BERLIN – The popular German rapper Bushido sparked an altercation via Twitter, by tweeting “Free Palestine” and using the colors of the Palestinian flag imposed on a map of a deleted Israel as his emblem.

The 34-year-old German rapper, whose birth name is Anis Mohamed Youssef Ferchichi, has previously launched attacks against homosexuals and women.

German Interior Minister Hans- Peter Friedrich weighed in on the Twitter controversy on Sunday, telling the Bild am Sonntag weekly that “this illustration does not serve peace, rather it sows hate.”

Israel’s embassy in Berlin lampooned the rapper’s actions, tweeting directly to Bushido’s handle: “@Bushido78 first women, then gays and now Israel: We are proud to belong to the victims of the integration prize winner Bushido.”

In 2011, Bushido received a Bambi Award for successful German integration in Germany – despite his reputation for homophobia and misogyny. Tribute to Bambi Foundation head Patricia Riekel said on Sunday: “We are examining the incident and will react accordingly.”

The spat over Bushido’s Twitter handle – which has 285,000 followers – has electrified the “Twittersphere” with sarcasm and polemical tweets. Claudio Casula, a popular pro-Israel blogger who writes the Spirit of Entebbe blog, tweeted “Now it will be considered to take, once again, the Bambi away from Bushido. But why? His position to Israel, however, shows that he is perfectly integrated.”

Bushido declined to respond to queries from the Süddeutsche Zeitung daily about the matter.

The new anti-Israel scandal comes on the heels of a controversy involving Der Spiegel columnist Jakob Augstein over the last two weeks, as the Simon Wiesenthal Center included remarks by Augstein on its 2012 top ten list of anti- Semitic/anti-Israel slurs.

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