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EXCLUSIVE: Classicalite Q&A with Erez Safar (a.k.a. Diwon) on "It Is What It Israel"

By Jonathan Lambert j.lambert@classicalite.com on Jul 22, 2014 08:36 PM EDT

There is a shocking trend in today's culture, one where musicians and celebrities--groups that once preached love and peace--now spend their time calling for war instead.

For evidence, one need look no further than Roger Waters' persistent attack on the state of Israel.

While he has often denied being anti-Semitic, Waters' use of imagery on stage (i.e. releasing a pig balloon with a Star of David on it, aside symbols associated with fascism and communism) and his comments (like comparing Jews to Nazis), have painted a much different picture.

Luckily, not all artists are committed to conflict. In fact, some are even trying to make a positive difference.

Enter Erez Safar, or as he is known to many, recording artist Diwon. Erez has a long history of bringing together those from different cultures, including Hip Hop Sulha-- a Jewish and Muslim reconciliation series he co-founded, flying out numerous Israeli and Palestinian rappers for showcases and dialogue for peace.

The Hip Hop Sulha reinvents the concept of the traditional Arab sulha (reconciliation) by bringing leading Jewish and Muslim hip-hop musicians together to celebrate peace and religious tolerance via the performing arts.

And now the musician/producer will be hosting an event this Thursday, July 24, in an effort to bring even more people together.

And while there will be a lot to enjoy at the fundraiser, you probably won't see any pig balloons donning political imagery--which makes sense, because Erez isn't really that sort of guy.

We recently caught up with Safar to find out more about him and his event, It Is What It Israel.

Classicalite: What led you to organize this event?

Erez Safar: I was going to sleep disappointed in the world and angry and sad about the 2,800 plus rockets being shot into Israel, where my family lives and Jews have lived for thousands of years.

I was disappointed to see so many people writing Free Palestine and anti-Israel posts without knowing anything about the history or current situation.

A lot of these people's hearts are in the right place and, if Israel had a partner for peace, there would be peace. Israel has proven that time and time again. Israel pulled its soldiers and settlers out of Gaza 9 years ago.

Most people are posting "Free Palestine" cuz it sounds cool or is trending right now and don't realize that the Gaza-based Hamas is terrorizing its own citizenry, not giving them a chance at freedom, not valuing their lives and, at the same time, is trying to terrorize anyone possible in Israel. Hamas doesn't care about Palestinians--that is clear!

It also does not care for peace; it simply wants Jews dead. Radical Islam is not good for Muslims, freedom or the world. Is there anyone else who would put their children and family in harm's way?

Israel has a right to defend itself, and Israel is praying that Hamas stops attacking so that more lives do not have to be lost. In fact, Mahmoud Abbas (the leader of the Palestinian Authority) asked Hamas, "What are you trying to achieve by sending rockets?"

We need a peace partner, not one that stands for the destruction of all of Israel and the Jews (i.e. Hamas' charter) but one that stands for freedom for the Palestinian people and peace. We need the world to speak out against Hamas and radical Islam, for the Palestinian people--not against Israel's right to defend itself.

CL: What can people expect from your upcoming concert, It Is What It Israel?

ES: We do have bands coming, but it's not a concert as much as a fundraiser event for people to feel proud to support Israel's right to exist, right to defend itself, right to freedom and the eradication of evil terrorism that has continued to be a threat to freedom and democracy, both in America and Israel.

We want to raise money for Israel and put more positivity and pro-Israel and pro-peace photos out there, whether that's through selfies with hashtags at the event or people coming to the event and being educated on what they could do to promote peace and love and defeat all the hate and misinformation that's taking over the social media world.

I mean, "HitlerWasRight" was trending on Twitter by the same people he sought to destroy. When I saw that, I was half expecting Alanis Morissette's song to come on.

CL: How do you feel about other musicians, like Roger Waters, who have dedicated so much energy and money to attack and criticize Israel?

ES: I think he is ignorant to put his energy into hate and destruction, instead of something productive and long lasting like, hmmm, maybe peace, humanitarian aid on both sides, promoting dialogue and reconciliation between Palestinian and Israeli youth...or anything that would actually help the situation.

CL: How do you think it's possible that--in 2014--celebrities and musicians can espouse anti-Semitic views without facing any real backlash?

ES: Anything goes nowadays, and Hamas has been pretty good at putting Palestinian and Israeli civilians in harm's way time and again.

They have also been circulating horror footage from Hollywood movies, as well as photos and footage from Syria and other Muslim wars and genocide.

Most people don't stop to think what's really going on and realize that Hamas isn't only bad for the Jews, it's probably worse for the Palestinians, since we have gotten pretty good at defending ourselves. We have had thousands of years of practice as the eternal people.

CL: Thanks

"It Is What It Israel" will be held at Studio Bancs, the newest creative arts space in Culver City and is located at 2463 S. Fairfax Ave. Culver City, Calif. The fundraiser will begin at 8:00 p.m. on Thursday, July 28.

To purchase tickets or make a donation, you can check out the event's site. For more information about Erez Safar, a.k.a Diwon, including his upcoming music, head on over to his official site.

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