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.


  1. ck

    3/29/2005 at 1:27 pm

  2. r

    3/29/2005 at 2:44 pm

  3. alexbmn

    3/29/2005 at 4:56 pm

  4. ck

    3/29/2005 at 5:02 pm

  5. Esther

    3/29/2005 at 5:16 pm

  6. T_M

    3/29/2005 at 5:45 pm

  7. Dave

    3/29/2005 at 5:52 pm

  8. shtreimel

    3/29/2005 at 10:19 pm

  9. shtreimel

    3/29/2005 at 10:21 pm

  10. T_M

    3/29/2005 at 10:27 pm

  11. shtreimel

    3/29/2005 at 11:40 pm

  12. T_M

    3/29/2005 at 11:46 pm

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