(JTA) — Amid rumors that Bruce Springsteen will perform in Tel Aviv this summer, he and his E Street band have come under fire from supporters of boycotting Israel.
On Monday, band guitarist Steven Van Zandt — who is also known for playing a mobster on HBO’s “The Sopranos” — responded in typically direct style. In a series of tweets, he called Israel boycotters “politically ignorant obnoxious idiots” and suggested to one: “go f— yourself.”
Van Zandt has taken tweet heat before for the unconfirmed show. And he’s not alone among his bandmates.
Bassist Garry Tallent has been heckled by the Twittersphere. And self-described anti-Zionist Stanley Cohen, who has more than 20,000 Twitter followers, went after the Boss himself back in February.
The latest BDS brouhaha emerged unexpectedly from a seemingly unrelated Twitter conversation. On Sunday, a fan bemoaned to Van Zandt Springsteen’s cancellation of a show in North Carolina last month in opposition to the state’s recently enacted “bathroom law” — which targets transgender people by requiring bathroom use according to the gender on a person’s birth certificate.
Another Twitter user then accused Van Zandt of touring other countries “which do much worse.”
Van Zandt responded that he held the U.S. to a higher standard.
In response to a skeptic who said “not buying that one,” the rocker got testy. When someone suggested he “quit justifying #hypocrisy,” Van Zandt got downright mad.
You and the other Israel boycotters are politically ignorant obnoxious idiots. Israel is one of our two friends> https://t.co/jfLX5bAzyc— Stevie Van Zandt (@StevieVanZandt) May 2, 2016
<in the Middle East. In addition to the fact that a boycott in that case would accomplish nothing. Go get educated. https://t.co/jfLX5bAzyc— Stevie Van Zandt (@StevieVanZandt) May 2, 2016
After some debate about what makes America so great, and whether it’s OK to call it America, the argument came around to the boycott issue. A user asked why, if Van Zandt gave other countries a pass, had he gotten involved in the movement against South African apartheid with the 1985 protest song “Sun City.” Van Zandt said that was about the U.S. too.
It was our government's policy keeping apartheid alive. This was unacceptable and we fixed it and took them down. https://t.co/jC1i4yPTH3— Stevie Van Zandt (@StevieVanZandt) May 2, 2016
The Boss, aka Bruce Springsteen, performed a song last night that we just can’t get out of our heads. It’s called “Forward, And Away We Go.” According to USA Today, “Springsteen said Obama called him up — we’re not sure whether he was joking — and said he wanted to close the ‘campaign song gap’ with Republican rival Mitt Romney.” So the boss wrote this short ditty. Have a listen and make sure to shout the name of your favorite Jewish newspaper after each stanza — “Forward!”
Watch the video below
It might not surprise you that celebrities were tweeting pre-, post- and even mid-Seder. Some typed clever quips, while others sent out heartfelt thoughts, including greetings for Easter, which coincides this year with the first days of Passover. Here are some of The Shmooze’s favorite Pesach posts of 140 characters or less:
Susan Orlean (on a pre-Passover flight): On this flight we eat only unleavened peanuts and snack mix, to remember how hastily we went through security.
Joan Rivers: Heading to Melissa’s for Passover. Seders in L.A. are so showbiz – until Elijah arrives, we’ve hired a seat filler from the Oscars.
Legendary drummer Max Weinberg, one of the original members of the E Street Band, took a night off from Bruce Springsteen’s “Wrecking Ball” concert tour on March 27 to talk about his life and lessons learned at the National Museum of American Jewish History in Philadelphia. Weinberg improbably started a second career at the age of 40 as bandleader on “Late Night with Conan O’Brien” when Springsteen disbanded the band in 1989. He then followed Conan to the “Tonight Show.” What most people don’t know is that the musician voted best drummer in the 1986 Rolling Stone critics poll can’t read music. The Arty Semite had a chance to catch up with the maestro during his visit to the museum.
Laura Goldman: Could you describe your first meeting with Springsteen?
Max Weinberg: The ad in the Village Voice caught my eye because it said that the band had a Columbia Records contract. That was more than I had. To get to the audition, I had to climb up four long flights of steps with my drum. After I arrived tired and sweaty, Springsteen greeted me, “How are you doing? Let’s play.” I knew half way through the audition that we clicked.
What is it like working for The Boss?
The fellows at the National Laboratory for New Jewish Culture, or LABA, at the 14th Street Y have recently published the January edition of LABAlights — a space for writing, art, and commentary on Jewish ideas. May we recommend this month’s installment, edited by Sisterhood contributor Elissa Strauss and themed “New Edens.” The volume includes pieces on Bruce Springsteen and the Bible, Spiral Jetty as eco-art, and hikes of the transcendental variety.
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