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Noa cancels appearance at Gaza fundraiser

By Merav Yudilovitch
YNET
01.23.09
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3660765,00.html

Singers Achinoam Nini (Noa) and Mira Awad, who were meant to take part in a fundraiser concert for Gazans injured in Operation Cast Lead on Friday, have cancelled their performance due massive pressure placed on the event`s organizers.


The reason behind the pressure is the open letter to the Palestinians written by Noa on the last week of the operation.


Part of Noa`s letter read: `Today, I know that deep in your hearts you wish for the demise of this beast called Hamas who has terrorized and murdered you, who has turned Gaza into a trash heap of poverty, disease and misery. Who in the name of `Allah has sacrificed you on the bloody alter of pride and greed.

`I can only wish for you that Israel will do the job we all know needs to be done, and finally rid you of this cancer, this virus, this monster called fanaticism, today, called Hamas. And that these killers will find what little compassion may still exist in their hearts and STOP using you and your children as human shields for their cowardice and crimes.`


The letter enraged many, and in a petition signed by actor Mohammad Bakri, producer Osnat Trabilsi, actor Makram Khoury, actor Saleh Bakri, director and producer Anat Even, publicist Yael Lerer, actor, director Juliano Mer-Khamis, and more, Noa was urged to take her words back.


`Achinoam Nini`s participation (in the fundraiser) without her showing deep remorse for her position, blocks the message of protest against Israel`s systematic, intentional brutality, and its murder and injury of thousands of civilians, including hundreds of children,` the petition read.


The signatories stressed that without this message, the concert for Gaza`s children, that aims to be more than just an act of compassion and pity, will be tainted.


`Nini`s performance will strengthen the hypocritical position of Israel`s leaders, that express their regret over children who were killed `by accident` and then offer to help rebuild Gaza,` the letter, that was addressed to the concert`s organizers, continued.


The organizers told Noa the event was centered around the question of accountability for the State of Israel`s actions in Gaza, and wanted to be sure the singer identified with this cause.

Noa ultimately cancelled her participation in the event.

`You can`t kill Gazans and cry over them too`
In response to Noa`s decision to cancel her performance, Juliano Mer-Khamis said told Ynet, `The cancellation shows us that Achinoam Nini is not willing to take back the humiliating, degrading letter that she wrote.

`There is nothing more patronizing, arrogant or presumptuous than to tell people who have freely elected one political movement or another, that it is a cancer. One can`t help but be disgusted by people who support (Operation Cast Lead) and then buy blankets for the handicapped children that remain alive. You can`t kill the Gazans and cry over them too.`

Mer-Khamis, who was also one of the initiators of the petition urging Arab singer Mira Awad to withdraw from the 2009 Eurovision, in which she was selected to represent Israel along with Noa, added, `One of the reasons Nini and Awad agreed to participate in this evening, has to do with their manager`s desire to relieve pressure on Awad about the Eurovision.`


Nini and Awad preferred not to comment. Ofer Pesenzon, their personal manager, said in response, `Achinoam and Mira will not be performing in this event. I do not know Juliano Mer personally, and I have no dispute with him. Everything we have to say will be read tomorrow on the stage by one of the participants.`

The fundraiser for Gaza`s injured will take place on Friday at Levontin 7 in Tel Aviv, and will feature artists Eran Zur, Shlomi Shaban, Rona Keinan, Habiluim, Eliot, Rafi Perski, System Ali, Saz, and more.

The show`s organizers said, `21 days of bombings have taken many victims and left over 5,000 people injured. Many of them will need ongoing and costly care in the coming years, care that the shaky healthcare system in Gaza cannot provide.

`In order to fulfill the immediate needs of the hospitals, we have decided to collect money to purchase medical equipment and medicine to be transferred to the Strip.`

A ticket to the concert costs between NIS 50 ($12.5) and NIS 100 ($25.5), and all proceeds will go to the above purpose.

The organizers refused to comment on the report.

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