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April 4, 2023 1:31 pm

Spotify Removes Antisemitic Songs From Streaming Services


avatar by Dion J. Pierre

A smartphone booting the Spotify application and a computer.

Two UK Jewish groups on Thursday commended Spotify for removing several songs that incite antisemitism and terrorist violence against Israelis.

“It’s good news that Spotify have finally listened to public disgust about hosting clearly antisemitic content which contravenes their own content policies, including directly inciting violence against Israelis,” Luke Akehurst, Director of We Believe in Israel, a nonprofit promoting education about Israel, said in a press release. “Now we need them to look at why they are hosting explicitly antisemitic and conspiratorial songs by Lowkey and Ambassador MC.”

Spotify, an audio media provider with an estimated 182 million subscribers and 433 million monthly users, removed “Udrub Udrub Tel Abib” (We Will Strike a Blow at Tel Aviv), whose lyrics say, “Oh you settler, with your sidelocks, in your shelter you cower with fear” and  “we don’t want no truce or solution, all we want is to strike at Tel Aviv,” according to a press release. Two other songs, “Arabic Katyusha” and “The Death of Israel,” will also no longer be available to stream.

Some of the songs are associated with an ultra-nationalist Serbian YouTube account.

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Spotify made the decision after We Believe in Israel started a petition that gained over 4,000 signatories. Additionally, the Board of Deputies of British Jews, the largest cross-communal Jewish group in Great Britain, reported the problem to the UK government’s Secretary of State of Digital Culture, Media, and Sport.

“We are pleased that Spotify have acted to remove certain material clearly breached their own rules regarding hateful messaging,” said Amanda Bowman, Vice President of the Board of Deputies. “We hope that they will continue to apply these rules to works by other artists that similarly contravene their guidelines.”

Spotify has previously made efforts to keep antisemitic groups and songs off its streaming service. In 2022, it removed three white supremacist bands, including IronMensch, a popular “fashwave” artist known for the song “Aryan Fury,” Wiking 1940, whose lead singer calls himself “Lord Himmler,” and Pugilato NSHC (National Socialist Hardcore), who wrote a song that paid tribute to Otto Skorzeny, a Waffen-SS colonel.

Follow Dion J. Pierre @DionJPierre.

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