Alleged Austrian neo-Nazi
Tel Aviv performance postponed
by Hilary Leila Krieger
Jerusalem Post, 04.10.2004
A Tel Aviv concert organizer has postponed
the upcoming appearance of an Austrian band following widespread criticism
that it is a neo-Nazi, pro-fascist group.
Minister-without-Portfolio responsible for Diaspora affairs Natan Sharansky,
MK Yossi Sarid of Yahad, Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai, and the Anti-Defamation
League have been some of the loudest voices in a chorus calling for Albine
Julius's group Der Blutharsch to be barred from the country ahead of a Tel
Aviv show scheduled for Saturday.
"They are identified with fascist, neo-Nazi segments of European society,
and I don't believe they should be invited to Israel," Sarid said. Despite
organizer Igor Simkin's decision to delay the performance by several months,
the Tel Aviv Municipality plans to take the matter to court and use its
authority to close down the club hosting the show.
An Interior Ministry spokeswoman, meanwhile, said that though her office has
not received visa applications from the performers, it is monitoring the
situation and will make a decision about whether to allow their entry once
their applications are received. "They are saying they are neo-Nazis, but we
can't be sure just because some people say it," she added.
Julius and Simkin have both maintained that "Der Blutharsch" is nothing of
the sort: "We are an unpolitical band and are not open to be pocketed by any
ideology or political direction," Julius said. "We do not spread hate,
racism, or promote National Socialism. We are artists and use provocation as
part of the art. Banning us would be the real fascism. I mean, the last time
artists have been banned from doing their art was in the Third Reich, wasn't
He said he chose the name (which means "dried blood" and is associated with
front-line casualties in Germanic wars of the Middle Ages) because "it
sounded good and I like the phonetics of it." He described his "industrial"
and "experimental" sound as "kinky march music" that relies heavily on
percussion, acoustic guitars, and sampling.
But that sampling, according to German historian and editor of the
German-Jewish magazine haGalil onLine Andrea Livnat, who has researched the
band from her home in Tel Aviv, includes excerpts from Hitler youth songs,
video imagery including swastikas, and the use of symbols connected to the
A Chicago concert was cancelled earlier this year amid pressure from an
activist group concerned about the band's fascist politics. Chicago
Sun-Times music critic Jim Derogatis, however, wrote that an Internet search
turned up little damning information. "There is little evidence of the
Austrian band Der Blutharsch preaching hatred in its music."
Livnat, however, said the group has been removing the most incriminating
"In Europe in general, it's not so easy to have all these anti-Semitic texts
and get away with it," she said. "The really anti-Semitic groups are really
under fire from anti-fascist groups and legal groups."
She added that the group doesn't have to be overt to be a problem: "Every
right extreme group is against Jews in the end, so this is like inviting the
Both Simkin and Julius counter that a trip to Israel proves the band isn't
"If I really was a Nazi, I do not think I would come to perform in Israel
and release a CD for the Israeli people, do you?" Julius said. He explained
his desire to perform in Israel as interest in learning about the people,
seeing the "Holy Land," boosting a country which many musicians have
shunned, and checking whether "people there make felafel better than my
favorite felafel place in Vienna."
A senior Tel Aviv Municipality official, however, attributed the trip to
more sinister motives. He said that club owners considering hosting Der
Blutharsch believe performing in Israel represents a "challenge" for such
groups and is a way of "spitting on our face with words."
very clear why they are interested in coming to Israel – to be legitimized,
to have an 'Israeli passport,' " Sarid maintained. "With this legitimacy and
Israeli passport, they will be persona grata everywhere."
He explained that they would be able to say to people such as those in
Chicago or in the Netherlands, where a Der Blutharsch concert was nearly
cancelled recently, "Who are you to tell us that we're neo-Nazis and
Fascists... The remnants of the Holocaust invited us."
According to Livnat, that legitimization is what makes their visit here so
"I'm not concerned about the 100 Israelis coming to a concert here. I'm
worried about the fight against anti-Semitism and neo-Nazism in Europe," she
She added that the more pressing question is "why anyone would like to
invite them" to play here.
She answered by suggesting that "people think they are listening to
something very avant-garde and breaking a taboo."
ADL spokeswoman Laura Kam Issacharoff posited that the audience would be
made up of the same troubled youth, predominantly from the former Soviet
Union, who have been behind the recent sprouting of anti-Semitic graffiti
around the country. "To us it's not anti-Semitism as we know it. It's
disaffected youth. It's a social problem."
Simkin, however, said the audience would be a mix of all types of Israelis,
not just those like himself who immigrated from there, but a small group of
50-100 people interested in this type of alternative music. He added that he
himself is Jewish and would never have invited a band he believed was
Vorwurf zur Bunker-Nacht:
Treten in Israel
Wie kann das sein? Ist es möglich, dass eine Band, die in
Israel auftritt neo-nazistisch ist? Manche sagen "Ja!"...