As human beings, we are hardwired to be empathetic, hardwired to support the underdog and to care for those who seem to be worse off than we ourselves are. Often, and sometimes rightfully so, we ignore the history that brought a person to their unfortunate place to focus only on boosting them up into self-sustainability.
The Palestinian people have become that underdog that the world is so determined to empower to self-sustainability and self-determination in their own state, separate from the Jewish State. In the quest to support the Palestinian people, artists across the world have fallen victim to the propaganda campaign espoused by radical anti-Israel activists at organizations like the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign, If Americans Knew, and the college group, Students for Justice in Palestine.
When individuals and artists hear facts like “Israel forcibly removed…” or “Israel systematically ethnically cleansed…” or “Israel is evicting…” etc. etc. it is only reasonable to assume they will be determined to fight for the underdog, the Palestinians; and this hypothetical is true in reality as shown by pro-Palestinian songs such as: We Will Not Go Down (by Michael Heart), Israel Palestine Peace Rap (by Robert Foster), and Freedom for Palestine (by Coldplay and One World). These songs are so powerful and swaying that had I not known the facts, I would have immediately dedicated myself to the Palestinian cause: serving at the forefront of every protest and rally, attempting to make a difference.
We Will Not Go Down, tells a touching story of the Palestinian people struggling to simply survive under threat of horrible Israeli bombings. Lyrics include “we will not go down, in the night without a fight; you can burn up our mosques and our homes and our schools, but our spirit will never die, in Gaza tonight” and “people running for cover, not knowing whether they are dead or alive…women and children alike, murdered and massacred night after night…they came with their tanks and their planes, and their ravening fiery flames…” Coupled with pictures of Israeli warplanes and dead Palestinians, one could easily see how people are swayed by their emotions into supporting Palestine.
Unfortunately, this song does not depict facts, only showing horrors; ignoring the reality on the ground of Hamas launching missiles from “mosques and homes and schools” and ignoring the truth behind Israeli retaliation to constant rocket fire, creates a new narrative, one which couldn’t possibly lead to a pro-Zionist reality.
The Israeli Palestinian Peace Rap attacks a different emotional response, using sarcasm to display the Palestinians as helpless and innocent. Ignoring the facts once again with lines like “Shalom, Bibi been ready this whole time to engage the process with war crimes…I mean raw rhymes” and “Hello I am Brian Washington from MSMBS reporting the peace process shattered yet again by A-rab terrorists…and Palestinian suicide homes ramming themselves into peaceful Israeli bulldozers”. Anyone hearing these lines would be intrigued and would likely seek reports from the UN and Amnesty International, organizations that have a clear anti-Israel bias (but those who have yet to study the conflict will be unaware of this and thus swayed). With maps that show Israel’s expansion and cynically calling Israel under threat as well as incorporating anti-Israel activist Norman Finklestein into the video, rap news does an incredible job of completely undermining the narrative of the Jewish people.
As a whole, the video does little more than to disseminate false information at the loss of the Jewish narrative. By pandering only to emotions and ignoring the truth, these activists are able to completely sway the so-called 90% who have yet to form an opinion on the conflict. Furthermore, by displaying statistics such as the death rates in the second intifada without explaining the nature of the Intifada, and acknowledging only one side as truth, it is impossible to feel nothing more than compassion for the helpless Palestinians.
Most heinous of all however is the song, Freedom for Palestine, a song written by One World and most infamously, the British rock band, Coldplay. Beginning the song: “So many years of catastrophe, there’s over 6 million refugees” is disturbing enough, but the song goes on to describe completely fictional events.
With a beautiful musical background, and catchy lyrics such as:
- Forced from your home and your history….
- This is a crime against humanity
- Gaza turned into a prison camp
- Apartheid wall divides the west bank
- Break down the wall, freedom for Palestine
- Illegal occupation, violence and racial segregation…unite freedom is a human right
- Classroom bombs are dropped in, caused by bigots
It’s only natural to support those that need our help; its empowering to believe that we are capable of changing the world and “freeing Palestine”. Unfortunately, not one lyric in the song is factual. Its convenient to ignore the history of the 750,000 Jews forced from their homes in the Arab world due to the attack on the State of Israel in 1948 and to explode the Arab refugee numbers from 500,000 (now 30,000) to 6 million (though the UN number which is already exaggerated greatly amounts to less than 5 million). It is convenient to discuss Gaza as a prison camp, comparing Jews to the Nazis, without discussing the mistreatment and anti-Semitism across the globe. It is easy to call freedom a human right, without recognizing the atrocities occurring in the Arab world on a daily basis.
With buzzwords like freedom, justice, and equality, a propaganda campaign can have infinite success. VICE, has fallen victim to it, students across college campuses are falling for it, and the global community is denouncing Israel at every turn.
In the fight for Israel, we must focus on the facts, the history and the big picture that encompasses each of these little events. We must not fall victim to artist’s ploy to invoke an empathetic response based on false information. We must stand strong in order to protect what we know is right: human rights, equality, justice, fairness, and the one nation in the Middle East that offers all this and more, Israel.
Seth Greenwald is a proud Israel activist and an intern at the Committee for Accuracy in Middle Eastern Reporting in America, CAMERA.