With thanks: Michelle, Sylvia, and My Right Word blog
One of Amir Benayoun’s previous hits
A prestige event at the Israeli President’s Jerusalem residence to mark the first national day to commemorate Jewish refugees from Arab countries and Iran threatened to degenerate into chaos today when President Rivlin banned one of the performers.
office of the President of Israel announced that following the
release of his song this week, it would not be possible for Israeli
singer Amir Benayoun to perform as planned this coming Sunday 30 November.
Benayoun, who is of Algerian origin, has just released a controversial song called ‘Ahmed’ whose lyrics could be considered disparaging of Arabs generally. Some have even called his words inciteful.
In a letter to
the event organizers, the President’s office said that in spite of Amir
Benayoun’s talents, his statements 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.”
Adding fuel to the fire, however, the event organiser, Minister for Senior Citizens Uri Orbach, said that he would cancel his
own appearance at the upcoming event out of deference for Benayoun’s
cancellation of singer Amir Benayoun’s concert at
the President’s house, marking the expulsion of Jews from Arab Lands and
Iran, contradicts our position,” Orbach stated. Orbach added that while he respects Rivlin, he views the cancellation as an infringement on freedom of expression.
Some 48 progammes have been arranged across the world to mark the first Day to remember Jewish refugees from Arab lands.