One woman’s passion to educate and activate the entertainment industry
Roger Waters (Pink Floyd), Scarlett Johansson, Demi Lovato, the Rolling Stones, Alicia Keys, Rihanna, and more. These artists and celebrities have, in one way or another, been targets of organized campaigns by the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement which aims to demonize and de-legitimatize Israel, the Jewish state. Some have resisted; others have cowed to the pressure.
Since 2011, Lana Melman saw an opportunity to marry her passion for Israel and her 20-year expertise as a lawyer and in positions as a business and creative executive in the entertainment industry to address this issue at a time when the BDS culture campaign started to get wings. She worked behind the scenes with the artist representatives to educate and dispel disinformation and prevent cancellations of their concerts in Israel. She also worked with heads of media, communications, and television networks to balance news coverage.
In 2015, Melman founded Liberate Art to take the fight to the next level, beyond concerts, to educate a wider audience and to create a platform for international artists to express their support for Israel.
In her book Artists Under Fire, she exposes the BDS movement and their strategy to move beyond politics and universities into the heart of pop culture, framing the shift as an intimidation network masquerading as a human rights movement. She points out that absent in BDS’s rhetoric are any calls to foster peace and reconciliation. A new survey from the Pew Research Center cites over 84% of Americans were not even aware of BDS. Yet, as she states, BDS has a strong antisemitic element or- “Jew-hatred” in her words -at its core element.
Melman describes the multi-faceted harassment that artists face: the pressure to cancel concerts and events, petitions demanding they make political statements in an effort to generate anti-Israel news, and social media campaigns featuring anti-Israel memes and photoshopped images attempting to associate the artist with destruction, racism, apartheid, and the murder of children. But as Melman asserts in her book, the goal of BDS is not just to cancel concerts, but to turn young Americans against Israel.
Join us to learn more about BDS, the fascinating stories of artists and celebrities who have been targeted and who have supported Israel, and ultimately ways to combat this movement.
Lana Melman will be discussing Artists Under Fire: The BDS War Against Celebrities, Jews and Israel on Saturday, December 3 at 7:30 pm at the Monrovia Public Library or via Zoom is a member of the Jewish Federation’s Jewish Book Festival committee and. Visit the Jewish Federation website at www.jewishsgpv.org to register.
Denise Schaefer is a member of the Jewish Federation’s Jewish Book Festival committee and a contributing writer to Jlife Magazine.