Many wars are cemented in our memories by the songs that were about or popularized during the days of battle. The Civil War had the “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” and “Yankee Doodle,” World War I had “Over There,” and for World War II it was The Andrews Sisters’ “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy,” and also “Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree.” Over time, the more popular wartime songs became protest songs. Strong protest songs were ubiquitous during the Vietnam war, expressing the anti-war sentiments, which became especially pervasive during the Vietnam War. Just one example from that era is the Byrds’ “Turn, Turn, Turn,” a riff on Kohelet 3:1-8.
And now we have the Hamas-Israel offensive of 2012. It, too, has inspired a fighting song. This one is both a throwback to the jingoistic style of the earlier wars, but with a pulsing rap beat. Oh, and it practically drips blood.
The first original song to come out of the 2012 Hamas-Israel offensive has a hard rap beat, grainy graphics and a title that delivers the message, without any subtlety: “Strike a Blow at Tel Aviv.”
Thanks to the location and translation services of the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), we have access to the lyrics written by the two “West Bank” authors.
The lyrics pulse with typical Middle Eastern themes of dominance and fear of humiliation.
The refrain, “Strike a Blow at Tel Aviv” is repeated early and often, but the hopes expressed are more expansive. In addition to extolling the virtues of grinding Israel into the ground and disdaining the concept of a ceasefire, the musicians take several x-rated swipes at Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.
The song also ridicules the Gulf States - the oil-rich Arab countries, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Bahrain and Oman – for their stately but meaningless conferences and their reliance upon NATO.
Some of the boasting in the lyrics are fantasies, such as Hamas having downed an Israeli warplane, but the urban legend has already taken off on a life of its own.
Here are excerpts from the lyrics:
We don’t want to truce or solution,
All we want is to STRIKE TEL AVIV.
Here is the breaking news,
We shot down the plane,
And the pilot is missing.
We have downed their airplane,
And filled up their air raid shelters.
My entire people cry out loud,
STRIKE A BLOW AT TEL AVIV.
Oh Gulf States, shut up,
All you are good at is convening conferences,
Those lowlifes are not the same blood as me.
The Gulf States and all their billions,
Are tough only with NATO’s support.
Oh Fajr rocket, explode in the Knesset and army base.
Allah huAkbar, Allah huAkbar, Terrorize Tel Aviv,
Blow up, Blow up, Tel Aviv.
Here is the video: