Friday, June 25, 2004

There’s a new protest song in town, a new ‘Shir La Shalom’*. It was even written by the same guy.

There’s a new protest song in town, and it’s hard on the ear and a wrench on the heart. I hang my head in shame, because of what it has to say. I am guilty as charged.

There’s a new protest song in town. But you won’t be hearing it on any of the hip radio stations, or on any of the unhip radio stations either. In fact, you won’t be hearing it at all. Because this is the real thing, not the usual hypocritical garbage, not the banal commercial rehashes of the stuff that this guy wrote thirty years ago from the heart.

Yankele Rotblit, undoubtedly one of the greatest Israeli song lyricists (he's certainly written one or two or three of my all-time favorites), has written a powerful song that protests the unthinkable – the injustice being done to the settlers in the West Bank and Gaza.

And the very left wing music broadcasting establishment can’t take it. And he’s being shut out.

Because they think the only legitimate protest is their trendy well-fed-but-posing-as-working-class style of protest. They truly believe that theirs is the only opinion that should be heard. And they certainly refuse to let anyone hear any point of view that doesn't villify the settlers, no matter who it is who is doing the talking.

They’re shutting him out just like they shut out Ariel Zilber when he came out of the closet as a right-winger and recorded an excellent Hebrew version of Bob Dylan’s ‘Neighborhood Bully’ (I heard it on the radio exactly ONCE). Only in Rotblit’s case, with all that he stands for, and he really does stand for one or two things in this country, this is even more strikingly repulsive. Shame on them!

So fire up the bulldozer, Arik. Let’s start destroying.

* The “Song For Peace” was written in the late sixties by Rotblit, who lost a leg in the Six Day War. The song became the popular anthem of the Israeli Peace Camp; it is the song that Yitzhak Rabin sang in that peace rally just before descending the steps to his death; a sheet of paper with the lyrics of the song was found in Rabin’s pocket, covered in blood and with a bullet hole through the middle.