Jewish-American rock band JudaBlue sets David and Goliath to music: Violence at its Absolute Level

With their earnest rock song, “Falling”, US rock band JudaBlue might well be mistaken for any number of groups in the CCM scene. However,  it’s not Jesus they’re praising, it’s HaShem (for the uninitiated or merely impious, that’s “Yahweh”, the god of Israel).

“Falling” retells the biblical story of David and Goliath, found in 1 Samuel 17:

My father told me to see how my brothers were doing
on the battlefield
My brothers told me there’s an army that’s causing some trouble
on the battlefield
And I could see the sun and it was shining on the one who wants to hurt my fellow people
And I could see that he was the antithesis of me and I must stand up for my people

He was falling, ’till he shook the ground, thought his strength was all
but he had nothing at all

My brothers told me that I am not the one to go and fight him off ’cause I am not a warrior
So I went to the king he said kid you’re just too young but if you’re truly sure take my armor and go to war
But I could tell something was wrong going to fight with all the song cause all I needed was his name of war to win
So I took five stones from the river aimed my slingshot and delivered the message right between his eyes, God’s name in disguise

He was falling, till he shook the ground thought his strength was all
but he had nothing at all

Shema Yisrael Hashem Elokeinu Hashem Echad
[All that I needed in order to win was pure declaration of my faith in Him,
where faith stands even giants will fall]

He was falling, till he shook the ground thought his strength was all
but he had nothing at all

In the music video to “Falling” (released 24 March 2011), JudaBlue recreate the biblical story of David and Goliath as a battle between a lone freewalking (parkour) hero, dressed predominantly in white (“David”), and a sinister group of urban hoods dressed predominantly in black, led by a slightly larger thug and fellow freewalker (“Goliath”). The hero wears a “Free Gilad [Shalit]” t-shirt and a kippah - and the video features the band members of JudaBlue performing in a room full of pro-Israel messages and symbols, wearing teffilin and kippot. The inference is not difficult to make: Goliath and his Philistines are – you guessed it – the Palestinians.

The whole video builds up to the confrontation between David and Goliath. The hero dressed in white finally confronts the thug dressed in black. And what happens? Does the little guy defeat the big baddy? Well, yes, but not how you might expect. When they are eye to eye, “David” starts praying. And when he looks up, his enemies have disappeared. Without any visible signs of violence, “Goliath” and his nefarious hoods have been defeated, and David stands alone, victorious.

I underline the lack of visible violence in the video. For in this Jewish-American pro-Zionist fantasy, not only do the “good guys” eradicate the “bad guys” – they even eradicate the eradication. That is, even the violence which is necessary to eradicate one’s enemies is occluded from the narrative. Now that eradication, recalling Jean-François Lyotard’s description of “absolute injustice”, is not merely violence, but “absolute violence” – violence which even removes from discourse the possibility of naming the violence. If JudaBlue naively imagined that they had eliminated any violence from their music video, they should know that the opposite is the case: this is violence at its absolute level.

JudaBlue

JudaBlue

Will JudaBlue do for teffilin and kippot what David Beckham did for the keffiyeh?

David Beckham in Keffiyeh ... soooooo 2008

David Beckham in Keffiyeh … soooooo 2008

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Filed under 1 Samuel 17, Goliath, Music

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