Dutch state TV accused of anti-Semitism in Eurovision song spoof

Dutch state-funded television show spoofs Israel’s winning song, prompting protest over anti-Semitic lyrics linking Jews and money.


Netta Barzilai
Netta Barzilai

JTA - A Dutch state-funded television show spoofed Israel’s winning Eurovision song, prompting protest by critics who said the parody features anti-Semitic cliches about Jews and money.

The parody of the song “Toy” by Netta Barzilai was aired Sunday on the first edition of a new television show “The Sanne Wallis Show” on the public broadcaster BNNVARA, starring comedienne Sanne Wallis de Vries.

“We’re giving a party, are you coming? Soon at the Al Aqsa Mosque, it’s standing there empty anyway,” read the lyrics of the Dutch-language song parodying “Toy,” which the performer sang against films showing footage of Arab riots on the Gaza border. The mosque is a busy Muslim place of worship in Jerusalem.

“Look how beautiful, I’m throwing bombs, Israel again wins, 70 years already the party’s on,” the lyrics also read. And: “No way, no Palestinian’s coming in.” The sketch also has a Netta impersonator singing “I hunt Palestinians through the curtains.”

But the part that triggered criticism of anti-Semitism reads: “If your party’s crashed, make sure you cash on embassies, with your ka-ching, ka-ching and you ping-a-ping, with your dollars and cents and your funds, with your ka-ching, ka-ching, ka-ching .”

The Center for Information and Documentation on Israel, or CIDI, which monitors anti-Semitism and anti-Israel vitriol in Holland, suggested the sketch featured anti-Semitic tropes.

“You start with Israel and end with what? Jews and money. You made your point, BNNVARA,” CIDI wrote on Twitter. The watchdog also wrote that the sketch was “full of ‘hilarious’ jokes about Jews and money and so on. So funny.”

The Telegraaf daily’s headline on Monday about the parody contained the word “Jew-hatred.”

Sanne Wallis de Vries and BNNVARA have not replied to requests for a reaction to the accusation by CIDI and others on social networks.

Zev Edgar, an events professional from Amsterdam, called the sketch “anti-Israel” and “disgusting,” adding it amounted to anti-Semitism aired by a public broadcaster. Mariette Groenenboom, a teacher from Amsterdam, said she would cancel her subscription to BNNVARA over the sketch. But Twitter user Fedde Pruiksma ‏encouraged de Vries to “not buckle” under pressure and allow herself to be “muzzled.”

In 2012, the Vara broadcaster, which in 2014 merged with BNN, faced allegations of spread “blood libels” when it aired a parody of a speech by Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu which had been manipulated to have him say in a seamless and realistic-looking speech: “We are trying to maximize the number of civilian casualties. We prefer that.”

Headlined “Netanyahu finally tells the truth,” the video goes on to show Netanyahu say: “We are conducting these surgical operations against schools, mosques, hospitals, children. This is something I don’t have to explain to Americans.”