MK calls to bank rock band for using Nazi symbols

Russian rock band 'Alisa' scheduled to perform in Israel later this month. Calls to cancel show cite use of Nazi symbols.

David Rosenberg,

Neo-Nazi (file)
Neo-Nazi (file)

A concert by a controversial rock band has divided Israel’s Russian-speaking community, pitting fans against those who argue the band should be banned from Israel over allegations of anti-Semitism.

Konstantin Kinchev, the lead singer of ‘Alisa’ rejects charges that the band is anti-Semitic.

Describing himself as an “enlightened Russian nationalist”, Kinchev has long fought accusations of Nazi sympathies, suing a Russian newspaper for defamation in 1987.

But Alisa makes no secret of its use of Fascist and Nazi imagery in its music and performances.

Swastikas, the Hitler salute, and other symbols are regular parts of Alisa’s live shows. Lyrics of the band’s songs, critics argue, are also loaded with thinly veiled references to Jews and anti-Semitic conspiracy theories.

Despite this, however, the band has acquired a following in Israel, particularly among Russian-speakers. A concert scheduled for May 14th has already sold out. Nor is this month’s show the band’s first appearance in Israel.

Some in the Russian-speaking community, however, have called upon Culture and Sport Minister Miri Regev to cancel the performance and band Alisa from Israel.

MK Ksenia Svetlova (Zionist Camp), a Russian immigrant herself, is among those demanding the show’s cancellation.

Competing petitions both in support of and opposed to the concert have been circulating among Russian-speakers in Israel.

Outside circumstances may make efforts to cancel the show unnecessary, however. Kinchev has reportedly been hospitalized for treatment of what is widely believed to have been a heart attack the singer suffered. With less than two weeks to go before the scheduled date, the band may well be forced to cancel the performance while Kinchev recuperates.