Friday, February 9, 2018

NY Times Accuses Jews of Stealing Folkdances From Palestinian Arabs - by Ira Stoll

...If the Times thinks these claims are newsworthy, fine. But readers would be better served by more Shipler-style skepticism, context, and fact-checking, and less credulousness.

Ira Stoll..
08 February '18..

Israelis stole folk dancing from the Palestinian Arabs in an act of “cultural appropriation,” The New York Times claims.

The accusation is made in a question-and-answer style interview in the Times arts section conducted by a Times dance critic, Siobhan Burke, with a choreographer, Hadar Ahuvia.

The Times article, which is accompanied online by three photographs and a video, includes this passage:

One issue you explore is cultural appropriation, how the pioneers of Israeli folk dance, mostly Eastern European women, drew from social dance forms like Palestinian dabke.

It’s well-documented that these women went to Palestinian villages and watched them dancing and felt they held the steps for what new Israeli dances could be. And so they borrowed steps and wrote new music and created dances that were directly synchronous to the new music, and in this way it becomes a new Israeli dance.

This was their way of participating in the nation-building and what for them was this revolutionary moment. I don’t think that cultural exchange is bad, but I think it’s about the context of whose narratives get told and seen.

This is an old claim. What’s new is the Times letting it slide unchallenged.

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