On Saturday night, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu released on Facebook a ISIS inspired campaign video in which his Likud party suggests that a vote for his opponents will lead to Israel’s takeover by the Islamic terror group.
The video shows a white pickup truck hauling gunmen in black balaclavas who are waving ISIS flags as they pull up to a sedan with an Israeli driver. Bearded fighters dressed in fatigues inside the vehicle roll down their window and ask the Israeli, “How do we drive to Jerusalem?” Their car has an election sticker on the rear with the slogan for the Zionist Camp, the union of Labor and Hatnua, Netnayahu’s main contenders in Israel’s upcoming March elections.
“Go to the left,” responds the Israeli driver. The ISIS fighters speed away firing rounds into the air.
On a black screen bullet markings barrel out the warning, “The left will surrender to terror,” closing with Netanyahu’s electoral catchphrase, “It’s us, or them. Only the Likud. Only Netanyahu.”
The video is sampled with the Arabic song “Ghorbah” by the Jordanian-based Palestinian hip-hop group Torabyeh. The section audible in Netanyahu’s ad is:
My status is deformed because of my art
My poetry for my people is meaningless
My departure from earth is only a matter of time
I want to be buried in the same graveyard my grandfather is in
Ever since I was young I dreamt of being a soldier
With time I discovered whom I belong to
Mahmoud Abbas, Fatah, Hamas or Jabha
Despite the rough/tough sound in “Ghorbah,” the song is not a call to arms, nor does it have anything to do with ISIS. The excerpt used in Netanyahu’s video cuts out the lyrics, “I am not a killer but I can commit a crime to protect my rights. For my country my pen is writing for me.” Moreover, Netanyahu’s version fades out the audio just after Palestinian political parties are listed. The next lines are: “they are all mercenaries. I can no longer deal with these people living a lie. The picture is nice but the background is destroyed.”
If Netanyahu’s video had continued longer, the lyrics would have gone on to show the song is a lamentation on displacement and dispossession:
Now I come to you to share my pain
Because I felt that me and you are the same
The projects in Amman are throwing us around
Mother nature hold me and return me back inside you
Because all this construction above you is adding to my pain.
Within hours of Netanyahu publishing his video online, Torabyeh gave a response also on Facebook. The band threatened legal action for use of the song without permission, as well as endangering the musicians by insinuating they drafted a pro-ISIS anthem, “which is consequently putting the group’s members lives at risk,” Torabyeh said.
Here is their response in full:
In the last propaganda video released by the Israeli Likud Party which is headed by the criminal Benjamin Netanyahu (Zionist right-wing), the song called “Ghorbah” by Torabyeh has been used. The propaganda video shows units from ISIS waving a flag of the Islamic State in an SUV while asking for directions to Jerusalem. This is followed by the Zionist answering “Turn left ” to the question and the video ends with the sentence “the left surrenders to terrorism.”
The use of the song in the particular context cannot be considered anything but deliberate propaganda of the Zionist right for the purpose of electoral propaganda and attacking the so-called Zionist “left wing”. Furthermore, it implicates the Torabyeh group by containing serious accusations of terrorism and association with ISIS which is consequently putting the group’s members lives at risk.
We strongly condemn and reject this ruthless infringement of intellectual property rights and the distortion of the reputation of Torabyeh. What is more, we reject all forms of cooperation with the Zionist enemy (right and left) and the fascist expansionist colonial entity. Torabyeh group will take all necessary legal action against those responsible.
Victory for the Palestinian people and the Arab against colonialism, Glory to the martyrs