Israeli singer’s song about ‘Ahmed’ stirs outrage

Amir Benayoun accused of racism; MK calls on police to investigate him for incitement to violence

Lazar Berman is The Times of Israel's diplomatic reporter

Singer Amir Benayoun (photo credit: Yossi Zeliger/Flash90)
Singer Amir Benayoun (photo credit: Yossi Zeliger/Flash90)

Israeli singer Amir Benayoun released a song Sunday about a theoretical Arab Israeli youth stabbing Jews, garnering accusations of racism as Israel copes with a wave of attacks by East Jerusalem residents.

“It’s true that I am just ungrateful scum,” Benayoun sings in “Ahmed loves Israel.”

“It’s true, but I am not guilty, I wasn’t brought up on love. It’s true that the moment will come when you will turn your back on me, and I’ll stab you right in the back.”

In the song, one version of “Ahmed” lives in Jerusalem, studies at the Hebrew University, and is well-liked. In another, he lives in Tel Aviv, managing gas balloons near a kindergarten.

“Who benefits from all worlds like I do? Today I am moderate and smiling. Tomorrow… I will send to hell, a Jew or two,” the lyrics go.

On Monday, Meretz MK Issawi Freij called on the police to investigate Benayoun for incitement to violence. Comments on Benayoun’s Facebook page called him a racist, while others urged him not to apologize.

By Monday evening, the song had garnered over 55,000 views on Facebook.

תכירו – אחמד אוהב ישראל. שיר אקטואלי חדש של עמיר בניון.

Posted by ‎עמיר בניון – העמוד הרשמי Amir Benayoun‎ on Sunday, November 23, 2014

On Monday afternoon, Benayoun posted a clarification on his Facebook page. “In order to remove any doubt, the song from yesterday, ‘Ahmed loves Israel,’ was only meant to express feelings, and does not call for any violence against anyone. We are absolutely against violence, and if we were for violence, we would not be singing painful songs that come straight from the heart,” he wrote.

“For all those who are shocked — I suggest that first of all, be shocked by and fear the terrorism raging through the country. Be shocked first of all by the Jews murdered with prayers stained by blood. By civilians being run over by these animals. By terrorists firing at residents of the south from schools and hospitals. There are a lot of things more shocking than a song that expresses hurt and fear and nothing more.”

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