FAMED WRITER and artist Yonatan Geffen.
(photo credit: JOJE NOVIMINSKI)
Israeli poet and songwriter Yehonatan Geffen apologized Saturday night for his words comparing imprisoned Palestinian teen Ahed Tamimi to Anne Frank and Hanna Senesh.
At a cultural event in Petah Tikva, Geffen said the poem he wrote “was really a mistake, and I apologize for it, in particular to all those who were personally offended.” The poet said he was trying to show that just like Israel has national heroes, so do the Palestinians, but he admits the comparison to Frank and Senesh was inappropriate.
“I could have, in that same line,” he said, “compared her to Wonder Woman and Gal Gadot.” He then went on to slam the Israeli media for their sensationalizing and headline-searching, saying he was effectively under house arrest for a week after the scandal broke.
Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman, who had earlier ordered Geffen’s songs banned from Army Radio – despite his lack of authority to do so – appeared to accept the apology. Liberman posted on Twitter Sunday morning a link to Geffen’s apology and a biblical phrase which connotes acceptance of regret for sin.
Social Equality Minister Gila Gamliel said Sunday that it was good Geffen apologized for his words, and slammed the nature of public rhetoric.
“The public discourse that we have witnessed over the past week has been completely out of control,” she said. “The flames must be lowered, and respectable and practical discussions should be held.”
On Monday night, Geffen uploaded the poem he wrote about Tamimi to Instagram, where it remains as of Sunday afternoon. In it he compared Tamimi, who is being held on charges of attacking an IDF officer, to Holocaust victim Frank and murdered World War II-era Israeli paratrooper Senesh. On Wednesday, Geffen told The Jerusalem Post that he stood behind “every word” of the poem after it had made headlines across the country.
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