmost.

    • Ecru on March 4, 2014, 12:52 pm

      WHOA there Citizen! As a musician myself (Traditional Irish) and the friend of many others including session musicians I think it would be more accurate to say that many RECORDING ARTISTS, intelligent or not, put their careers before anything else.

      • Citizen on March 4, 2014, 3:00 pm

        @ Ecru
        OK. Still works for me. BTW, of course you know traditional Irish music is steeped in freedom fighting. Traditional Irish dance–just look at it’s history. And what’s Ireland’s stance on the Israeli settlements today, compared to the rest of the West? And, of course also, as to “many,” look at the standard IQ range.

      • Ecru on March 4, 2014, 3:41 pm

        Well I’ve gotta say most of the musicians I know are actually quite bright. And piss-offingly talented. Which wouldn’t be quite so annoying if they weren’t also incredibly generous and open and basically devoid of arrogance. That really gets under the skin ’cause I can’t disguise my jealousy by covering it up with “oh yeah – they’re a right dick-head.”

        And yes lots of songs for freedom and most Irish people who know about it are not on the side of the oppressors and colonists, at least not the one’s I’ve talked to. In fact one of my more talented musician friends (seriously this guy can play anything!) was at an Israeli music festival some years ago and has refused to ever set foot there again after his experiences of such raw bigotry and hate from his hosts towards the Palestinians.

  2. RoHa on March 4, 2014, 6:08 pm

    ‘John Kerry saying “am yisrael chai.”‘

    Kerry clearly needs to take a break. His mind is going.

    First, it should be “Is Israel chai?”

    Secondly, how could any sane person possibly think that Israel might be Indian spiced tea?

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