Jewish Students at Harvard Defy Boycott, Protests to Celebrate Israeli Music with Ishay Ribo

CAESAREA, ISRAEL - NOVEMBER 11: Ishay Ribo performer for survivors of the Nova Festival, f
Alexi J. Rosenfeld / Getty

Jewish students at Harvard University defied a boycott Tuesday by staffers at a local theater venue, as well as protests outside, to enjoy an evening of celebration and solidarity with Israeli musician Ishay Ribo, hosted by Harvard Chabad.

Chabad had invited Ribo, a religious singer who became the first Israeli artist to sell out Madison Square Garden in September, to perform for the university and the community to cheer students beleaguered by campus antisemitism.

But staff at the Sinclair, a theater in Cambridge, Massachusetts, boycotted the event, forcing Chabad to hire its own staff at additional expense. (The tactic has been used against Jewish reggae musician Matisyahu in recent weeks.)

The concerts went ahead — defying angry anti-Israel protests outside, whose participants included the quixotic “Queers for Palestine,” a group that seems content to ignore the persecution of LGBTQ people in Palestinian areas.

The contrast between the angry anti-Israel protesters and the ecstatic pro-Israel counter-demonstrators was notable, as was the contrast between the hatred outside the venue and the atmosphere of love and camaraderie inside of it.

Harvard Chabad Rabbi Hirschy Zarchi told Breitbart News that the concerts had been “a Harvard Chabad electrifying evening of unity, solidarity, and love with Ishay Ribo, lifting the spirits of Israeli and Jewish students on campus.”

The Harvard Crimson focused on the disgruntled Sinclair staff, upset that they could not block the performance:

The workers at the Sinclair unanimously opposed the concert but saw their complaints ignored by the Bowery Presents — the company that books shows at the venue — according to Sinclair security guard Max D. Morton.

“None of us had wanted this to happen,” Morton said. “It’s just a bummer that it didn’t matter to them.”

Adric Giles, who was protesting the concert, said his band Rong was scheduled to play at The Sinclair in a few weeks but canceled due to “moral conflicts.”

Israeli government spokesperson Tal Heinrich, asked by Breitbart News on Wednesday about cultural boycott efforts, said: “It’s appalling. It is appalling. And it shows you that there is a lack of moral clarity in some of these venues that are coming under pressure from — I don’t want to say pro-Palestinian, it’s really anti-Palestinian voices.

“Any act of protest, any kind of action, that doesn’t call outright for the elimination of Hamas, the removal from power, the release of all hostages — it doesn’t serve Palestinians as well. And boycotts of this kind — it’s disgusting.

“At the very root of this — It goes back to antisemitism,” she said, slamming what she called the pro-Palestinian “industry.”

Harvard has been hit hard by a wave of antisemitism since the October 7 terror attack by Hamas in Israel. The co-chair of Harvard’s task force on antisemitism recently resigned because of a lack of confidence in the administration.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the recent book, “The Zionist Conspiracy (and how to join it),” now available on Audible. He is also the author of the e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

Photo: file


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