Internationally-renowned Israeli musician Idan Raichel has come out in defence of a former IDF interrogator accused of torture.
Doron Zahavi, referred to as "Captain George" until a gag order was lifted earlier this week, is suing the Israeli ministry of defence for having "turned him into a scapegoat", following Lebanese ex-prisoner Mustafa Darani's allegations.
Commenting on his Instagram account, the pop star hailed Zahavi as deserving of a "medal of honour", commenting: "I really don't care how 'George' extracted info about Arad from Dirani" – a reference to MIA and presumed dead Israeli pilot Ron Arad.
Zahavi denies sodomising Dirani, but has stated he believes detainees must be made to "understand" that "everything is allowed". A reserve army colonel from IDF Unit 504, the same Zahavi served in, has previously claimed Zahavi would assault detainees, and referred to one case where he "allegedly stripped a suspect naked and forced him to drink tea or coffee from an ashtray full of cigarette ashes and then forced shaving cream or toothpaste into the suspect's mouth".
Zahavi now works as an adviser on Arab affairs to the Jerusalem municipality.
Idan Raichel's show of support for the former interrogator jars with his global image as an artist noted for his "embrace of diversity and coexistence", as a recent review in The Huffington Post put it. It is, however, entirely consistent with his less well-known commitment to the cultural rebranding of apartheid, and his belief that the "role" of artists "is to be recruited into Israeli hasbara".
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.