Iranian rocker who performed in Israel: ‘I’m willing to die for peace’
search

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here

Iranian rocker who performed in Israel: ‘I’m willing to die for peace’

Musician Shahin Najafi performed in Tel Aviv last Thursday, having not lived in his native Iran since 2004

Iranian musician Shahin Najafi could be getting a new round of death threats any day now.

That’s because the singer performed in Tel Aviv last Thursday with Israeli rock star Aviv Geffen in a politically charged concert.

Najafi — who has lived outside his native country since 2004, when Iranian authorities threatened to imprison him for his music — sang part of Geffen’s “Hope Song” in Farsi to a crowd of 6,000 at the Israel Trade Fairs & Convention Centre.

He also read a note addressed to President Donald Trump, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and other politicians with a predilection for “walls.” The note drew a raucous round of applause, according to NBC News.

“Stop the violence between people before it’s too late,” Najafi said. “Let’s stop dividing people.”

Najafi is used to being threatened with violence. After his songs were deemed offensive to Islam in 2004, he moved to Germany. But an Iranian cleric sought him out and an Islamic website put out a fatwa calling for a £82,000 ($100,000) bounty on his head in 2012.

He now speaks publicly about life in Iran and met Geffen, who has long been critical of Netanyahu’s government, while touring in Milan.

“I think Shahin is one of the bravest artists I’ve ever met,” Geffen told NBC News.

Najafi told various outlets that he was taught to hate Israelis while growing up in Iran. Now he believes that the people of Iran and Israel have no reason not to get along, even if their governments do not.

He told Voice of America that BDS efforts supported by the likes of former Pink Floyd frontman Roger Waters— who urges artists not to perform in the Jewish state — have it backwards.

“Unlike Roger Waters, I’m not going to stay in the U.S. and boycott the people — I come to Israel and sing for the people to make a statement in the heart of the place where I see a problem,” Najafi said. “I’m willing to die for peace.”

Support your Jewish community. Support your Jewish News

Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.

Unlike other Jewish media, we do not charge for content. That won’t change. Because we are free, we rely on advertising to cover our costs. This vital lifeline, which has dropped in recent years, has fallen further due to coronavirus.

For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.

Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.

You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.

100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...

Engaging

Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.

Celebrating

There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.

Pioneering

In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.

Campaigning

Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish Newsalso produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.

Easy access

In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.

Voice of our community to wider society

The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.

We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.

read more:
comments