Dutch parody of Eurovision song stirs Israeli protest

The Hague (AFP) –


Feathers are flying in the free speech-friendly Netherlands after Israel's embassy Tuesday complained about a Dutch parody of Netta Barzilai's winning Eurovision song, calling the home-grown version "in bad taste" and "disgraceful".

Dutch actress and cabaret artist Sanne Wallis de Vries performed her own version of Barzilai's catchy tune "Toy" on her Saturday night show on national television.

She dressed in a similar multicoloured kimono to Netta and copied the same wacky clucking sounds and chicken-like dance moves that won Barzilai the top honours on May 12.

But instead of Netta's #MeToo-inspired song, the Dutch lyrics carried a heavy political message with videos of Palestinian protesters and Israel's border walls forming the backdrop to her performance.

"Look at me I'm a loving little country, world leaders bravely eat from my hand, with a kiss I put out every fire," De Vries' sang to the tune of "Toy".

"Look how beautiful when I drop some bombs. Again oh yes, Israel wins. For 70 years now, this party's been going on," she continued.

But some critics including the Israeli government said her lyrics bordered on being anti-Semitic with references to "kosher satés" and Jews "cashing in" on the relocation of embassies to Jerusalem, triggered by last week's move of the US embassy from Tel Aviv.

"It was not only biased against Israel, it included unfortunately also some anti-Semitic hints like mocking kosher food or referring to money in the old anti-Jewish way," the Israeli foreign ministry said in a letter, excerpts of which were seen by AFP.

"Showing sad and depressing videos in the backdrop of the Israeli Eurovision winning song was not only in bad taste, but it was wrong and disgraceful," added the letter, which Israel's foreign ministry said was sent to the BNNVARA broadcaster and copied to the Dutch foreign ministry.

Reacting to the outcry, BNNVARA told the NOS Dutch public broadcaster that the parody was not meant to be anti-Semitic.

"In the Sanne Wallis show happenings of the past week are discussed in a satirical way," it said.

"The parody questions Israel's policies and is in no way an indictment of the Jewish community," BNNVARA said.

De Vries declined to comment, the NOS added, while the Dutch foreign ministry could also not be reached for comment.