Boycotts are “counter-productive and [are] only hurting those who wish to promote peace and tolerance in a troubled region,” Israeli-Arab singer Nasreen Qadri says.
Nasreen Qadri, an Arab-Israeli singer who rose to national prominence in 2012 after winning the reality singing contest “Eyal Golan is Calling You,” will be performing with Radiohead in Tel Aviv on Wednesday.
Writing in Newsweek, Qadri explains why, as an Arab, she has chosen not to boycott Israel and, rather, to stand together with Radiohead onstage in Tel Aviv.
The boycotters’ approach is “counter-productive and only hurting those who wish to promote peace and tolerance in a troubled region,” she declares. “This approach is hurting me. I am a Muslim Arab woman,” she affirms.
Qadri was born in Haifa and grew up in Lod, “two cities with a mix of Arab and Jewish communities, living side by side,” she writes. “It wasn’t always easy,” she recounts, but her personal experience has taught her that “open dialogue is the only way to overcome our differences.”
“Ever since I won a singing competition on Israeli TV, my music and my story have inspired many in Israel to open their minds and hearts to Arabic music and my people’s culture,” she continues. “I have dedicated my life to music, and dedicated my music to breaking down borders and bringing people closer together. That is why this past year I did what no other Arab-Israeli has done before and sang in Israel’s official Independence and Memorial Day ceremonies.”
Radiohead’s Thom Yorke, in response to anti-Israel activist Ken Loach, has stated that “playing in a country isn’t the same as endorsing its government,” Qadri notes, however, that it “has everything to do with endorsing its people, and using music to engage with them. After all, if we don’t engage one another, and work together, we will never find peace between us.”
Lucky to Be Born in Israel
“This Wednesday, I will also perform alongside one of Israel’s most talented artists, Dudu Tassa—a Jewish singer—to bring a message of co-existence to every corner of the country,” Qadri asserts. “An Arabic proverb says “music is the nutrition of the spirit.” Music feeds people’s spirits and opens them up. Music builds bridges and this is exactly what I am hoping to achieve through this concert.”
“Those who call for boycott are only trying to divide us. They are trying to shut down the music. I will not be a part of that. Sadly, there are too many countries in the Middle East in which such a concert could have never taken place. I was lucky to be born in Israel, and I am grateful for the opportunity to build bridges of understanding,” she concludes, defending the only true democracy in the Middle East.