Harold Ohayon
A Wandering New Yorker

Another Gust From Iceland

A few weeks ago, the Icelandic music would was rocked by scandal as Pall Oskar ranted and raved against Israel. While it is quite common for Europeans to spend their time attacking and judging Israel, Oskar shocked many when he quickly veered away from criticism of Israel and dived headlong into anti-Semitism. Many people, including many Icelanders, were shocked and appalled by this. After this incident, I had assumed that Iceland would shy away from indulging in further anti-Israel antics.

But I was wrong, apparently. Iceland has selected the BDSM band Hatari to represent their country at the Eurovision this year. The band is quite flamboyant in dress and very extreme in their political stance, with members harshly criticizing Israel and even going as far to challenge Prime Minister Netanyahu to a wrestling match. Surely the people of Iceland knew who they were voting for, and the selection of this bombastic group sends a very hostile message to Israel. While criticizing Israeli policy is welcomed, this group seems vehement in its hatred and is blinded by its own bile. Having glanced at a few of their comments, they clearly have no intention to promote peace, dialogue or mutual respect. They only lambast Israel, and seem to enjoy being openly hostile towards the only true democracy in the Middle East.

Hatari take umbrage at the fact that while people will be enjoying themselves during the contest, the Palestinians will be suffering under the occupation. I would implore these musicians to pick up a few history books before picking up the endlessly used slogans of Palestinian apologists. Yes, Israel is currently in control of the West Bank. Yes, the Palestinians do not have a state. Yes, the occupation is far from a pleasant experience. However, history and context matter. Why is Israel in charge of the West Bank? Because the Arab world tried to destroy Israel and Israel not only survived but won the wars, thus gaining territory via defensive action. Why do the Palestinians lack a state? Because the leadership of the Palestinians, both Fatah and Hamas, have rejected at least 5 peace proposals and continuously refuse to come to the negotiation table. And what about checkpoints, roadblocks and curfews? Perhaps the members of Hatari should read up on history of Palestinian terrorism against Israeli civilians and learn why such defensive measure are required to prevent extremist attacks. It is endlessly maddening to hear Europeans, far removed from this conflict, preach and condemn Israel without ever taking the wider context into consideration.

It is quite likely that the band will be disqualified from attending the competition, as their overt political agenda goes against the rules of the contest itself. But if Hatari does manage to make it to Tel Aviv, I would advise the members of said group to look around and see Israel for what it truly is. Hatari is a BDSM inspired group, meaning that they advertise that sexual lifestyle. They should take notice that they would not be condemned or attacked for living such a lifestyle in Israel, though I am certain that if they went to Ramallah, Jenin, or Nablus that they would be attacked outright for their life choices. Tel Aviv is an open city that welcomes people of all creeds, religions, sexualities and political stances. The same cannot be said for any neighbouring Arab city. Hatari should really take notice of this glaring fact before going on yet another predictable and cliched anti-Israel screed.

About the Author
Expat New Yorker living in the Land of the Rising Sun: Trekking to random parts of the globe, debating countless things under the sun, and attempting to learn to cook Korean food.
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