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Arabs Condemn Madonna for Raising Israeli Flag

Arabs and leftists reacted viscerally at the news that pop singer Madonna embraced the flag of Israel at the end of her Tel Aviv concert Wednesday.
By David Lev
First Publish: 9/3/2009, 3:22 PM / Last Update: 9/3/2009, 4:09 PM

Flash 90

Arabs are livid at pop singer Madonna for wrapping herself with an Israeli flag at the end of her concert in Tel Aviv Wednesday night. 

A Youtube video of the moment, posted by a fan, has engendered what is likely to become a major Internet controversy after the aging star, still one of the top pop singers in the world, closed out her second show Wednesday night by draping herself in an Israeli flag onstage.

Hundreds of talkbacks on the Youtube site consisted of rabid anti-Israel comments, with many of the critics claiming to be from Arab countries or Palestinian Authority controlled areas.

"Why do you not wrap yourself in a Palestinian flag, if you really stand for peace?," wrote one viewer of the video who said she was from Gaza, echoing the often less delicate comments of others who condemned the singer for not only performing in Israel, but also for holding the Jewish State's flag. Madonna also called Israel "the energy center of the world."

Other viewers of the video attempted to inject some logic into the debate – with one posting, "This concert was in Israel, so why is her holding the flag an issue? A lot of artists grab a flag of the host nation during a concert. It is not a political statement." But many of those reacting to the video posted comments typical of this one: "By carrying the Israeli flag, Madonna has lost the peace camp."

Before her arrival, leftist and anti-Israel groups appealed to the singer to skip the Israeli leg of her tour, while Israeli leftists urged locals to boycott the concerts. Tel Aviv University Prof. Rachel Giora, a member of an international group that demanded Madonna call off the shows, said last week that a performance in Israel "would imply that Israel is behaving in an acceptable manner, and would be interpreted by Israelis as moral support for the illegal and inhumane policies, described by many as war crimes and crimes against humanity."

Meanwhile, religious Israelis and others from around the world continued to express their dismay at the singer's performances. In an interview with Arutz 7, Rabbi Uzi Binenfeld of Orot Etzion Midrasha at Givat Washington College said that the performances were "dangerous, something which is connected to addiction. This adulation is actually an escape from reality, it is a psychological way to get more than what you have, something more exciting.

"It is clear to me that we did not see the same youths who were at Kfar Maimon [to try and prevent the Disengagement in 2005 – ed.]," he added. 

Reactions to the flag affair appeared on other websites as well, with one writer on the British Sky News site saying that an underdressed Madonna scampered about on stage "waving the Holy Land's flag. Why did Israel ever said yes to her performing there? She really is a disgrace to womankind and motherhood because she exploits both."