Each attempt to silence Palestinian artists only makes our voices grow louder. It’s time to admit that Miri Regev is the best thing to happen to Palestinian culture since Israel’s founding. Period.
I generally do not tend to write about the Mizrahi struggle and what kind of effect Regev is having on it. But in my eyes she is undoing the hard work of Mizrahi activists and functioning mostly as Netanyahu’s emissary, who uses her to spread hatred and fear in the backyards of Israeli society, where the Mizrahi struggle began. Regev does the job well — she removes the burden of racism and oppression from Netanyahu, while making sure to keep the Mizrahi struggle at bay.
Far be it from me, as a Palestinian citizen who shares this country with Arab Jews (or Jewish Arabs), to judge what Regev does vis-a-vis the Mizrahi struggle. Only time will determine its fate once the Regev era is over. But when taking into consideration the outcome of Regev’s stint as culture minister in Israel, I am convinced as a Palestinian that things have never been better.
The Palestinian national poet, Mahmoud Darwish, would never have received all of this exposure, since never has there been such widespread public discussion of his poetry. And this is probably the opportunity to break it to the culture minister that Darwish has been dead for eight years. So no, Mrs. Regev, there is no way to force him to change the words to his poems and threaten to cut him off from state funds.
When was the last time a Palestinian actor was not ashamed of winning an Israeli prize? When was the last time a Mizrahi poet from Lod performed on stage alongside a Palestinian rapper from Lod? Can you remember the last time a Palestinian actress dedicated her Ophir Prize (the Israeli equivalent of an Oscar) to the women living in the 36 unrecognized Bedouin villages in the Negev Desert?
This puts Regev in a tough spot, to the point that she tried to pressure Haifa’s municipality to cancel Palestinian rapper Tamer Nafar’s performance at an Arab-Jewish music festival.
The territorial war over the public’s consciousness began long ago. After our military defeat came nearly 20 years of military rule. The 70s brought about the end of the Shin Bet’s shadowy rule, the control over our education, and the aggressive attempt at Israelizing us. Only in...Read More