Achinoam Nini, a singer and peace activist, has long stirred controversy here. Known abroad by her stage name, Noa, she has recorded with Arab artists, refused to perform in the occupied West Bank, condemned Israeli settlements there and had concerts canceled because of bomb threats from the extreme right.Notice that the Times cannot find a single voice on the Right that is upset at the idea of an Arab co-representing Israel in the Eurovision contest. Even though the article gratuitously refers to Avigdor Lieberman as being "ultranationalist" there are no smug labels for the pro-Hamas, anti-co-existence "left." Yet once one takes out that adjective, one would see that the Israeli Left is far more extreme than the Right that always gets tagged with that label.
But lately it is the left that has been angry with Ms. Nini. Chosen by Israel to represent the country at the Eurovision Song Contest — this year being held in Moscow in May with an expected television audience of 100 million — Ms. Nini asked if she could bring along her current artistic collaborator, an Israeli Arab singer, Mira Awad.
The selection committee liked the idea of having both Arab and Jewish citizens in the contest for the first time. But coinciding as it did with Israel’s Gaza war and the rise of Avigdor Lieberman, the ultranationalist politician who threatens Israeli Arabs with a loyalty oath, the committee’s choice was labeled by many on the left and in the Arab community as an effort to prettify an ugly situation.
A petition went around demanding that the duo withdraw, saying they were giving the false impression of coexistence in Israel and trying to shield the nation from the criticism it deserved. It added, “Every brick in the wall of this phony image allows the Israeli Army to throw 10 more tons of explosives and more phosphorus bombs.”
Neither Ms. Nini, 39, nor Ms. Awad, 33, has been deterred. But since they consider themselves peace advocates, they are a bit surprised. The antiwar movement, they say, seems to have turned into a Hamas apology force. That, together with the political turn rightward in Israel, means that while the two are being sent to represent this mixed and complex society, they also feel a bit orphaned by it.
Later in the article we find out
The common-sense left is being drowned out by the pro-terror pretend-left, even in Israel.
But recent politics have also clearly taken their toll. During the war, Ms. Nini sent out a letter on her blog condemning the Islamists of Hamas, and calling on her “Palestinian brothers” to join together to eliminate what she called the ugly monster of Hamas. It was widely interpreted as an endorsement of Israel’s war in Gaza, although she said it was not.“What I wrote was based on what my Palestinian friends in Gaza told me, that they are threatened by Hamas,” she said.