Tuesday, September 30, 2014 Tishri 6, 5775

Pushin​g Their Buttons

March 8, 2007
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There is probably no sillier cultural institution in the world than the annual Eurovision song contest. Though little known in the United States, this made-for-TV competition pits vocal representatives of various European, African and Asian countries in an "American Idol" style sing-off, in which pop kitsch and banality trump any musical value.

Yet, however poor the quality of its winners, the contest has had the virtue of being one of the few international forums in which Israel has gotten a fair deal. Indeed, over the years, Israeli contestants have actually won three times -- the most recently for a 1998 song sung by a transvestite named Dana International.

But this year, Israel's entry -- "Push the Button," by a group calling itself "The Teapacks" -- has run afoul of the contest hosts in Finland. What's the problem? Apparently, the Israeli song, which speaks of "crazy" foreign leaders who want to "push the button" and blow them up, is far too political for the Finns. The allusion to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his vow to build nuclear weapons that would destroy Israel is considered by some to be out of bounds. This is despite the fact, in the past, other songs with themes that could just as easily be interpreted as having a political meaning have not been disqualified.

While we don't think the outcome of this songfest is worth a moment's consideration by any serious person, the notion that a pop plea to let Israelis "sit in the sun" rather than vaporizing them is worth thinking about, however controversial.

It is, in fact, part and parcel of the current European political culture that seems to view Iran's genocidal intent with a degree of equanimity. As such, this song contest has now moved from being a piece of popular silliness into yet another sinister expression of the growing European tide of Jew-hatred. 

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