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Give Peace a Dance

Lets DanceDitch the diplomacy and let’s dance.

According to the Los Angeles Times (may require registration), the road to peace in the Middle East may be less of a road and more of an multi-day, non-stop trance party on a beach somewhere, with its roots in the raves of the late 1990s :

Some saw the raves as mere hedonism, and there was that. But, as one organizer told me, they also symbolized a desire to live normally, in coexistence with Arabs: “We simply want to have fun together, that’s the kind of Israel we want to see.” This phenomenon was one aspect of something called “Israeliness,” a youthful embrace of a lifestyle of culture and music that transcended national borders. Israeliness arose among the nation’s elites at the beginning of the Oslo decade — the last attempt at a comprehensive peace settlement between Israel and the Palestinians. Its advocates argue that the Zionism that fulfilled the long-held goal of returning the displaced Jewish people to Palestine also created a culture. Israeliness is the special national culture that has evolved over the 50-plus years since the founding of modern Israel. It is fast-paced, cutting edge, daring and more than occasionally hedonistic. It is a cosmopolitan embrace of a modern state whose citizens yearn for worldliness, travel and openness. It was born of necessity, in a place where living each moment as if it could be the last is more than a cliche.

Although the raves no longer exist, the article maintains that Israeliness is alive and could be activated through the “mirror image” party scenes in Tel Aviv and Beirut, or through partnerships with Ramallah, which is only 40 miles from Tel Aviv’s party scene.

Before the intifada, it was not unusual for Israelis to frequent Ramallah’s jazz clubs and cafes. Those days could return — and eventually, the flow of cafe-goers could travel in both directions, from Ramallah to Israel and back. At the moment, these twentysomethings and thirtysomethings are separated by geopolitics. But the potential for them to come together over music, Internet chat rooms and MTV could be greater than all the ancient rivalries.

Seems to me that a rave between young Palestinians and young Israelis would be an immense security concern. Who would work security at that rave? Palestinian police? The IDF? An international UN Peacekeeping Force? Call me cynical, but combining two cultures with loud music, darkness and youthful passions as the intended structure, and add the inevitable (although unsanctioned) drug culture and secret alcohol consumption? Sounds dangerous, even if the two groups could agree on “adult supervision.”

Plus, I know what the rabbis would say. This could definitely lead to dancing. Unless, taking a cue from the Orthodox wedding, there’s a wall of plants on the dance floor separating not just men from women but Israelis from Palestinians. I guess once the Rabbanut’s involved, we’re talking four quadrants (Israeli men, Israeli women, Palestinian men, Palestinian women), and you know what Lincoln said: “a dance floor divided against itself cannot boogie.”

Esther Kustanowitz

For more posts by Esther, see EstherK.com, MyUrbanKvetch.com and JDatersAnonymous.com.

12 Comments

  1. ck

    3/29/2005 at 1:27 pm

    Although, come to think of it, if I remember the anecdotal evidence vis-a-vis the effects of certain recreational pharmaceuticals popular at these “rave” dance parties that you speak of, the introduction of MDMA or ecstacy or just X as it is known on the “streets” into the water system in Tel Aviv, Ramallah or even the Knesset, might have a positive effect on peace prospects… lots of hugging and massages apparently. But what do I know. Still, you might have something there Esther.

  2. r

    3/29/2005 at 2:44 pm

    it would totally lead to non-shomer negiah dancing. And we all know how annoying it is when the UN breaks up parties.

  3. alexbmn

    3/29/2005 at 4:56 pm

    why is JEWlicious giving space to post zionist ideas,if post zionism seeks to dissociate anything Jewish from Israel?

  4. ck

    3/29/2005 at 5:02 pm

    Dude. My Israel is firmly Jewish. Israel without Judaism really has no moral right to exist really. But I also kinda like hanging out at the beach and eating watermelon. Is that so wrong?

  5. Esther

    3/29/2005 at 5:16 pm

    Was I being post-Zionist? If so, then I’m smarter than myself, because I’m not really sure what that means.

    But I do believe that “eating watermelon on the beach” was part of a little document we like to call [flourish] the Israeli Declaration of Independence. Or if it wasn’t, maybe it should have been.

  6. T_M

    3/29/2005 at 5:45 pm

    Don’t worry Alex, once that security barrier is up, nobody is going to Ramallah to dance.

  7. Dave

    3/29/2005 at 5:52 pm

    You know, from what I’ve read, the Imams are right on the same page as the Rabbis on this one- dancing leads to sex. Ha ha ha!

  8. shtreimel

    3/29/2005 at 10:19 pm

    Slightly off topic…

    I’m not sure if Jewlicious posts about other blogs, but you’ve just gotta, I mean gotta take a look at Mob’s post/comments on his personal site about Rachel Corrie. Here’s the money quote:

    “But my fellow Jews catcall. The say, “F**k her!” And that, to me, is not Israel. Rather, that is the voice of Amalek.”

  9. shtreimel

    3/29/2005 at 10:21 pm

    Money quote number two:
    “Rachel Corrie was the embodiment of Israel’s highest values”

    Can anybody explain this…ck, gm…anyone?

  10. T_M

    3/29/2005 at 10:27 pm

    Um, isn’t he the guy who just posted that Jews lynched Christians and for a source quoted another blog that quoted a book that quoted another book which received its information through secondary sources?

  11. shtreimel

    3/29/2005 at 11:40 pm

    Right, right. So if his site won all those awards, does that mean that the majority of savvy internet Jews feel the same way?

  12. T_M

    3/29/2005 at 11:46 pm

    You ask an impossible question to answer.

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