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Uproar as ex-Israel soldier features in Morocco jazz festival

Israeli Jazz singer, trombonist and pianist, Noam Vazana [Twitter]
Israeli Jazz singer, trombonist and pianist, Noam Vazana [Twitter]

A jazz festival in Morocco has sparked an outcry for hosting a former recruit of the Israeli army.

The guest appearance at Tangier’s Tanjazz has led to an array of criticism that the move normalises ties with Israel by hosting Israeli artist Noam Vazana, a “Zionist” who has reportedly previously spoken of her pride in serving in the Israeli military service.

Vazana will perform this weekend as part of a duet alongside Moroccan-Dutch artist Teema, who heads an Arabic-Jewish musical duo project aimed at “constructing bridges of understanding and tolerance”, where they will “create sounds that evoke the heritage of the two Arabic and Hebrew cultures that blend with contemporary pop and jazz.”

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“By listening to these two young women singing, you instantly connect to the beauty and joy of those two ancient languages, you will become aware of the simplicity and beauty of the union,” according to the festival’s official website.

“In my IDF [military service], I was happy to be serving as a musician in the Air Force band and later on in the IDF orchestra,” Vazana, whose parents were both born in Morocco before emigrating to Israel in the 1950s, previously told the America-Israel Cultural Foundation.

Morocco has suspended relations with Israel since 2000 but does not prevent the entry of anyone with an Israeli passport or who has travelled to the country.

Tanjazz has come under fire for hosting Vazana with many people calling out the festival organisers for normalising ties with Israel by hosting a known supporter of the Israeli army culpable for numerous abuses and crimes against the Palestinian population.

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Human rights activist Sion Assidon expressed his views in a blog post:

Noam Vazana, who is scheduled to participate in the Jazz festival, flaunts her military service in the Israeli Air Force and said earlier that she was using music to promote a positive image of Israel.

“Couldn’t they find any other singer in the world? Or is there a message they aim to send?” one Facebook user questioned. “Tangier is the city of resistance. We should all take action. This is a call to all civil, student, and political groups in the city to put an end to this normalisation with the Zionist entity.”

“Stop this normalisation!” another wrote attaching the festival’s programme to his post

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