The Eurovision song contest is a very politicized affair, causing many to wonder how in the world Israel's entrant, Neta Barzilai, managed to snag first place. Following her win, anti-Israel remarks in the mainstream media didn't waste any time in rearing their usual ugly head.
Popular Dutch comedienne Sanne Wallis de Vries during a recent airing of her show featured her own version of Neta's contest-winning song "Toy." The revised lyrics mocked Israel, while the impersonating actress dressed as Neta danced against the backdrop of footage from the Gaza fence riots.
"Look at me, I'm the sweetest little country, world leaders like to eat from my hand, and I kiss all the problems goodbye," went the lyrics. Immediately, thoughts of anti-Semitic caricatures come to mind – the world being controlled by the rich, greedy Jews.
The skit continued: "We're throwing a party, are you coming? Coming soon in the Al-Aqsa Mosque. It's gonna be empty soon anyway."
The satire also remarked on the recent American embassy move. "Is your party crashed by radicals? Open embassies – make sure you cash in on it." Followed by ‘ka-ching’ sounds.
The sketch angered not only Israel, but the international Jewish community at large. The pro-Israel organization CIDI tweeted back the lyrics to the show, with footnotes to every verse, condemning the comedians for antisemitism.
President of CIDI, Ronnie Eisenmann, said Turkey has played a big role in the rise of antisemitism in the Netherlands, as Turkish members of the Dutch parliament speak openly against Israel and the Jews. (In the 2017 parliamentary election, the Turkish party Denk secured three seats.)
Israel's ambassador to the Netherlands, Aviv Shir-On, wrote in a letter of complaint that the satire wasn't purely political, but antisemitic and thus dangerous; tying the love of money with the Jews, and mocking kosher foods. He also stressed that Israel doesn't rejoice in the death of Palestinians.
Unfortunately, it seems apparent that antisemitism is on the rise again in Europe, and this isn’t the only incident that has emerged over the past week. A few days back, after the Eurovision finals, the German daily newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung published a caricature of Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu standing on stage dressed in Neta’s unique costume and holding a missile. There are many more examples of the sort, and the statistics on the issue are not promising.
It’s easy to see that the world’s attention is focused on Israel. While being the only democracy in the Middle East, Israel is also most certainly the state that receives the harshest criticism.
Psalm 83 comes to mind: "They make a shrewd plot against Your people, conspiring against Your treasured ones. 'Come,' they say, 'let’s wipe them out as a nation! Let Israel’s name be remembered no more!'"
But, despite this bias and unfairness, Israel's Messianic Jewish community isn’t discouraged, for the same Psalm also says: "Let them know that You alone – Whose Name is Adonai – are El Elyon over all the earth."