July 9, 2013 | 5:34 am
Posted by Noga Gur-Arieh
If you happened to read my recent posts, you probably noticed a hint of disappointment between the lines. As the internet takes a growing place in our lives, winning the media war becomes more critical, and the more lies about Israel I encountered, the more I felt like our battle against the mischaracterizing of Israel was about to end, and the BDS movement has won.
For a long while, I was a small fish in a large pond filled with killer sharks, always on the search for fresh blood. Whatever I had to say was quickly countered by brutal lies disguised as calls for justice. Whether it was during an exchange of words in a social network, or when reading what Roger Waters or Chris Martin have to say, I felt like an outcast, just because I am an Israeli.
But in recent weeks, something changed. From hitting rock bottom, I was sitting on a cloud. Barbra Streisand is praising Israel, Sharon Stone takes pictures with fans in Tel-Aviv, Waze is being purchased by Google, a second Israeli joins the lines of the NBA, and Israel is being presented online as a technology giant, when inventions such as ReWalk are mentioned as life-changing. But the highlight was this Thursday, when Alicia Keys arrived in Israel. Before every international artist's arrival to Israel, a flood of anti-Israeli propaganda is aimed at him or her, threatening them into canceling. Some fall for the lies, some ignore and do the right thing. Alicia Keys, however, was a completely different case.
The moment it was announced that she was scheduled to perform here, the anti-Israeli zombies sharpened their teeth and started to bite, hoping to turn her into one of them. They put a lot of effort into persuading her to cancel her concert. In fact, I've never seen such a massive campaign, maybe because unlike the most recent artists who performed here, she is a contemporary superstar, at the prime of her career. For weeks, things were uncertain and unclear, until she released the following statement: "I look forward to to my first visit to Israel. Music is a universal language that is meant to unify audiences in peace and love, and that is the spirit of our show."
These words were the cherry topping my great feeling. We did it. We fought back and we are finally winning. I know I'm using the word "we" even though I am not an Israeli start-up developer or a die-hard fan who worked day and night to push the negativity away. I know I am merely a small part in all of this, but I am an Israeli, and Israelis are always "we" and never "I." We are all individuals, each with our own life and dreams, but when it comes to facing the outside world, we are one big family of brothers and sisters. When facing the outside, we are a collective. United in our goal, putting our personal problems aside, and sticking our chins up with pride.
From hitting rock-bottom, I am now floating on a cloud. Now, I sit back, browse the web, and smile as I read about the Israel I know and love, the real Israel of achievements, culture, love and life. I can finally smile and say, with full confidence, I have never been more proud to be an Israeli.
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