Take-A-Pen's vision from its beginning in 2001 was to think openly and to talk and educate truth about Israel and its role in the Middle East, in as many languages as possible. And so we have done in our website, in up to18 languages. According to this vision, we have presented cases of cultural co-operation with Israel, in Take-A-Pen's "Better News from Israel" section and elsewhere, since 2002: cooperation within Israel, with such peoples as the Dutch, the Japanese, the Finnish and the Korean, and with diverse ethnic groups in the Middle East itself.
We saw all acts of cultural cooperation as important steps towards real peace. Whether world famous artists coming to perform in Israel - from Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen to Madonna, from Paul McCartney to Elton John, or the frequent visits of the movie director Emir Kosturica's orchestra (for a non-Anglo example) - or younger artists who came to Israel to take it by storm, each project makes friends and increases understanding..
We are happy to present another successful project of international musical co-operation, one of the most successful ever; the Idan Raichel project, almost a decade old. This project, a multilingual, multinational musical co-operation among dozens of performing artists, not only preaches but creates peace; real peace of mutual respect, mutual acceptance and finally mutual love too. The 85 well-known participants have been from different ethnic groups within Israel - singing in Hebrew, English, Arabic, Ethiopian, Italian, Russian and more, and artists from anywhere on earth; any artists who want - who dare, in spite of government or other political pressures - to share music with the Israeli initiators.
This project and its concept of peaceful cultural cooperation are gaining more and more friends and followers. They are gaining respect even among those who are not always free of "politically correct" anti-Israeli obsession. For example, BBC News, whose political commentators are among the most devoted critics of Israel on earth, published an appreciative article this time: "World music Israeli style: Idan Raichel Project". Moreover, the Nobel Prize managing committee invited the same Idan Raichel to compose the music for its 2011 ceremonies.
These cases only add to similar previous ones like the Vatican's invitation of the Israeli contra-tenor David Da'or to sing the Ave Maria in Rome to hundreds of thousands of Christian believers in the St. Peter's square, broadcast to probably hundreds of millions around the globe.
For another source about this subject you may want to read the mentioned BBC article: "World music Israeli style: Idan Raichel Project".
*This editorial was written by Endre (Andre) MOZES, chair of Take-A-Pen, www.takeapen.org