Look, Josep, I know reggae’s not your thing, but I have to put in one more word about Matisyahu. [Blog readers who missed it: this is what I’m referring to.]
He decided to perform at the festival on Saturday night as planned. Obviously, protesters from BDS showed up and waved big Palestinian flags in the audience. What did Matisyahu do? He looked them straight in the eye and sang his popular song “Jerusalem”–nice and slow.
It’s hard to describe what I feel when I watch that video. Matisyahu could have lay low and shied away from any content that might be controversial or conceived as political after they tried to boycott him. But he didn’t. He got on that stage and sang, right in the faces of those who discriminate against him because of his heritage while denying him his right to his historic homeland: “3,000 years with no place to be/And they want me to give up my milk and honey/Don’t you see, it’s not about the land or the sea/Not the country but the dwelling of His majesty… Years gone by, about sixty/Burn in the oven in this century/And the gas tried to choke, but it couldn’t choke me… Caught up in these ways, and the world’s gone craze/Don’t you know it’s just a phase… Chop down all of them dirty ways/That’s the price that you pay for selling lies to the youth/No way, not okay… Ain’t no one gonna break my stride/Ain’t no one gonna pull me down/Oh no, I got to keep on moving/Stay alive”
Instead of saying, “See? I have nothing to do with Israel, there’s no reason to boycott me,” Matisyahu said, “As a Jew, I have a historic and spiritual connection to the land of Israel, and it has nothing to do with politics or oppression of Palestinians, so I have nothing to hide. But your boycott movement has everything to do with discrimination and antisemitism. You hypocrites.” He stood up for himself, he stood up for me, he stood up for the Jewish people, and he stood up for Israel, right in the face of BDS.
That, my friend, is Jewish chutzpah right there, and I am brimming with nachas.
(Jewish what? Brimming with what? Stay tuned for my next post… 😛 )