U.S. Denies Visa for Israeli Singer to Perform at UN for Holocaust Remembrance Day

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Amir Benayoun's 'Mila Baruah' (album cover).
Amir Benayoun's 'Mila Baruah' (album cover).

The United States embassy in Israel has declined a visa request by Israeli singer Amir Benayoun, who is scheduled to perform a song he wrote at the United Nations annual ceremony for International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Benayoun is scheduled to be joined on stage at the UN in New York by singers David DOr and Miri Mesika, who already have received their visas, and who will help him perform the song in Hebrew, English, and Arabic in a performance scheduled for Holocaust Remembrance Day.  The annual ceremony commemorates the liberation of Auschwitz on January 27.

The song, called The Last Survivor, was written by Moshe Klugheft and composed by Benayoun. A video of the song, to be screened at the UN, features several Israeli Holocaust survivors.

Amir Benayoun

The U.S. embassy told Ynet that Benayoun was not able to convince the U.S. consul that he has a strong connection to his country, which ensures his return to Israel after a short visit to the U.S. Benayoun reportedly presented the embassy with his official letter of invitation from the UN.  He reported has several performances scheduled for February and March in Israel, another reason that he says he will be returning.

Israels Foreign Ministry has been working to convince the U.S. 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.

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