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February 12, 2018 2:51 pm

The Role of Entertainers in BDS: Engine or Caboose?

avatar by Lana Melman

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Signs at a pro-BDS protest in New York following the US decision to move its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. Photo: Reuters/Carlo Allegri.

What role do entertainers play in the cultural boycott campaign against Israel? Is this an artist movement or a grassroots political campaign? And what part does the nationality of the artist play? Are artists the engine of the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) campaign — or the caboose?

I have dedicated the last seven years to both countering the cultural boycott campaign against Israel — and to analyzing it. I have worked closely with entertainment community leaders to stymy its efforts. And I have contacted close to 1,000 representatives of artists scheduled to perform in Israel.

I gave those representatives a heads up on what to expect from the boycott campaign, listened to their concerns, answered their questions and bolstered their resolve to perform for their Israeli fans.

I have corresponded with the heads of such companies as Billboard, CBS and BET when their events or news coverage have appeared to give unbalanced coverage to BDS propaganda.

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I have witnessed ugly social media wars, followed news stories, written for international publications and created unique platforms for artists to express their support for Israel. As a result, I am often asked to employ my expertise on the topic.

This is how I have discovered that — even among the most well-informed hosts — there are misconceptions on the subject of the boycott. And one of the most common misconceptions surrounds the role that artists play in the cultural boycott campaign against Israel.

During an interview on The Mike Siegel show, we delved into this very question. Below is a video clip of the applicable segment.

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