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Spotify and Apple Music delete Palestine song ‘Dammi Falastini’ following accusations of anti-Semitism

May 22, 2023 at 2:25 pm

In this photo illustration, a mobile phone screen displays the logo of “Spotify” [Raşit Aydoğan – Anadolu Agency]

UPDATE on 23 May 2023 at 09:20 GMT: Dammi Falastini has been relisted on Spotify after a new licence agreement was signed for it, claims it was removed because of anti-Semitism accusations have been refuted by music experts who have explained that ‘distribution agreements either expire or are renegotiated, songs disappear for a bit, then once a new deal is in place, songs reappear’.

The hit song, ‘Dammi Falastini’, which was recorded by Palestinian singer from Gaza, Mohammed Assaf, has been removed from Spotify and Apple Music due to accusations of anti-Semitism.

Translating into “My Blood is Palestinian”, the singer received an official email citing allegations of incitement against Israel as the reason for the song’s deletion.

In an interview with The New Arab, the Palestinian singer, who was born and raised in Gaza, expressed his surprise as his initial reaction after finding out that his song had been removed from the platforms, but emphasised that he was also honoured as the song achieved its goal of “expressing the Palestinian people’s resistance”.

He said, “I checked my official page on the Spotify and Apple Music platforms and was surprised that the song ‘Ana Dammi Falastini’ was deleted.”

“I received an official email about it, on the pretext that the song incites the Zionist enemy, which makes me more honoured that my songs express the Palestinian people’s resistance to the Occupation,” he added.

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According to Doha News, the removal of the song by the streaming giant came following a petition organised by pro-Zionist We Believe in Israel (WBII) to remove “violent extremist anti-Semitic content” which collected nearly 4,000 signatures.

In response, the 33-year-old singer, who released ‘Dammi Falastini’ eight years ago, said, “This accusation increases my honour and belonging to my homeland, Palestine, and my just cause”, and that “even if they delete this song, it is present in the memory and conscience of every Palestinian and every honourable free man who defends the right of the Palestinian people to obtain their freedom and independence.”

He further noted that the removal of the song only indicated “their hostility to freedom and justice, and to the Palestinians cause.”

The move by Spotify and Apple Music also sparked a backlash on social media from pro-Palestinian activists, including threats of deactivating the music-streaming service.

Inès Abdel Razek, the Advocacy Director for the Palestinian Institute for Public Diplomacy, wrote: Spotify deleted the song “dammi falastini” (my blood is Palestinian) , the hit song by Mohammad Assaf. What the hell @spotify ?? I also searched in both Arabic and English. You’d better have a solid explanation-apology or I and probably many others will cancel subscriptions.

User @bitterarab said the move shows how “threatened” and “petrified the Zionist entity” is of Palestinian life, heritage and identity.

Mohammed Assaf first came into the spotlight in 2013, when he became the first Palestinian artist to win the TV talent-show ‘Arab Idol’. In 2020, he made headlines after being banned from entering Israel, following accusations from some politicians that he had been “calling for a struggle against Israel”.

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