Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Jdub Mix has a report and video clip about the unity performances featuring chassidic reggae singer Matisyahu and human beatbox Kenny Mohammed.

JDub record label head Aaron Bisman is interviewed too.

It seems Bisman's view of inclusion includes anti-Israel Palestinian rappers, but not any right-of-center Israelis. I can't remember where I saw it, hence no link, but I remember seeing Bisman quoted as saying that the reason he didn't invite Subliminal to participate was because of his right-wing views.

In general, that's something about these "unity" or tolerance programs that seems to stand out. There are always left-wing Israeli and Palestinian performers at these events, but never any right-wing musicians. And even centrist Israelis rarely seem to appear.

Incidentally, you can read some reactions from people who attended the Unity Sessions event here.

Thanks, E!

Update: I found that Bisman quote I referenced above (it's from a New York Times article) on of all places.
One of the biggest Israeli rap stars, Subliminal (né Kobi Shimoni), was not invited to the concert. Striking a gangsta pose with heavy jewelry, including his signature bejeweled Star of David, Subliminal represents the right wing of Israeli rap. His latest album has gone platinum in Israel (more than 40,000 copies) on the strength of catchy anthems and incendiary nationalist imagery, as in "Divide and Conquer," where he says: "The country is shaking like a cigarette in the mouth of Yasir Arafat."
Subliminal has already created a divide in the hip-hop community. Aaron Bisman, the founder of JDub Records and one of the promoters of the Prospect Park concert, said he did not invite Subliminal because he did not think the concert's message of openness and peace would be of interest to him.
So nationalism is good... as long as it's not Jewish nationalism.