Review of Music in Conflict: Palestine, Israel and the Politics of Aesthetic Production by Nili Belkind


  • Louis Brehony Independent scholar



The intensification of both Zionist repression and grassroots resistance across historic Palestine in May 2021 starkly contrasted Israel’s indiscriminate colonial terror with a revolutionary surge of young people embracing their Palestinian roots through mass anger and political culture on the streets. Musicians were drawn into the confrontation, notably with the violent arrest of contrabassist Mariam Afifi in Jerusalem, the siege of Lydd targeting DAM and other musicians, and with Israel’s aerial obliteration of the Mashariq studio in Ansar, Gaza. Highlighting the progressive nationalism at the heart of Palestinian counter-mobilizations, singer Rola Azar threw herself into leftist campaigning in Nazareth, while bands of street musicians accompanied strike action with songs of sumud (steadfastness) and resistance in Haifa, Ramallah, and many other locations. In Gaza, as with the Israeli bombing of the Said al-Mashal theatre in August 2018, youth have again performed Ibrahim Touqan’s “Mawtini” (“My Homeland”) and other anthems in the rubble. Musicians have mobilized for Palestine.

Author Biography

Louis Brehony, Independent scholar

Louis Brehony is an activist, musician and scholar of culture and politics in Palestine and the Arab world. His work includes the 2020 film Kofia: A Revolution Through Music, currently on international release, and the forthcoming book Strings of the Street, on Palestinian musicianship and resistance in exile.  


Brinner, Benjamin. 2009. Playing Across a Divide: Israeli-Palestinian Music Encounters. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Kuhn, Josh. 2005. “Listening to the Line: Notes on Music, Globalization, and the US-Mexico Border.” Iberoamericana 5 (17): 143–52. /stable/41675681.

Willson, Rachel Beckles. 2013. Orientalism and Music Mission. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.