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Israeli Pop Star Joins Im Tirtzu, Accusing Peace Activists of ‘Knifing’ Israel in Back

Im Tirtzu’s rightist onslaught against Israeli liberals continues with a new uber-maudlin flag-waver performed by Mizrahi pop star, Amir Benayoun.  Full of the nostalgic ornamented strains of solo violin and accompanied by IDF promotional stills, it accuses Israeli human rights activists of knifing Israel in the back and deserting the troops in their hour of need:

I am Your Brother

I preserve your identity
I protect your children
I put my life on the line for you
and you spit in my face

After they failed to kill me from the outside
you come and kill me from inside
I haven’t seen my mother in a month
neither my son nor my house nor my wife

I always charge forward
with my back to you
[but] you sharpen the knife
more than anything, this thought burns my soul
and you, how come you still don’t understand

I am your brother,
you are an enemy
you hate me
I love [you]
when I weep you laugh behind my back
you are killing me
why, you are my brother

I am the future
you are the past
and the present is broken between us
I go hungry for you
you gorge yourself and over-imbibe [reference to Deuteronomy 21 in which Israelite is stoned to death for such ‘sins’]
when my throat is dry you drink liquor
my lips are always sealed for your safety
but you deliver me to the foreigner [meaning gentiles–reference to Goldstone, NIF, Anat Kamm]

I am your brother, you act like an enemy
Why? You’re my brother

[Narrator intones prayer: He who blessed our forefathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob
May He bless the fighters of the Israel Defense Forces
Who stand guard over our land and the cities of our God
From Lebanon to the desert of Egypt
And from the Great Sea [Mediterranean] unto the approach of the Aravah
On the land, in the air, and on the sea

For it is the Lord your God who goes with you
To battle your enemies for you to save you
Now let us say: Amen

–translation assistance by Nimrod Halpern and Ofer Neiman

My Israeli friends who brought this to my attention hasten to add that Benayoun was rejected from the army because he had a drug history and criminal record. Which would make him our equivalent of Dick Cheney and Joe Lieberman. Ironic that someone who never served would have the gall to attack Israeli peace activists, almost all of whom have served, many with distinction and as senior officers. How does this bozo accuse a former IDF officer of sticking a knife in his back when he had too shady a past even to be accepted into the ranks??

And Israeli commenter on the YouTube thread wrote this hilarious response:

Horst Wessel could not have written it better.

Those of you who note the knitted skullcap may realize Benyoun’s been “saved” by Chabad which, in Israel, is a particularly noxious extremist pro-settler strain of Orthodox fanaticism represented by leaders such as Dov Wolpe.

{ 29 comments… add one }
  • mary April 19, 2010, 7:17 PM

    It’s really maudlin. Is this supposed to have some kind of effect on people?

  • Liz April 19, 2010, 7:45 PM

    Amir Benayoun is well known and liked in Israel. Drug use, even amongst soldiers, is not uncommon and is well documented. Jews from Arab countries are typically Zionistic and right-wing, even if they are not observant.

    • Richard Silverstein April 19, 2010, 9:46 PM

      Amir Benayoun is well known and liked in Israel.

      For all I know Torquemada, Savanarola & various other right wing religious fanatics might’ve been jolly old fellas and talented to boot. That’s not what this post is about. I know many Mizrahi Jews who are not right wing.

      • Liz April 20, 2010, 4:31 AM

        I know many Mizrahi Jews who are not right wing.
        About fanaticism, I understand your comments. However, the voting base of the Likud was, and is Mizrahi. “Right-winged-ness” in Israel is often associated with traditionalism/Mizrahi.

    • Shirin April 20, 2010, 10:37 PM

      None of the Jews I knew while living in or visiting Arab countries was either Zionist nor right wing, and some of them were hotly anti-Zionist because of the effects that Zionism had had on their lives and the life of their community. Almost none of the Arab Jews I know now is Zionist or right wing. On the contrary, many of them identify as ethnically Arab and religiously Jewish.

      • Yossi April 21, 2010, 8:04 AM

        What you’re saying is true, but in Israel the situation is reversed. In my opinion, the destruction of the Jewish Arab communities is a far greater tragedy than that of the Palestinians, for two reasons:

        1. The Palestinians still have their pride and sense of belonging, the Arab Jews, at least in Israel, were forced to deny their heritage and culture (because it was too Arab).

        2. The Arab Jews were made to believe that they share a destiny with the Ashkenazi Jews who actually were the main force behind their catastrophe. The Palestinians, at least know who their enemy is.

        The Arab Jews were betrayed by both the Zionists and by their “host” Arab societies (when they were kicked out). The Palestinians similarly were mostly betrayed by Arab societies who in reality outside of “rage” don’t do too much for their sake.

        • mary April 21, 2010, 9:01 AM

          Yossi, are you serious?

          You’re a perfect illustration of the mentality prevalent in Israel. It’s about Jews, always Jews, never about Palestinians.

          And you fail in your history lessons too. The reason the Palestinians were “mostly betrayed by Arab societies” is because of the power of Israeli and western hegemony. This was put into place to protect the “Jewish state” from those nasty Arabs. The US pays big bucks to Arab dictators to sit on their hands while the Palestinian people are ethnically cleansed from their homeland. The $3 billion a year the US gives to Israel, and the rabid nature of Israeli aggression against its neighbors, is also a big consideration.

          Claiming that Arab Jews are worse off than the Palestinians is an outrageous falsehood.

          • Richard Silverstein April 21, 2010, 12:58 PM

            Mary: I think you’re being overhasty in yr denunciation of Yossi. I don’t think he disparaged Palestinians in any way I could detect. I don’t know that I would say Mizrahi Jews are WORSE OFF than Palestinians, but there is no doubt whatsoever that the former have suffered greatly esp. since they came to Israel. And I don’t think Yossi meant to speak of physical suffering. He was talking about destruction of culture & ethnic identity for both groups.

          • Yossi April 21, 2010, 8:16 PM


            Exactly what I meant to say. Thanks for clarifying on my behalf.

            And you’ve put it in much more polite words than the ones I planned on using had I replied to that person directly.

          • Richard Silverstein April 21, 2010, 8:25 PM

            Sometimes I want to say to commenters, esp. ones who fundamentally agree with ea. other on the major issues, that they should take the equivalent of a chill pill. The enemy is on the other side, not within.

          • mary April 21, 2010, 8:26 PM

            It is merely my opinion, Richard. Arab Jews and Palestinians are apples and oranges. Arab Jews haven’t lived under occupation for 62 years and don’t live in refugee camps. Maybe I’m just being oversensitive.

            Yossi, I wasn’t rude to you; I didn’t call you any names or insult you. You could have challenged my comment and I don’t see any reason why you would want to be impolite. I’m sorry you feel that way.

      • Liz April 25, 2010, 10:55 AM

        many of them identify as ethnically Arab
        I’m not sure who you are associating with (non-sarcastically), but most, if not all of the Mizrachi Jews I have met in Israel and in the US were quite far to the right and would attack you if you put them in the same category as Arabs. Perhaps one thing that they have in common are some of the food dishes!

  • William Burns April 20, 2010, 3:05 AM

    When it comes to the great lamentations of soldiers over the centuries, “I haven’t seen my mother in a month” isn’t going to make the top ten thousand.

    • Mary Hughes-Thompson April 23, 2010, 6:55 AM

      “I haven’t seen my mother in a month
      neither my son nor my house nor my wife”

      I too was struck by this line, especially after reading in Haaretz of a Palestinian man who just finished serving a 9 year sentence in an Israeli prison:


      Israel deports West Bank Palestinian to Gaza upon release from prison

      • mary April 23, 2010, 10:31 AM

        Another was just released after 17 years, a friend of a friend. This is service with distinction.

    • Liz April 27, 2010, 8:58 AM

      When it comes to the great lamentations
      I find that comment to be inconsiderate coming from a supposed peace-nick. Have you ever been a soldier? If you were in that position, would you fare better?

  • Fawn Rainforest April 20, 2010, 8:52 AM

    Your point that “peace activists” have served in the military while Amir Benayoun did not, is a non sequitur. Benedict Arnold served in the Continental Army while Benjamin Franklin did not. Was Benedict Arnold a patriot merely because he served? Was Benjamin Franklin any less a patriot because he did not serve?

    • Richard Silverstein April 20, 2010, 12:33 PM

      Yes, but Ben Franklin didn’t attack those who served in the Revolutionary Army for being traitors to their country. If he had, I’d have written virtually the same thing about him. But the pt is he wouldn’t have done anything so stupid as Benayoun has done.

  • fiddler April 20, 2010, 1:12 PM

    While Benayoun’s piece indeed makes me reach for the anti-nausea pills, I don’t quite get the point about the army service. What does that have to do with whether someone is a decent fellow, or whether someone has the right to criticize either the army or its detractors?

    A month ago Haaretz reported about two soldiers being tried for using Gaza children as human shields during Cast Lead: http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1158678.html

    “I feel hurt and betrayed. It’s a shame it even got to this point. The government needs to understand who works for it and who works against it,” said one of the soldiers. “I was working for the government, and it stabbed a knife in my back.

    (Heh – we Germans know a thing about our glorious army being stabbed in the back by those perfidious Jews.)
    Does this soldier have a better point than Benayoun, just because he has served? OTOH, are the testimonies of Shovrim Shtika valuable only because they come from soldiers and not because those soldiers are first-hand witnesses?

    • Richard Silverstein April 21, 2010, 12:41 AM

      Yes, I think the fact that he never served & is demonizing many Israelis who’ve done so, some with great distinction, is very material to the issue.

  • Yossi April 21, 2010, 8:08 AM

    Turns out the “journalist” Ben Caspit is the one behind the words of this “song”. He says so in his blog:


    • Yossi April 21, 2010, 8:10 AM

      False alarm, he was just joking.

    • Richard Silverstein April 21, 2010, 12:55 PM

      Well, if he was joking it was a bad joke. Because that bastard has done & written some pretty horrible things. It wouldn’t have surprised me in the least if he’d had a hand in writing the lyrics.

  • Fawn Rainforest April 22, 2010, 9:20 AM

    “Re: The enemy is on the other side”.

    And just who is that enemy Richard?

    • Richard Silverstein April 22, 2010, 10:58 AM

      Ha-mavin yavin.

      • Fawn Rainforest April 22, 2010, 12:36 PM

        I’m sorry Richard, I don’t understand your reply (“Ha-mavin yavin”). Who exactly is the enemy to which you refer?

        • Richard Silverstein April 22, 2010, 4:31 PM

          That’s the reply I choose to make the gist of which means “that’s for me to know & you to find out.” In other words, if I wanted to answer yr question I would.

          • Jennifer Rowan-Henry June 23, 2010, 6:47 AM

            Richard, that’s a pompous response to a legitimate question and an unfortunate tactic for someone who is USUALLY a decent arbitrator on this list.

          • Richard Silverstein June 23, 2010, 5:13 PM

            If it was a question that interested me in the least I would’ve answered it. I know provocation when I see it. In fact, I can see it from miles away. Legitimate questions get answered. One’s asked by those who wish to trip me up or catch me out or score points or grandstand are treated in the manner they deserve.

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