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Tunisia: When the Singer Chants “Long Live Netanyahu”

One of the many Facebook pages set up to denounce Sherif

The circulation of a video showing Tunisian singer Mohsen Sherif yelling “Long live Bibi Netanyahu!” and inviting Jews to come in droves to Djerba Island for El Ghariba pilgrimage, has triggered a wave of anger and disappointment among Tunisians. In geek speak, the video circulated on Facebook has now created a buzz.

It is understood that Sherif, accompanied by other Tunisian musicians, were performing in Israel, which has no diplomatic ties with their country.

Soon enough, many Facebook groups were created to denounce Sherif's action. Among them is this group , which is calling for the withdrawal of the Tunisian nationality from the singer.

Bloggers were quick to react to the video too. However, they were divided in their opinion. Some bloggers such as stupidity zone start say that singers are free to yell whatever they want to. He wrote:

Ces derniers jours,une vague de haine envers deux artistes locales inonde le net Tunisien …ces deux artistes sont Mohsen Echrif et Noureddine El Kahléoui !!!
Alors le motif de cette campagne me semble absurde mais pour mes concitoyens c'est suffisant pour être traité de tous les noms …Mohsen Echrif dans un mariage organisé par des Juifs dis dans son micro je cite “Ya7ya Bibi Netanyéhou”

Lately, a wave of hatred towards two local artists flooded the Tunisian web. These two artists are Mohsen Sherif and Nourredine Kahlaoui !!!
Despite the fact that the motivation behind this campaign seems absurd to me, my countrymen found that this was enough to insult him.
Mohsen Sherif said in his mic: “Long live Bibi Natenyahu”

Zizou from Djerba wrote:

Pour moi, Le chanteur en question n'a fait que caresser tout le monde dans le sens du poil (son boulot en qlq sorte) puisqu'on peut voir clairement dans la vidéo qu'il faisait un peu de politique dans le but de raffermir les liens des tunes avec la Tunisie et de les convaincre de venir plus nombreux en Tunisie (leurs pays) pour le pèlerinage de la Ghriba.

For me, the singer has just tried to please everyone (He did his job in someway). We can clearly see in the video that he was doing some politics in order to strengthen the ties of Tunisians with Tunisia, and convince them to come more often to Tunisia (their country) for the pilgrimage to the Ghariba.

On the other hand some bloggers considered what happened as an act of normalization with Israel, and called for the government to react. Bassam Bounenni wrote :

C'est dans cette ambiance que survient la diffusion sur la toile d'une vidéo du chanteur, Mohsen Cherif, scandant le slogan “Vive Ben Ali … Vive Netenyahu”. Les réactions officielles se font toujours attendre, en dépit d'une grande colère populaire qui s'est étendue au niveau des syndicats. Paradoxalement, les partis d'obédience nationaliste optent, là aussi, pour le mutisme. Laissant la grogne aux masses … virtuelles. Les mêmes masses qui se sont toujours tues quand la normalisation allaient de pair avec un choix gouvernemental ou est l'oeuvre, tout simplement, d'un membre du gouvernement.

It was in this atmosphere that the webcasting of a video showing singer Mohsen Cherif, yelling “Long live Ben Ali … Vive Netenyahu. The official response is still lacking, despite much popular anger that has extended to the labor unions level. Ironically, the obedience nationalist parties choose silence too. Let discontent for the virtual masses … . The same masses who kept silence when normalisation actions were going along with the government's choice or were simply the work of a member of the government.

The story may have started on the web but it is now preoccupying public opinion. National Tunisian journals are writing about it and people are discussing it on all occasions as Zizou from Djerba put it in his blog:

L'affaire est celle qui occupe l'opinion publique tunisienne en ce moment. Les discussions au boulot, a la plage et ailleurs tournent autour de cette bande de chanteurs tunisiens partis en Israel pour animer une soiree tunisienne. Meme si cette initiative peut surprendre, ce qui a choque une majorite de tunisien est le fait qu'un chanteur ( Mohsen Cherif) a prononce des viva pour le premier ministre israelien.

The case is the one which occupies the Tunisian public opinion for now. Discussions at work, on the beach, and in other places revolve around this band of Tunisian singers who traveled to Israel to perform a Tunisian evening there. Despite the fact that this initiative is somewhat surprising what shocked Tunisians more is the fact that the Tunisian singer (Mohsen Cherif) chanted long life to the Israeli prime minister.

The case is still preoccupying Tunisians, who are asking how did the musicians travel to Israel and perform there.

1 comment

  • MERC

    Unfortunately, celebrities are generally airheads, but while I wouldn’t expect anything better from a goose like Elton John, who performed in Israel despite attempts to persuade him not to, I would’ve expected an Arab celebrity to have sufficient understanding of Israel’s vicious colonization of Palestine to not even go to there, let alone scream out something as dumb and obscene as ‘Viva Netanyahu’. Thank God Tunisia has a singer like the wonderful Amel Mathlouthi to redeem it.

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