Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman has compared the broadcast of poetry by Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish on Israeli radio to glorifying Adolf Hitlerâs “Mein Kampf,” the Ministry of Defense said on Thursday.
On Tuesday, Israeli army radio broadcast works by the iconic Palestinian writer as part of its “University on Air” program, including Darwishâs famous poem âIdentity Card,â which drew the ire of Lieberman and other Israeli officials.
Ma’an News Agency reports that, in a meeting with Army Radio chief Yaron Dekel, Lieberman said that broadcasting the poem contravened the stationâs mission to âstrengthen solidarity in society, not to deepen rifts, and certainly not to offend public sensibilities.â
Lieberman added that Darwishâs poems could not âbe part of the Israeli narrative programâ aired on the station, adding: âBy that same logic, we can also add to the Israeli narrative Mufti al-Husseini, or broadcast a glorification of the literary merits of âMein Kampf,ââ referring to the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem in the 1920s and 1930s — whom Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu controversially blamed in October for the Â Jewish holocaust.
âIdentity Card,â written in 1964, details the indignities of life subjected to the bureaucracy of the Israeli occupation, and includes the lines âI do not hate people/Nor do I encroach/But if I become hungry/The usurper’s flesh will be my food,â presumably the part targeted by Lieberman.
According to the Ministry of Defense statement, Lieberman said that there was âa big difference between freedom of expression and freedom of incitement.â
Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported that Israeli Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit called Lieberman âto remind him he has no authority to intervene in Army Radioâs programming.â
Originally under suspicion over charges of money-laundering and bribery, Lieberman was formally indicted in December of 2012, on lesser charges of fraud and breach of trust.
On Wednesday, Israeli Culture Minister Miri Regev called the broadcast of Darwishâs poems âdangerous,â adding that Army Radio âcannot allow itself to glorify the anti-Israel historical tale, as Mahmoud Darwish is not an Israeli, his poems are not Israeli, and they go against the main values of Israeli society.â
Darwish, who died in 2008, is also known as Palestine’s national poet, and stands as one of the most prominent figures of modern Palestinian literature. He has long been criticized by Israeli political figures for his stance against the occupation.
RelatedÂ interest: 08/04/14 âConcentrateâ and âExterminateâ: Israel Parliament Deputy Speakerâs Gaza Genocide Plan