Rihanna recently performed in Israel making it her second performance in Tel Aviv in three years, but still faced the same arraignment of attacks she did a few years ago. Now of course it wasn’t as strong or vocalized as it was before her first performance, but Rihanna was still bombarded by attacks through social media through another BDS campaign. Knowing that they would fail, the BDS campaign did not pull out all the tricks that they usually do for artists that are performing in Israel and instead focused on sending their message of disapproval. Not to downplay the harassment that Rihanna faced on social media, mainly twitter through daily barrages against her character and musical skills, but nonetheless wasn’t as controversial as her first performance or the Alicia Keys performance a few years ago. She didn’t seem to contemplate a cancellation this time around, so a performance seemed like a sure thing.
Flash forward a day after Rihanna’s performance in Tel Aviv where she showed up a few hours late to many fans extinguished patience, but the main controversy that day wasn’t her tardiness or questionable attire during the performance, but an article printed in the Haartez Israeli newspaper that claimed Rihanna changed one of the lyrics in her song from “All I see is Tel Aviv” to “All I see is Palestine”. This claim had angered many people in Israel and Jews around the world, including the fans that attended the show last night which had vehemently denied that Rihanna did such a thing. Haaretz failed to provide any evidence through attendee statements or video evidence, but still had the audacity to make the claim in their newspaper the day after. The article was retracted a day later, although it took them some time because Haaretz retracted their title first, then headline, then eventually their whole article with an issued apology.
The main issue here isn’t what the Haaretz printed, although problematic, but the issue at how fast the article had spread around the internet, mainly through BDS activists websites and social media platforms to claim a victory for the BDS campaign. The fluke here points out how desperate the BDS campaign is to claim any victory they can spot no matter how true or untrue it may be without doing any researching or backing their claims up. The BDS activists took to twitter after and thanked Rihanna for her recognition of Palestine all around, only to be embarrassed a day later by the retraction of Haaretz and the many op-eds that popped up pointing out that it wasn’t true.
Not that it stopped any of the BDS activists from claiming it was true even after it was retracted, but this only proves further that BDS claims and “facts” are always needed to be heard with a grain of salt – meaning question everything you read online. I’m sure the BDS activists that jumped on the gun immediately to be proud, are shocked and embarrassed at how wrong they were, and that this meaningless campaign against Rihanna was for nothing.