On the last day of the calendar year we took out a full-page Washington Post ad against New Zealand singer Lorde, who had just canceled her concert in Tel Aviv and joined the anti-Semitic BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement.
Lorde is the very definition of a celebrity hypocrite. When she canceled Israel, she kept her gigs in Russia intact, even though Russian President Vladimir Putin has aided and abetted Bashar Assad’s slaughter of 500,000 Arabs in Syria, which just goes to show you how sincere Lorde is about protecting Arab life.
Our ad quickly went viral and as of this writing is had has been written about in newspapers all over the world.
It’s critical that we strike back at the BDS movement. Jews should not have to tolerate discrimination and prejudice in the year 2018, especially when its purpose is the economic annihilation of the world’s only Jewish state. 2000 years of hatred toward Jews is quite enough. In the same way there is a Jewish army to stop another Holocaust, there must be a media effort to stop the demonization and delegitimization of Jews and Israel.
As for Lorde, it’s pretty sad to see how it took only 21 short years for her to succumb to the corruption of celebrity and align herself with bigotry and antisemitism. In choosing to align herself with those committed to Israel’s fiscal destruction, Lorde broke with some of the greatest names in modern music, including Lady Gaga, Justin Timberlake, Rihanna, Radiohead and Sir Paul McCartney, who in 2008 played to an audience of 400,000 people in Tel Aviv, despite getting death threats.
When I was Michael Jackson’s rabbi, his strong feelings for the Jewish community meant he was even prepared to suffer professionally for his love of Israel and the Jewish people. In 1993 Michael went to Israel on his Dangerous Tour where he performed for 160,000 fans in Tel Aviv.
In late 2000, a Jewish philanthropist called and told me that prime minister Ariel Sharon was coming to his home that night for a reception in New York City. He asked if Michael would come there and meet with the prime minister. I turned to Michael, in the presence of some of his professional staff, and asked him if he would like to meet the Israeli prime minister. Michael immediately jumped at the opportunity and told me he would love to.
However, some of those who surrounded Michael thought it might not be a good idea. They said that Sharon was hated in many parts of world, especially in Arab nations. A photograph of Michael with Sharon could spark a significant backlash including a boycott of Michael’s albums and music. Michael dismissed their concerns and said that he felt very excited to meet the prime minister. A few minutes later we embarked in Michael’s van and crossed town to the meeting. The pictures of Michael greeting prime minister Sharon, along with me and our mutual friend Uri Geller, were published throughout the world.
Michael’s professional staff were correct. The very next day websites called for a boycott of Michael’s music saying that he supported Israel’s “hated” leader. Michael didn’t care. He loved Israel and the Jewish people and he was thrilled to meet Israel’s democratically elected leader.
That’s why it’s so sad to see a pop star like Lorde going over to the dark side of bigotry and antisemitism at such a tender age. Even more hypocritical was her announcement that she would be keeping her engagements in Putin’s Russia, that global font of Nobel prize-grade humanitarianism. Lorde’s decision to play in Russia while boycotting Israel makes a mockery of her tour and will forever undermine any legitimate pretension she might otherwise have had to being a human rights activist.
The Zionist Federation of New Zealand put it well when it condemned Lorde for joining the ranks of “those who wish to see the destruction of Israel... By singling out Israel amongst other nations whose human rights abuses make any that Israel supposedly commit seem a drop in the ocean, shows the double standards and discrimination towards the Jewish state of those in the BDS movement.”
Just in case Lorde may be reading this column, has a conscience, and is interested in repentance, let’s be clear: the sole purpose of BDS is to destroy Israel. It has no interest whatsoever in Palestinian rights. If it did, it would be boycotting Egypt for destroying hundreds of Palestinian homes on the Gaza border in October 2014 to stop Hamas from smuggling weapons. If BDS was about Palestinian rights, it would be boycotting Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas for becoming a dictator and running a kleptocracy in the PA that has made his two sons multi-millionaires. If BDS were about Palestinian rights, it would be boycotting Hamas for its honor killings and assassinations of Palestinians who protest its vile and brutal rule.
BDS has no interest in protecting Arab life. If it did, it would be boycotting Syria for murdering half a million Arabs. BDS has no interest in protesting an occupation. If it did, it would be boycotting China for occupying Tibet since 1950, the longest occupation in the modern world.
BDS has no interest in promoting Arab human rights. If it did, it would be divesting from Qatar, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Syria, Lebanon and every other Arab country where Arabs are denied the most basic rights like freedom of press, freedom to protest their government, and the freedom to vote, all of which are guaranteed to Arabs only in Israel.
BDS trades in antisemitism by trivializing human rights abuses in any country but democratic Israel. BDS has nothing to say of the persecution of the Rohingya in Myanmar, the hanging of gays in Iran, the honor killings of women in Pakistan, and the political imprisonment of tens of thousands of political prisoners in Turkey.
Lorde, do you not understand that joining the antisemitic BDS movement has brought you into serious disrepute? Do you not understand that you are emboldening Israel’s enemies like Iran, Hamas and Hezbollah, all of whom seek Israel’s physical destruction?
Lorde, you are young. But youth is not excuse for bigotry. Might I suggest that you look to your elder in music, the legendary Lady Gaga, who said to the massive crowd of Israelis at her 2014 concert in Israel: “Ani ohevet etchem” (I love you) and closed off her songs with the words “todah rabah” (thank you very much).
Best of all, she told the crowd: “put your hands up and cheer for yourselves. You are strong, you are brave, you are confident, and I f--king love you, Israel.”
The expletive might have been unnecessary, but her commitment to a country that is the foremost bastion of human rights in the Middle East was downright incredible.
Perhaps it’s time for Lorde to ask guidance from the Lord, reconnect with spiritual roots and try and fix a severely broken moral compass.The author, “America’s rabbi,” whom The Washington Post and Newsweek call “the most famous rabbi in America,” is the international bestselling author of 30 books, including his most recent, The Israel Warrior. Follow him on Twitter @ RabbiShmuley.