“We’re not perfect but if you think we’re the worst, first take a look at the rest of the earth,” says rapper Ari Lesser, taking a musical look at countries around the world that have yet to arouse the ire of the anti-Israel boycott, divestment and sanctions crowd.
‘Boycott Israel,’ says Jewish rapper.
Reggae musician Ari Lesser reaches out to college students with a hip anti-BDS message
A political science BA from the University of Oregon, the 27-year-old ba’al tshuva reggae rapper is probably the only musician around capable of undertaking the long hours of research involved in making the extremely informative, catchy six-minute song.
The fledgling organization, actively running since July, is trying to create content to appeal to US college students, says Lesser from his Cleveland home.
“The campus can be a rough place for Jews and Israel, I’ve experienced that first hand. There’s definitely some intense stuff out there.”
Lesser was commissioned by HII to create something that would reach college students and show how to defend against BDS claims.
Lesser decided to focus on showing what he calls “the double standard inherent in the boycott argument.”
In “Boycott Israel” Lesser raps about the obscene human rights failings of dozens of countries, from China to Saudi Arabia to the United States. Accompanying the straightforwardly shocking lyrics are graphic images of horrific events, some ongoing, around the world.
“Big props to Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International for going to these countries and doing good reporting. I wouldn’t want to go to a lot of those countries; I’m glad someone else did it for me.”
He’s quick to say that while as a religious Jew he feels a deep connection to the Land of Israel, he doesn’t always agree with what the State of Israel is up to.
“It’s not to say that Israel is always right — I definitely criticize when I disagree — but I don’t think a boycott of the whole country is honest.”
“Really, you see if you’re not willing to boycott every major country — and minor country — in the world, then BDS is anti-Semitism, or anti-Israelism, or whatever.”
With some 40,000 views between Lesser’s YouTube feed and that of Here Is Israel in the past 24 hours, it seems many would agree.
Interview here from Israelly Cool