Turning the other ear?

December 14, 2012 by J-Wire Staff
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Israel’s ambassador to New Zealand has told Wellington’s Dominion Post that he did not hear remarks critical of Israel made by a member of a Klezmer band performing at a Chanukah celebration…but the man who made the comments claims that he was eye to eye with the ambassador when he spoke.


Dave Moskovitz in blue shirt at the performance

Dave Moskovitz in blue shirt at the performance

Dave Moskovitz, is a member of the Klezmer Rebs who were performing at the Chanukah part in Wellington’s Civic Square.

The main organiser of the event was the Israeli Embassy but Moskovitz wrote: “I have never been happy with an embassy organising what is essentially a religious event, for complex reasons.”

The Rebs stopped during their performance to allow Moskovitz to make the following speech which he claimed was when he was directly in front of Ambassador Shemi Tzur:

“Mr Ambassador, I’m glad you implored people earlier today to pray for peace, but we need more than prayer – we need action.  Praying, singing and dancing for peace aren’t enough; bringing about peace, and overcoming decades of counterproductive attitudes and actions is very hard work and requires individual and collective leadership and commitment from everyone including the Israeli government.  The time has come to tell your Government to show that leadership, put down your weapons, and seriously negotiate in good faith to bring about peace.  Bombing civilians and building settlements on land whose ownership is in question is not good faith.  Fulfil the words of Isaiah, and show that Israel is called into righteousness as a light unto the nations.  The time is now.”
Moskowitz wrote that “Prior to making that statement, I called to Shemi by name from the stage to make sure he was paying attention.  He was standing directly in front of the PA, and I looked him in the eye as I made the statement.  Today’s DomPost ran an article on page 2 (print version only) entitled “Peace plea made to Israeli envoy at Hanukkah Concert”, which said that “… Mr Tzur said via a spokesman he had not heard the message and had no further comment”.

All I can say is that this is an indication that the Israeli government is either disingenuous, pathologically deaf, or both.

We feel it is important that the Ambassador and his government hear this message from Jews.  Many of us abhor the actions of the Israeli government, and feel that successive governments since 1967 have let down their citizens, the Jewish People, and the world through their inaction and lack of leadership to address the fundamental issues that need to be resolved to create a lasting peace in the Middle East.

Several people came up to me after the concert and congratulated me for the courage to make such a statement publicly.  Only one person approached me, my cousin, and admonished me for making political statements on behalf of the Jewish community at a public event. Nowhere had I purported to be making statements on behalf of anyone, other than myself and the band, but I do know that there a large segment of the local Jewish community agrees with the statement that I made.
We are at a turning point.  Some would say that we are beyond the point of no return, but I am a perennial optimist and know that with enough good will and political pressure, we can make real progress toward peace.  And if they can’t hear us, perhaps we need to turn the volume up.”

The Israeli Embassy has confirmed that the ambassador had told the Dominion Post that he had heard nothing.


2 Responses to “Turning the other ear?”
  1. Gedalia says:

    Shame on you Dave Moskowitz. There is a time and a place and this is not it. When you are invited to a public function, hosted by the Israel Embassy, it is poor form to take an uninvited platform to communicate your political views.

  2. Liat Nagar says:

    If Moskovitz is not happy with “an embassy organising what is essentially a religious event, for complex reasons” then why did he take part? Well, obviously to deliver his surprise message to the Israeli government, et al. He appears more than pleased to be congratulated afterwards on his courage to make such a statement publicly, and yet he did not have the courage to be upfront and honest about his feelings and intentions beforehand. In fact his was an act of deceit to use such an occasion in the way that he has.

    “Put down your weapons and seriously negotiate in good faith to bring about peace” … what absolute waffle and nonsense this is! Not for the concept, but for the reality that exists. What planet is Moskovitz living on? Well, obviously he’s living within the confines of his own brain and the illusions that’s providing. What would the Palestinians, and indeed many other Arabs, make of the Israelis putting down their weapons in an act of ‘good faith’? If you knew anything at all about the subject, Mr. Moskovitz, you would realise that they would immediately lose any serious respect for the Israelis insofar as being a people who could defend themselves or survive (they would probably even question their intelligence) – to them the act would imply weakness and give them even more encouragement to go for what they want, which is a Jew free area, not only in the small area of the West Bank that has Israeli Jewish settlement, but across the whole of Israel.

    Perhaps it’s time for you to put away your music for awhile, Dave, and devote some time to seriously studying the Israeli – Arab situation, both historically and contemporarily – and maybe even try living in Gaza or the West Bank for a time and see how that shapes up with your present opinions of the people you’re defending so simplistically.

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