Inside Israel

Artists Under Fire: The BDS War Against Celebrities, Jews, and Israel: Book Review

Book Title: Artists Under Fire: The BDS War Against Celebrities, Jews, and Israel

Author: Lana Melman

Publisher: Lioncrest Publishing

Year: 2022

I first encountered Lana Melman and her organization Liberate Art Inc. many years ago, when I noticed and posted a powerful speech by Ziggy Marley, who was accepting the Shalom Peace Award from the Jewish National Fund (JNF). I was not sure who had filmed it, but wanted to upload it to YouTube so more people would see it. Lana noticed and graciously informed me that she was the one behind it (not just filming the video but organizing the entire thing), and I was able to add the attribution. We would later meet in Jerusalem and discuss our shared interests and potential collaboration.

Lana recently sent me her new book Artists Under Fire: The BDS War Against Celebrities, Jews, and Israel, which took longer than expected to arrive in Israel. But thankfully, Lana is way more effective at getting out the message than the Israeli postal system is at doing its job!

In the book, Lana details the BDS campaign against Israel and specifically, how it seeks to use artists to achieve its nefarious, antisemitic goals (yes, the book argues why they are antisemitic). While bullying and intimidation is invariably involved, this is not always necessary, depending on where the artist sits on what Lana calls “the continuum” of support for the cultural boycott of Israel:

  • BDS zealots: the Roger Waters’ of the world who make BDS a personal crusade
  • Israel-bashers: those who may not call for a boycott, but unfairly demonize the Jewish state
  • Fellow travelers: those who are not preoccupied with Israel like the zealots and bashers, but do join BDS organizations, sign group statements and make the occasional personal comment
  • Reluctant supporters: artists who bow to BDS pressure, but do not necessarily champion the cause
  • Unwitting accomplices: those who cancel trips to Israel for reasons totally unrelated to BDS, but do not refute BDS claims of involvement

I have not seen this described at all before, let alone so clearly.

This clarity is a feature of the entire book. As someone who pays close attention to the BDS movement and celebrities, I knew much (but not all) of what the book describes. Yet Lana has a knack for putting it in very clear terms. Of course, Lana, being a Hollywood insider, is able to provide information that even close followers like me had no idea about, and this makes the book even more credible and interesting.

Another strength of the book is that it provides insight into the impact of the boycott not just on Israel, but also the artists who are not Israel-haters. This was something I had not really thought about before, but is significant when it comes to approaches in dealing with BDS tactics.

In fact, the practical advice to Israel supporters as to how to respond to boycott efforts is another strength of the book, as is the inclusion of detailed answers to common allegations leveled against Israel by the haters promoting the cultural boycott.

Lana clearly gets it, and I found myself on numerous occasions nodding my head in agreement. I was also pleasantly surprised to find myself quoted on a few occasions!

I highly recommend Artists Under Fire: The BDS War Against Celebrities, Jews, and Israel for anyone who supports Israel and wants not only to better understand what we are up against when it comes to the cultural boycott – but do something about it.

You can buy Artists Under Fire: The BDS War Against Celebrities, Jews, and Israel here on Amazon.

Tags: BDS book review boycott Israel Lana Melman

David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media

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