A Violent neo-Nazi is Israel’s Most Popular Rap Artist
Hatzel (The Shadow) The Last Zionist – ISRAEL !!!!
Rap is a form of Black music that originated in the inner cities of America. It is anti-racist at its core and expresses the frustration of Black youth with racism, poverty and exploitation. It is a style of music which was
‘developed by disc jockeys and urban blacks in the late 1970s, in which an insistent, recurring beat pattern provides the background and counterpoint for rapid, slangy, and often boastful rhyming patter glibly intoned by a vocalist or vocalists’.
In Israel where this style is also popular it is the cultural and music face of the hard Right, chauvinistic, sexist, racist and even genocidal. Noone better emulates this than The Shadow. I copy below an excellent article by Richard Silverstein and a couple of more articles on this creature as well as examples of his hateful ‘music’.
הצל – דם אחד
Shadow cartoon featuring Meretz supporter knifing IDF soldier in back
1919 cartoon featuring lascivious Jewish woman preparing to knife German soldier in the back
Jewish arm knifing Nazi soldier in back
Tikva (hope) – Subliminal and the Shadow – תקווה – סאבלימינל והצל HD
One of the most poisonous (and popular) Israeli performers is named HaTzayl (“The Shadow”). He’s what we would call here in America a rapper. But unlike African-American rappers, he raps hate. Not only hate of Palestinians, but hate of his fellow Jews.
He posted to Facebook, where he publishes much of his learned social commentaries, this cartoon. It features a hip secular Tel Aviv cosmopolitan (what the Nazis once called a “rootless cosmopolitan,” code-word for “Jew”) sporting an evil smirk and goatee, meeting a soldier who holds a weapon. Behind the soldier’s back the beatnik holds a knife he’s about to plunge into the soldier’s back. The civilian has ‘Meretz’ emblazoned on his shirt.
That is the political party calling itself “left Zionist.” Imagine an anaemic version of the Democratic Party espousing a skin deep version of a progressive political platform. That’s Meretz. As far as I’m concerned it’s what I call parve politics. Politics with aspirations but little substance. Andthat is what Israeli fascists are calling a threat to the nation. Imagine what they think of Palestinians…
The “knife in the back” meme has a long history in fascist discourse. I’m featuring here two anti-Semitic propaganda cartoons, one published in Austria in 1919, which blames the Jews for Germany’s World War I defeat. This notion was adopted by Adolf Hitler, himself a WWI veteran, and developed into his rabid anti-Semitic ideology which led to the Final Solution. Later, Nazi Germany exploited the same concept in the third cartoon showing a Jewish arm plunging a dagger into the back of a Wehrmacht soldier.
The Shadow is not an aberration. He is one of the more popular entertainers in Israel. He is Israel in some sense.
There is a law against incitement in Israel. It’s often used against Palestinians who post nothing more incriminating than poetry on Facebook. It’s almost never used against Israeli Jews who post far more vitriolic garbage on social media.
I predict that in this case, if the police investigate at all, they will not proceed with any charges against The Shadow. That’s because he has it in the bag. He is one of Israel’s own. The police either agree with his views or, even if they don’t, they wouldn’t dare take down such a popular figure.
And that is how fascism begins. It struts its petty pace upon the stage full of sound and fury, signifying nothing…but hate. That hate metastasizes into violence, and violence in mass murder. We’ve seen this movie before in history. We know how it ends.
Israel is well on the road to its own version of the Final Solution. It may not end in 6-million dead. Maybe only 100,000 or a million. Maybe the 6-million Palestinians in Israel and the Occupied Territories will end up thrown into the sea, as Israel used to accuse it Arab neighbors of planning. Maybe they’ll end up under a palm tree in the Sinai under Trump’s deal of the century. That would allow Israelis to argue that they were doing Palestinians a favor when they actually could have exterminated them and chose magnanimously to only ethnically cleanse them.
The Shadow, a delightful specimen of Israeli humanity
Israeli settlers want to return to a fantasy past of Davidic monarchy with a rebuilt Third Temple. They want to exterminate or eliminate non-Jews from their new kingdom. They want a settler version of the Islamic state. A theocracy ruled by halacha. Not a normative version of Jewish law. But rather a fundamentalist version.
This way lies madness. And it’s the direction Israel is taking. Ah yes, I hear you say: it’s all an exaggeration. Never happen, you say. That might’ve been what the Tutsi thought when they first began hearing vitriolic Hutu radio broadcasts calling for their extermination in 1994; or what the Bosnians said before Serbian militia slaughtered 8,500 at Srebrenica in 1995; and certainly what many European Jews said in 1935 or 6 or 7.
All I can say is that I have been writing this blog since 2003. When I began I was a liberal Zionist who believed in the two-state solution. Those 15 years have wiped out any starry-eyed idealism I had about liberal Zionism; and any faith I had in the Israeli state to join the family of nations as an accepted partner. In another 15 years or less, we will likely be much farther along the road to disaster.
It will be a disaster not just for the State of Israel, but for all of world Jewry. I know there are anti-Zionists who believe the only place for Jews is the Diaspora; and that Israel is a poison in the Jewish body politic. But if Israel goes full-fascist and self-destructs it will also hurt all of us.
I’m not saying the Jewish people will also follow suit. We will survive the maelström just as Rabbi Yochanan Ben Zakkai survived the Roman destruction of Jerusalem and built his academy in Yavneh. It eventually led Jewish practice away from a Temple-centric model to a decentralized rabbinic-synagogue model, which prevailed for centuries in the Diaspora. Similarly, world Jewry could survive the collapse of Israel should that happen. But the aftermath will be painful and the suffering great.
Eliasi at a right-wing demonstration during the Gaza war in July, 2014. Today he has 226,000-plus official Facebook fans. Tomer Appelbaum
Hundreds of demonstrators – many of them wrapped in Israeli flags – Stars of David painted on their arms and faces – are streaming toward Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square.
One middle-aged woman holds aloft a two-sided homemade sign: “Too many terrorists in prison,” reads the front, written in thick green magic marker. “Kill them all,” reads the flip side.
A journalist is shoved. An activist from the B’Tselem Israeli human rights organization, who has come to the event with a video camera, is escorted out of the square by police after a threatening crowd gathers around him, shouting abuse.
Oren Hazan, a controversial Likud MK who recently suggested demolishing the Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem to allow for the building of the Third Temple, is giving high fives in the VIP section. Baruch Marzel, a disciple of the late, hard-right MK Rabbi Meir Kahane, is clapping to the chant: “Hero! Hero!”
A bevy of teenage girls – in ripped cut-off jeans and matching T-shirts reading: “Rise up and kill him first!” – a reference to the Talmudic saying that begins with: “If someone comes to kill you” – are taking selfies.
One person conspicuously absent is rapper Yoav Eliasi, or as he is commonly known, “Hatzel,” a stage name meaning “the Shadow.”
Eliasi, 38, should have been here. He helped organize the event – a rally last month in support of 19-year-old Israeli soldier Elor Azaria, who shot and killed a Palestinian in Hebron in March, while the man lay, incapacitated and unarmed, on the ground.
Eliasi helped publicize it too, sending out daily missives to his 226,310 Facebook followers, entreating them to stand proudly alongside the family of the soldier – the “Hero,” in question – who is being held in military confinement until the conclusion of legal proceedings, and was charged with manslaughter. Eliasi was originally meant to be one of the main entertainment acts of the evening too.
But a day before the rally, other organizers – responding to concerns that the event was being hijacked by overly anti-establishment and dangerously radical voices – disinvited the outspoken rapper.
“The Shadow is considered too extreme,” explains one demonstrator, smoking a cigarette and sporting a black-and-yellow T-shirt – the colors of both the far-right Jewish Lehava organization, which rejects any relations, social or business, between Jews and non-Jews, and the Beitar Jerusalem soccer team, known for its many anti-Arab fans. The smoker soon ends the interview when he realizes it is to be printed in Haaretz. “I wouldn’t want my name in a paper of Israel-haters,” he says.
‘Slapped with a label’
“Yes I was hurt,” admitted Eliasi, in an interview with Army Radio a few days after the rally, when asked about being disinvited. “I have been slapped with the label ‘extremist,’ but what can I tell you – I don’t think I am extreme at all,” he told his interviewers. “I think the situation is extreme.”
Born in Safed, Eliasi grew up in Tel Aviv, and started rapping while in high school, in the early 1990s, just as a hip hop was starting to become popular in Israel. After the army – where he either did or did not serve in a secret undercover unit, the details are unclear – Eliasi gained fame performing together with his childhood friend Kobi Shimoni, the “king of Israeli rap,” aka Subliminal.
The timing was right. The peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians in the late ‘90s had collapsed and with the second intifada raging, the two rappers – all bling bling Star of David jewelry, tattoos, hooded sweatshirts, baggy pants and baseball caps pulled down low – captured crowds with their own original Israeli version of hip hop: unapologetically right-wing Zionist, hyper-nationalistic, populist and very angry.
Their 2002 album “The Light and the Shadow,” went double platinum, selling 100,000 copies, along the way turning the Star of David into a symbol of cool among the Israeli rap crowd. They performed up and down the country to packed audiences. One of the most popular tracks from that album was called “Biladi,” a reference to the official Palestinian Authority national anthem. The chorus of the song was in Arabic because, Shimoni explained, its message was directed “at those who understand that language.” The lines, straightforward enough, were: “This is my land. This is my country.”
A video of the song Tikva from the album “The Light and the Shadow” by Subliminal and The Shadow.
But, by the time Eliasi came out with his solo album: “Don’t Give a Fuck,” in 2008, the security situation in the country had improved, musical tastes had shifted, and interest in his message and style had waned. His record was not a big commercial success, and soon after Eliasi fell out with Shimoni, who – more commercially astute, and possibly more talented too – began experimenting with dance and electric music, started his own record company and clothes line and even started doing commercials.
In 2011, after years of living large – he once told the Israeli website NRG that “If I did not [have sex] with four women a night in the bathroom of the club, I could not return home” – the Shadow declared bankruptcy.
But his second act was still to come.
With his concert calendar freed up, Eliasi seems to have had some extra time to hone his Facebook persona, and quickly realized he could still get the attention he was used to without ever leaving his living room.
His amped up nationalistic message and his glorification of common soldiers — and this, along with his vitriolic rants against the left and the mainstream media, not to mention against the Arabs, garnered him a massive following, relative to this small country. With 226,000-plus official Facebook fans, Eliasi has zoomed way ahead of Aviv Geffen (95,614 Facebook fans), one of Israel’s biggest rock stars, who is associated with the left wing.
Today, although he still performs, Eliasi is better known for his provocative posts and calls to action – and the vulgar, often violent responses they illicit – than for any new lyrics or tunes.
Highlights of Eliasi’s Facebook posts over the last few years include a photo he put up in June 2014 – and later removed – of him holding a photo-shopped pair of testicles, with the words: “Revenge,” and the taunt: “Bibi [the nickname of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu] I think you forget these!” writ large. The post, which went up soon after three Jewish teenagers were kidnapped by terrorists, came right after Eliasi popularized the tagline “We’re coming for yours” to go along with the “bringbackourboys” social media campaign. The teenagers were later found murdered.
Last October, the Shadow posted a unique solution to the wave of terror that was sweeping the country – suggesting that emergency medical teams responding to the knifing and car-ramming attacks immediately “cut the organs” out of dead terrorists at the scene – and hand them over to the National Transplant Center. “What do terrorists really, really hate?” asked Eliasi. “The answer is easy: Jews. What do you think would happen if in every terrorist attack they saved 10 Jews?”
Another suggestion involved castrating dead terrorists so as to put an end to any dreams would-be “martyrs” might harbor of cavorting with 72 virgins – as those who send them out on their missions promise.
Eliasi. Among other things, has suggested castrating dead terrorists. Moti Kimche
On various occasions, Eliasi has gone beyond such fantastical suggestions with calls for concrete action: In the summer of 2014, for example, during Israel’s Operation Protective Edge in the Gaza Strip, upon hearing about an anti-war rally in Tel Aviv, he called on his followers – whom he began terming “the Shadow’s lions,” to mount a counter demonstration against, as he put it, “the real enemy among us: the radical left.”
The hundreds that showed up alongside Eliasi – many of them shouting “Death to the Arabs” – attacked the left-wingers at the rally with clubs, beating them and sending at least one person to the hospital. No charges were filed.
“He’s an opportunist – because he’s not really someone who would be making headlines for music,” says Ami Pedahzur, a professor of government at the University of Texas at Austin, who researches the radical right wing in Israel. “He is tapping into a well-documented rightward shift that has taken place in the country.”
“In the past, there would be condemnation across the board if a soldier committed a point-blank execution, as is the case with Azaria,” adds Pedahzur. “But today, we don’t hear condemnation from the right. The Shadow is more a symptom of the times than a problem.”
“I don’t think he is on the fringe,” agrees Dani Filc, a professor in Ben-Gurion University’s department of politics and government, who has done research on the populist radical right in Israel. “He is expressing, in a more rhetorically violent way, the things considered mainstream by the right-wing political establishment today.”
“The way he speaks about both Arabs and leftists has long been legitimized by the three main right-wing parties in Israel: Likud, Habayit Hayehudi and Yisrael Beiteinu,” says Filc. “The difference is mainly in the vulgarity of his expression and, of course, the phenomenon of social media.”
Eliasi basically makes the same point the academics do: “The right wing always wants to show it is enlightened. They don’t like being called baboons, so they throw me to the wolves. That way they can be like: ‘We are legitimate right wing. But he is an extremist,” he said during the Army Radio interview about being disinvited to the rally last month. “But I am not going to soften my talk. I tell it like it is,” he says.
“The Shadow’s Facebook page is, consistently, one of the places where we find the highest incidents of hate speech,”says Anat Rosilio, who runs the “hate speech index” compiled by the Berl Katznelson Foundation, an organization that promotes democracy education.
Using a bank of some 200 hateful words or phrases – from “Nazi,” to “retard,” to “Death to Arabs” – and armed with a powerful computer program, the index combs through Hebrew-language Twitter feeds, Facebook posts and feedback pages on news sites, and maps cases of incitement and hate speech that are polluting the web. The program can scan over half-a-million online texts a day, Rosilio explains, and it can break down not only what is being posted, but who is being targeted: from Arabs and leftists, to right-wingers and settlers, to asylum seekers and members of local LGBT and ultra-Orthodox communities.
“It’s crazy,” Rosilio says about the amount of incitement found on the Shadow’s Facebook page, primarily in the comments section. “The numbers we find there compete with numbers we see on far, far larger platforms – like on Ynet,” she adds, referring to Israel’s most widely read news portal.
A video of The Shadow’s song “One Blood.” A video of The Shadow’s song “One Blood.”
The point about the comments section is not trivial. “The Shadow’s posts walk a careful line,” explains Amir Fox, director of the Program for Protecting Democratic Values at the Israel Democracy Institute, an independent think tank.“They often border on hate speech – but just miss it.”
What Eliasi’s posts do, though, explains Fox, is “set up the shot,” leaving the more extreme racist and violent talk to his followers. For example, a post Eliasi put up recently about a terror attack in Jerusalem goes like this: “This is the 60-year-old Jew who was just gravely wounded a few minutes ago by a knife-yielding wimp of a terrorist,” he writes, uploading a snapshot of an older man, bleeding on the ground. “The terrorist, who ran away, was just caught,” he concludes – and then adds in parenthesis “unfortunately.”
“I want to hear slaughtered, not captured!” was the first inevitable comment – one of 2,700 responses and comments in a similar vein, all posted within an hour. “Me too! But our soldiers are being castrated. We give terrorists cushy jail time instead of bullets!” writes the next. “Gas. Only gas,” suggests a third, referencing, it seems, Nazi gas chambers.
This makes it difficult, if not impossible, for anyone to prosecute Eliasi, says Fox.
“The legal system can’t deal with comments – it would be endless,” he says. “Even when it comes to posts, only the ones that are most clear cut – with a real possibility of ending in a prosecution – are investigated.”
‘Piece of garbage’
In the days immediately after the Rabin Square rally for Azaria, Eliasi, sulking and feeling unappreciated by his own camp, hinted he was planning to “retire” from his activism and social media efforts. But, after a few days, he clarified that he had only meant that he was temporarily “taking his foot off the gas pedal.”
If anything, the mini media circus surrounding Eliasi’s almost-retirement – which provoked dismissive and mocking reports on at least two prime-time television news shows about what he would do next – seemed to give the Shadow a new lease on life.
“Didn’t you retire, you piece of garbage?” a woman asked him on Facebook page. “Did anyone lose their bitch?” Eliasi responded, prompting the following comment, directed at the woman, from one of his followers: “Too bad Hitler passed you by,” it reads. “Go lick [Arab MK] Ahmed Tibi’s balls,” went the next gem.
Eliasi declined an interview with Haaretz, explaining, politely – over Facebook messenger – that “he can’t be expected” to give an interview” to a paper he believes is filled with “anti Zionism propaganda,” and which routinely publishes stories “against” him.
But it is not too hard to imagine what he might have wanted to convey, if he had spoken to this paper.
“Sorry to ruin your party, lefties, but I am not going anywhere. I am going to remain a bone stuck in your throats for a long time to come,” Eliasi posted last week, together with a photograph of him with arms outstretched, giving the camera the finger with both hands. He has gold stars attached to his middle fingers. “You, the lefties, bring shame on our country,” he charged.
“You thought: Yoav is a little vulnerable right now, let’s punch him when he is down,” he continues, referring to himself in the first person and going on to detail how some in the media called him names — from fat to stupid, fascist, racist and dyslexic – in their reports about his supposed retirement.
“I hope you understand that the country is sick of this hatred and when everything blows up, and we can’t extinguish the flames – remember where all this hatred for you started and how we got to this point,” he rants. “Meet me at the next rally,” he tells his fans, signing off.
Israeli rap singer Yoav Eliasi takes part at a right-wing demonstration in support of Israel’s offensive in the Gaza Strip, in Tel Aviv, Israel, August 9, 2014. (Flash90)
The left-wing Meretz party has filed a complaint with police against far-right Likud party member and rapper Yoav “The Shadow” Eliasi over a social media post it says incites violence.
Members of the opposition party said in the complaint to Tel Aviv District Police that Eliasi’s Wednesday Facebook post could lead to violence against left-wing Israelis.
On Wednesday Eliasi posted a picture depicting a semiautomatic rifle adorned with the word “Arabs” over a Palestinian flag, above ammunition magazines labeled with the names of the Meretz party, several prominent leftist organizations and the Haaretz newspaper.
He captioned the image with the word “Exactly!”
The post no longer appeared on his page on Thursday, but Eliasi posted a picture of the post that had been screen captured by Channel 10, saying he stood behind what he wrote and accusing Meretz of clamping down on free speech and providing “ammunition and support to the terrorists in Israel.”
The outspoken 38-year-old, who has nearly 300,000 Facebook followers, has gained notoriety for hard-line, inflammatory posts that often target Arabs and left-wing Israeli figures.
Eliasi has previously used his social media platforms to call for the castration and organ harvesting of slain Palestinian assailants, and has compared left-wing Israelis to an AIDS epidemic.
In 2014, Eliasi was a main organizer of a rowdy counter-protest that was reportedly designed to intimidate a group of anti-war leftists protesting the Gaza war.
Last year, Eliasi joined Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party under the auspices of controversial party MK Oren Hazan.
Eliasi’s membership in the ruling Likud party was met with opposition from the American Jewish rights group Anti-Defamation League, President Reuven Rivlin and a number of party officials.