Eurovision fail: Israel takes heat for promo joking about occupation, greedy Jews & ‘lovely b*tches’
The clip, released by state-owned Kan broadcaster ahead of the Eurovision Song Contest in Tel-Aviv next week, begins with a pair of terrified European guests arriving at Ben Gurion International Airport. They are jumped on by the contest’s host Lucy Ayoub and the channel’s journalist Elia Grinfeld, who break into a catchy song full of various stereotypes about Israel.
“Don't say a word, I know what you just heard, that it's a land of war and occupation. But we have so much more than that,” Lucy and Elia reassure the visitors in the opening verse of their 4-minute-long musical number.
📺 This is the land of honey, honey! Let Lucy and Elia take you in a musical journey throughout the most important parts of Israel. We promise you won't regret it! 👇👇👇 pic.twitter.com/djQlNXPoDe— KAN Eurovision Israel (@kaneurovision) May 10, 2019
They then insist that people in Israel treat each other as “frenemies” because most of them have “complex identities.”
The exercise in self-deprecation continues with a scene at the shop where Elia sings that “most of us are Jews but only some of us are greedy” as he snatches the tourist's change for himself.
Lucy and Elia then warn the Eurovision guests of “mad drivers,” recommend enjoying “our lovely b*tches” and the Dead Sea soon to be obsolete because of industries, trying “good shawarma” and to laugh at shops working on Saturday.
For most of the video, Elia is also seen sporting a t-shirt, which reads: “I love Iron Dome,” referring to the Israeli air defense system.
Just to be clear: the musical was satire and was meant to deal with stereotypes about Jews and Israel. YES, also by using self-deprecating humor like we love. We know our flaws, and we’re not ashamed to laugh at all of them.— KAN Eurovision Israel (@kaneurovision) May 10, 2019
However, when the video was released on Friday not many in Israel and abroad got the joke, no matter of their political affiliation.
Yair Netanyahu, the son of Israeli PM, Benjamin Netanyahu, raged on Twitter over taxpayer money being used to make an “anti-Semitic” video.
Other right-wing commentators also chipped in, saying that the clip didn't mock, but only reinforced negative stereotypes about Jewish people.
I spent years working in Israeli advocacy in the US, for what? pic.twitter.com/ueWPvalZbG— Dani Klein 🌍🍴 Yeah That's Kosher (@YeahThatsKosher) May 10, 2019
Some suggested that the scandalous video was sponsored by Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) international movement, which pushes for Israeli withdrawal from occupied territories. But a pro-BDS Jewish Voice for Peace group also attacked the clip, describing as “anti-Semitism and misogyny set to music.”
Eurovision is shaping up to be a big flop, and this video isn’t going to save it. Antisemitism and misogyny set to music is a bad look, Israel. #BoycottEurovision2019@BDSmovementpic.twitter.com/HmdBJ4s4fr— JewishVoiceForPeace (@jvplive) May 10, 2019
There were, of course, some Twitterati, who supported the video and even called it “genius,” but the majority of comments were still on the negative side.
Ok this is very confusing to me as a Moroccan. Did you just acknowledge the Israeli occupation? You know what ?This shouldn’t even be about politics it’s supposed to be a festival of music. Not that I sympathize with Israeli government but I just wanted to enjoy a moment of peace— SIHAAM (@realsihamhaddi) May 11, 2019
No, it isn’t fun at all. It is deeply, deeply disturbed. If I was a visitor to Israel for Eurovision, and saw this, It would convince me I’d made a terrible mistake, and i’d Turn around and go home. It’s that bad.— #10028 (@PJS1801) May 10, 2019
This Israeli @Eurovision promo video is pretty controversial. It starts with a joke about war and occupation, then uses the anti-Semitic trope that Jews are greedy, which is perhaps unwise given rising antisemitism in Europe, finishes with shwarma #Israelhttps://t.co/2DedCdqjyj— Bel Trew (@Beltrew) May 10, 2019
The Palestinians were also unhappy, but for another reason. They said the part in which Israeli performers briefly visit Jerusalem and refer to it as “our beloved capital,” was “unacceptable” claiming the video “wipes… the State of Palestine from the map.”
The PA's foreign ministry demanded the sequence about Jerusalem be removed from the promo and accused Israel of using the Eurovision to “entrench its colonial occupation by effectively normalizing the global acceptance of its unlawful conduct.”Also on rt.com ‘Beautiful Diverse Sensational’: Israel sets up fake Eurovision boycott page to counter BDS campaign
Think your friends would be interested? Share this story!