(photo credit: FACEBOOK)
Singer Amir Benayoun took freedom of expression a step too far when he composed a song with racist connotations under the title Ahmed Loves Jerusalem. Benayoun is known for composing songs related to current events and this one was inspired by the wave of terror attacks throughout the country and Jerusalem in particular.
Benayoun posted the song on his Facebook page, provoking a flood of criticism and accusations of racism. In the song, Benayoun describes an Arab student in Jerusalem, who he calls "ungrateful scum," who will stab or shoot you in the back eventually.
Though no stranger to controversy, Benayoun presumably did not expect that his new song would cost him a gig at the official residence of the President of the State of Israel.
The President’s Office on Tuesday issued a statement announcing that following the release of the song, Benayoun’s appearance at the event scheduled to commemorate the expulsion and exile of Jews from Arab Lands and Iran this coming Sunday, November 30, would be canceled.
Harel Tubi, the Director General of the President’s Residence stated in a letter to the organizers of the event, advising them that against the background of Benayoun’s latest release, he will not be allowed to perform at the President’s Residence.
Acknowledging that Benayoun is a renowned and exceptional artist whose talent has contributed greatly to Israeli music, Tubi noted that his statements at a time of tension and conflict, even if uttered in frustration and pain, were inconsistent with the responsibility required of the President’s Residence and of all institutions with influence on public discourse.
Following the announcement, a post on the singer's Facebook page said that "he respects the presidency and loves President Reuven Rivlin truly."
The post defended the song: "We will say again for those who don't understand - Amir wrote a protest song that came from his pain over the recent wave of terrorism. Whether it's good or not is debatable, but we stress: The song discusses violence against Israeli citizens and their pain. There was no intention to incite and violence is not the Jewish way, even if some try to claim that it is. Amir will continue to sing about his love for the country and for the free, democratic people of Israel."