Regev walks out on song based on work of Arab extremist

Poem by PLO member Mahmoud Darwish, who hoped for destruction of Israel, put to song at awards ceremony.


Miri Regev
Miri Regev
Marc Israel Sellem/Flash 90

Miri Regev, Israel’s minister of culture and sports, walked out on an awards ceremony after an artist performed a song based on a work by Arab poet Mahmoud Darwish.

Regev walked out of the Association of Composers, Authors and Publishers awards ceremony Monday evening as Arab-Israeli singer Mira Awad, who received an award for promoting Arab creativity within Israeli culture, sang the song.

Darwish, who died in 2008, was a member of the Palestine Liberation Organization.

Regev said before the event that she would not stay in the auditorium for the song. She explained in an address to the audience that Darwish was a “Palestinian poet who hoped… for the death of the Jewish state, who wanted to eat the flesh of the ‘occupier.’ ”

“Unfortunately, many artists demand public funding for things the public has no interest in and is even offended by. Here, too, this evening a decision was made to put Mahmoud Darwish on stage. Him, of all people. People are welcome to keep up an innocent face. It’s clear to me and a very large public that this isn’t an artistic decision; it’s a political one,” Regev said. “You want Arab poetry? By all means. I’m the one who increased the budget for Arab artists, more than ever before.”

Regev caused a stir at the Ophir Awards, Israel’s Oscars, in September 2016, walking out in protest while Arab-Israeli rapper Tamer Nafar performed a poem by Darwish. Regev returned to present the best film award and was loudly booed.

“I have a lot of tolerance for the ‘other,’ but I have no tolerance for Darwish and anyone who wants to eliminate Israel,” Regev said at the time.