Peter, I appreciate you sharing that experience you had with Shlomo Carlebach. Thank you for challenging him with your honest question as you did back then. And, thank you again for challenging any of us who still romanticize Shlomo Carlebach and refuse to recognize that he had this side as well.
As a young person, I was swept away by his emotive singing and stories. I sang them dreamily for years and listened to and retold his stories over and over again. Even today, I still like to sing his niggunim.
However, as I grew and learned, I saw how Shlomo’s single-minded devotion to the Jewish people led him to disregard the very people whose existence became threatened by the State of Israel, which he glorified. He told stories about loving everyone. I have images — whether real or imagined — of him possibly hugging a Palestinian or extending his hand in greeting. I certainly never heard him say anything directly disparaging about Palestinians in public. But, Shlomo never, ever would admit to the Palestinian people as a people — as the Jews are a people — having national rights or a collective existence which needs to be honored.
Later still, I saw his music being used constantly as fight songs by aggressive, violent, self-centered settlers and their supporters with no tolerance for any universalist or humanistic openness to the people who they are dedicated to dispossessing and displacing.
I appreciate knowing about your direct personal experience with Shlomo in 1980. It helps fill in some of the picture for me.