Critics attack Israel in Morrissey album reviews

One critic assessing the merits of the former Smiths singer's new LP brands Israel an 'illegal state'


Pop singer Morrissey’s decision to pay tribute to Israel on a track on his new album has prompted vicious anti-Zionist comments from several leading British music critics.

Reviews of the former Smiths frontman’s Low In High School release — which also features a song referencing the city of Tel Aviv — had one critic branding Israel “an illegal state” while a writer for the Guardian suggested that the very titles of the Jewish-themed songs were “enough to send your sphincter zooming up through your intestines and into your windpipe”.

Social media sites such as Twitter were also littered with references to the state of Israel as “racist” and as practicing “apartheid” ahead of last week’s album release.

One expletive-ridden review on rock and pop music website The Quietus sarcastically noted Morrissey’s decision to record songs about “the hard-done by state of Israel.”

The same review suggested the star had deliberately chosen to hold entirely opposite views to those who “complain there’s something illegal, immoral and f**king unjust about the Israeli treatment of Palestinians”.

Citing the Morrissey’s suggestion in the lyrics of his song Israel that opposition to the Jewish state was born of “jealously”, The Quietus review, bylined “Mr Agreeable”, said: “That’s opposition to Likud, Netanyahu kissing Trump’s arse, the f**king settlements programme, the f**king bulldozing of protesters, all sussed for what it really is — plain old green-eyed jealousy.”

Guardian music critic Alexis Petridis also poured scorn on the notion. “Don’t worry, everyone, he’s got it all worked out: anyone who criticises Israel’s actions — say, the bulldozing of Palestinian homes in the occupied territories — is ‘jealous’.”

Meanwhile Guardian TV critic Stuart Heritage asserted: “It has got to the point that just reading the track list of his new album — including song titles such as The Girl

From Tel Aviv Who Wouldn’t Kneel and Israel — is enough to send your sphincter zooming up through your intestines and into your windpipe.”

A further attack came in the Dorset Eye online newspaper which erroneously claimed: “Israel is an illegal state. Alongside the Vatican City, Pakistan and Bangladesh it is the only state created a religion.”

Brendan O'Neill, editor of Spiked Online told the JC he believed these music critics had showed how "ill-informed they are on all matters Israeli" with their scathing attacks on the Jewish state.

Mr O'Neill added: "It also has the whiff of prejudice to it.  Singers don't get slammed if they praise America or France -- two nations whose militarism overseas has been far more destructive than Israel's."

Morrissey is a controversial figure who has expressed questionable views about some ethnic groups but the critics’s anger seemed reserved for his support for Israel.

The singer was sparking further controversy this week after attempting to defend actor Kevin Spacey and disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein over allegations of sexual misconduct. 

He also spoke further about his admiration for Israel in an interview with German newspaper Der Spiegel.

Asked about a song on his album titled The Girl from Tel Aviv Who Wouldn’t Kneel, Morrissey replied:” I love this city [Tel Aviv].

“The rest of the world does not like Israel well. But the people there are very generous and friendly. You should never judge a people by their government. It is very rare for the government to reflect the wishes of the people. “

He went on to attack the boycott movement, describing it as “absurd and narrow-minded”.

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