Trending Topics:

Israeli ambassador lodges anti-Semitism complaint against Dutch song mocking Israel’s human right record

Israel/Palestine
on 29 Comments

The Israeli song “Toy”, sung by Netta Barzilai, won the Eurovision song contest on the 12th of May. Israel was euphoric. Benjamin Netanyahu called Barzilai “Israel’s greatest ambassador” and said “next year in Jerusalem,” a reference to the contest venue in 2019.

Barzilai herself was very aware of her political role, and said in an interview that “we have done something crazy [fantastic] for Israeli Hasbara” (Hebrew, Kan Israeli news). Isabel Kershner of the New York Times noted how “many Israelis hailed it as a diplomatic victory and national vindication.”

But all that occurred just a couple of days before one of the bloodiest single massacres in Israeli history, the killing of 62 Palestinian Gazan protesters, injuring over 3,000, with over 1,360 shot by Israeli soldiers using live ammunition –  and that massacre was occurring simultaneously with Israel’s celebration of the US Embassy inauguration in Jerusalem, in a split-screen reality.

But how long can the split-screen reality last? On Saturday, Dutch comedian Martine Sandifort appeared with a satirical version of the Israeli song, using a backdrop of footage involving Palestinian protests against Israeli forces, the separation wall etc. This appeared on the prime time Sanne Wallis de Vries’s satirical show.

The scathing text points to these realities (some mainstream media has provided partial translations, like BBC and Haaretz – I provide a full one here, and thanks to Ronnie Barkan for the full subtitled video):

Look at me, I am such a sweet country.

World leaders eat obediently out of my hand. And I put out all fires with a kiss.

Hey, We are giving a party, wanna come? See you later in al-Aqsa mosque, which will soon be emptied anyway.

From Haifa to the Dead Sea, there are fireworks and kosher satay. So just come and dance with me.

Is your country surrounded by stone throwers? Build a wall that only Trump can dream of.

Launch a buka-buk, launch a buka-rocket.

Look how nicely I throw bombs.

Yes, Israel is winning again. This party has been going on for 70 years in a row. Look how lovely!

Nope, I don’t think so. No Palestinian is invited here. Not in my Zone – I’m a strict door bitch!

I chase away the Palestinians to a different mood. It’s my party and I’m gonna shine here!

Is your party crashed by radicals? So open up embassies, you’ll surely make cash!

De-la ching-a-ling-ching, with your dollars and cents! Ha!

Look how beautiful! Yes, Israel wins again. This party has been going on for 70 years.

Israel always wins. This shizzle has been going on for 70 years.

I’m a very sweet country. And the whole world still eats from my hand.

That’s nice, that’s very nice. I think it’s beautiful.

So, as you might expect, Israel has now complained about this. Israel’s ambassador to The Hague wrote:

“Freedom of speech, freedom of the press and satire, are important elements of a democratic and pluralistic society, as exists in the Netherlands and Israel. We cherish and respect these principles, yet in that show you went too far.” 

The letter was sent to the Dutch television channel as well as Central Jewish Board – the umbrella group for Holland’s Jewish community.

The ambassador, Aviv Shir-On, expanded into accusations of anti-Semitism, when he told the Dutch newspaper NRC that the content of the song was not only “crude and offensive”, but that it also “packages anti-Semitic stereotypes as jokes”. BBC notes that “The chicken-clucking of the original song is replaced with further references to money” (referring to the “ching-a-ling” etc.), and that “critics say the parody evokes traditional anti-Jewish prejudices by associating Jews with money”. 

But the broadcast group behind the show, BNN Vara, insisted the song was not referring to “anti-Semitic prejudices.” They said:

“In the Sanne Wallis Show, events of the past week are discussed in a satirical manner. Last week Israel winning the Eurovision song contest coincided with a flare-up in the conflict in the Gaza Strip. The parody brings Israel’s policy up for discussion and is emphatically not an indictment against the Jewish community.” 

So let’s look at this closely, let’s see what the song might actually be referring to, particularly in terms of the money issue, which seems to be the core of the matter.

Apparently, the reference at the start to world leaders eating “obediently out of my hand” seems either a reference to the leaders who came to the US Embassy inauguration, which was Israel’s party because the US was giving its acceptance to Israel’s blatant violation of international law in the act of unilaterally annexing East Jerusalem – or a general reference to widespread acceptance of Israeli criminality historically, which manages to continue on despite UN resolutions and with no sanctions.

Now, Netanyahu has explicitly said in the wake of the announced US Embassy move, that he has “decided that the first 10 embassies to come here will get preferential treatment. We’ll help you. All of you should do that”, and that the principle was “first come, first served”. Guatemala has already announced its intention to move its embassy, and Netanyahu himself has boasted that six countries are seriously considering following suit.

We cannot seriously believe that “preferential treatment” and the “help you” is not about money. Of course, it is about money and politics. And arms sales, and human rights violations. Israeli attorney Eitay Mack published a piece yesterday titled “U.S. Embassy opening: A who’s who of the Israeli arms trade” (+972 Magazine). Mack notes:

“Only around 30 countries took part in the opening of the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem last week. Not coincidentally, Israel’s ties with most of them are based on arms sales used to carry out gross human rights violations.”

He provides the logic:

“Immediately following the end of the 1967 War, the State of Israel began a massive diplomatic campaign aimed at convincing countries around the world to oppose resolutions in international forums demanding the Jewish state unilaterally withdraw from the occupied territories. Israel attempted to buy the votes of murderous dictatorships and military juntas in exchange for weapons and training.”

And finally states:

“This list of participants is an embarrassing low point for both the Trump administration and the Netanyahu governments’ international influence. […] The government of Israel is once again in need of support from murderous and corrupt regimes, if only to create a veneer of success. […] [T]he guest list is a reflection of 51 years of a failed Israeli struggle for international recognition for the annexation of East Jerusalem.”

So Martine Sandifort, with her satirical song, is really not off the mark at all. The money issue is not about Jews as such. It is about what Israel does to “buy votes”, and Sandifort is making a clear connection between it and the Jerusalem Embassy issue, as well as referring to the whitewashing of oppressive regimes (“Is your party crashed by radicals? So open up embassies, you’ll surely make cash!”).

Sandifort’s reference to “Dollars and cents” seems to refer indirectly to the US, but that’s not strange, as the US has been the major player in this Jerusalem-legitimization move, violating international law on behalf of Israel, for more violators to join the party. It could also be noted that USA is a major patron for Israel’s oppression with its 3.8 billion Dollar annual military aid – constituting more than half of its global military aid.

Sandifort is thus on the mark. But of course, Israel uses its “trick” – “Anti-semitism”. As the late Israeli Minister Shulamit Aloni said, it’s a card that “we always use” in order to rebuff criticism of the state.  

And that is precisely what this is about. Israel now wants to use this case in order to divert attention from its crimes, by making itself the victim. The Israeli Ambassador writes that the parody song “went too far” – and that “distance” couldn’t possibly be a just response to Israel having gone too far. No, that’s just not possible. And to make sure that everyone moves back a safe distance, let’s throw in the “anti-Semitism” accusation, just to be sure.

After the draft of this post was prepared, Israeli singer Adi Granot published another parody on “Toy”, in Hebrew, doing pretty much the same that Martine Sandifort did, just without the live performance scene. The title is “There’s No Occupation” (watch here with subtitles). The text:

Take a look, a democratic state

Here and there another Gazan is taken down

And I’m at the square, what do I care

Boom boom boom boom

Wai, stop crying already

Demonstrating isn’t worthwhile

We’ll shoot you all and then – bye bye

And anyone touching the fence

His life will turn worthless

And we have no other solution

A singular democracy among all

The most moral army in the world

Eliminates protesters

Shoots them for no reason

Because there’s no occupation

There’s no despair

Only a closure without electricity or water

Come to the fence, we’ll redeem you quickly

Ah ah ah, and the war will come and unite the entire nation

Yes the war will cleanse us from the blame

Koolooloo koolooloo, look how we won – so what if we massacred?

Screw Europe, Baiby [Bibi – Netanyahu], we got away with it again, baiby

(chorus – because there’s no occupation)

We don’t need Merkel anymore We made a pilgrimage with Trump… (chorus)

And the song ends with Netanyahu proclaiming “to the glory of the state of Israel!”

So what now, has Adi Granot also gone too far? Will she be put under arrest for years like Dareen Tatour who wrote “Resist them”? No, probably not. We don’t usually do such things to Jewish Israeli citizens, just to the non-Jewish ones. And if such a critique, which “goes too far,” comes at us from abroad, well then, the “anti-Semitism” charge is standard procedure. When Palestinians protest, a bullet to the head is a quite common and measured response. But that’s all because we don’t want things to get out of hand, to go too far. “Good fences make good neighbors”, wrote Robert Frost. 

Thanks to Ofer Neiman.

About Jonathan Ofir

Israeli musician, conductor and blogger / writer based in Denmark.

Other posts by .


Posted In:

29 Responses

  1. Kay24
    May 25, 2018, 11:08 am

    The zionists can dish out but cannot take it. They whine when the Palestinians complain that they are suffering under the occupation, that their lands are stolen, and their children are being killed, but when someone comes up with a song criticizing all of the above, they whine, complain, and pretend to be victims. Hypocrites.

    Words do not kill, snipers do.

    • eljay
      May 25, 2018, 11:46 am

      || Kay24: The zionists can dish out but cannot take it. … ||

      So much for the “rejuvenated yehudi people” being “Captain Israel” strong.

    • Misterioso
      May 26, 2018, 10:09 am

      @Kay24, et al

      Zionism is racism; Zionism is theft; Zionism is fascism; Zionism is doomed – its only a matter of time.

      Zionism defined:
      https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-farm-terror-palestinian-vineyard-annihilated-with-chainsaws-1.6115888?utm_term=20180524-18%3A53&utm_campaign=Gideon+Levy&utm_medium=email&writerAlerts=true&utm_source=smartfocus&utm_content=www.haaretz.com%2Fisrael-news%2F1.6115888

      “A Palestinian Vineyard Annihilated With Chainsaws, With a Chilling Message in Hebrew. Vandals slashed hundreds of mature grape plants near Hebron, and the odds that the culprits will be caught are slim.” By Gideon Levy and Alex Levac. May 24/18 – Haaretz.

      EXCERPT:
      “The grapes are shriveled. The vineyard is dead. Reduced to a large, dried-out, yellowing stain in the heart of the verdant region along Highway 60 where the road runs past the town of Halhoul, north of Hebron. The ‘yellow wind’ that David Grossman wrote about 30 years ago is a dying vineyard here. Two plots of land, with hundreds of vines that were slashed, their stems and shoots sawed off – and within a week everything here had withered and died.

      “This is a particularly horrible sight because all the damage was wrought by the hand of man. A wicked, loathsome hand that hates not only Arabs but despises the land itself. In fact, we can assume that it wasn’t just one individual who raided and destroyed this vineyard late Tuesday night last week. To saw off that many plants in such a short time requires a few pairs of nasty hands. And someone also had to smear the threatening words in Hebrew on a rock: ‘We will reach everywhere.’ All before first light illuminated the dark deed.

      “When dawn broke, the owner of the vineyard, Dr. Haitham Jahshan, a hematologist, arrived and couldn’t believe his eyes. His vines had been ravaged. First he saw one sawed trunk, then another and another – a sea of butchered vines, whose grapes were grown to be eaten, not for wine – until the full scale of the calamity hit home.”

      • Kay24
        May 26, 2018, 1:47 pm

        There are a few words I would like to call them, but it would not be polite.
        They are very vicious, and it seems brainwashed into hating so much.

        When people who hold the power, behave this way towards those who are helpless and unable to fight back, it shows that there is an element of sadism, and cruelty, in their psyche. It has been told over and over again, but these zionists truly deserves to be called the zionazis.

      • Maghlawatan
        May 26, 2018, 10:02 pm

        Lots of things remind me of Zionism

        “Gatsby is a cautionary tale about thinking you can remake yourself”

        “Epistemic closure is when a community cannot accomodate new perspectives ”

        Maybe Zionism is proof that a stable Jewish state is impossible. Maybe what makes Jews Jews isn’t suited to the banality of political coherence.

  2. Jo L
    May 25, 2018, 12:16 pm

    I think the definition of Israel is a fraud that always have the same, recurrent consequence: the accusation of anti-semitism, because it mainly refers to a religion and simultaneously evokes the past: Israel is a jewish state!
    As a result, any critic on the theocratic military regime of Israel will lead to the only accusation possible…
    With kind regards
    Joël Lallement

  3. Maghlawatan
    May 25, 2018, 1:23 pm

    In the shtetl in Poland and the ghetto in Italy anti Semitism was baseless. Jews did not sacrifice children.
    Israel on the other hand shoots kids in the head. And that is indefensible.
    Someone has to save Judaism from the thugs.

  4. Maghlawatan
    May 25, 2018, 1:36 pm

    What the Dutch ambassador is saying is that you can’t criticise Jews for human rights abuses.
    This is insane .
    If lesbians were murdering Jews for a laugh they would not be allowed to use homophobia as a defence, would they?

    • Annie Robbins
      May 25, 2018, 1:49 pm

      i tried making the point the accusation of anti semitism was privileged on twitter yesterday to disastrous effect. i have to admit i was pissed when i posted and probably didn’t articulate my point very well, but i am still getting slammed for it in my notifications. publicly criticizing all things jewish or israeli or israel can be like walking into a landmine. and the funny thing is, the trigger of even mentioning money (because it’s a “trope”) as tho money isn’t the most common currency in the world and the topic is off limits. it’s not! it’s just off limits if the person connected to it is jewish or one mentions they are jewish. whereas, we can scream to the rooftops about money and access to it and citizens united and lobbies etc etc, as long as we’re not talking about the israel lobby — and access via money. that’s off limits.

      • oldgeezer
        May 25, 2018, 3:26 pm

        @annie

        Calling something out as a trope is sometimes used as an excuse or cover.

        When labelling something as a trope denies actual facts then it’s being misused. Of course it’s all in the wording for sure.

      • Misterioso
        May 26, 2018, 10:51 am

        “Sandifort’s reference to ‘Dollars and cents’ seems to refer indirectly to the US, but that’s not strange, as the US has been the major player in this Jerusalem-legitimization move, violating international law on behalf of Israel, for more violators to join the party. It could also be noted that USA is a major patron for Israel’s oppression with its 3.8 billion Dollar annual military aid – constituting more than half of its global military aid.”

        Perhaps it’s time to revisit the following video exposing fanatical Zionist and casino magnate, Sheldon Adelson’s role in bribing US politicians to kowtow to Israel. No doubt, Canadians will be interested in revelations revealed regarding former Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s devotion to Israel:

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=1&v=BwLaXxSQi80

        “The Godfather” – Canada’s CBC exposé on Sheldon Adelson’s influence on Trump, Harper, & Mideast policies” Provided by If Americans Knew

        “Prominent Canadian news broadcaster Wendy Mesley exposes the role of billionaire campaign donor Sheldon Adelson in getting the U.S. embassy moved to Jerusalem, Trump’s abandonment of the Iran nuclear deal, and both U.S. and Canadian politics in general.

        “Adelson, the tenth richest man in the world and the GOP’s largest donor, is known to use his money to influence policies on behalf of Israel.

        “After trump tore up the Iran agreement, Adelson donated an additional $30 million to the Republican party, possibly the single largest single donation in U.S. history.

        “Adelson also influenced former Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who endorsed Trump’s embassy action and anti-Iran move.

        “Mesley interviews New York Times reporter Ken Vogel, who says that Adelson has private meetings at the White House with Trump, Vice President Pence, John Bolton, and others. Israel is at the heart of Adelson’s donations, who has been influenced by his Israeli wife. Vogel explains that Adelson is ‘the enforcer’ for Jewish American donors who give a lot of money to Republican politicians. People are afraid to cross him.

        “The report was broadcast on CBC’s news program “The Weekly with Wendy Mesley” on May 20, 2018.

        “See a related video about Adelson: “Sheldon Adelson regrets having worn an American uniform rather than an Israeli one”
        youtu.be/2TFi-9wnspk

        Additional information about Adelson is at iakn.us/2IE3rHE

  5. just
    May 25, 2018, 1:52 pm

    Bravo Martine Sandifort!!! It was very well done, imho. She’s got heaps of talent.

    Thanks, Jonathan.

  6. Elliot
    May 25, 2018, 9:09 pm

    The Israeli parody is biting by Israeli standards but it differs in two ways from the Dutch satire:
    1. It belittles the Palestinians for seeking a quick “redemption” at the border protests. It misses the point of the Great March of Return.
    2. It reflects reasonable Israeli fears that its army’s violence against Gaza will result in a war (translation: Jews will die).

  7. RoHa
    May 25, 2018, 10:46 pm

    “critics say the parody evokes traditional anti-Jewish prejudices by associating Jews with money”.

    And no Jew has ever been associated with money.

    • eljay
      May 26, 2018, 8:06 am

      || RoHa: … And no Jew has ever been associated with money. ||

      Right, but only because money stayed away for fear of being labelled anti-Semitic.

    • Mooser
      May 26, 2018, 12:33 pm

      “And no Jew has ever been associated with money.”

      That just doesn’t seem possible. Money is the most common currency in the world.

      • RoHa
        May 26, 2018, 7:33 pm

        Down here we use cowrie shells and cans of beer, but most of the world does, indeed, use money.

      • Keith
        May 27, 2018, 12:48 am

        ROHA- “Down here we use cowrie shells and cans of beer….”

        Cans of beer I can understand, but cowrie shells?

      • RoHa
        May 27, 2018, 5:34 am

        Traditional for primitive islanders.

      • Mooser
        May 27, 2018, 1:42 pm

        “cow·rie kourē/Submit noun

        1. a marine mollusk that has a smooth, glossy, domed shell with a long narrow opening, typically brightly patterned and popular with collectors.
        2. the flattened yellowish shell of the money cowrie, formerly used as money in parts of Africa and the Indo-Pacific area. ‘Change’ is made using a flat rock and a wooden club.

        This is interesting. I’ve never heard of a non-kosher currency before.

  8. niass2
    May 26, 2018, 7:53 am

    This jew here would love to be associated with money. I have $40. Anyways, as a Jewish American I want to lodge a complaint against Burning Spear (Winston Rodney). He isn’t playing any more shows and that truly sucks. I am also poor and a Jew (at least that’s what my parents told me), so tell one of those jews associated with money that poor Jews in Massachusetts are taking donations. Also, this website is tiring. Ever think of changing the name from Mondoweiss to “Mondo-Generalization.” Now Phillip hasan article on anti war.com saying “Liberals can’t talk about Adelson’s role in whatever.” No Iguess Ican’t talkabout that, cause it might show that the Democrats suck and don’t communicate with anyone. Phillip needs some LSD asap, to stop thinking in such linear terms. If you haven’t taken any you can’t comment. If its so bad for you why are the grateful dead or their pieces starting their 54th year on the road??????????????????? Most Liberal jews are actual violent zionists. Is that your point? It’s true so just say it. They’re deluded. and, if ere discussing labels, no, Deadheads are not HIPPIES. They tried to protect the hippies at woodstock from hurting themselves. Deadheads are from The Hog Farm, they are not Hippies. Labels are stupid. The solution to Trump is to put LSD in the drinking water instead of Fluoride. Christians love Israel so they’re idiots. I would, in all seriousness, much rather be Jewish than Christian. I am not sure why, but all my socalled Christian friends seem to know nothing about anything…..

    • Mooser
      May 26, 2018, 12:35 pm

      “Also, this website is tiring.”

      Yeah, it’ll give you a bum voyage.

  9. niass2
    May 26, 2018, 7:55 am

    One last point: No one here knows a damn thing about this contest over here anyways. Seems like a bunch of nonsense, and no it wont change anyone’s views of Israel, too late for that Go ask 100 people on the street about this and you’ll get a lot of “What the hell are you talking about…..”

    • John O
      May 26, 2018, 2:57 pm

      I presume you mean in the USA. However, the contest is one of the annual light entertainment highlights for millions and millions of people in Europe. A boycott would be huge.

  10. Colleen McGuire
    May 26, 2018, 2:24 pm

    Next year’s Eurovision is supposed to be in Israel( the winner’s country), but hey there’s gonna be a big BDS showdown over that one!

  11. Ossinev
    May 26, 2018, 6:20 pm

    I believe Australia is in the annual Eurovision contest now ? Zioland has been in it for quite a few years. North Korea can`t be far behind in getting in on the act:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DxWOA78OFZg

    And I am sure that the Yahoo will be pushing hard for the following to get in on the act:
    Guatemala,Honduras,Marshall Islands,Micronesia,Naura,Palau and not forgetting Togo.
    Yes the thought of all those black goys and their supporters popping up in the Chosen Peoples land might upset a few of the less savvy Zios but hey got to try and make sure those all important UN votes keep a coming.

    • Brewer
      May 26, 2018, 11:38 pm

      At the last meeting of my local Musicians Association it was proposed that a petition be mounted asking Israel to keep the Eurovision Song Contest in perpetuity.
      It was decided that such a move would result in a marked increase in the quality of music in both Israel and the rest of the World.

      • guyn
        May 27, 2018, 1:44 pm

        The winning song of this year has already been viewed more often on YouTube than any other past winners,. But I’m not sure it is a testament of the quality of the song…

      • Brewer
        May 27, 2018, 11:00 pm

        Many of the most viewed Youtube clips are films of disasters.

Leave a Reply