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Thursday, March 01, 2007

Israel's Eurovision entry may be banned

Last night, Israelis watched the contestants to represent this country at the annual Eurovision song festival to take place in Helsinki, Finland in May. In the past, Israeli songs were all about peace and love and other utopian visions. Some entrants in the past have been anti-Israeli. For example, in 2000, Israel disowned its entrants, who waved Syrian flags as part of their routine.

Last night, Israelis chose a song called Push the Button by a group called The Teapacks from Sderot. Yes, Sderot, the place where Kassams have been falling for several years now.
The song, called “Push the Button,” was composed by the popular Israeli rock group Teapacks, whose members say that they are proud of using the international platform to convey an important message to the world on behalf of the Jewish state. In English, Hebrew and French, the artists humorously dismiss the global Jihad in a fusion of rap, rock and folk music.

“There are some crazy rulers,” an English line in the song sung with a thick Israeli accent says, “they hide and try to fool us, with demonic, technological willingness to harm.”
The Eurovision people are not pleased by this vision of something other than peace and love: they want to ban the song and the group:
"It's absolutely clear that this kind of message is not appropriate for the competition," contest organizer Kjell Ekholm said. "We'll have all the delegation leaders here in Helsinki next week, and I'm sure we'll talk about this case within the EBU [European Broadcasting Union] group."
YNet reports on the reaction of lead singer Kobi Oz:
Lead singer Kobi Oz said in response, “I’m not worked up over the issue, because I know our song is not political. What caught the eye were the words ‘crazy leaders’ – they decided to interpret them as though they referred to Ahmadinejad. I’m convinced that others will refer to our leaders.

Oz added that “the song is about the state of humanity in general, whereby a minority has access to excessive power. The song could be about the terror in Russia or Spain, or the violence on the streets of England or London.

“Our way of dealing with terror it to laugh in its face. I think the Europeans should adopt this method as well.
And if it referred to Ahmadinadinnerjacket, would that be such a bad thing?

The way Eurovision works is that callers in the participating countries vote by telephone during the contest. You cannot vote for your own country. In the past, Israel has been boycotted by some European countries. So I doubt this song has any realistic chance of winning the contest. But it would be nice to stick it in Eurabia's face by getting them there. For those of you who follow the link to Arutz Sheva, please note that there is a mistake. They say there that the only Israeli to win Eurovision was transexual Dana International (1997). But Israel won the contest in 1978 (A-Bani-Bi) and 1979 (Hallelujah). One of my weirdest memories from my yeshiva days here was sitting in a coffee shop on a warm Saturday night in 1979 watching the contest and then going out into the streets and finding everyone on King George Street at midnight singing the song. Those were the days when we didn't worry about suicide bombers - only abandoned packages.

Finally, since this is the age of YouTube, here's the song from last night's broadcast (Hat Tip: Little Green Footballs). Even I have heard this song on the radio here. And unlike Charles at LGF, I actually understand the Hebrew :-)


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