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Wednesday, December 6, 2023

DJ on anti-Semitism in the club scene: “Propaganda sells better”

A solidarity event for the victims of the Supernova festival in Israel is taking place in Berlin. DJ Ori Raz about the mood in the scene.

DJ and producer Ori Raz

“Many people are afraid to raise their voices,” says DJ and producer Ori Raz Photo: private

Ori Raz, you come from Tel Aviv and have friends and relatives in Israel. How have you been doing in the weeks since the Hamas massacre?

Ori Raz: It’s a difficult time, every aspect of life has changed in some way since then – for me, my friends, my family. We ask ourselves existential questions and fear for our future.

What signal should come from the solidarity event on Sunday, what do you hope to achieve?

I hope to raise awareness of the importance of standing up for Jewish people and Israelis. This does not mean that we care less about other groups of people, including Palestinians. There is currently an “us and them” in the club scene. There is a culture of rejection of people who show solidarity with Israel or the Jewish people. It was already latent before October 7th and has escalated since then. It’s okay to have different opinions. But it is important to accept the other person and enter into dialogue. If we can’t do it in our scene and among friends, how are the political leaders supposed to do it?

The international electronic music scene is predominantly pro-Palestinian. Although more than 260 people were murdered at the Supernova festival on October 7, there was little empathy for Israel. Can you still see yourself as a part of this scene?

First of all, I think it’s okay and important to also have empathy and solidarity with the Palestinian people. But this empathy is used to force a narrative that will not really help this people. The majority of the scene has very little knowledge of the conflict – most choose one side. On the other hand, I believe that many in our scene see the conflict in a more differentiated way. But they prefer not to comment because the anti-Israel campaign was already very strong long before October 7th. It definitely creates a situation where you feel uncomfortable in a scene that seems to have forgotten what values ​​it once stood for.

How much of a problem is a lack of historical knowledge?

That is a big problem. A lack of education creates dangerous theories and propaganda that are easier to sell and spread than differentiated assessments.

Is the Middle East conflict dividing the German or international club scene?

Unfortunately, that seems to be the case. I hope it’s temporary and that events like Sunday’s can help heal it.

The proceeds from the solidarity party will benefit the organizations OFEK, Beit El-Meem and Tribe of Nova. What do these organizations stand for?

Behind Tribe of Nova is the community that organized the Supernova festival. She shares our common core values: freedom, love, movement, connection and unity. OFEK is the first specialist advice center in Germany that specializes in anti-Semitism. It offers advice and support in the wake of anti-Semitic attacks and incidents in German, English, Hebrew and Russian. The word “Ofek” is Hebrew and means expanse or horizon. Beit El-Meem is an organization that aims to provide a home for all genders and sexual identities in Arab society in Israel. It wants to ensure the personal and social security of every individual, as well as violence and discrimination against the Arab LGBTQ community.

There are Ravers for Palestine, DJs for Palestine, around 300 producers signed an open letter “against Israel’s brutal and ongoing attack on Gaza” at the end of October. Are there many other voices in the scene? If so, shouldn’t they make their voices heard more?

There are many other voices in the scene, but they are afraid to speak out, for an understandable reason: for many, it is their main job and their only source of income, and they don’t want to lose it. It is unfortunately unavoidable these days to be bullied for taking a stand. Many people therefore prefer to stay out of this game. This applies to everyone, not just DJs.

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