Israel: anti-Arab song 'Ahmad' sparks outcry

Benayoun 'inspired by Jerusalem and Tel Aviv attacks'

24 November, 18:22

    (ANSAmed) - TEL AVIV, NOVEMBER 24 - ''My name is Ahmad'' is the innocuous opening line to a song by the popular Israeli singer Amir Benayoun that has sparked heated debate. The following lines show Ahmad to be ''moderate and smiling'' today, but prepared to ''send a Jew or two to hell tomorrow''. Amid the tension between Jews and Muslims of the past few weeks, Benayoun's song could not but be noticed. An NGO working the rights of the Arab minority is among those who have called for the judiciary to take action. Some 100,000 Israelis follow the Facebook page of the singer, whose lyrics find fans among a broad swath of the population and especially among Sephardic and Orthodox Jews.

    Raised in a working-class environment, Benayoun - a relative of a famous football star - has in recent years taken an ever-more anti-establishment attitude, both towards the recording industry and towards the mass media. His 'rebellious' style has attracted large numbers of fans and had a strong impact on social media. A killing by two Palestinians in a synagogue earlier this week made a strong impression on Benayoun, who in reaction launched a song on his Facebook page with the lyrics ''today, once more, Jewish blood has been shed like water...how long will this continue?''. On Sunday he took up the issue again with a song focusing on an imaginary Palestinian protagonist, 'Ahmad'. He introduces himself in the first person: ''today I am studying at the University of Jerusalem...I am moderate and smiling...but it's true, I'm only a ungrateful bastard...the time will come when I will turn around and stick a sharp knife into you, I'll shoot you in the back'' (YouTube: www.facebook.com/video.

    php?v=1017804044912226&set=vb.127529880606318&type=2&theater).

    The lyrics shocked a well-known legal expert, who has said that the singer may be prosecutable as the song could be considered incitement to racism. A radio debate between the singer and the expert immediately degenerated into a fight, but afterwards Benayoun noted on Facebook that he was in any case against violence and that he had simply been 'inspired' by the latest Palestinian attacks in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. Though the singer received many messages of admiration from his fans, some did criticize him and noted that the widows of the four rabbis killed in the attack on the synagogue had called on Jews to strengthen their faith, but had not expressed any negative views on Palestinians as such. (ANSAmed).

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