Hasbara You Can Dance To: New Music Video Puts Twist on anti-BDS Message

Pro-Israel clip sends message to musicians in a language they can understand.

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From the Red Hot Chili Peppers to Justin Bieber to Madonna to Alicia Keys - it’s become a familiar ritual - famous musician books a concert in Israel comes under heavy pressure to cancel.

The pressure comes from the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement that also encourages people worldwide to stay away from all things Israeli as a statement against the occupation, with the message that international isolation will push Israel to make concessions.

An alphabet soup of organizations have worked to fight the phenomenon and send the message that singling out Israel is hypocritical and wrong. But now it’s being sent in a musical message that recording artists can understand.

The newly released video “Boycott Israel” was uploaded to YouTube on Sunday, but has already been popping up on social networks and across the Internet.

The reggae-style tune, sung by long-haired kippa-wearing singer and rapper Ari Lesser, features a cleverly rhymed laundry list of the transgressions of numerous countries around the world. 

The catchy chorus of the song hammers home the message:

Boycott Israel if you think that’s just
But unless you have a double standard you must
Also boycott the rest of the nations
With allegations of human rights violations
We’re not perfect but if you think we’re the worst
First take a look at the rest of the earth
Don’t pick and choose
To pick on the Jews
Pick up the paper and read the news. 

The video is illustrated by photos and interspersed with pictures of volunteer efforts by Israelis - good deeds being done around the world by the Israeli organization IsraAID. The organization behind the video, Here is Israel, made its debut on Facebook and YouTube over the summer, putting up several music videos by different artists, together with advocacy messages with the slogan, “Get HII for Israel.”

Lesser’s Facebook page describes him as a "singer, songwriter, rapper, and spoken word artist" from Cleveland, Ohio. It says he graduated with a BS in Political Science from the University of Oregon and more recently spent time in Israel studying at yeshivas in Safed and Jerusalem. 

Screengrab from Ari Lesser's YouTube clip 'Boycott Israel.'

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