Why did the popular Hasidic singer Mordechai Ben David call President Barack Obama the Israeli equivalent of the “N” word during his Jerusalem concert? Even more important, why did the crowd attending his concert cheer on Ben David so close to the end of our president’s term?
The actual word Ben David used was “kushi,” which is a derogatory label for a black person, according to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA). This word comes from an Ethiopian biblical term. People who study the origins of words (etymologists) consider it derogatory in modern Hebrew.
At Jerusalem concert, popular ultra-Orthodox singer calls Obama Israel’s N-word & for him to “go home”, crowd cheers https://t.co/Nbwo3QpUhC
— David Sheen (@davidsheen) January 4, 2017
Ironically, the singer had been performing a song of peace during his concert, when he turned to his audience and asked:
‘Do you know when there will be peace? In a few weeks, when there will be a new president in the United States and the kushi goes home.’
At the time , a number of local and government officials were attending the event, according to Yeshiva World News. Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat and Interior Minister Aryeh Deri were among the attendees.
The near-president is favorable toward moving the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, according to the State Department. But this move might “needlessly” endanger U.S. diplomats and Marines who are guarding the embassy both at the site and at other regional sites, according to State Department spokesman John Kirby.
Kirby said both President Obama and President George W. Bush believed such a relocation was “not a good idea:”
‘It’s not constructive to the overall peace process. It could actually put some of our people, some of our troops, those that work at the embassy, in harm’s way, and needlessly so.
‘It could exacerbate tensions not just there but elsewhere in the region too, because it could exacerbate the tensions that already exist between Israelis and Palestinians. There and elsewhere in the region.’
The singer currently lives in Brooklyn, and he has produced more than 30 albums of Jewish songs over a career spanning 40 years. He regularly gives concerts before Orthodox audiences in the US, in Israel and worldwide.
Mordechai Ben David Werdyger, 65, uses the stage name of “Mordechai Ben David.” He is a songwriter and son of a famous Cantor David Werdyger. For the past two decades, the son has performed in popular charity concerts.
What was the point of Ben David calling President Obama a racial slur – especially at the very end of this president’s final term? Whatever his motivation, it was a cheap shot.
Check out this video of Ben David’s performance in the video below:
Featured Image: Mordechai Ben David’s Twitter page.