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Jewish Journal

Friends or foes?

by Noga Gur-Arieh

June 8, 2012 | 2:27 pm

A war between politicians, not people.

At first glance, this is a fairytale story coming true- an Israeli singer shining abroad. This story could have had a happy ending as well if it weren’t for politics raising its ugly head yet again.

A couple months back I wrote about a Facebook campaign which changed my entire perspective about the Israeli-Iranian relationship. As it turns out, that campaign presented something much deeper than photos being shared. The campaign, showing Israelis and Iranian love for each other, proved the ongoing states’ conflict to be between heads of states, and not between people. This campaign was proven right in Tuesday’s paper, where there was a rather surprising article saying that the Israeli famous singer, Rita, is a hit in Iran. Her latest album, “All My Joys,” revives old-time Persian hits. It went gold in Israel only three weeks after its release, and also turned into a big Iranian hit. To me, this breaking of political boundaries is blessed, and the more integration, the better. I only wish the Government of Iran would have agreed with me. Turns out that the originally Persian singer’s music is banned in Iran, simply because she’s an Israeli. 

Apparently, this conflict had gone from security issues and newspaper headlines to private people’s lives and to the one international language, music. Apparently, people can’t enjoy music because it was viciously produced by the enemy and may contain evil brainwashing. You see, since Israel and Iran are sworn enemies, endorsing anything Israeli is considered taboo in Iran. When I listen to a really good song, I like to turn the volume on, and it doesn’t take long until I share it with my Facebook friends. The Iranian Rita fans are forbidden to feel the enjoyment of sharing their musical passion with others, because of a political conflict, which they do not desire. It’s probably my over-creative mind, but since I was familiar with the previous “love” campaign, I feel like a part of the modern Romeo and Juliet story. States are forbidden to have contact with one another because of an ongoing argument between the leaders, which no one understands.

This version of the story, however, may have a semi-happy ending. The Iranian Rita fans were quoted saying this prohibition will not make them stop enjoying her music; they will just keep the volume down. Forced hatred still sounds utterly ridiculous to me, but I came to the conclusion that we, Israelis and Iranians, are the real grownups here- sad, but true- and because of that, I think it’s best for us to let the kids, Bibi and Achmadinejad, play around, while we maintain the peace.

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