Monday, May 13, 2019

Kan's Eurovision Satire Ruffles Feathers

Edgy musical clip gains praise and criticism across social media.

 Amy Spiro,, May 12, 2019 

Elia Greenfield in the KAN promotional video.
Elia Greenfield in the KAN promotional video.. (photo credit: KAN)

A satirical musical video clip produced by KAN to welcome tourists to Israel for the Eurovision garnered both criticism and praise on Friday.

The video, published on social media, features two KAN personalities – Eurovision co-host Lucy Ayoub and Elia Grinfeld. The pair sing and dance around Israel, sort of singing its praises: “This is the land of honey, honey/ We are the land of milk/ The land is always sunny, sonny/ We are as smooth as silk.”

The video poked fun at some Israeli public diplomacy [JB emphasis] efforts, calling their own clip a “quick in-doctrination,” and calling on tourists to visit Jerusalem, the shuk, and – after a dramatic pause – Yad Vashem. 

A couple of lines in the video in particular drew the sharpest reaction on social media: one claiming that people have heard “it’s a land of war and occupation/ but we have so much more then that” and another joking that “most of us are Jews only but some of us are greedy.”

The public broadcaster issued a clarification of the video on Friday evening.

“Just to be clear: the musical was satire and was meant to deal with stereotypes about Jews and Israel,” KAN wrote on Twitter. “YES, also by using self-deprecating humor like we love. We know our flaws, and we’re not ashamed to laugh at all of them.”

Among Israeli journalists and public diplomacy professionals, the reaction was decidedly mixed.

Peter Lerner, a former IDF spokesman, tweeted: “So @kaneurovision thinks this is a good rep-resentation of #Israel. Personally, I creepily chuckled a few times, but my overall sense was WTF! There is so much lost in translation with Israeli jokes about Israelis.”

Dan Williams of Reuters called it “an intriguingly edgy and (apparently) self-parodying kind of self-promotion.”

But lawyer and Israeli advocate Arsen Ostrovsky tweeted that it was “in obscenely poor taste, not in the slightest funny and just plain offensive!”

The New York Times’s Isabel Kershner called it a “kind of crazy, self-deprecating Israeli promo.”

Meanwhile new Likud MK Shlomo Karhi said he found the video appalling.

“This is definitely not a video that will bring or connect people to Israel,” he said Friday. He added that, once the Eurovision is over, “we should seriously consider closing [KAN], an un-necessary and expensive body, that is currently humiliating us on an international level.”

And the always-outspoken and rarely diplomatic Yair Netanyahu, son of the prime minister, had his own harsh words: “Almost a billion shekel a year and all you managed to produce is an antisemitic video?” he wrote on Twitter. “Ew.”

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