Cutting through the bullshit.

Sunday, 4 March 2007

Eurovision scandal

Most of what appears in this entry comes from the comments on Thursday's 'Loyalty and honesty' post. Thanks to Shunra for the idea and the translation.

The other day, a commentator on my blog, Shunra drew it to my attention that there’s been quite a kerfuffle over the Israeli entry in the Eurovision song contest this year. The organisers in Helsinki are to decide this week whether to ban the Israeli entry ‘because of what they termed its inappropriate political message.’

In my view, the real scandal is that Eurovision are accepting entries from Israel when they ought to be implementing the cultural boycott, if Eurovision is ‘culture’. Israeli songs have won three times in the past and it would probably hurt to be systematically excluded.

According to the extremist settlers website, Arutz 7, the offending song,

called “Push the Button,” was composed by the popular Israeli rock group Teapacks (Tipex), whose members say that they are proud of using the international platform to convey an important message to the world on behalf of the Jewish state. In English, Hebrew and French, the artists humorously dismiss the global Jihad and murderous Iranian nuclear intentions in a fusion of rap, rock and folk music.

One line in the song goes

“There are some crazy rulers,” an English line in the song sung with a thick Israeli accent says, “they hide and try to fool us, with demonic, technological willingness to harm.”

And here’s me thinking they were singing about the crazy rulers in Washington and Tel Aviv!

The Israeli choice is particularly significant as past entries have focused exclusively on universalist themes of peace and love. Israel has won the contest three times in the past.

Obviously a step in the right direction to dispense with all that universalist touchy feely stuff.

The runner up, which would take the first song's place is it is disqualified is another Teapacks song called Salaam Salami. The song makes fun of the concept of land-for-peace using a tongue-in-cheek allegory of a man and his salami sandwich to represent the Jewish people and their homeland. The sandwich owner’s willingness to make peace on the basis of compromise with a fellow who wants his salami sandwich leads to the continuous slicing of the salami and ends with the other fellow throwing him out the window and taking the sandwich.

The Independent published the English lyrics the other day and here they are:

The world is full of terror
If someone makes an error
He's gonna blow us up to biddy biddy kingdom come
There are some crazy rulers they hide and try to fool us
With demonic, technologic willingness to harm
They're gonna push the button
push the button push the bu, push the bu, push the button
Everybody's suffering
The streets are filled with violence
How lucky we are
To have got this far
Without even getting injured
As this regime, so fanatical
Gets even more tactical
It's so tragic my eyes fill with tears
And I don't want to die
I want to see the flowers bloom
Don't want a go capoot ka boom
And I don't want to cry
I wanna have a lot of fun
Just sitting in the sun
Messages are exploding on me
Rockets are flying and landing on me
Police and thieves are chasing me
Jumping on me and pestering me
Woe is me, woe is me, answer me oh living God
This nightmare is too long
When I am barely living and everyone is aiming at me it is too early, perhaps, to sing that I have given you my life
Wha, Wha the police
Weeoo, weeoo a rescue team
Here it is in the semi-finals without salaam
Red is not only a colour, it's more like blood.

Shunra, a professional translator, was kind enough to provide the following translation of the Hebrew lyrics,

Messages are exploding onto me
Missiles fly and even fall on me
Cops and robbers run on me
And they jump on me, leach off me,
Dear God please answer me, hey
This nightmare has been going on too long
When I’m barely alive and they all aim [weapons?] at me it is to early to sing, perhaps
That I gave you my life [allusion to famous Israeli pop/nonsense song which states that “I gave you my life – and disappeared”]
Whoowhoo – the police
Woowoowoo – a rescue crew
Here it is at the pre[-Eurovision] competition, it has no Salam [Arabic for peace]
Red is not a color it is more like blood
It catches your breath in your heart again
Your soul should only not expire
Here is war, here is the soul
Boom boom is what is happening now
Between a rocket and machete, a viewer and reporter
Between a power-grab and abductee, between rainy and hot weather
Escalation goes up the stairs and takes its place along the [defense] line
Nothing, nothing – that’s what everyone is doing
Extremists get more extreme and officers get more officious
Innocents get more innocent, waiting for data
And they reply that everyone is powerless
A world fully demonic, that we are just pawns
And champions with chips decide what will go on
Slow and lazy, a boat full of water
And everyone drinks cheers – lechayim! – and drowns alongside each other
Maybe it’s too sharp – we should sing songs of palms, dessert songs, with no flags
I am still alive, alive, alive, and if it keeps on being scary
Then all I’m gonna say is
I’m gonna push the button
push the button push the bu push the bu push the button.


  1. Hiya ernie,
    I love reading you mate, wherever I come across you on the internet!

    I thought you might be interested in this article from IslamOnline -
    Eurovision to Ban Israeli Song
    02 Mar 2007

    And while I'm on the subject of banning crap popular music
    BBC Ban Blair!
    01 Mar 2007

    Sorry I haven't anything more profound to say at the moment.

    always yours

  2. Well, thanks, Joe, mate. You made my day!

  3. It always amazed me when I lived in London that Israel was allowed to compete in Eurovision at all. While one can argue whether Turkey is geographically European, Israel is certainly not. If the Israelis wish to be European they can decolonize Palestine and move to Europe. It is my understanding that all ethnic Jews have a right of return to Germany now.

  4. Thanks for posting it, Ernie!

    And J. Otto Pohl, the Eurovision has nothing in particular to do with geographic location. It is the music competition for members of the European Broadcasters' Union - which includes Morocco, at least (it competed in 1980).

    That said, Israel *does* have pretensions of Europeanism. Or did, at least. Watching it over the past decade, it seems to have pretensions of Americanism.

  5. j. otto, mazel tov on your record PhD. Good luck finding remunerative work with it. At the risk of repeating myself, Israel was always intended to be, in Herzl’s words, ‘a portion of a rampart of Europe against Asia, an outpost of civilization as opposed to barbarism’.

  6. Shunra, you're perfectly welcome. I wasn't planning to, as you know, but Arutz Sheva is usually sufficient to provoke me to want to write something!

  7. Hi Ernie,

    A little late, but I have to come to the rescue of my favorite Israeli band... You DO realize that Arutz Sheva aren't actually the band's spokespeople? I think your initial notion, that the song is about Bush and Israel, is much more accurate than the Arutz Sheva nonsense. In fact, the band has stated that they are not targeting one specific leader, but rather a world-wide political reality. Teapacks has consistently produced complex, socially critical music over the last decade, and there is no reason to interpret this one so simplistically just because the crazy settler station said so.

    and Otto: "It is my understanding that all ethnic Jews have a right of return to Germany now."
    As a (soon to be ex-)Israeli living in Europe, don't I wish...