DISTURBED singer David Draiman, who is of Jewish heritage, has spoken out against a growing international movement that targets Israel.
A number of artists, including Roger Waters, have been vocal in their support of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign, which calls for economic pressure on Israel to end the occupation of Palestinian land, grant Arab citizens equal rights and recognize the right of return to Palestinian refugees. It recently called on artists, music fans and broadcasters to boycott last month's Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv, arguing it amounted to "whitewashing" Israel's policies towards Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
Asked by the Bring Disturbed To Israel Facebook page for his view on the Israel boycott by certain artists, Draiman said: "To elaborate a little bit on it, besides just my aggressive stance against it… The reasoning that no matter what side of the fence you sit on politically… And look, I don't think anybody in any country always agrees with everything their country does — I don't, okay? But I'm a very, very strong supporter of Israel forever and for our people. And regardless of whether it's Israel or anywhere else, boycotting an entire society and an entire people based on the actions of its government is absolutely ridiculous. And it doesn't accomplish anything. I don't see boycotts happening of Russia; I don't see boycotts happening of many of some of the countries that have some of the most oppressive, closed-off regimes in existence on the face of the planet, where LGBTQ people are persecuted, where all kinds of minorities are persecuted. I don't see people boycotting China for what they're doing to their Muslim population. It's just Israel that gets this treatment, and I think we all know the reason behind that."
He continued: "There's a special hatred that exists for the Jewish people in this world, and it unfortunately can't be explained. It's something that has lasted and has been deep seated for centuries, and that's part of our burden as a people, unfortunately.
"You can't accomplish anything in terms of trying to create peace, in terms of trying to create understanding by shutting things off. There has to be open roads of communication. You build bridges; you don't knock them down. And music and entertainment is the perfect way to bridge that gap. And the very notion that Waters and the rest of his Nazi comrades decide that this is the way to go ahead and foster change is absolute lunacy and idiocy — absolute. It makes no sense whatsoever. It's only based on hatred of a culture and of a people and of a society that have been demonized unjustifiably since the beginning of time.
"You wanna be able to bring people together? You wanna effect social change on a real level? Bring them together for a concert," Draiman added. "It's the perfect way. Music builds bridges, and the fact that anybody would try to dissuade artists from trying to do what their music was created to do in the first place is mind-boggling to me. And the fact that any artist would actually fall prey to this rhetoric and this way of thinking is mind-blowing to me. That they're cutting off their noses to spite their faces just is completely the antithesis of what creating art is meant to do."
DISTURBED will perform in Israel for the first time on July 2.
Although David has visited the country many times, this will be the first DISTURBED concert in the Jewish state.
Both of Draiman's maternal grandparents were survivors of the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, while many others on his mother's side were wiped out by the Nazis.
The DISTURBED song "Never Again", from 2010's "Asylum" album, was written about the Holocaust and calls out people who deny it.
The United States Holocaust Museum has featured Draiman in its "Voices On Anti-Semitism" podcasts.
Draiman has in the past battled with Twitter trolls who have harassed him about his sometimes-controversial views regarding Israel and its ongoing conflict with the Palestinians. Draiman has had frequent heated exchanges with followers on Twitter, some of whom believe that Israel is not blameless in the ongoing conflict with Palestinians.