Lorde and the BDS Bigots Should Be Boycotted and Exposed as Hypocrites
On the last day of the calendar year, my organization took out a full-page Washington Post ad against New Zealand singer Lorde, who recently canceled her concert in Tel Aviv and joined the antisemitic BDS movement.
Lorde is the very definition of a celebrity hypocrite. When she canceled her Israel concert, she kept her gigs in Putin’s Russia intact — even though 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.
At this moment, it’s critical that we strike back against 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. Two thousands years of hatred toward Jews is quite enough. In the same way that there is a Jewish army to stop another Holocaust, there must be a media effort to stop the demonization and deligitimization of Jews and Israel.
As for Lorde, it’s pretty sad to see her 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 biggest 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.
I knew Michael Jackson, and his strong feelings for the Jewish community meant that he was 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 2001, a Jewish philanthropist called and told me that Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon was coming to a reception in New York City. The philanthropist asked if Michael would come, and meet with the prime minister. I asked Michael, in the presence of some of his professional staff, if he would like to meet the Israeli prime minister. Michael immediately said yes. 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 Ariel 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. The pictures of Michael greeting Prime Minister Sharon were published throughout the world. And 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.
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 they condemned Lorde for joining the ranks of “those who wish to see the destruction of Israel. … 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, 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 (which it did to stop Hamas from smuggling weapons). If BDS was about Palestinian rights, it would be boycotting Mahmoud Abbas for becoming a dictator and running a kleptocracy in the Palestinian Authority that has made his two sons multimillionaires. 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 only guaranteed to Arabs in Israel.
BDS also 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 journalists, activists and others in Turkey. As far as intent, BDS stands for, “Brutally destroy Semites,” with the Semites in question being Jews.
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 seeks Israel’s physical destruction?
Lorde, you are young. But youth is no excuse for ignorance. Might I suggest that you look to your elder in music, Lady Gaga, who said to the massive crowd of Israelis at her 2014 concert in Israel: “Ani ohevet et’chem” (I love you), and ended 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 her spiritual roots, and try to fix a severely broken moral compass.
Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, “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.