Music and other arts are flowering for the Middle East public peace process and beyond.
     "Music is the universal language which crosses religious and ethnic barriers and brings people together," say Musicians for Harmony -- -- who give "concerts to promote peace among nations."
     And listen to others:

"Music is the vernacular of the human soul."

                Geoffrey Latham

"Music isn't just learning notes and playing them, You learn notes to play to the music of your soul."

                Katie Greenwood

"I think music in itself is healing.

It's an explosive expression of humanity.

It's something we are all touched by.

No matter what culture we're from, everyone loves music."

                Billy Joel    

     At Northwestern University just last night  -- Thursday, January 5, 2006 -- contemporary beatbox music exploded for a standing room only audience attending "From Tel Aviv to Jerusalem," jumping hip-hop theatre portraying Israeli and Palestinian urban youth.
     Adva Saldinger ( ) co-founder of the sponsor Northwestern University's  Muslim-Jewish Dialogue group, "Peace of Mind," estimated attendance up to 180 diverse students, far exceeding their hopes.
    Fatima Alloo, another of the groups co-founders, said there is a silent barrier and a sense of intimidation that exists between Muslim and Jewish students.
     We want people to realize there are more things that bring us together than bring us apart, Alloo said.
     Saldinger added: "Our goal is to get people to think differently, to be open to new perspectives and different ideas and to recognize the similarities and the humanity of people, regardless of what side of the conflict theyre on, or their religion or nationality."
    See today's school newspaper's front page article:

        One-man show explores conflict in Middle East
        The Daily Northwestern -- Friday, January 6, 2006

    Now read about last October's similar Jerusalem explosion of Israeli, Palestinian and Jordanian musicians.
     See how music matters and "clubbing together has the power to break down barriers."
     Where you live, make a new kind of music. . .always together.
                        - L&L

Published in The Jewish Week (New York)   --  October 28, 2005
On the Web at

Coexistence, With A Groove
DJ summit in Holy City club brings together
Israeli, Palestinian and Jordanian spinners for a night away from the conflict.

Joshua Mitnick - Israel Correspondent
     Jerusalem It was a tripped-out electro-vision of Middle East coexistence.
     In the Holy Citys leading disco last week, dove cutouts hovered above the dance floor, illuminated by hazy green and yellow spotlights. Belly dancers clad in shiny bikini tops swiveled their hips while Israeli clubbers hopped to the hard-thumping house beats. Bartenders wrapped keffiyah scarves over their shoulders.
     The heady scene was in honor of a first-ever disc jockey summit that brought together a triumvirate of Israeli, Palestinian and Jordanian turntable luminaries. And although the pickup vibe at the club, Haoman 17, wouldnt exactly befit buttoned-up diplomats, a sense of protocol was not forgotten: hanging over the DJ booth was an Israeli flag flanked on either side by a Palestinian and a Jordanian flag.
     The lineup moved from the commercial rhythms of Ramallahs Khalil Kamal to the Arabic groove of Tel Avivs Srulik Einhorn and concluded with the progressive house beat from Jordans Morad Kalice.
     In a city shattered by regular terrorist bombings over the five-year Palestinian uprising, the evening underscored how Israels capital has liberated itself at least for the time being from the taboos of daily conflict.
     Its putting the enemy in the DJ spot, and anyway, hes not the enemy, hes just the guy spinning the records, said Arik, a 27-year-old journalist after leaving the club.
     To be sure, the Israeli-Arab summit got a more positive reception in a scene where a good party is a much more compelling draw than the ideological blood feud that divides each respective society.
     Its clubbers. Basically theyre either drunk or popping pills, added the journalist.
     But over the last five years, there has been virtually no place in Israel to find refuge from the conflict. Not even in the den of hedonism often found in Israeli clubs. Seared into the national memory is the shock over the June 2001 Dolphinarium bombing on the Tel Aviv beach.
     Even though Haoman has sought to remain open despite tense periods, it too closed its doors for a month in 2002, after several of its regulars were killed in a suicide bombing at Jerusalems Moment Café.
     We didnt think people should come to dance when people and our friends are dying on the streets. We didnt feel like partying in those days, said Omri Heilvronner, head of promotions for the club. The situation in Jerusalem is different now. For the past six or seven months, its been calming down in Israel, so we felt it was the right thing to do.
     The summit was the brainchild of Einhorn, a 26-year-old turntable DJ who helped spur the popularization of electronic Arabic music in Tel Aviv bars and clubs. After years of playing the music, he began trying to make contact with DJs in neighboring Arab countries. Einhorn visited Amman last spring after mutual friends put him in touch with Kalice.
     An attempt to bring the Jordanian DJ to Israel to spin records at a Tel Aviv party in May imploded at the last minute after Israels Shin Bet security services refused a visa to Kalice. Several months and dozens of phone calls later, Einhorn got the Interior Ministry to issue a visa.
     But instead of Tel Aviv, Einhorn decided on a more provocative location for the party: Jerusalem. And a bilateral appearance became a three-way performance when they added Kamal, 37, the leading DJ on Ramallahs party scene. Einhorn said the performance was the first time hes ever ventured into the political realm.
     Its a nice event of cooperation, and its never been done in the region, he said. Also, being in Jerusalem means doing it in the holy city to three religions.
     Although many Arab artists have shunned visits to Israel for fear of vilification back home, the 26-year-old Amman DJ seemed largely unconcerned about the prospect of a backlash. Instead, Kalice displayed cellular text messages of encouragement from friends back at home.
     With parents hailing from Jaffa and Jerusalem, a weekend in Israel could have been pregnant with emotional minefields, but Kalice said he focused on the adventure of visiting a place most of his friends back in Amman couldnt.
     Im into music, so politics doesnt interest me, he said. The message that I want to bring to the people is that music should bring people together.
     If the overwhelmingly Israeli crowd at the Haoman show was any indication, that ideal is still a ways off in the Middle East.
     But Ramallahs Kamal said he was less concerned about the demographics of the crowd than the Palestinian flag and the reception.
     It was cool. It was the first time I was in such an atmosphere with a Jewish crowd. I was afraid that they wouldnt accept me because Im an Arab. But they accepted everything I played, he said.
     It wasnt only music. It was the only night that we felt there was no difference between Israeli, Palestinian and Jordanian. We hope that they will feel that way on the street.
     Outside the club, Raja Kalebo, a Palestinian friend of Kamals explained that Arabs from Jerusalem were absent because there had been little publicity. And there was little hope of securing travel permission for the DJs Ramallah fans to cross the Israeli militarys checkpoint into Jerusalem. A missed opportunity, said Kalebo, because even such an innocuous pastime as clubbing together has the power to break down barriers.
     If you go out with someone, you change your opinion of them. You see their good side, he said. Its a special feeling, but between us, I wish it were real, meaning that it would be deep in peoples hearts rather than just a passing party.