Photo: Krists Luhaers // @Kristsll

Less than a week after the announcement, Lorde cancelled her show in Tel Aviv. After urgings from fans on social media and a letter from Boycotts, Divestments and Sanctions advocates in New Zealand moved her to change her opinion, Israeli fans had to once again deal with the reality that mainstream culture hates their country. This illustrates a broader problem about how Israel is perceived throughout the world. As a Jew living in Israel, I think it’s necessary to ask the question, what makes a 21-year-old pop star cancel a performance and come to the conclusion, “I’m not too proud to admit I didn’t make the right call on this one?”

Like Lorde, “I pride myself on being an informed young citizen,” and this is precisely why I never believed the propaganda of BDS. When I dug deeply and began to examine history it never made sense to me that Israel is the bad guy in this situation and as a former liberal who always rooted for the underdog, I had a very open mind. As a rebellious young liberal, I probably wanted to support Palestine just to annoy my family.

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The sentimental narrative that the Palestinians are an oppressed people and Israel holds the blame fails to account for a lot. The BDS movement and other organizations have successfully given a voice to the extreme position that Israel is an apartheid state not unlike South Africa, when in reality it is anything but. Over 20% of Israel’s population are Israeli Arabs aka Palestinians, like 2/3 of Jordan, the country that controlled the West Bank until Israel was attacked in 1967 and miraculously fended off not only Palestinian guerrilla armies in Jerusalem, but fended off the Egyptian naval power in nothing short of a miracle. Fed up with constant attacks, Israel was forced to take over the region they originally designated as a separate Palestinian state. The walls came up during the second intifada when Israeli deaths from Palestinian terrorist attacks were an almost daily occurrence in 2002.



And this is what gets lost in the argument. Israel is defending itself and has always wanted the Palestinians to have their own state. The Palestinians have always declined, because they want to be rid of Israel entirely. They want to destroy it. Nothing will satisfy the Palestinian Authority, Hamas, or whoever else is in power short of that.

While I hold the position that Lorde is young and thus naïve, not a bigot as Roseanne tweeted, the PR of the country I love most that was built out of the ashes of the Holocaust and the expulsion of nearly a million Jews from Arab countries is appalling. It must have something to do with anti-Semitism.

As a Westernized democracy, Israel is held to an impossible moral standard when most of the other countries in the region have little respect for human rights and openly blame Israel for all the problems in the region if not expressly advocating for Israel’s destruction. Somehow Israel is to blame? Is Israel really worse than Putin’s Russia where Lorde plans to play twice? Even if one disagrees with my assessment, why does a teenager in Israel have to deprived of seeing her hero perform a pop concert? Is it really her fault?
 

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Jesse Bogner is a thirty year old author, screenwriter and journalist. His memoir and social critique, The Egotist, has been translated into four languages. In 2013, he moved from New York City, where he was born and raised, abandoning a decadent lifestyle chock full of substance abuse, to study Kabbalah in Israel. His site is jessebogner.com


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