American Rabbi Takes Out Ad Calling Lorde a Bigot for Canceling Concert in Israel

New Zealand Jewish organization calls full-page ad in The Washington Post 'inflammatory' that 'stoops to level of BDS'

FILE - In this April 16, 2017, file photo, Lorde performs at Coachella Music & Arts Festival in Indio, Calif. Lorde's "Melodrama" was nominated for a Grammy Award for Album of the year on Tuesday, Nov. 28. The 60th Annual Grammy Awards will air on CBS, Sunday, Jan. 28, 2018 in New York. (Photo by Amy Harris/Invision/AP, File)
Amy Harris/Invision/AP

American celebrity rabbi Shmuley Boteach took out a full-page ad in The Washington Post Sunday to attack New Zealand pop star Lorde for canceling her concert in Tel Aviv, calling her a bigot and charging her country with anti-Israel prejudice for supporting United Nations statements against Israel's treatment of Palestinians.   

The ad superimposes a large photo of Lorde over the backdrop of a scene of fighting in Syria with men rushing babies to safety under the words: “Lorde and New Zealand ignore Syria to attack Israel”.

In large letters it also states "21 is young to become a bigot".  

It's not the first full-page ad bought in a prominent newspaper by Boteach's organization, This World: The Values Network. He describes himself as the late Michael Jackson's "rabbi" has bought to publicize his positions through such ads.  

The ad is part of continued fallout over the singer's decision last week to cancel a concert scheduled in Israel for next summer. She announced the cancellation after a pair of fans in her native New Zealand criticized her.

The New Zealand Jewish Council, meanwhile, said the ad was counterproductive and "inflammatory."

"The New Zealand Jewish Council is committed to dialogue and tolerance and distances itself from the inflammatory and aggressive material that stoops to the level of BDS rather than rising above it," the council said in a statement.

"We are disappointed with Lorde's decision to cancel her show after pressure from the discriminatory BDS movement and invite Lorde to continue learning about the region."

Critics of her decision have said she was succumbing to the influence of the cultural boycott of Israel through the Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.

Her own concert organizer in Israel said she was not able to withstand the "pressure" of the BDS movement.

But in a statement distributed on social media and by her booking agency, Lorde wrote in response:"i pride myself on being an informed young citizen, and i had done a lot of reading and sought a lot of opinions before deciding to book a show in tel aviv, but I’m not too proud to admit i didn’t make the right call on this one."

The ad also condemns New Zealand's decision to vote in favor of a UN Resolution calling on the United States to withdraw its recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital.  It also cites New Zealand's support of another UN resolution as evidence of anti-Israel prejudice. The resolution condemned Israel settlement building in the West Bank.

The ad suggests New Zealand's "growing prejudice" against Israel is "trickling down to its youth."   

It says of the singer's decision: "While Lorde claims to be concerned with human rights, she hypocritically chose to proceed with her two concerts in Putin's Russia, despite his support for [Syrian president Bashar al-]Assad's genocidal regime."

"Let's boycott the boycotters and tell Lorde and her fellow bigots that Jew-hatred has no place in the twenty-first century," the ad reads. 

Boteach also attacked Lorde last week in Breitbart, criticized as the platform of the alt-right that, writing "it’s so sad to see a pop star like Lorde going over to the dark side of bigotry and antisemitism at such a young age." Citing her plans to perform in Russia, he wrote, "makes a mockery of her tour and will forever undermine any legitimate pretense she might otherwise have had to be a human rights activist."