JERUSALEM – The Gazan winner of 2013’s Arab Idol contest told an Israeli fan, “I spit on you and Israel.”
Mohammed Assaf was answering questions from fans in a Skype phone-in this week when he received a comment from an Israeli caller who said, “You should come to Israel … you have Israeli blood.”
To which Assaf replied, “I spit on you and Israel.”
It is not clear whether the fan was a Jew or an Israeli Arab.
“I don’t want to talk about this issue too much,” Assaf told The New Arab. “The person who said that wanted to provoke me and it’s known that the issue of Palestine and the Palestinian people is one of my top priorities.”
In 2013, UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, announced that Assaf had been selected as its “Youth Ambassador,” saying he would “promote peace, security, and other universal values.” The Youth Ambassador has since released music videos and posts on social media that contain vitriolic content, including the glorification of terrorism. Nevertheless, UNRWA extended Assaf’s contract as Youth Ambassador.
On official PA TV last April, Assaf performed his winning song from the Idol contest. The song, “Oh Flying Bird,” claims that all Israeli cities from Haifa to Acre to Tiberias – all within Israel proper – are part of “beautiful Palestine.” Assaf had also dedicated some of his performances on Arab idol to the “shaheeds” (martyrs).