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  • Jewish celebrities’ deafening silence on Israel – analysis – The Jerusalem Post

 May 24

by Carolina

 For the past few days we at the World Values Network, which I head, have been locked in an epic and global battle with media and singing superstar Dua Lipa.

The British entertainer maligned Israel as an apartheid state, guilty of ethnic cleansing, and we responded with a full-page ad in last Saturday’s New York Times exposing her antisemitic libel.

Well, it turns out she can dish out the hatred toward the Jewish people but can’t really handle the heat in the kitchen. She threw a tantrum on Twitter and Instagram, viciously attacking our organization, which put us on the defensive and, as it turns out, made the story global. We have been in the arena with her ever since. She refuses to back down from the grotesque defamation of the only free democracy in the Middle East.

It’s not exactly a fair fight. Dua Lipa has 66 million followers on Instagram. And we? Well, let’s just say it’s considerably less than that. But it makes no difference. Every Jewish person needs to do what they can to defend Israel and fight antisemitism amid a tsunami of hatred being expressed against our people, veritably the worst I have seen in my lifetime.

An Israeli TV newsmagazine was interviewing me about the ad and the global reaction when it put this question to me: “Why do the Palestinians have so many celebrities with hundreds of millions of followers on social media who strongly support them, while we in Israel don’t have even one?”

Good question. I didn’t have an answer. The fight on social media is so lopsided as to be almost embarrassing.

Here’s one of the reasons.

Even the Hamas terrorist organization understands the importance of celebrities and influencers. But we in the Jewish community put all our eggs in one basket: politics. AIPAC and all the other large pro-Israel organizations have cultivated relationships with senators, congressmen and presidents. But not with movie stars, singers and celebrities. It’s never been a priority. We just never understood how important the culture is.

On any given night, the pro-Israel community will watch MSNBC, Fox News, and CNN and get all riled up by what they see there. They’ll read The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal and write letters responding to any unfair criticisms about the Jewish state.

Little do they realize just how small and age-specific this audience is. Go through the numbers for a moment and add it up. The three major cable news networks, on a good night, will get, say, 15 million viewers, on a very good night. The major newspapers, on a good day, will get, say, five million readers?

That’s 20 million.

Dua Lipa is peddling her lies about Israel to 66 million people every single day. Add the hate-filled Hadid sisters, Bella and Gigi, whom we also targeted in our ad, and you have something in the region of 150 million followers. And they’re all young people, twenties and lower, for the most part.

Yes, these three, and other celebrities like them, are helping to poison an entire generation of young people against the only free society in the Middle East, and we’re letting them.

Added to that is the fact – even as we don’t care to admit it – that many Jewish celebrities are pretty darn scared of standing up for Israel. They’re intimidated, afraid to damage their brands, afraid to lose sponsors, afraid to be connected with Israel’s “toxicity.” That’s right. Israel, one of the most righteous countries on earth, has become toxic on social media. And world-renowned Jewish celebrities, who have tens of millions of followers on social media, will not say even one really nice word about the Jewish state – even when they’re Israeli! – for fear of damaging their brands.

Which leads us to what needs to be done now to reverse this awful trend.

First, we have to neutralize the worst offenders who promote the most repulsive lies about Israel and the Jewish people. We have to challenge their defamation with ads in global publications and as much earned media as we can muster to defend against their lies. They have to know that there is a price to be paid for defaming the Jewish people.

Dua Lipa really believed that she could libel Israel with the most serious charges of war crimes and completely get away with it. She believed there was zero price to pay for defaming a people who experienced a genocide just 75 years ago. That’s how arrogant she is. But it’s also how cheap we have allowed Jewish life to become.

Remember, when the Jews in general, and Israel in particular, are defamed as a bunch of genocidal monsters, their humanity is compromised, and it becomes easy to trace a line between such extreme defamation and Jews being beaten up on the streets of New York, Los Angeles and Toronto, all of which happened last week alone.

Second, once we have neutralized the worst offenders, or at the very least made them accountable for their lies, it’s time to go forward with an inspirational message about Israel as a light unto the nations and especially a great beacon of freedom in the Middle East.

Would that all of our Arab brothers and sisters had the freedoms and liberties of Israeli Arabs and Israeli Jews. Would that Arab women could dress how they want, date whom they want, and study in any university they want, as can the citizens of Israel.

Would that all Arabs could freely criticize their leaders without any fear of retribution and could vote to elect their chosen leaders in the first place.

Would that all Arabs in the Middle East could participate in a robust and progressive economy, with well-paying jobs, rather than living under a tyranny like Hamas that condemns them to a life of misery and degradation.

And would that our Arab brothers and sisters would finally see Israel as a blessing and a vision of what their own societies could be, rather than scapegoating the Jewish state as the source of their own problems, when in reality all those problems come from the murderous and tyrannical leaders who rip them off, tyrannize and subjugate them.

The writer, “America’s Rabbi,” is the author of more than 30 books, and has just published Holocaust Holiday: One Family’s Descent into Genocide Memory Hell. Follow him on Instagram and Twitter @RabbiShmuley.

Original posted at www.jpost.com

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