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The Schmooze

Bruce Springsteen Sidekick Steve Van Zandt Lashes Out at Boycott Israel ‘Idiots’

(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.

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.

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