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!