Opposition chairman MK Yitzhak Herzog (Zionist Camp) on Friday condemned Israeli rap star Yoav Eliasi, better known as Hatzel, for his comments pointing out the irony in a recent terror attack.
Hatzel had noted that the murder of Richard Lakin, who died this Tuesday after being seriously wounded in the shooting attack on a bus in Jerusalem's southeastern Armon Hanatziv earlier in the month, proved that terrorists view all Jews as targets, regardless of political opinion. The comment was made in context of Lakin's work as an activist advocating for coexistence.
But Herzog saw fit to use insults in condemning the rapper for pointing out the irony, saying, "I comforted the Lakin family yesterday. Richard Lakin z''l was a lover of peace and a pursuer of peace."
"To Hatzel and those like him, all those disgusting people who taunt and despise, I say – be ashamed of yourselves, bullies. You bring trouble to the Jews. You are violently gnawing away at the foundations of the democracy and the security of the state," stated the MK.
Hatzel responded to Herzog's statements on Facebook Friday, addressing his words to "Yitzhak (please don't hurt me) Herzog."
"The foundations of democracy are the expression of opinions in public, the right to liberty, freedom of speech, freedom to unionize, the right to ownership and the freedom of movement," he said, providing Herzog a clear-cut definition.
"So in trying to take away from me 'and those like me' the freedom of speech and our expression of opinions in public, you become anti-democratic, hypocritical and a bully."
"By the way," continued the rapper, "even though your post stinks of cheap populism and it's obvious you don't have an idea what you're talking about, and you're just joining the uproar against me to show that you're involved in things – if you honestly believe wholeheartedly that I said something personal against Richard Lakin z''l, remove your (parliamentary) immunity and let me sue you for slander."
"We'll let the court decide if I incited, and if what you wrote about me is appropriate," he wrote.
Herzog was not the only one taking shots at Hatzel. The Anti-Defamation League also issued a statement reading: "the singer Yoav Eliasi continues to use the social network to spread hateful messages against those who have different political opinions from his own."
"His statements, during the shiva (seven days of intense mourning – ed.) in memory of Richard Lakin, harm the honor of the dead and the honor of his mourning family. Eliasi must apologize immediately to the mourning family and publish a statement taking back his hateful words. As an artist, youths view Eliasi as a role model, and therefore he must act responsibly."
What did he say?
The various harshly worded condemnations come in response to Hatzel's comments on his official Facebook page, in which he noted the irony of Lakin's murder and pointed out the equality between right-wing and leftist Jews in the eyes of the terrorist enemy.
"Richard was an English teacher and a radical leftist activist in the organization Tag Meir (an organization against 'Jewish terror'), which shows you that it doesn't matter how much you're in the left, how active you are for the Arabs, and sell out and betray your people in the name of enlightenment – when the terrorist comes he won't care about your activities, and the only thing he'll see is a Jew, and for him your blood is exactly like that of the religious Jew or the settler who sat next to you," wrote Hatzel.
The post was later removed, apparently by Facebook workers in Israel who Hatzel accused of trying to silence him.
On Thursday, Hatzel wrote a post to the Facebook workers, complaining at how dozens of posts on his page were removed over the past week.
"You don't have to agree with my opinions and you also don't need to love everything that I say, but you will respect my voice and the voice of millions of Israelis who want the truth to be heard," he complained in an open address to the workers.
"You act like a silencing dictatorship that thinks it is above the law, above freedom of speech and above us all."
Hatzel addressed his comments regarding Lakin in another post on Wednesday, saying, "I don't think I have anything to apologize for."
"I'm pained over him as I am over every Jew and I'm sorry if his family was insulted, but I didn't say anything bad against him, only about the absurdness of the situation," he explained.
"Pay attention how every time that you tell the left the truth, and the truth is hard for them to digest, them immediately do all they can to silence you," Hatzel added. "It's really hard for them when a mirror is placed in front of their faces and they're told 'this is you, deal with it!'"