East Jerusalem/West Jerusalem (DVD documentary)
(A version of this review was published in the September 26, 2016 issue of the Ottawa Jewish Bulletin.)
In 2014, I wrote about Israeli singer-songwriter David Broza’s extraordinary CD, East Jerusalem/West Jerusalem. Broza recorded that album in an East Jerusalem recording studio collaborating with a diverse group of Israeli, Palestinian and American – Jewish, Muslim and Christian – singers and musicians. This DVD is an 84-minute documentary about the making of that album.
The film and the music made by Broza and his friends show what is possible in the Middle East when Israelis and Palestinians come together to make music, share meals and walks, and relate to each other as friends and collaborators.
Beyond the making of the album, some of the most inspiring scenes of are of Broza and Palestinian hip-hop artist Muhammad Mughrabi conducting music workshops for children in a Palestinian refugee camp, and of Broza and Palestinian musician and filmmaker Issa Freij talking together as they walk through the streets of the city on Jerusalem Day.
That walk by Broza and Freij also includes a sad and discouraging moment as the pair encounters competing demonstrations in which one group chants “Death to the Jews” while the other chants “Death to the Arabs.”
Broza’s album East Jerusalem/West Jerusalem was a remarkable achievement and this documentary shows how it came to be.