Popular Israeli singer says left is ‘the devil’

Popular Israeli singer says left is ‘the devil’

Amir Benayoun urges his followers to fight political opponents with ‘love’

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

Amir Benayoun, a critically acclaimed Israeli singer-songwriter who was accused of racism last year for a song about bloodthirsty Israeli Arabs, on Saturday night let loose a caustic attack on Israel’s left, which he termed “the devil.”

“It’s no secret that the devil is flapping in the water before it drowns. That’s why it’s using all its energy and all its limbs to do harm,” he wrote in a Facebook post (Hebrew).

“I’m sorry to say that these final palpitations are for the most part expressed through the deep hatred that Israel’s left feels toward its Jewish brothers,” he continued, before accusing the left of doing its utmost “to ensure that nothing remains here of either Judaism or the Jews.”

After railing against “the Supreme Court and the media,” which he termed “the natural partners” of the left, Benayoun urged his supporters to “do whatever you can to beat the devil with the weapon that he hates more than anything else, and that’s ‘love.’

“Spread [your] love of the land and the people, the love of our brothers and of Judaism, any way you see fit,” he said.

Benayoun was disinvited from an event at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem in November after he released a song that many saw as expressing racist sentiment against Arabs. The song “Ahmed loves Israel,” about an Arab Israeli youth stabbing Jews, led to calls for police to investigate him for incitement.

“It’s true that I am just ungrateful scum,” Benayoun sang in the name of the fictional Ahmed. “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 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 went.

As of early Sunday morning, his broadside against the Israeli left had garnered over 1,000 “likes” and 60 “shares.” Still, most comments on the post condemned the message.

“I’m a leftist, Amir,” wrote Miki Noam. “I love you as a person and my Judaism is very important to me. I hope to create a just society in a country that has room for everyone. To me, those are the values of Judaism. There isn’t a drop of hatred in me. I wish you the best.”

“You’re calling a large portion of the nation ‘devil’ and they’re the ones showing hatred?” asked Racheli Rottner.

Others were more supportive.

“So true,” wrote Ronen Oren. “In what reasonable, cultured country does the media allow itself to abuse and demean a prime minister like they do in ours?” he said, before going on to describe Israel as a “rotten country that’s ruled by a sick, far-left media.”

The post came a day after popular singer, Aviv Geffen, sparked an online furor by calling during a concert for the replacement of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu when Israel goes to the polls on March 17.

“Netanyahu sold Israel; Netanyahu doesn’t give a shit about you,” Aviv Geffen could be seen crying out to the Tel Aviv crowd, in a video aired by Channel 2 news. “Netanyahu sabotaged our relations with the US, we’re perfectly isolated. He put half of Israel under the poverty line, and he didn’t leave you, the students, with any hope of creating a normal life here in Israel.”

“In the elections, we have to get Bibi the hell out!” he concluded, as the crowd cheered.

Geffen’s comments were roundly decried by right-wing politicians as well as Netanyahu himself, whose official Facebook page shared a harsh condemnatory post by Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz.

Katz railed against Geffen, calling him “a draft dodger who’s inciting against the prime minister.” Meanwhile, he accused, “the leaders of the left, Tzipi [Livni] and Boujie [Herzog], aren’t condemning and aren’t saying a word. It’s shameful.”

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