Palestinian rap group to take legal action against Netanyahu

An Amman-based Palestinian rap group intends to take action against hardline Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for using one of their songs in an election campaign video.

Torabyeh “will take all necessary legal action against those responsible” for the “infringement of intellectual property rights and the distortion of the reputation of Torabyeh,” the group announced in a Facebook posting on Saturday.

Netanyahu’s video depicts a group of fighters ostensibly from the Islamic State (also known as IS, ISIL or ISIS) riding in a pickup truck as Torabyeh’s song “Ghorbah” blasts in the background.

“I want to be buried in the same graveyard as my grandfather. Ever since I was young I’ve dreamed of being a soldier. With time I discovered who I belong to: Mahmoud Abbas, Fatah, Hamas or the Jabha,” one of the rappers sang, referring at the end to the leftist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

“Let me be free because they are all mercenaries,” the song continues.

In Netanyahu’s campaign video, actors playing ISIS fighters pull up next to another car and ask in Hebrew for directions to Jerusalem. An Israeli driver replies, “Turn left.” The fighters then speed off down the road as one of them fires an automatic weapon into the air. As the Israeli vehicle drives off, a bumper sticker becomes visible. ”Anyone but Netanyahu,” it reads.

A message to Israeli voters then appears on the screen: “The left will surrender to terrorism.”

“Us or them, Daesh [Islamic State] version. This time choose the Netanyahu government, or the submissive left of Livni and [Isaac Hertzog],” Netanyahu wrote on his Facebook alongside the video, referring to the “leftist” candidates Tzipi Livni and Isaac Herzog.

Watch the campaign video below:

“Lives at risk”

The video “implicates the Torabyeh group by [lodging] serious accusations of terrorism and association with ISIS, which is consequently putting the group’s members’ lives at risk,” Torabyeh said in response on their Facebook page.

“We strongly condemn and reject this ruthless infringement of intellectual property rights and the distortion of the reputation of Torabyeh,” the group added. “What is more, we reject all forms of cooperation with the Zionist enemy (right and left) and the fascist expansionist colonial entity.” 

Listening to “Ghorbah” or any of Torbayeh’s tracks, it is clear from their lyrics that they condemn Israel’s occupation and apartheid regime. Less clear, however, is how one could insinuate a relationship to ISIS. Watch the entire music video with an English-language translation on the video’s YouTube page.


Netanyahu’s attempt to rally votes by exploiting ISIS’ spread in Syria and Iraq is unsurprising. For months, he has has attempted to distort all groups that oppose his policies as somehow akin to the group. 

Earlier this month, after ISIS released a video showing a Jordanian pilot being burned alive, Netanyahu sent Jordan’s king “condolences” and attempted to liken ISIS to Iran

“In the Islamic State of ISIS, they burn people alive; in the Islamic State of Tehran, they hang them from cranes in the public squares,” he said, as reported by the right-wing Jerusalem Post. “Both are motivated by an extreme ideology of militant Islamic terrorism that has a cruelty that is unbounded.”

Back in September, Netanyahu lashed out at countries who oppose ISIS but criticized Israel’s 51-day attack on Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. He told the United Nations that Hamas — the Palestinian political party that controls the besieged Gaza Strip — and ISIS are “branches of the same poisonous tree.” 

By the time a lasting ceasefire was reached in late August, Israel had killed more than 2,200 Palestinians, mostly civilians. 

“Reactionary and confused”

Yet Netanyahu’s messages ostensibly resonate with many Israelis across the political spectrum. Israeli leaders consistently express anti-Palestinian incitement in the parliament (Knesset) and mainstream media outlets.

An official rabbi for Israeli settlers in the Jewish-only colonies in Hebron and Kiryat Arba in the occupied West Bank said in October that the government must “strive to cleanse the entire country” of Palestinians. 

And as Palestinian bodies piled up during the summer war on Gaza, many Israelis took to Facebook to announce their support for the slaughter. As new Facebook pages calling for more bloodshed popped up left and right, Talya Shilok Edry, one Israeli Facebook user, wrote: “What an orgasm to see the Israeli Defense Forces bomb buildings in Gaza with children and families at the same time. Boom boom.”

“The popular Israeli narrative is so reactionary and confused these days, that if one were to walk the streets asking average citizens if there was a difference between Fatah and al-Qaeda, most people would be hard-pressed to answer coherently,” journalist Lisa Goldman observed at 972 Magazine

Meretz, the “left-wing” Zionist party, also decried Netanyahu’s campaign video. The party called on Israel’s attorney general to probe Netanyahu’s Likud party for incitement to violence, The Jerusalem Post reported Sunday. 




So BIbi likes to make videos with phony IS fighters ... Interesting.

Maybe they were real ISIS fighters looking for assistance, since UN observers in the Golan reported to the Security Council last month that the Israeli military continues to directly support IS fighters across the border with Syria. You'd think the press would spend more time on such troubling revelations ...

Asa Winstanley's picture

The UNDOF reports you refer to do not say that. They say that the UN observers noticed regular contact between the Israeli army and rebel fighters in the Golan Heights along the ceasefire line (between the Israeli-occupied and Syrian-controlled sections), including the passing of at least one box.

The affiliation of the rebels in question is unknown. There is no way they are ISIS, however, since the rebel groups operational in that area are hostile to ISIS.

However, it is possible they were Nusra Front fighters. Sources and more details in this article I wrote.

Patrick Strickland

Patrick Strickland's picture

Patrick O. Strickland is an independent journalist and frequent contributor at The Electronic Intifada. He is presently working on his first book for the London-based publishing house Zed Books. See his in-depth coverage for EI.