SHMULEY BOTEACH COLUMN
Shame on Lorde for choosing hate

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 cancelled her concert in Tel Aviv and joined the antisemitic BDS movement.

Lorde is the very definition of a celebrity hypocrite. When she cancelled Israel, she kept her gigs in Russia intact, even though Russian President Vladimir Putin has aided and abetted Bashar al-Assadís 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 has been written about in newspapers all over the world.

Itís pretty sad to see how it took only 21 short years for Lorde to succumb to the corruption of celebrity and align herself with bigotry and antisemitism.

In choosing to align herself with those committed to Israelís 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 40,000 people in Tel Aviv, despite getting death threats.

When I was Michael Jacksonís 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 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 Sharon. 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 Michaelís 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 Michaelís van and crossed town to the meeting.

The pictures of Michael greeting Sharon, along with me and our friend Uri Geller, were published throughout the world.

Michaelís professional staff were correct. The very next day websites called for a boycott of Michaelís music, saying that he supported Israelís ďhatedĒ leader.

Michael didnít care. He loved Israel and the Jewish people and he was thrilled to meet Israelís democratically elected leader.

Thatís why itís 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 Putinís Russia, that global font of Nobel prize-grade humanitarianism.

Lordeís decision to play in Russia while boycotting Israel makes a mockery of her tour and will for ever 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 ďthose who wish to see the destruction of Israel . . . by singling out Israel among 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 movementĒ.

Just in case Lorde may be reading this column, has a conscience, and is interested in repentance, letís 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.

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.

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 Israelís enemies like Iran, Hamas and Hezbollah, all of whom seek Israelís physical destruction?

Perhaps itís time for Lorde to ask guidance from the Lord, reconnect with spiritual roots and try and fix a severely broken moral compass.


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