Why Matisyahu Put The Nail In The Coffin Of BDS


1024px-Summerjam_20130705_Matisyahu_DSC_0014_by_EmhaThe entire point of BDS is to alienate, marginalize and silence Jews. BDS winning doesn’t require people actually boycotting Israel; it only requires them to marginalize Jews.

When Jews take the attitude “It’s not worth it so I’m not gonna bother,” BDS wins. Every single time a Jew decides not to attend an event because they may or may not encounter asshattery, BDS wins. When Jews decide to keep their Jewishness on the downlow to avoid problems, BDS wins.

So when does BDS lose? When Jews are visible, and unapologetic, when Israel supporters are loud and unabashed. That’s when BDS loses because it has no way to counter those things without revealing itself to be what it is – a movement calculated to attack Jews and isolate them.

Matisyahu just showed the pro-Israel world the blueprint on how to beat these people, and it didn’t involve the classic “not rocking the boat” as some mainstream Jewish organizations would have us believe. I couldn’t believe that I saw people advocating for Matisyahu to stay home, to collect the money for being cancelled but to not perform. In truth, nothing would have been worse; if he stayed away, it would have been a victory for those who want to silence any Jewish voice that doesn’t parrot their anti Israel garbage. By staying unseen, he would have given them what they wanted.

By going and by performing the songs he performed, Matisyahu not only showed that BDS failed but that it failed in an abject manner; that he was unafraid, not intimidated and unbowed. It was actually a heroic thing to do and he should be applauded.

Matisyahu may be an American Jew, but in that single moment I believe he was Israeli, Jewish, proud and unconcerned with the haters. The history of the Jewish people in Israel in a nutshell – maligned, marginalized and attacked, but standing strong and unbroken. The lesson here is obvious. If you want to defeat the haters you don’t defeat them by being more hateful, you defeat them with love, love for your people, love for your history, and love for your culture, because as much as our enemies would have us believe otherwise, love trumps hate every single time

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A member of the indigenous Metis people, Ryan grew up in the far north of Alberta, Canada with no power nor running water. Ryan was unsure if his real name was "Go get water!" or "Go get wood!" In his free time, Ryan plays Canadian Rules Football , reads books, does advocacy work for indigenous people and does not live in an Igloo.