Israeli/Hamas Divide Brings Out Best, Worst in Modern Musicians

Israeli/Hamas Divide Brings Out Best, Worst in Modern Musicians

I was lucky to be a college student during the last golden age of music.

My Indiana University off-campus apartment reverberated with the sounds of Seattle–Grunge rock. Bands such as Nirvana, Soundgarden and Pearl Jam dominated my college experience soundtrack. Unfortunately that recording is now forever scratched.

Pearl Jam lead vocalist Eddie Vedder is not a fan of Israel.

Last week during a show in Britain he went on a profanity-laced tirade against the Jewish State: “I swear to ‘expletive’ God, there are people out there who are looking for a reason to kill! They’re looking for a reason to go across borders and take over land that doesn’t belong to them. They should get the ‘expletive’ out, and mind their own ‘expletive’ business.”

Vedder’s rant continued, “We don’t want to give them our money. We don’t want to give them our taxes to drop bombs on children!” I happen to agree with Vedder’s latter remark. The U.S. taxpayer should not be funding Hamas–providing monthly stipends and bonuses to terrorists who are rewarded for murdering Jews.

To the tune of nearly $450 million a year, the American taxpayer contributes to the Palestinian Unity Government (PUG), which openly funds these horrific acts and individuals.

But I don’t think Eddie was referring to Hamas and the PUG. Vedder’s friend Roger Waters of Pink Floyd fame is the face of the anti-Israel Boycott Divestment Sanctions (BDS) movement. He runs around the world listening to the “lunatic in his head,” demanding musicians not perform in Israel.

Waters has used the recent escalation to pen a letter to Neil Young exhorting the rock icon to cancel his July 17 performance in Tel Aviv.

Comparing Israel to South Africa apartheid, Water reminds Young, “You would not ‘play In Sun City.’  I am asking you to stand on the same moral ground now.”

Incidentally, Young’s concert was canceled. Reuters reported that the decision to call off the performance was made by Tel Aviv police, fearing for the safety of performers and audience. “We did not want to put people in Gaza rocket range at unnecessary risk,” explained a police department spokesman.

While rockets rain down on the Jewish State, singer and actress Vanessa Williams has been exploring Israel and promoting the nation on Twitter.

Using hashtags ‪”IsraelTourism”, “‪amvoicesinisrael” and “Jerusalem,” the former Miss America has been sharing pictures and video of her trip that includes photos with Israeli musicians and Yityish Titi Aynaw, “#1stBlackMissIsrael!” Williams’ love and support for the Jewish State is, as seen on social media, undeniable.

This past week, many doubted Rhianna’s support for Israel after she tweeted “#FreePalestine.” The pop superstar quickly deleted the Tweet, but the damage was done as pro-Israel fans responded with disappointment.

I tend to cut her some slack and believe she didn’t understand what the hashtag meant. The arts and Israel advocacy group Creative Community For Peace reminded fans on their Facebook page that Rhianna played Tel Aviv last year and shouted to the crowd, “Tel Aviv, I love you.” After a 2010 performance she called the Jewish State an “amazing, amazing experience.”

Actor Mark Pellegrino, best known for his roles as Jacob on Lost, Bishop on Being Human, and Lucifer on Supernatural, has staunchly defended Israel on Twitter.

Tweeting: “Great quote from an Israeli Lt. Col: ‘Israel uses weapons to safeguard civilians. Hamas uses civilians to safeguard weapons.’ “

With social media serving as the majority platform for America and the world to express their position, Progressives are having their criticism of Israel thrown back at them with quotes posted from HBO Real Time Host and liberal icon Bill Maher.

In a November 2012 interview with Jewish Journal Maher said, “It’s obvious that Israelis, in all of their battles with the Palestinians, show restraint. Because they have nuclear weapons. And if the situation was reversed, I don’t doubt for a second that Palestinians would fire them immediately.”

Also gaining heavy play on Facebook: “What I find so ironic is that after World War II, everybody said, ‘I don’t understand the Jews. How could they have just gone to their slaughter like that?’ OK, and then when they fight back: ‘I don’t understand the Jews. Why can’t they just go to their slaughter?’ It’s like, ‘You know what? We did that once. It’s not gonna happen again. You’re just gonna have to get used to the fact that Jews now defend themselves.”

Maybe Maher can educate his fellow Progressive television host, Jon Stewart of The Daily Show. He recently attacked Israel’s methods of warning Palestinian civilians before an airstrike. Stewart may hide beyond the “comedy” label, but he knows that amongst apathetic Millennials and Generation X’ers, he is regarded as a news source.

He conveniently left out the full extent Israel goes to warn Gaza residents when they are targeting terrorists in their area. Hey Jon, I don’t recall a Hamas suicide bomber advising the Israeli children on a bus or in a pizzeria that he is about to detonate.

Paul Miller is an op-ed contributor to the Franklin Center for Government & Public Integrity. He serves as principal of Pauliegroup LLC, a Chicago-based new media and political consulting firm. Follow him on Twitter @pauliespoint.

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