Aharit Hayamim: Fear of a Jewish Planet – Don’t Believe the Hype!


Sabbath in Jerusalem is always a whirlwind of activity – cooking, shopping or traveling, whatever you’re doing, by the time sunset rolls in, you’re happy to just stop. For those Jerusalemites who shop at the shuk, Yehuda Leuchter, lead singer of Israeli Jam band Aharit Hayamim, is a welcome fixture, serenading the busy shoppers with… wait what?? “…a pernicious ideological perspective … [a] message [that] is about a…neo-Zionist uprising against the state or secular Jews or against liberal politics in favor of religious nationalism, theocratism, and messianism…” What?? This quote by Dan Sieradski, the JTA‘s Director of Digital Media, the founder of Jewschool and a “Jewish social entrepreneur” appeared in a New Voices article titled Settler Rock. Combining cherry picked quotes (produced with the aid of leading questions no doubt) and opinions voiced by ideologically driven non-experts, the article, written by Josh Nathan-Kazis asks if it’s appropriate for a band that “is associated with some of the most extreme elements of the settler movement” to appear in mainstream Jewish venues in North America.

Except there’s one little problem. There’s nothing in the band’s music or any of their statements that actually promotes anything described by Sieradski or Nathan-Kazis. Yehuda Leuchter lives in Nachalot, in West Jerusalem. When I walked by and snapped my pics, Yehuda and his friends were singing Tehillim and songs about the Sabbath and Tefilin. I waited for the anti-secular, anti-State songs. Nothing. Pernicious ideological perspective indeed! I mean it’s an awesome angle – trying to paint these guys like the Zionist version of Skrewdriver (white power band) but man did they ever get it wrong and they didn’t let a lack of facts to get in the way of a good story.

Oh well. New Voices is an independent student publication, not afraid to tackle many of our sacred cows (ie Birthright, Chabad) and I appreciate that. But being a bad ass ought not come at the expense of, you know, facts. I trust that will be one of the lessons taught at the upcoming National Jewish Student Journalism Conference on May 3rd: “Presented by New Voices Magazine and the Jewish Student Press Service and hosted by Avanim, the literary journal of Columbia/Barnard Hillel, the conference features workshops and panels on campus Jewish publications, writing on Israel, and more.”

By the way, Aharit Hayamim performed at the Jewlicious Festival and we are all now rabid right wing Zionists as a result. When the Third Temple is rebuilt, we will know how to deal with the race traitors amongst us. Jew Power!! And have a Shabbat Shalom!

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ck

Publisher at Jewlicious
Founder of Jewlicious? Publisher? Man I hate titles. I coined the name Jewlicious and I slave over the site. I live in Jerusalem and I need to get some breakfast.
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42 Comments

  1. froylein

    4/24/2009 at 10:44 am

  2. themiddle

    4/24/2009 at 2:13 pm

    Dude, I like your shabbat posts. If you keep writing them, and then I keep doing mine, it’ll be, uh, like the Jewlicious Weekend Section.

  3. wink

    4/24/2009 at 5:36 pm

    Josh didn’t write that story.

  4. Dan

    4/24/2009 at 11:21 pm

    Hello wink,

    New Voices website lists Josh as the author of this article; at the very end it adds, “Additional reporting by Wesley Pinkham”. Nothing wrong with having a ghost writer – but your name is on top, well “the buck stops here”.

  5. dividend

    4/25/2009 at 3:08 pm

    that’s actually NOT a quote by mr. sdieraski according to the article you linked. you need to read the article again, perhaps slowly. you also need to learn about how to quote and attribute statements.

    apart from that: yawn

  6. themiddle

    4/25/2009 at 4:54 pm

    Dividend, maybe you should learn to read? You actually made me have to reread the article. ck has it right, that Neo-Zionist quote is attributed to Dan.

    Other than that, your comment merits a…yawn.

  7. ck

    4/25/2009 at 6:10 pm

    No no TM. Dividend’s right. I did not reproduce the quote properly. I should have added a [sic] after Sieradski’s use of the word “theocratism” so as to denote an incorrect spelling or phrase and not a transcription error.

    My apologies. I wasn’t paying attention to the Jewlicious Style Guide I’m afraid…

    And wink? The article is a word for word transcription of a report aired on WPAI 99.5 FM New York’s Beyond the Pale show. The segment was narrated by Josh Nathan-Kazis. I don’t know which came first, but Josh has certainly put his name to the piece.

  8. moshe

    4/27/2009 at 2:08 am

    Some of the text of the article in question seems to be taken from an interview from Kezmerpodcast.com on the Jewlicious festival, especially the word “politricks”. Oh, and by the way, I love Aharit Hayamim and I hate New Voices, and from reading the talkbacks on the New Voices article, I am not alone.

  9. ck

    4/27/2009 at 2:18 am

    moshe, don’t hate on New Voices. At least they stimulate conversation. Even Yehuda from the band doesn’t hate New Voices. Just look at their content as an opportunity to engage in discussion. What’s really odd is that hardly anyone has come to the defense of the article. I don’t get it. Is New Voices’ readership made up entirely of Zionists?

  10. themiddle

    4/27/2009 at 2:19 am

    Well, I was listening to them earlier today and I don’t know what came over me but I suddenly donned a knitted kippa, started dancing wildly, grew my hair long and moved to a hilltop in Judea. I suppose if I keep listening to them, I’m going to have to buy a pair of sandals and get myself a few sheep. Hineh zeh bah.

  11. Josh Nathan-Kazis

    4/27/2009 at 9:47 am

    I certainly did write this piece. And I haven’t heard the Klezmerpodcast episode on the band, but I imagine that we both used the word “politricks” because we were both quoting Shmuel Caro.

  12. themiddle

    4/28/2009 at 2:37 am

    Well Josh, I listened to two of their albums today and while there’s some messiah-oriented stuff in there and while, if I stretched things, I could see how some people with particular views may find, uh, inspiration, in it, I could also see how it could be viewed as entirely innocent, raggae-ish, hippie-ish, fun music that seeks to be connected to its Jewish roots.

    It didn’t strike me that they deserved the hit job you did on them. I suspect that had you interviewed somebody other than Dan, you might have also ended up with a different set of quotes and flavor to the article. My question to you is: did you come up with the thesis of the piece and then approach Dan to give you the quotes to prove the thesis, or did you interview him first and then conclude what you were going to write about them?

    Either way, your piece isn’t fair to them.

  13. Dan Sieradski

    4/29/2009 at 3:11 pm

    1. I was not referring to Aharit Hayamim’s lyrics — I was referring to the spirit of their festival in Bat Ayin, which is, in fact, a ultra-radical right-wing settlement notorious for its penchant towards Jewish acts of terrorism. There is no question that these radical views are proudly expressed from the stage at their festival and no honest person who has attended their festival would deny that.

    2. I find it telling (as if it wasn’t already clear enough to me that I will forever be Jewlicious’ perennial punching bag) that even though I bent over backwards to defend Jewlicious, telling Josh point blank that your organization’s intentions were innocent — ie., that your focus is on hasbara and not on promoting extremism — that you once again have gone out of your way to delegitimize me. That’ll teach me to stick up for you.

  14. themiddle

    4/29/2009 at 3:19 pm

    This isn’t about you, Dan, it’s about Josh’s piece. I understand R. Yonah and ck and their defensiveness. They brought out Aharit HaYamim to the Jewlicious Festival and would be responsible if this extremism claimed in the article manifested itself. It didn’t at all. As someone who was there, I can attest to the fact that the band did absolutely nothing on or off stage that would support the assertions made in Josh’s article. They were all about the music and there were no politics involved whatsoever.

    It’s your quote that he’s using and that’s the only reason you are mentioned here. Neither ck nor I attack you in the post or in the comments that follow. Reread please and you’ll see that the only discussion about you is about what you said. Nothing negative is said or referred to about you. Nobody is delegitimizing you or suggesting you did anything bad. The only claims made are things that are no secret which is that your views lean in a certain direction.

  15. themiddle

    4/29/2009 at 3:24 pm

    By the way, the issue of whether a band can or can’t play at Bat Ayin forces politics upon the performer no less than when some group tries to get Paul McCartney not to give a performance in Israel because of its supposed “crimes” or the “occupation” or whatever. Let the music be the music and the musicians be the musicians. Unlike, say, Barenboim, who is not shy about expressing his political views, it appears to me that Aharit HaYamim has been expressing their music not their political views.

  16. froylein

    4/29/2009 at 3:25 pm

    Hmmmmmm…. Does anybody care to hear / read my impression?

  17. Dan Sieradski

    4/29/2009 at 3:38 pm

    “opinions voiced by ideologically driven non-experts.”

    Yeah, that’s in no way an attempt to undermine my credibility. As if I don’t know the Israeli music scene inside out, or ever spent time in Bat Ayin, or gone to an Aharit Hayamim festival, or am personally friendly with the drummer, or privately agree with some of their views.

    It’s not as if my comments in this article even reflect my own ideological leanings! I’m warning that their views threaten the stability of the secular state of Israel. As an allegedly self-hating anti-Zionist, as you’ve characterized me in the past, why would I give a shit about what threatens the stability of Israel? I’m making a point about what’s in the best interests of hasbara activists and I’m being cast as an ideologically motivated non-expert.

    Yofi.

  18. themiddle

    4/29/2009 at 5:18 pm

    Um, Dan, you were voicing a political opinion about their music, what it’s about, etc. You may be knowledgeable about the music scene in Israel but you’re about as qualified to speak about their political leaning as I am, which is to say not at all. You don’t have a poli-sci or some other relevant degree on the subject about which you’re being interviewed. I don’t mean any offense by this – really, I don’t – but Josh could have interviewed somebody with a relevant advanced degree who has done some research. The fact is that the article makes assertions that are false and implies things which aren’t true.

    Take a step back and assume this article was about the Bat Ayin festival instead of this band. Would you rely on Dan Sieradski as your authoritative voice in such as article? That’d be relying on an amateur with a personal opinion. I’d rather get somebody who doesn’t wear his strong political leanings on his sleeve, who can claim some scientific objectivity and preferably some advanced studies or research in the related field.

    Did I ever use the term “self-hating?” Wow, I rarely use that phrase because I hate it. As for anti-Zionist, that may be a stronger possibility. You have to admit you’ve said some fairly anti-Zionist things in the past.

    Froylein, of course we’re interested in your views.

  19. froylein

    4/30/2009 at 4:34 pm

    Well, sorry for the delay, it’s been a long day, but…

    I initially posted the Southpark clip to lighten things up a tad, particularly since I could not get ahold of CK when I’d first read the post to give him some kind of instant feedback.

    Was the overall tone of the post a nice one with reference to Dan? I don’t think so. Interjections of “what” followed by multiple questions marks are not an unbiased way of expressing disapproval but connote ridiculing. In addition, labelling Dan an “ideologically driven non-expert[]” might be an accurate assessment if it was to be assumed that in general people were free of ideologies to begin with and that expert status on the matter in question can only be obtained through a degree of some sorts, no matter what its actual value. But this should lead all of us to ask ourselves how come that:
    - decidedly non-experts (as would be professional media researchers or information economists or just plain sociologists even) like several of our bloggers get invited to be panelists at new media-conferences if for nothing else but their experiences in the field as well as having made themselves a name among insiders? I don’t always agree with Dan’s political views, but I don’t have the slightest bit of a doubt that he is more knowledgeable about the Israeli music scene as well as certain political movements in Israel than the bulk of the “I’ve got a degree in Middle Eastern studies from the Bucketpotato College” I’ve experienced, particularly if said degree required only or or two semesters of classes but no experience abroad living in the Middle East whatsoever. Dan’s views do as much merit attention as do yours or CK’s. If they all were pointless from the inception, this blog would be rather empty, and I couldn’t post cake recipes anymore either as I’m not a professional pastry chef.
    - Middle, CK and Dan attended three different events with the band in question on stage but are all assumed to have had the same experiences? There is no clash in your perceptions. All three of you may well have experienced what all three of you said, and I’m inclined to believe each and any of you. There’s no contradiction other than:
    - Why do Jewlicious Festival performers not get cleared beforehand of any possible poltical inclinations? If we can expect this much from the Pope before announcing the initiation of the process of lifting the excommunication of four people that had filed for such a move, why can we not do this? Why can we leave so much room for doubt that CK will even check back on the matter? And: even if political inclinations were known prior to booking any performer, would it matter as long as they fit the overall vibe of the atmosphere? Which leads us to the lingering question of:
    - Where does Jewlicious stand politically? I’ve only been around this blog for a little while, so it was pretty interesting when I was hanging out with Kelsey a few weeks back and he told me about how the dynamics on the blog had changed. I’ve noticed a few changes as of late: there are no more political posts by Muffti, there’s been an increasing number of commenters demanding we should report more to the political right or ban commenters that are politically left-wing, there’s been an increasing number of posts that not only just guessingly suggest but confidently assign political motivations to events or people that I, from my corner of the world, cannot quite see (usually I check back with Tom then to see whether I’ve missed any reference or connotation, but so far he’s always got the same idea I had). Kelsey thinks the blog has been drifting to the right politically. From my European point of view, I’d call it “overall right of centre” if I had to describe it to somebody over here, but this seems to be a hot potato. CK advocates that all bloggers should write what they wish to, but the choice of bloggers will inevitably also define the political tendencies of the blog. Raphi writes for Ha’aretz, which many of our commenters consider too left, but at least he’s a solid journalist (and a friend I cherish). I usually refrain from covering political topics, and you, Middle, are somewhere in the Middle politically depending on what issue (or so it appears to me), but where do the others stand? Can we really claim to not have any political bias and to cater to a multitude of opinions or have we begun preaching to the choir?

    So, those are my thoughts, and CK may well call me retarded now (though I’ve figured out he means it in a nice way), but I’m ok with that. *sniff*

  20. themiddle

    4/30/2009 at 5:16 pm

    First of all, I meant people with degrees from Israeli universities; advanced degrees with serious academic research going on. Lay people can be experts, but Dan was not speaking about music, he was speaking about politics. If he’s an expert, then so am I. Except that I’m not.

    Second, ck and R. Yonah take a great deal of care in choosing their performers. They had a very fine line-up this year and all the prior years at the Jewlicious Festival. Why should any group be boycotted for performing at Bat Ayin? Is it because Dan is opposed to the “occupation” and to the “settlers” and therefore these guys are extremists in his eyes? Then write an op-ed where you express that concern. This was supposed to be journalism but it was more of a commentary and criticism piece that had a very specific slant. That’s what was pointed out here. ck was right to fight back, since they’re really talking about decisions that he made with Yonah.

    These decisions were actually fine decisions as I can report first-hand. The Festival was also fine and in fact, there was one session where a speaker and a student got into a heated exchange about Israel’s policies. That’s because the Festival doesn’t take a political line other than to be supportive of Israel and it’s left at that. Different people read it differently. When Rav Shmuel sings his song where he gets people to yell (I’m paraphrasing) that they stole the land from the Indians and they feel fine about it, but then concludes the song by switching the word Indians to Palestinians, I didn’t hear a peep from anybody complaining that Jewlicious didn’t vet for subversive Leftist musicians. You know why? Because he was just one voice among many and the Festival is about a multitude of voices.

    Even so, Aharit Hayamim did NOTHING political in their performance or in any other part of their time at Jewlicious Festival. So why on earth does anybody need to justify their presence there? Why didn’t the author of this article take at face value what was said to him by the band member who is quoted telling him that it was just about the music, man?

    This was a hit piece and an unjustified one. It included Jewlicious Festivals as a sponsor of this perfidy. Why shouldn’t ck respond by asking sarcastic questions and pointing out that the people interviewed are non-experts? He’s under attack and he’s responding by pointing out the attack is ridiculous.

    As to your question about where Jewlicious stands politically, let me ask you a question. Did I ever ask you about your political leanings? Did I ever criticize your political approach? No. I suspect the same is true of ck. Did he ask you? Does he ask you to write a certain way? I would guess he treats you the way he treats me, which is that I’m left to my own choices and ideas. Back in the days when we had more discussions about various streams in Judaism, discussions that sometimes became heated and even nasty, the most he did was ask me to please consider that other people’s feelings may be hurt. When I continued to post along the same lines, he never said anything again. When we talked, we’d debate over the phone about the same topics but he never, ever asked me to write something or to change my position or to adhere to his.

    Muffti goes on hiatus every once in a while. Then he comes back with a vengeance and then leaves again. We never know. Aaron also disappears for months at a time. The new poster who is generating the controversy, Ariella, seems to be at a young and passionate stage in life and experiences such as her last post will serve as an education about how people react to certain topics and ideas. She’ll also be forced to confront what she believes, as we all are when we tackle controversial topics. When I first posted on Jewlicious, a couple of long-time commenters attacked me and left permanently. Those who stayed attacked my post and me aggressively.

    So I don’t see any political leaning or direction other than a group of people who feel strongly about Israel – well, except for Muffti, but that’s an exception that proves the rule about nobody here being doctrinaire. There’s no litmus test here.

    As for Tom’s comment the other day that there’s a rightward drift on Jewlicious, my guess is that his comment is accurate and the reason has to do with fatigue regarding the conflict and particularly with the manner in which Palestinian hatred of Israel continues to be expressed in words and actions. The Israeli population has drifted to the right as well and I suspect that it’s because it is evident that peace is not around the corner. Why wouldn’t we be influenced?

  21. froylein

    4/30/2009 at 6:02 pm

    Dan was asked and he replied. Sounds fair enough to me. Being critical of his statements also sounds fair enough to me, but mockery does not.

    I didn’t say anybody should be boycotted, but if this particular band is received in certain ways by certain audiences, then such things can be known beforehand. In that case it would matter to know how much, if at all, this could affect a performer’s appearance at the festival, not as in how they get received by the audience.

    CK has never asked me about my political leniences though we occasionally touch politics in private, but that is not my point. And it’s not only been Tom who raised the question, explicitly or implicitly, where we stand politically. Being young and passionate may be a reason for some things, but it is no excuse. And that, also, was not my point as I think I addressed that sufficiently in the comment thread on the respective post.

    Everybody is influenced in some way politically and everybody’s inclined in some way politically, but why does it seem to be such a sensitive spot if people call us right-wing? I don’t know anybody in my family who has ever voted SPD, both my parents as well as my grandfather used to be politically active (my grandfather got 69% of votes as mayor), my grandfather took us to the Bundestag to watch parliamentary debates and meet his political friends when we were wee toddlers. Of course this has influenced me, and of course this has contributed to a certain political lenience, and if I act and reason accordingly, I don’t get sensitive if somebody points this out.

    Aaron’s gone for good, and I might soon be as well.

  22. themiddle

    4/30/2009 at 8:32 pm

    That will be a shame.

  23. themiddle

    4/30/2009 at 8:43 pm

    Okay, I’ve just looked back a number of pages on Jewlicious. If you do the same, I don’t think you will come away with a right wing or any specific political leaning for Jewlicious. I think you’ll find a broad range of content, some interesting some less so, some political, some cultural. There’s an affinity for things Jewish and things Israel but some of the discussions contain severe criticisms of Israel and of Jews.

    As for me, I think my views are sometimes to the right and sometimes to the left. I take offense when somebody implies that my views are extreme. Tom just compared me to a fascist murderer which seems a bit over the top considering the discussion revolved around my suggestion that Israel should leave most of the West Bank. But if some of my views are right of center and some are left, that’s fine. I just don’t think of Jewlicious that way. I think of this place as a place where I can express my thoughts and have them challenged. In some ways I always wanted this place to be a celebration of all things Jewish, but there’s enough bad mixed with the good that of course that’s unrealistic.

  24. froylein

    4/30/2009 at 11:09 pm

    As I said, Middle, from my European perspective, Jewlicious is right of centre. I suppose you could say that all mainstream parties in Central Europe are left of mainstream parties in the US.

  25. themiddle

    4/30/2009 at 11:34 pm

    I can role-play a lefty if you like.

  26. froylein

    5/1/2009 at 5:52 am

    Oh, Middle, you need not join a drum-circle just because of me.

  27. Tom Morrissey

    5/1/2009 at 9:53 am

    Middle, you’re being goofy. ‘Fascist murderer’? Sure, it hurts, but this is not a phrase I use to describe those who never bother to give me a ring when they’re in town.

  28. Tom Morrissey

    5/1/2009 at 11:39 am

    froylein better not stop posting!

  29. themiddle

    5/1/2009 at 11:53 am

    I haven’t been in your town, dude.

  30. froylein

    5/1/2009 at 12:49 pm

    Tom, “it’s easier to leave than to be left behind”.

  31. Tom Morrissey

    5/1/2009 at 1:07 pm

    …Exactly, Middle.

  32. themiddle

    5/1/2009 at 1:33 pm

    You want me to leave?

  33. froylein

    5/1/2009 at 2:31 pm

    Oh no! I was talking to Tom there; he gets the reference.

    I think Tom would like you to visit him on his upcoming b’day.

  34. asfdfffsa

    5/2/2009 at 7:54 pm

    Combining cherry picked quotes (produced with the aid of leading questions no doubt) and opinions voiced by ideologically driven non-experts, the article, written by Josh Nathan-Kazis asks if it’s appropriate for a band that “is associated with some of the most extreme elements of the settler movement” to appear in mainstream Jewish venues in North America.

    Except there’s one little problem. There’s nothing in the band’s music or any of their statements that actually promotes anything described by Sieradski or Nathan-Kazis.

    So you’re denying that Aharit Hayamim is associated with the “hilltop youth”? Or are you denying that it’s fair to call the kids setting up outposts on hilltops “some of the most extreme elements of the settler movement”?

    israelnational...

    Leuchter’s dream has always been to bring together two disparate forces among young-people in Israel. On the one hand there are the post-India residents of the coastal plain, living between music festivals such as Boombamela, Shantipi and Bereshit – where local and foreign music, culture and religions are showcased and a laid back ‘shanty’ atmosphere is created beside the Mediterranean or Sea of Galilee. On the other side, there are the young people born and raised in Judea and Samaria, who have broken out of the established communities and taken to the hilltops, establishing agricultural farms, shepherding and generally setting out toward their biblical roots, bringing guitars and drums with them on pilgrimages to Israel’s various holy sites and tombs in relation to the year’s cycle.

    For an “apolitical” band Aharit Hayamim has accomplished more than most political bands can hope for–they’ve helped legitimize one of Israel’s worst political currents while making it possible for the people who put on their concerts to paint them as harmless hippies and their critics as hysterics. To put on a festival in Bat Ayin every year and present yourself as apolitical…

  35. asfdfffsa

    5/2/2009 at 8:33 pm

    Also, a better comparison than Skrewdriver would be a black metal band like Graveland or Drudkh, where the people behind it are Nazis but the songs are apolitical (or just about religious and nationalistic themes rather than obviously hateful), and if anyone calls them a Nazi band their fans will bitch and moan endlessly.

  36. ck

    5/3/2009 at 7:38 am

    Sigh. I’ll be the first to admit that I often react harshly towards Dan Sieradski. We have a history and it’s been quite ugly at times. Quite. Ugly. I wish things were different but they aren’t and that’s just the way it is.

    Despite that, the way Dan was quoted in the article makes it seem as if he is talking about the band specifically when he is quoted as saying

    “[Their] message is about a…neo-Zionist uprising against the state or secular Jews or against liberal politics in favor of religious nationalism, theocratism, and messianism,” says Sieradski. And yet, Sieradski doesn’t object to their appearances at major Jewish venues alongside American Jewish artists. “I may think their views are abhorrent,” he says, “but if I don’t engage them and I don’t share a stage with them, how can I ever hope to change their minds or confront them to question their own beliefs? I don’t support cultural boycotts. I would support financial boycotts against companies doing business in the West Bank, but I wouldn’t support an artistic boycott of a band that lives in the West Bank.”

    one can’t help but think he is talking about the band. Maybe Dan was misquoted? It’s possible, but then he should say so. But I see Yehuda at least once a week. He has never expressed any kind of political opinion to me on or off the record. I went camping with Raphael the clarinetist and hung out with him a few times afterward. The current drummer has been to my house and we had a lechaim on Yom Ha’atzmaut. These guys all live in West Jerusalem, seem to have a relatively liberal lifestyle and do not remotely strike me as being in favor of a theocracy or as being against the state or secular Jews, many of whom are their friends and fans.

    The description of the band in the article seemed so out of touch with reality that I simply had to write something about it. Was I a little harsh? No harsher than the implications made in the article. I mean secular Israelis perform at and attend the Bat Ayin Festival! It’s right there in the article quoted by asfdfffsa. The vibe is about unity – disparate elements of Israeli society learning from each other – one side offering spirituality, the other offering tolerance. That’s what it seems like to me – but no one asked me for a quote.

    With respect to the Jewlicious festival, our focus isn’t hasbarah at all. Our focus is Jewish unity as proven by the diversity of our speakers and attendees.

    As for Jewlicious itself, well, we is what we is. The thing I was always most interested in was the quality of the conversation as opposed to the actual posts themselves. From my perspective, our bloggers are meant to be thought provoking and conversation inspiring. As such the comments section is the most important part of the site – though we have been blessed with some wonderful writers. Could we be more diverse? Definitely! But I’m not about to invite Richard Silverstein to blog here! I’d add Dvorah Brous founder of Bustan to write for us in a heartbeat. Same with Journalist Lisa Goldman or Sheera Frenkel of The Times of London. Same with the Haim and Gershom over at SouthJerusalem.com. I don’t see eye to eye with of any those folks but their arguments are reasoned and informed and they are all nice very smart people.

    With respect to froylein’s touching upon ideological orientations, all I can say is that the “right wing” “left wing” dichotomy is often times too simplistic. How did California vote for Obama AND pass Proposition 8? Like back when Chumbawumba was described as an anarchist band but their big hit “I Get Knocked Out” is beloved by drunken Frat boys and Soccer Hooligans!

    Yeah so I’m a dick sometimes. But I do try to be fair. And I stand by what I wrote in this post – so I may have been harsh towards Dan, but frankly the article was wrong about the band and if Dan was misquoted, I invite him to say so and I will take back my characterizations. Yes, we are all to one extent or another ideologically motivated, so that wasn’t fair. But the designation quasi-expert is based on the notion that the band or the Festival are anti-State, anti-Secular and pro-Theocracy despite the fact that the band’s lyrics do not reflect that at all and the Festival has secular Israeli performers and attendees.

    Yow. I wanted discourse and I sure got that!

  37. froylein

    5/3/2009 at 9:41 am

    Let’s go into the imagery of physics and the principle of leverage: as bloggers, in comparison to the commenters, we’re like the fat big-boned kid on the seesaw.

  38. froylein

    5/3/2009 at 12:11 pm

    I’d like to add that thanks to my Straight Edge friends (that were Straight Edge before it became popular to X one’s hands at concerts to see if some chick would try hard to pick somebody up) I already listened to Chumbawamba before Tubthumping gained them mainstream fame. And of course they’re popular among British football fans – they’re passionate fans themselves.

  39. Wes Pinkham

    8/23/2009 at 3:39 am

    Maybe it’s a little late to chime in here but I do think this is the most important discussion on Aharit Hayamim currently on the web. As a supplemental writer for the article, I hope to clear my name in some way… I don’t believe the article accurately or succinctly summed up my experience with these guys.

    I reported and composed a story on Aharit Hayamim after their performance at Jewlicious. I spent close to an hour outside the JCC drinking beer and smoking cigs with the guys, trying to get inside their head, waiting for them to slip up and say something radical. I had just finished a semester abroad at HUJ and I felt like I knew their type, I just had to lead them to water. The fact is, they were resilient about their views on peace and I could only fault them for being overly zealous about the Hebrew language and too harsh on those of us holding down the diaspora. I wanted to write the article that Josh wrote, wanted to out the hilltop youth extremists, but I just didn’t see it and I couldn’t report on what I did not see. Unlike Dan, however, I haven’t attended the music festival which bears their name in Bat Ayin. This is a distinguishing point and can only be refuted by someone who has attended the festival.

    In the end, I would have preferred Josh leave my name off the article or allowed me to print my write-up simultaneously. But hindsight is 20-20.

  40. ck

    8/23/2009 at 4:41 am

    Wes? That was an honorable comment. Should you ever want to run your version, in full and unedited, we’ll gladly run it here. As for Daniel Sieradski, I don’t know what Festival he attended, but the Aharit Hayamim Festival I attended 2 weeks ago had everything from black suited Haredim, Nachlaot Hippies, Litvak Yeshiva boys, yeshiva girls, Hilltop youth, Hebrew U students and very, very secular Israelis. No anti-secular, anti-state anything anywhere. I didn’t even smell marijuana being smoked that much. I was expecting clouds of it. The music was great, the setting was beautiful and everyone got along well. I’ve been to Shantipi and Bumbamela and the feeling of unity and joy here was better. Way better.

    Thanks for filling in the blanks and giving us a fuller picture of the motivations behind this story. Your comment was honorable and brave.

  41. themiddle

    8/23/2009 at 5:19 am

    “I didn’t even smell marijuana being smoked that much. I was expecting clouds of it.”

    They just don’t make Jewish hippies like they used to.

    Sadly, they do make leftists like they used to.

  42. ck

    8/23/2009 at 7:28 am

    Leftists? Dude. I’m a leftist. You think the right doesn’t have their fair share of people who distort and dissemble? This has nothing to do with ideology and everything to do with shoddy, ideologically driven journalism. You owe the left an apology TM!

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