New Zealand Grammy-winning pop star Lorde has been blasted as a “bigot” by a controversial U.S. rabbi for dropping a planned concert in Israel to protest the nation’s treatment of Palestinians.
Rabbi Shmuley Boteach and his World Values Network harshly criticized the 21-year-old singer in a full-page ad in The Washington Post that appeared Sunday, saying she was joining a “global anti-Semitic boycott of Israel.” The New Jersey-based Orthodox rabbi — who’s a regular contributor to Breitbart News and once served as Michael Jackson’s spiritual adviser — added that “21 is young to be a bigot.” The ad states: “Tell Lorde and her fellow bigots that Jew-hatred has no place” in the 21st century.
The ad also accuses “New Zealand and Lorde” of ignoring Syria “to attack Israel” because the singer will perform in Russia, which backs Syria’s Assad regime.
The ad claims that a “growing prejudice against the Jewish state” in New Zealand is “trickling down to its youth.” As evidence, Boteach pointed to a United Nations resolution last month backed by 127 countries — including New Zealand — calling on the U.S. to rescind its recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
Lorde last month canceled a concert she had planned in Tel Aviv for June after she was contacted by two New Zealand activists, one Jewish and one Palestinian, who urged her to do so to press for Palestinian rights as part of the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel founded in 2005.
“I have had a lot of discussions with people holding many views, and I think the right decision at this time is to cancel the show,” Lorde wrote last month. “I’m not too proud to admit I didn’t make the right call on this one. Tel Aviv ... I’m truly sorry to reverse my commitment to come play for you. I hope one day we can all dance.”
Lorde hasn’t yet responded to Boteach’s ad.
Israeli Culture Minister Miri Regev last month also urged Lorde to reconsider her decision to cancel the concert.
Boteach, who calls himself “America’s rabbi,” said in a video on his Facebook page defending the ad that “Israel’s not perfect.” But given its situation, it’s “arguably the most just and most humanitarian country in the world,” he said.
In 2015, Boteach (who has written for The Blog in HuffPost) also took out a full-page ad in The New York Times accusing then-national security adviser Susan Rice of having a “blind spot” concerning genocide — both the “Jewish people’s and Rwanda’s” genocide. The ad was blasted by several Jewish groups, and Boteach later apologized.
The rabbi, whose organization receives funds from right-wing Donald Trump backer and casino owner Sheldon Adelson, has defended former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon against charges of anti-Semitism by the CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, Jonathan Greenblatt.