President Reuven Rivlin announced Tuesday he has cancelled the scheduled performance of musician-singer Amir Benayoun because of a song he wrote and released after last week’s Har Nof massacre and which is called “Ahmed Loves Jerusalem.”
Benayoun wrote the lyrics of a fictitious Arab who learns at a government-funded university and plans to kill Jews.
“Ahmed” sings, “I will send a Jew or two to Hell…. I am just an ungrateful piece of scum. The day will come when you turn your back on me and I will stick a sharp knife into it, I will shoot you in the back.”
That was too much for President Rivlin, whose office said he would not allow Benayoun to perform next Sunday at the Present’s residence at an event marking the exile and expulsion of Jews from Arab Lands and Iran.
“Against the background of the release of Amir Benayoun’s latest song yesterday, I wish to notify you that we will not be able to allow him to perform at the President’s Residence,” the office wrote in a letter that was distributed as a press release.
“Amir Benayoun is a renowned and exceptional artist, and his talent has greatly contributed to Israeli music” the statement continued. “However, his statements made at this time of conflict and tension, even if uttered out of frustration and pain, do not, to say the least, help bring calm to the streets, and are inconsistent with the responsibility required of the President’s Residence, and of all institutions with influence over the public discourse, to work to alleviate tensions, and promote cooperation rather than division in Israeli society.”
Liberals on the left have charged that Benayoun should be arrested for incitement.
Benayoun said he did not intend to promote violence, which he opposes.
One of his former compositions is “Jerusalem of Hussein,” which describes President Barack Obama’s policies.