Fact-checking the BDSers

American Jewish Reggae singer Matisyahu is again the target of the anti-Israel BDS movement, this time on American soil, not Spanish. While the irony of a Jew being kicked out of a Spanish festival is not lost on us, the summer attempt failed spectacularly and the claims against Matisyahu were debunked. But the lies survive. Herewith is a guide to debunking the Matisyahu BDS falsehoods that you can link to and share.

Claim: Matisyahu was not targeted because he was Jewish
No other participant in the Rototom Sunsplash Music Festival was asked to make a political statement of any kind. In fact, one of the other participants was far more controversial than Matisyahu. He was not asked to make any kind of statement, and as far as we know nobody protested his presence in the festival.

One popular Spanish entertainer, the Uruguayan-born Jewish singer-songwriter Jorge Drexler, noted in a sardonic tweet that the festival “doesn’t want a Jew like Matisyahu, but says yes to a homophobe like Capleton,” referring to a Jamaican reggae star known for his anti-gay lyrics who’s on the festival program without a peep from the organizers.

We rate this claim False.

Claim: Matisyahu supports Israel’s “violations of Palestinian rights”
In Matisyahu’s own words:

I support peace and compassion for all people. My music speaks for itself, and I do not insert politics into my music. Music has the power to transcend the intellect, ideas, and politics, and it can unite people in the process.

We rate this claim False.

Claim: Matisyahu plays benefit concerts to raise money for AIPAC
Matisyahu appeared onstage at the 2015 AIPAC conference. So did Rita Jahan Foruz, David Broza, Joel Chasnoff, and JewKvox. Now, we’re not Matisyahu’s manager, but we’d bet dollars to doughnuts that AIPAC paid Matisyahu to perform. Because that’s how concerts work.

We rate this claim False.

Claim: Matisyahu plays benefit concerts for the Israeli military
Matisyahu did play at a star-studded benefit for Friends of the IDF, an organization that was founded in 1981 to support and supply services to IDF soldiers and their families. Their mission statement:

IDF initiates and helps support educational, social, cultural and recreational programs and facilities for the young men and women soldiers of Israel who defend the Jewish homeland. FIDF also supports the families of fallen soldiers.

Raising money for soldiers in need of financial assistance, supplying religious items to Jewish soldiers, helping bereaved families cope with their losses, or helping with the educational costs of a soldier is hardly supporting the military. FIDF supports the inviduals beneath the uniform. The FIDF is a private, charitable organization that supplies these services and more to individuals–not the IDF.

By the way, Matisyahu last played at the FIDF concert in–wait for it–2007. If the BDS crowd has to reach back eight years to find something to use against him, then they’re really doing it wrong.

We rate this claim False.

The anti-Israel BDSers are trying very hard to make these accusations a legitimate attack on an American Jewish singer who happens to support Israel. In doing so, they are trying to make it okay to intimidate Americans into having opinions that only fit the anti-Israel, anti-Zionist BDS mindset. This is unacceptable on many levels, not least of which is the cherished American value of freedom of expression. It seems that more and more Jewish artists and actors are being hounded by the anti-BDSers these days–Scarlett Johansson and Sodastream, anyone? Matisyahu is the latest Jew being attacked for having the temerity to be pro-Israel. Most of the BDS attempts fail miserably. We expect this one will, too. Matisyahu’s concert will go on as scheduled.

If you can’t make the concert in Ithaca, just enjoy the video of last year’s AIPAC concert. We certainly did.

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