‘We Don’t Want What Happened in 1948 To Happen to Us Again’

DAM—Palestinian hip hop group

Mahmood Jrere, Maysa Daw, and Tamer Nafar of the Palestinian hip hop group DAM. (Chris Hazou)

On the morning of May 13, a call went out across the ether  from the Palestinian community in Lydd asking for “international protection for the Indigenous Palestinians from Israeli state-sanctioned pogroms.” Spearheaded by members of the pioneering Palestinian hip hop group DAM, the call followed days of rupture and violence and several nights of terror, as Palestinians with Israeli citizenship “faced multiple pogroms and lynching attempts perpetrated by Jewish Israeli mobs.”

While the events of those nights rocked towns from Acre to Ramle, Haifa to Jerusalem, they were particularly convulsive in Lydd (or Lod, in Hebrew), a small working-class city in the center of Palestine-Israel. Lydd had often been held up as a model of “coexistence” within Israel, but a far more oppressive reality has simmered beneath the surface, particularly in recent years as right-wing Jewish nationalists moved in to “Judaize” the city. During the week of May 10, that reality burst its bounds as mobs of Jewish extremists rampaged through the town, abetted by militarized police forces, and Palestinians pushed back. One Palestinian man died, 33-year-old Musa Hassuna, and one Jewish man, 56-year-old Yigal Yehoshua.

Late last week, Mahmood Jrere and Tamer Nafar, two of the founding members of DAM, sat down with their close friend, filmmaker and writer Udi Aloni, to talk about the petition they put forward and the reality of life Lydd. The interview has been edited for length, clarity, and flow

—The Nation

Udi Aloni: So first, can you tell us, what is DAM?

Mahmood Jrere: DAM was founded in early 2000, late 1999. All of the members of DAM are Palestinians living inside of Israel, which makes us carry the Israeli idea, and we have created many songs and albums. One of them was “Who is a terrorist?,” in the beginning of the Second Intifada. We released three official albums. We are from Lydd, the city in the center of Israel. It’s a mixed city that was occupied in 1948 by Zionist gangs—and that’s being short about it.

Aloni: Why did you publish a petition asking the international community to interfere to protect the Palestinian citizens of Israel?

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