Before reading Lana Melman’s book, “Artists Under Fire: The BDS War against Celebrities, Jews, and Israel,” I had a basic understanding on Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions. I know that the BDS movement is a global campaign calling for the complete cultural boycott of Israel, until Palestinians are granted the right of return and Israel’s West Bank barrier is dismantled, and that the movement began in 2005.
Melman’s book provides great historical context on the origins of BDS and the land of Israel. The focus is on how BDS impacts artists in the entertainment industry, whether they are musicians, movie stars or another type of celebrity. It emphasizes the pressure that BDS puts on celebrities when they announce plans to either: play in Israel, visit Israel or support a business in Israel.
The movement will attempt to put a stigma on these artists, whether through letter writing or social media pushing them to cancel their plans. Their intent is to cast a dark shadow over the entire entertainment community, bullying anyone that supports Israel. Even when the artists cancel visits or performances for logistical, financial or other reasons, BDS activists use propaganda and claim a victory on stopping the artist from coming to Israel.
If you have limited knowledge on the ideological position Roger Waters has on Israel, this book will clear that up. Mr. Waters’ voice carries a lot of weight supporting BDS, which is why he is mentioned so frequently in the book. According to the book, it wasn’t until 2011 when Roger Waters formally announced he was joining the BDS movement.
The original seeds of hate were planted in 2006 when Waters performed in concert in Israel and met with BDS co-founder Omar Barghouti. The AJT asked Ms. Melman if someone has enjoyed the Pink Floyd band from the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s, would they still be able to enjoy their music, knowing one of the founding members is a strong advocate of BDS?
She stated, “Personally, I still sing along when I hear a cut from “Dark Side of the Moon” on the radio. As soon as the song is over, however, I give whoever is with me an earful about Mr. Waters. I draw the line at attending one of his concerts, buying his new music, or seeing his documentaries unless it’s for research purposes, but I don’t tell anyone else what to do.”
After reading the book, you will be surprised that so many artists, other than Roger Waters, support this rhetoric against Israel. At the same time, you’ll read about all the artists that have fought back against this movement, nor did they succumb to the pressures to not perform in Israel from Roger Waters or the BDS. Some of the more seasoned artists: Paul McCartney, The Rolling Stones, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Bon Jovi and Radiohead have stood their ground and were not swayed by the bullying of the movement.
Melman’s book also contains artists who intended to appear in Israel but ultimately submitted to pressure, like Lorde and Lana Del Rey. In an interview Melman was asked how people feel when they find out their favorite artist supports BDS. “People are often saddened to learn that a favorite entertainer supports BDS. I try to hold a space for them when they tell me that because I sense that it’s a real loss.
However, they are also uplifted to learn that the vast majority of musicians, filmmakers, authors and other talented artists don’t accept BDS’s bigoted messaging and refuse to be intimidated by the boycott campaign.” Melman added, “As Alan Parsons noted in a celebrity panel I produced, ‘BDS is an appeal for a boycott, not a boycott.’ As long as it is an appeal, it can be rejected.”
The book is an essential read and eye-opener, especially for folks who really want to understand what BDS is all about, what it stands for and its impact on the cultural arts. It is well laid out and clearly refutes all the lies about Israel and the BDS movement. It offered excellent rebuttals to all the accusations that the movement says about Israel.
Their intent is to cast a dark shadow over the entire entertainment community, bullying anyone that supports Israel. Even when the artists cancel visits or performances for logistical, financial or other reasons, BDS activists use propaganda and claim a victory on stopping the artist from coming to Israel.
Each chapter ends with “next step” suggestions to combat BDS and Jew hatred in general. Melman writes that the BDS rhetoric reeks of classic antisemitic tropes, demonizes Israel, and is stirring up Jew-hatred worldwide.
When asking Melman what kind of impact the book was making on her audience, and how she was continuing to promote it, she said, “I think that when people finish my book or leave one of my speaking events, they feel energized.
Common responses have been, ‘I learned so much from reading it, and now I want to do something.’ … Artists Under Fire is making waves all over the place. I have news media, organizations, synagogues, and schools reaching out to me for interviews, webinars, and in-person book events from countries such as South Africa, England, Germany, Hungary, Canada, the US, and, of course, Israel. I think that is because Jews everywhere are worried about rising Jew-hatred and my book explains what’s happening and provides a way to combat one of the most dangerous forces behind – the cultural boycott campaign against Israel.”
There have been recent protests in Atlanta and New York when Roger Waters was in town to play a concert. Groups were out in force educating the concert goers about Mr. Waters’ BDS advocacy and hatred of Jews and Israel.
Melman said, “You know he’s got to hate that. And I’ll be at a rally when he performs in Los Angeles at the end of the month to educate concert goers there.”
- Arts and Culture
- Lana Melman
- Lou Ladinsky
- entertainment community
- Omar Barghouti
- Roger Waters
- Divestment and Sanctions
- West Bank
- Lana Del Rey
- Red Hot Chili Peppers
- Artists Under Fire
- The Rolling Stones
- Bon Jovi
- Pink Floyd
- Paul McCartney
- Dark Side of the Moon
- Alan Parsons
- South Africa