The Matisyahu Incident and the BDS Anti-Semitism Connection

(Photo: flickr/maxim303)

(Photo: flickr/maxim303)

This week, a concert by the Jewish-American musician Matisyahu was canceled in Spain. This would not be news, except for the fact that the show was canceled because the singer refused to agree with the BDS movement’s agenda. Commentary’s Jonathan Tobin discusses the incident before posting Matisyahu’s own response:

It shouldn’t have taken the decision of a music festival in Valencia, Spain to make this clear. Long before the Rototom Sunsplash told American singer Matisyahu that he must either sign a declaration of support for the creation of a Palestinian state or have his appearance canceled, it was clear that the BDS — boycott, divest, sanction — movement had crossed the line between legitimate criticism of Israel and anti-Semitism…

The facts of the Matisyahu incident are interesting because, as a religious Jew, his public image…

Posted in: Anti-Semitism / BDS / Commentary Magazine

When Nina Simone Sang Jewish Songs

(Photo: wikicommons/RCA Victor)

(Photo: wikicommons/RCA Victor)

A while back, we professed our love for the great jazz pianist and vocalist, Nina Simone, especially when she played “Eretz Zavat Chalav.” Now, as a new documentary on Ms. Simone’s life has come out on Netflix, Forward’s Victor Wishna looks at when Nina sang Jewish songs:

Barely 30 when she made her solo debut at Carnegie Hall in the spring of 1963, the sold-out show in New York City heralded her arrival as “the High Priestess of Soul.” The set list, however, revealed the diversity of her musical influences and inclinations: Among the mix of jazz, gospel, blues and folk were Jewish and Hebrew melodies, including “Od Yishama,” “Eretz Avat Chalav” and a couple of instrumentals listed as “Shalom Shabat”and “Vaynikehu”…

Today, those who have experienced discrimination can find comfort…

Posted in: Eretz Zavat Chalav / Forward / jazz

OneRepublic Surprises IDF Soldiers with Visit to Iron Dome Battery

(Photo: Mako/Israeli Air Force)

(Photo: Mako/Israeli Air Force)

There are so many popular musicians today who have decided to boycott or badmouth Israel. But the pop-rock group OneRepublic is not one of them. The Algemeiner reports that the popular band recently took time out of its busy touring schedule to pay a visit to some IDF soldiers:

Members of the popular pop rock band OneRepublic, who are currently touring Israel, surprised IDF soldiers manning an Iron Dome missile defense battery in Ashkelon with a visit on Wednesday morning.

While some international artists have backed away from performing in the country, in response to demands to boycott the Jewish sate, OneRepublic is among other international music sensations who have nevertheless decided to perform for Israeli fans. With their concert scheduled for tomorrow, the group has meanwhile been touring the country.

The band…

Posted in: Algemeiner / IDF / Israel

Frank Sinatra and Israel

(Photo: William P. Gottlieb Collection - Library of Congress)

(Photo: William P. Gottlieb Collection – Library of Congress)

Frank Sinatra died 17 years ago today, but his timeless music still resonates with listeners around the world. Tablet’s Shalom Goldman looks at how Israel resonated with the famed crooner:

2015 is the year of the Frank Sinatra Centennial, and though the great singer’s 100th birthday won’t be marked until December, it seems only proper to remember the Chairman of the Board’s deep and abiding commitment to Israel, which he saw as an integral part of the chain of liberal causes that he supported throughout his career. His activities on behalf of the Jewish state started with smuggling money to the Haganah under the British Mandate. Starting in the 1950s, his records and films were banned in Arab counties because…

Posted in: Frank Sinatra / Israel / Music

From Under a Long Shadow, a 136-Year-Old Serbian-Jewish Choir Sings On

(Photo: facebook/Hor Braća Baruh)

(Photo: facebook/Hor Braća Baruh)

While anti-Semitism across Europe is as rampant and rabid as it has been in some time, Europe’s Jews have long faced hatred, violence, and worse. Tablet’s Amy Guttman brings us the uplifting story of a Jewish chorus from Serbia that has been singing for well over a century, surviving the Holocaust, Communism, and other threats along the way:

Nearly all of Serbia’s Jews were killed during the Holocaust, in what was one of the swiftest murder campaigns in all of Europe. The region was declared “Judenfrei” in 1942, after just 13 months of Nazi occupation. Yet the Serbian-Jewish Singing Society—one of the oldest Jewish choirs in the world, today known as the Baruch Brothers Choir—has prospered, despite having been silenced during World Wars I and II. Today, having survived genocide, Communism,…

Posted in: Amy Guttman / Baruch Brothers Choir / choir