Touchy? U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv Livid That Israeli Musician Insulted Obama
Amir Benayoun is no stranger to controversy, but he probably did not expect to be the cause of a diplomatic incident. The young Israeli musician who records only in Hebrew was hardly known outside -- and not that well inside -- his home country prior to now.
The American embassy in Tel Aviv saw fit to respond to a music video he posted on Facebook. The video depicts a raven holding a head shot of Barack Obama in its beak as Benayoun’s latest song plays. (The video has since been taken down, but you can see it here.)
The embassy spokesman described the song to the Israeli website Wallah! as “repulsive,” and added:
We condemn any provocative and racist language, whether it is against the President of the United States or against anyone else, and we believe that most Israelis think like us.
Here -- in rough web-based translation -- is the first verse:
I bought a raven with a small and lovely moustache
Even though there are a lot like it in the streets, for free
Just because of my affection for Obama, let me say
That I named it after the ugly president
The reason I bought the cruel raven was to try
To inject in this treacherous creature a few drops of heart, at least
In the meantime, I’ve lost an eye, and I suffer from the wretched raven’s stupidity
And I await the death of the miserable creature
The hardest thing was for me to choose a unique name for him
He’s a raven like so many ravens who tried to erase us forever
It was hardest for me to pick an original name for him
Which would show what cruel garbage he is
The second verse is much of the same.
Benayoun is not shy about expressing controversial opinions. One of his earlier posts on Facebook was titled Ahmad, Ovév Yisra’él (“Ahmad, the Philosemite”). He posted it in the wake of the terrorist attack on a synagogue in the Har Nof neighborhood of Jerusalem carried out by Arab-Israeli citizens. It depicted an Arab Israeli student attending university under the country’s equivalent of “affirmative action”; in it the protagonist admits that he is “ungrateful scum” who “loves Israel today, but tomorrow will go kill a Jew or two.”
This is also not the first time he expressed his opinion of Obama. In March -- during the Passover season -- he posted a song comparing Obama to the Pharaoh.
During the recent election campaign, when Mrs. Netanyahu was accused by disgruntled former employees of the prime minister’s residence of keeping money received from recycling bottles, Benayoun posted “The Bibi Song” in the prime minister’s defense. This earned him an appearance at a Likud party rally.