Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely last Friday asked the Foreign Ministry’s Consular Department to examine why the U.S. Embassy refused to approve a visa for singer Amir Benayoun to attend the International Holocaust Remembrance Day ceremony in two weeks at the UN headquarters in New York.
Benayoun is scheduled to be joined on stage at the U.N. in New York by singers David D’Or and Miri Mesika, who already have received their visas, and who will help him perform the song that he composed entitled, “The Last One’. It is an ode to Holocaust survivors and plans were in the works for the song to be presented in Hebrew, English, and Arabic in a scheduled performance for Holocaust Remembrance Day. The annual ceremony commemorates the liberation of Auschwitz on January 27th.
The writer of the lyrics, political strategist Moshe Klughaft, told Ynet he thought about a future reality in which there will “only be one Jew left alive who experienced the Holocaust,” he said. “The song was written with him in mind.”
Benayoun has said the song is intended to be a voice for Holocaust survivors, given that soon none will be alive to tell their stories.
The lyrics are:
I am the last one left, From The Depths I call out to you;
My soul calls out for the hope, I stayed alive even though I died.
I am the last one left, I remained a human being even when I was just a number;
A loaf is bread is something that you eat, but under the pillow it I would always keep.
And in the relay race I was left alone;
The torch is relayed now from hand to hand
Take from me everything, I am like the burning bush;
You will remain here to tell the story.
I am the last one left, still attached to the Israelites in the desert;
I have no rest, I wander and roam;
All that remains are the memories from the cattle cars.
I am the last one left, returning now to the provinces of the past;
This grass is green from dread;
I call out to you, Mother Nature.
The U.S. embassy told Ynet that Benayoun was not able to convince the US consul that he “has a strong connection to his country, which ensures his return to Israel after a short visit to the US.” Benayoun reportedly presented the embassy with his official letter of invitation from the U.N. He reportedly has several performances scheduled for February and March in Israel, another reason that he says he will be returning.
Israel’s Foreign Ministry has been working to convince the US embassy to change its decision, according to Ynet.
Some have speculated whether the decision to prevent Benayoun from entering the United States is related to a 2015 song about a “corrupt, cruel” pet crow called Obama, for whom he wishes a swift death.
Left-wing Meretz Party lawmaker Esawi Frej in a letter to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for Benayoun to not be allowed to perform over what Frej called his racist views.
Edited by: JV Staff