US does not provide Israeli artists visas to perform after controversial song lyrics went viral

Singer Lior Narkis did not receive the required permission from the United States to hold a planned concert in Miami with hip hop duo Ness and Stila, the singer announced on his Instagram account Friday morning. 

“My dear and beloved audience, even though I’m already here, I was prevented from holding the performances that were planned, due to bureaucratic reasons,” Narkis wrote on Instagram. “We were promised that we would receive an artist visa so that we could perform legally, however so far the requested approval has not been received. Unfortunately, we are forced to postpone all performances in the United States. We have come this far to give you our heart and soul. I believe that everything is for the best. We pray for good news for all of us.”

The request was made together with Nesia Levy and Dor Soroker, who released the song “Harbu Darbu” in November, which called on the IDF to take revenge on Hamas and all terrorists responsible for the October 7 massacre. It also called out international anti-Israel celebrities and the media. The song rose to the top of the charts in Israel, and spread across social media. 

Lyrics in the song call Hamas and its supporters, “Children of Amalek,” the ancient tribe that tried to destroy the Israelites. “Left, Right, Left, impressive how the whole country put on uniforms from the Galilee to Eilat… We brought the whole army on you and I swear there will be no forgiveness,” the lyrics say.  

Controversial song lyrics

The song stirred controversy around the world due to its lyrics mentioning anti-Israel celebrities such as Mia Khalifa, Dua Lipa, and Bella Hadid. 

The controversial lyrics say, “(from) Bella Hadid, Dua Lipa, Mia Khalifa; Every day is a day; All the units in the army come to Harbu Darbu on their heads!” 

Mia Khalifa arrives at the 2022 Latin American Music Awards at Michelob ULTRA Arena on April 21, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (credit: GREG DOHERTY/GETTY IMAGES/AFP)

“Harbu Darbu” is an Arabic war cry from Syria that has crossed over into Hebrew slang, which translates to raining hell on an opponent. 

In December, Mia Khalifa reacted to the song on X, formerly Twitter, commenting, “Y’all that song calling for the IDF to kill me, Bella, and Dua is over a DRILL beat. They can’t even call for genocide in their own culture, they had to colonize something to get it to #1.”

Levy and Soroker told N12 that they have the impression that the reason for not receiving the artist’s visa were the lyrics in the song “Harbu Darbu,” however the US Embassy has not issued a statement detailing the reason that their artist visa was not issued. 

Dod Haim, who was also supposed to perform at the US concert, wrote on his Instagram account, “My dear and beloved audience, although the show in Miami was closed several months ago, my team and I prepared for the show in a special way. Unfortunately I was unable to perform for you because until this moment, the production has not been able to obtain for me and for other artists who were invited to participate in the event the artist visa that is required in order to legally perform in the United States.”

He also added that the production team is still trying to obtain the artist visas. He continued, “As for me, I hoped until the last moment that the bureaucratic matter would be sorted out, but unfortunately because the performance will take place on Sunday and now Friday morning, Israel time, I am forced to announce that I will not be able to make it to this performance as a law-abiding person.”

He concluded, “I apologize to everyone who waited for me and wrote to me. It was important for me to clarify the real reason why I didn’t make it to the show.”