Rabat – The Tanjazz festival has become home to a national controversy surrounding an Israeli singer scheduled to perform during the jazz music festival.
The participation of Noam Vazana, an Israeli singer who reportedly served in her country’s military, has drawn criticism from Moroccan activist groups.
The Tangier Music Festival takes place September 14 to 16, and Vazana is scheduled to perform on Friday night.
Pro-Palestinian groups have said that inviting Vazana to the Moroccan festival is an act of “normalization” with Israel.
A local affiliate of a pro-Palestinian Moroccan group announced that it will organize a demonstration on Thursday in front of Moulay Hafid, the organizers’ headquarters.
Sion Assidon, a prominent Moroccan Jewish pro-Palestinian activist, posted on Facebook criticizing the participation of Vazana.
Assidon say that the performance will provide her a platform to present a “positive image” about Israel, which she had previously said herself in an interview.
“Today, the Tangier Jazz music festival is about to receive a singer who had serving the air force of the occupation army and she is proud of it,” said Assidon. “The Zionist propaganda is sneaking in several places to present a ‘positive image’ of the occupation of Palestine.”
In 2014, Vazana said in an interview with the America-Israel Foundation that “whether Israeli artists like it or not, they are also representing Israel regardless of the content of their work.”
She added, “I think every Israeli artist who performs abroad has the responsibility to be a positive presence.”
Cultural normalization with Israel has been a subject of controversy in Morocco for years. In the past, Andalusian singer Abderahim Souiri performed in the Jewish state for Moroccan Jews, drawing similar criticism in the kingdom.
The documentary film ‘Tinghir-Jerusalem, echoes of Mellah’ by French-Moroccan filmmaker Kamal Hachkar, which talked Jewish immigration from Morocco to Israel, was heavily criticized by Islamist groups. The film was seen by many as a propaganda for Israel.
The film was praised within Israel and was screened in local Israeli film festivals.