US celebrity rabbi Shmuley Boteach attacked New Zealand pop singer Lorde in a full page Washington Post advertisement published Monday in which he denounced the performer as a Jew-hating “bigot” for boycotting Israel.
The 21-year-old singer said last week she would be pulling out of a June 5 Tel Aviv concert, according to the Israeli promoter. The move drew scads of criticism in Israel that she had caved to pressure from the pro-Palestinian Boycott Divestment Sanctions movement, with the government announcing multi-million dollar plans to combat a boycott of the Jewish state.
The ad by Boteach, an outspoken rabbi and political advocate, shows a photo of Lorde superimposed on a background of men carrying babies through rubble from bombed-out buildings, apparently in Syria, alongside a photo of Israeli flags flying on top of buildings.
“Lorde and New Zealand ignore Syria to attack Israel,” reads the text at top, followed by “21 is young to become a bigot.”
The ad was paid for by Boteach’s World Values Network. Boteach set up a GoFundMe web page to finance the advertisement with donations. As of Monday, he had raised $26,000 out of a stated goal of $100,000.
Boteach called Lorde a hypocrite for going ahead with two planned shows in Russia, despite Russian President Vladimir Putin’s backing of the Assad regime in the Syrian civil war, a point others had previously noted.
“While Lorde claims to be concerned with human rights she hypocritically chose to proceed with her two concerts in Putin’s Russia, despite his support for Assad’s genocidal regime which has already claimed the lives of over 500,000 innocents, and Russia’s own endless litany of human rights abuses,” the text read.
— Rabbi Shmuley (@RabbiShmuley) December 29, 2017
“Lorde joined a global anti-Semitic boycott of Israel but will perform in Russia, despite Putin’s support for Assad’s genocide in Syria,” Boteach wrote. “Let’s boycott the boycotter and tell Lorde and her fellow bigots that Jew-hatred has no place in the twenty-first century.”
The rabbi noted New Zealand’s track record of supporting measures critical of Israel at the United Nations.
“Sadly, New Zealand’s growing prejudice against the Jewish State seems to be trickling down to its youth,” the ad said. Lorde, the advertisement continued, had “joined the anti-Semitic BDS movement which seeks the economic annihilation of the Jewish State, by cancelling her scheduled concert in Tel Aviv.”
Shortly after Lorde’s Israel gig was announced last month, New Zealanders Nadia Abu-Shanab and Justine Sachs — respectively, Palestinian and Jewish — wrote an open letter on the website The Spinoff, saying that Lorde’s scheduled performance in Israel “sends the wrong message.”
In response, the singer had tweeted that she was “considering all options.” The concert promoter later announced the show was aborted.
The Jewish Council of New Zealand and the Zionist Federation of New Zealand both criticized the decision and highlighted the double standards of those who support a boycott against Israel.
Israel’s ambassador to New Zealand Itzhak Gerberg invited Lorde to meet with him and discuss “Israel, its achievements and its role as the only democracy in the Middle East.”