A new song by popular Israeli singer Amir Benayoun takes shots at American and Israeli leaders, accusing them of intending to sell out Jerusalem to the Palestinians as part of peace negotiations.
The title, “Jerusalem of Hussein,” is a not-so-subtle reference to US President Barack Obama’s middle name, as well as a play on the classic “Jerusalem of Gold” by Naomi Shemer.
“Rejoice with Jerusalem, and be glad for her, all you who love her,” Benayoun sings, in a direct quote from Isaiah 66, and then inserts his own addendum: “Because the prime minster and all his friends apparently gave up on it a long time ago.”
After attacking Benjamin Netanyahu, Benayoun turns his attention to Obama.
“Hussein of America wants it [Jerusalem],” he croons, “and he is relentless and cruel.”
“Rejoice with Jerusalem and be glad for her while you can,” another line goes. “Behind our back it has already been sold.”
Benayoun closes, as he opened, with a biblical quote: “If I forget you, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget its skill” (Psalms 137).
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The religious vocalist, known for his Mizrahi, or Middle Eastern, musical style, unique voice and embellished vocals, has made political commentary in his songs in the past. A 2010 song titled “I am your Brother” accused an unnamed listener of treachery and backstabbing as Benayoun fought to protect him. The singer said he wrote it in response to certain elements in the Israeli population.
Though Monday’s newly released single carried a distinctly despondent tone, Benayoun himself suggested in a Facebook post announcing its release that listeners “take it all in stride.”
“Worst case scenario (you’ve got) another mediocre political song,” he wrote. “Things aren’t really that bad.”