HEARTBEAT creates opportunities and spaces for young Israeli and Palestinian musicians to work together, hear each other, and amplify their voices to influence the world around them.H EARTBEAT is an international community of musicians, educators, and students using music to build mutual understanding and transform conflict. Founded in 2007 under a grant from Fulbright and MTV, Heartbeat offers a variety of programs to enable Israeli and Palestinian youth musicians to build trust and actively participate in defining their futures, by developing and spreading their music.
Fear, violence, ignorance and a pervasive lack of trust define the political and cultural reality of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Most Israelis and Palestinians have only encountered the other side through televised reports of extremist violence, soldiers at checkpoints, or politicians. As violence intensifies in this small corner of the world, people retreat to their side, and are too often unable to trust in the humanity of the other. To break the status quo of separation and violence and to build a future of peace, security, justice, and freedom for all, people on both sides must know the other; they must communicate and understand each others needs, fears, hopes and shared humanity. People on both sides must be shown tools of change more effective than violence.
Music has an amazing ability to connect people, build trust and inspire hope in the darkest of places. Modern, popular music has long been the voice of change all around the world and a powerful means for youth expression and nonviolent action. By bringing together young Jewish and Arab musicians and strengthening their voices, we are working to build a global culture of trust, compassion, and respect.
W hy Heartbeat? Many organizations have formed with the goal of building understanding and peace between Israelis and Palestinians. Many of these organizations focus their efforts on youth, as they will be the inheritors of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the leaders of tomorrow - hopefully better equipped to solve the conflict. Some of these organizations have utilized specific mediums in bringing together Israeli and Palestinian youth, including basketball, soccer, creative writing, theater, film, photography and music. Until Heartbeat, Jewish-Arab youth music programs exclusively used classical music as the medium for communication and exchange. While a number of popular adult music ensembles featuring Jews and Arabs playing together have existed for years, before Heartbeat, there had never been an organized effort to bring together Jewish and Arab youth musicians through the modern, popular music, that youth are often most connected to.
In the past 15 years, at most 5% of the Israeli and Palestinian communities have participated in a dialogue program of any kind. To end the status quo and build true Peace, far more people have to connect with each other and transform their perceived enemy into a partner for peace. Unlike other mediums for dialogue, a song can easily be spread across the masses, far beyond the room where it was created. While political and social barriers make most opportunities for face-to-face dialogue, communication, and trust-building difficult, music knows no boundaries.