Israel: Eurovision hopeful Maor Gamliel courts controversy with gay-themed “Moshiko”

Israeli singer Maor Gamliel showed up to his audition for “The Next Star For Eurovision 2016” clutching a teddy bear. He claimed that the stuffed animal, given to him by his vocal coach, had helped him sing over the past week. That was adorable. Less cute, however, are the anti-gay allegations that now surround the singer and the show following Maor’s performance of his original song “Moshiko”.

Yes, we’re only a few weeks into it, but Israel’s national selection for Eurovision 2016 is already giving us plenty of drama.

Maor and a friend wrote the song about a gay guy named Moshiko. It tells the story of a man struggling to come out of the closet — despite the fact everyone sees him for what he is. The lyrics are cheeky and irreverent: “Moshiko, taking down his underwear, Moshiko, drops the soap, Moshiko, should be at the theater, Moshiko, come out of the closet.”

You could read that as a song of empowerment: it’s like, babes, we get that you are gay and it’s OK, just come out. The judges, including openly gay Harel Skaat and Assi Azar, certainly weren’t offended. Assi asked the singer whether he found him or Harel more attractive. They sent Maor and his song through to the next phase of the show.

Many members of the LGBT community in Israel are not amused. So far hundreds of viewers have written to Israel’s television regulator to complain that the song was offensive, homophobic and used anti-gay jabs as humour. For those reasons, they say this episode shouldn’t have been broadcast during prime time TV.

“At first glance, I believe the song is hurtful, insulting and shaming,” David Regev, the public complaints ombudsman of the Second Authority, told Haaretz. “In the balance between free expression, which allows for such a song, and the harm caused to the audience of viewers, I believe the harm was much greater, and this should have been taken into account before the broadcast.”

It’s not an easy task, but we’ve attempted to translate the lyrics below.

Moshiko Lyrics — (Lidor Tzafrir, Maor Gamliel, Adir Golber)

Moshiko, he’s into boys
Moshiko, loves asses
Moshiko, always in the changing rooms
Moshiko, ignores the girls

Moshiko, taking down his underwear
Moshiko, drops the soap
Moshiko, should be at the theater
Moshiko, come out of the closet

Until this day, everything was suspected
We’ve realized that you’re sliding On The Pole
Together we looked at the girls in the bathroom
Then you said… dude, it’s not my thing
In hide and seek you were always hiding in the closet
You held the car’s stick in the wrong way
You had a girlfriend – yeah, that doesn’t fit in
On a second thought, she looked liked a boyfriend.

Moshiko, how Zaski will respond
Moshiko, sure there’s gonna be an argument
Moshiko, very cool to be gay
Moshiko, I’m sure it hurts

Moshiko, doesn’t do sports
Moshiko, you’ll end up fat
Moshiko, always sharpens his Pen
Moshiko, come out of the closet

I Remember that you were sunbathing at the beach every day
Then you went into the water when a guy bended over,
You were spending some time with a girl in the bathroom
I did not understand how ended up as platonic friends
You discovered that you are gay , different from the others,
Since then you peel bananas with your mouth
Dude, I understand it’s good to be hot
Are you happy to see me or do you have a gun?

Moshiko, so reckless
Moshiko, they call him the merry
Moshiko, there is no right or wrong
Moshiko, come out of the closet.

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