“We can live with criticism, we do it ourselves often and intensely, but we do not cross the lines you did,” Israel said of an anti-Semitic Dutch parody.
Israel has logged an official complaint with a Dutch broadcaster after it screened a parody of Israel’s “Toy,” the song that won the Eurovision Song Contest earlier this month, saying that its was a “disgraceful” anti-Semitic display of Israel-hatred.
In Israel’s formal complaint submitted Tuesday to the Dutch Foreign Ministry and to the public broadcaster BNNVARA, Israeli Ambassador to the Netherlands Aviv Shir-On wrote that the lampoon of singer Netta Barzilai and her song “crossed a line” by making jokes “in bad taste,” many of which were openly anti-Israel and even anti-Semitic.
The caricature of Barzilai’s Eurovision performance, which aired on Sunday during Dutch comedienne Sanne Wallis de Vries’ satirical show, mocked Israel and its conduct during the recent violent Palestinian riots on its border with Gaza, implying that the US’ Jerusalem embassy opening was another way to make money, a clear reference to age-old anti-Semitic myths.
The parody involved a performer cheerfully singing against a background of clips from the recent violence on the Gaza border.
The lyrics were translated as follows:
“Look at me, I am such a cute country, World leaders all eat out of my hand. I make all fires disappear with a kiss. We are having a party, you wanna come? Soon in the Al-Aqsa mosque, which will soon be empty. From Haifa to the Dead Sea, there is kosher food and drink. So come and dance with me.
“Look how wonderfully I fire explosives. Again, Israel is winning. 70 years of this celebration is continuing, look how wonderful it is,” concluded the song.
Shir-On wrote in his letter that while “freedom of speech, freedom of the press and satire, are important elements of a democratic and pluralistic society… in that show you went too far,” Israel’s Ynet reported.
“Israel has needed to defend itself since it was founded 70 years ago because the Arabs have rejected, to this day, every square centimeter of Jewish independence,” Shir-On wrote.
“In recent weeks Israel was defending itself once again,” he added, referring to the Hamas-led violence on the Gaza fence. “Again people paid with their lives and you made a joke out of it. Showing sad and depressing videos in the background of the Israeli Eurovision winning song was not only bad taste it was wrong and disgraceful.”
‘Unacceptable’ and ‘Dangerous’
“This is a sad and depressing situation that has lasted for many years. We don’t rejoice when Palestinians are killed. When people lose their lives, and it doesn’t matter on which side, we don’t laugh. You shouldn’t either,” he charged. “We can live with criticism, we do it ourselves often and intensely, but we do not cross the lines you did.”
“It was not only biased against Israel, it included unfortunately also some anti-Semitic hints like mocking kosher food or referring to money in the old anti-Jewish way,” he added. “It is not only unacceptable, it is dangerous.”
BNNVARA issued a statement claiming that the performance was not anti-Semitic, saying it was meant to criticize Israel’s policy in regards to the Palestinians.
“The parody brings Israel’s policy up for discussion and is emphatically not an indictment against the Jewish community,” the broadcaster asserted.
However, the Jewish community did view it as an anti-Semitic scandal. The Center for Information and Documentation on Israel, (CIDI) accused de Vries of anti-Semitism by evoking traditional anti-Jewish prejudices by associating Jews with money in the song.
“You start with Israel and end with what? Jews and money. You made your point, BNNVARA,” CIDI wrote on Twitter. The organization also wrote that the sketch was “full of ‘hilarious’ jokes about Jews and money and so on. So funny.”