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  • Songs in the Struggle for a Ceasefire and Peace with Justice in Israel/Palestine

Songs in the Struggle for a Ceasefire and Peace with Justice in Israel/Palestine

  • 12/21/2023
  • 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM
  • Zoom Link Provided upon Registration


Registration is closed

Thursday, December 21, 2023, 7:00 – 9:00 PM (ET)

on YouTube:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rApybAMClZg

on Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/events/1884813851915758

*** Once event ends, livestream is archived at these same links.

What kinds of musical expressions are inspiring the worldwide struggle for peace with justice in Israel/Palestine?  Activists in this struggle are demanding their governments stop militarily and diplomatically supporting Israel until it agrees to an immediate and permanent ceasefire in its ongoing bombing of Gaza and an end to its military occupation of Gaza and the West Bank. They are using songs as a political tool for building morale and unity during this bleak historical moment.  Some songs protest the ongoing bombardment of Gaza.  Some give voice to oceans of trauma and grief, which are given scanty space to be felt during wartime, except when connected with vengeance.  Some provide a political vision for a radical transformation in which the people of Palestine and Israel live together “in peace and unafraid".

Panelists are asked to present examples of songs they are currently using in the struggle for peace with justice in Israel/Palestine and to address these questions:

  1. How have you seen songs help achieve the goals of protests?  For you, what are the key functions music should play in the current political environment?

  2. How are organizers writing and rehearsing songs, and promoting their effective use at mass actions? In what other ways are the songs being disseminated?

  3. How do songs help sharpen and amplify the political ideas of the movement?

Statement from the PMN Steering Committee:

This online workshop is sponsored by the People’s Music Network (PMN), but it is not intended to define an official opinion of the organization, nor is it intended to represent the entire breadth of political opinion within the Network.  PMN’s mission is to sustain and grow a diverse community of performing artists, activists, and allies who use music, poetry, and other art forms as catalysts for a just and peaceful world.  We meet our mission by creating inclusive spaces for music sharing, skill sharing, and political discussion related to the musical expressions of movements that embrace our values of peace and justice. 

This event is intended to bring people together in good faith and mutual respect.  We hope it will help build empathy for those who are suffering on all sides of this escalating war and motivate our membership to take action to stop the killing and build the just and peaceful world we all envision.  Ceasefires are negotiated between the warring parties.  Calls for a cease-fire include calls that no further harm be done to civilians from Palestine and Israel.  This movement aims for all hostages and all illegal prisoners to be returned home safely.

Opinions shared by members of the People’s Music Network are solely those of the speaker/artist and do not necessarily reflect the beliefs of the People’s Music Network or its membership as a whole.  At events sponsored by PMN, each individual speaks or performs on their own behalf and not as a representative of the organization.

The leadership and members of PMN have a variety of viewpoints on the current violence in Israel and Palestine, and PMN encourages open discussions about the issues raised.  This event is the first in a series, with space for all members to share ideas and songs, engage with each other, and collaborate creatively.  One week from this event, there will be a song swap on this topic.  Ideas for the future include moderated discussions and collaborative performances.  Members are invited to suggest/organize additional events.


JOANIE CALEM is an Israeli-American musician with a long history of singing and advocating in the world of Jewish-Arab unity, dismantling the occupation and promoting democracy for all in the region.  She currently serves on the PMN Steering Committee. Her views on the subject of the workshop are hers alone and do not necessarily represent the views of PMN as a whole or of the PMN Steering Committee in particular.  She has written many songs about life and struggle in the Middle East, and her music can be heard here:  www.youtube.com/@joaniecalem

ADAM GOTTLIEB serves as a cantorial artist for Tzedek Chicago, an international values-based Jewish congregation, which last year adopted anti-zionism as one of its core values.  He uses music for holding sacred space, communal singing, and expressing collective sentiments at protests, vigils, and prayer services.  He served as a songleader for the action led by Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) in the Canon Building Rotunda in Washington DC on October 18th, 2023 (see video).  He has served as a song and chant leader in other JVP-led actions in Chicago. 

BEN GROSSCUP organizes online and in person gatherings for the People’s Music Network in his role as the executive director.  His views on the subject of the workshop are his alone and do not necessarily represent the views of PMN as a whole or of the PMN Steering Committee in particular.  Ben’s experience with the politics of West Asia began in 1999 when he traveled to Iraq on a delegation to resist the U.S. sanctions on that country, organized by Voices in the Wilderness.  As a song leader, he sings regularly at anti-war and anti-imperialist events.  Since mid October 20023, he has brought music to multiple Palestine solidarity demonstrations in Western Massachusetts and compiled a song sheet to facilitate group singing at these events.

LUCI MURPHY is a DC- based song leader and a founding member of the People’s Music Network.  After having attended highschool in the 60s among predominantly Zionist classmates, she was introduced to the freedom struggle of Palestinians by an anti-Zionist Jewish nurse.  During the 1980s, Luci worked for the Palestine Human Rights Campaign under the leadership of Don Wagner and Jim Zogby, during which time she joined Rev. Frederick Douglass Kirkpatrick and Matt Jones in singing at pro-Palestinian demonstrations and events in DC and NYC.  

In 1981, one year before the Sabra and Shatila Massacre where Israel killed Palestinian refugees and Lebanese Shias in Lebanon, Luci traveled to Beirut on a study tour of refugee camps and schools, sponsored by the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).  In 2004, she returned to Beirut for a UN commemoration of the massacre’s victims.  She continues bringing her music to the movement to free Palestine.   (Listen to this music sample).  

DAVID ROVICS has been writing songs about the ongoing struggle of the Palestinian people against Israeli occupation for the past 23 years.  He regularly does concert tours, bringing these messages to audiences around the world.  He has compiled his many songs and writings on Palestine here.

PENNY STONE is a songleader, teacher, singer and composer from Scotland.  She worked as a human rights observer in Palestine with the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel, a project of the World Council of Churches.  She has written and arranged many songs about the struggle for Palestinian Human Rights, including this one.  Her website is: www.singlouderthanguns.com

CIARA TAYLOR is the Cultural Strategies Organizer and Educator for the Kairos Center for Religions, Rights, and Social Justice.  Her work shifts the narrative about racism, poverty, ecological devastation, militarism and Christian nationalism and builds power among poor and low-income people across the country and world.  

Ciara and the Kairos Center have been on the front lines and behind the scenes of Ceasefire actions, organizing alongside the Adallah Justice Project, Dream Defenders, Jewish Voices for Peace, Rising Majority and others.  During these challenging times, Ciara and leaders from the Kairos Center have lifted up the important need to integrate cultural and spiritual resources into our organizing and have put this into practice in both physical actions and virtual event spaces that are responding to the current calls for a permanent Ceasefire now!

The following are resources that we have been creating and compiling to support leaders across our movements as we cry out together for peace, resistance, and #CeasefireNow!  https://kairoscenter.org/resources_cpt/ceasefirenow-resources

SOL WEISS is a visual artist, song maker and cultural organizer working for healing and cultural change at the intersections of land, justice and Jewish tradition. Sol is Director of Communications & Resource Sharing with Tzedek Lab, a national multiracial network of political educators, organizers, spiritual leaders and cultural workers fighting antisemitism, racism and white supremacy. 

Sol was part of the founding team of Nishmat Shoom radical Jewish minyan, served as a Co-Director at Linke Fligl, a diasporist queer Jewish land project, conducted indigenous land rights research and advocacy with the Oakland Institute, and served on the strategy team for the Jewish Voice for Peace Havurah Network.  They have been song leader at actions with IfNotNow and JVP, and written songs that have been used widely at Ceasefire actions.  https://www.solweiss.com/music

Resource List Related to this workshop (Read as a Google Doc)

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