JERUSALEM (Sep. 7)
American folk singer Joan Baez enthralled her audience in the first of two performances at the Jerusalem Convention Center last night. But her appearance was not without controversy generated by her alleged pro-Arab bias and her refusal last month to form at Neviot in the Israel-occupied of Sinai.
A bomb threat at the Convention Hall proved false. But outside, members of the “Kach” movement carried placards demanding “Joan Go Home” and “Eretz Yisrael Belongs to the Jews.” But Ms. Baez quickly established rapport with her audience, composed mainly of Israelis and American visitors. She sang without interruption for two hours after giving a brief explanation of her political beliefs following her first song.
She said: “My politics are without violence. No one has the right to kill another. I believe in Camp David (the summit conference) because I believe that dialogue is the way to end violence…I am here because I love to sing with Israelis, like I love to sing with Arabs, Germans and other nations.”
Her concert featured songs in many languages including Hebrew, Russian, Spanish and Arabic “in case there’s an Arab in the audience.” At that point, the audience began clapping enthusiastically to the rhythm of an Arabic tune, to which the folk singer remarked, “I’m glad you’ve got a sense of humor.”
Last month it was reported, erroneously, that Ms. Baez had cancelled her plans to come to Israel to appear at the pop and folk song festival at Neviot, a song fest that is part of Israel’s annual music and drama festival held in July and August. It turned out later that she cancelled only the Neviot appearance because the site is in occupied territory.