Supporters and detractors of Israel were duking it out on the Facebook page of popular rhythm and blues artist Alicia Keys, as she prepared for her concert Thursday night in Tel Aviv's Nokia Stadium.
“I admire your courage in standing up to the lies and pressure from the Anti-Semites whose only interest is the destruction of Israel and the Jewish people,” Steve Greenberg wrote Keys. “Good luck on the rest of your tour.”
Mel Ahmed, on the other hand, was among those who tried to convince Keys that Israel is an “apartheid state.” He chose to quote Nelson Mandela as saying: “We know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians."
Lior Shalom replied to the accusations with facts:
“People continue to accuse Israel of being an Apartheid State. I think people use the term without really knowing what 'apartheid' means. Apartheid was a system of racial segregation used in South Africa from 1948 to 1994. This was an official policy that declared blacks second class citizens in every aspect of life. Blacks couldn’t vote or hold political office. They couldn’t marry whites and they couldn’t use the same public restrooms as whites. These are just a few examples.
“Let’s take a look at Israel… Arabs in Israel can vote, they can hold political office, they work in professions alongside other Israelis, they can own businesses, they can be judges, lawyers, doctors… Does this sound like apartheid to you? The accusation is absurd, and I think everyone that has been to Israel can agree on that.”
Shalom is “completely mistaken,” said Raymond Deane Lior. "No – Apartheid is a crime defined by the UN in 1973 and again in 1998, of which South Africa was one example and of which Israel, today, is another.”
When Paul Reynolds argued that “The south africans know what apartheid is, that's why they call Israel an apartheid state,” Amir Amozig asked him: “Is that why... South African Legislator and SA apartheid victim Kenneth Meshoe states that Israel is definitely not an 'apartheid' state and openly challenged Desmond Tutu's conclusions? Is that why Benjamin Pogrund, a SA anti-apartheid activist states that the 'apartheid' claim is completely immoral when applied to Israel? Even in regards to Mandela BDS loves to misquote him.”
Keys and other stars who choose to perform in Israel are under pressure from some fans to rethink their policy.
"Poshy Wifey" cited what she said was "a letter from a fellow facebook user" she had just read:
"Dear Alicia Keys and Rhianna,
"Paz. I am writing to you because I am sincerely baffled by your choice to perform in Israel. I want to share with you that your choice has made many of your fans re-evaluate their loyalty to you. Your message to the people of Palestine and their global allies, which are also your fans, unfortunately is not a positive one. It basically looks like you can care less about their ongoing deep and horrific battle against genocide, or as some call it, ethnic cleansing.
"I am an Afro-Rican woman who has witnessed and experienced life in colonized Palestine and 'Israel'. I understand colonialism and it's treacherous fangs because my island of Puerto Rico is also a colony and has been raped by U.S. greed and imperialism for over 115 years. Our women have been sterilized for the purpose of population control, we import more than we export, our fathers and sons were sent to the military to fight wars and we can't even vote for the President of the United States, just to name a few," wrote the anonymous fan.
Overall, it appeared that Israel's ad hoc hasbarah team on Keys' page was doing an outstanding job of knocking down the opposition's arguments. Keyes, a 14-time Grammy Award winner, decided to ignore calls for a boycott on Israel and perform in the Jewish state. This is her first visit to Israel.