“Come, let us sing joyously to Hashem, raise a shout for our rock and deliverer.” Psalms 95:1 (The Israel Bible™)
World famous musician Billy Joel performed his encore at Madison Square Garden in New York City prominently displaying a yellow star on his lapel. Joel reportedly wore the symbolic patch associated with the Holocaust to protest the rise of the Neo-Nazi movement in America. The issue has become contentious since a white supremacist ran his car into a crowd of anti-racist protesters ten days ago, killing one woman.
The musical show took on a decidedly political tone when Joel was joined by singer Patty Smyth in a duet of Smyth’s “Goodbye to You”. As they sang, photos of former members of President Trump’s staff including Steve Bannon, Sean Spicer, and Anthony Scaramucci were projected onto a screen behind them.
Reactions to Joel’s star-statement were mixed.
Eric Shultz tweeted, “He is a true hero.”
Billy Joel doing is encores at MSG on 8/21 wearing one Jewish Star on his breast and another on his back. He is a true hero. pic.twitter.com/M42f6P1f8J
— Eric Schultz (@EBS9291) August 22, 2017
New Adam tweeted “What is Billy Joel protesting? A president with part Jewish kids? The fact that Muslim immigrants in the US tend to be anti-semitic? WHAT!?”
What is Billy Joel protesting? A president with part Jewish kids? The fact that Muslim immigrants in the US tend to be anti-semitic? WHAT!?
— New Adam (@newadammedia) August 22, 2017
Joel’s gesture of unity with the Jewish People is relevant since both of his parents were Jewish. More significantly, Joel’s father fled Nazi Germany. In a 2001 interview, Billy Joel commented on his religious identity.
“My parents were both from Jewish families. I was not brought up Jewish in any religious way. My circumcision was as Jewish as they got. I used to go to a Roman Catholic church with my friends, and when I was 11, I got baptized in a Church of Christ in Hicksville. I’m a cultural Jew. I like the Lower East Side humor, the food. I think the Yiddish language is terrifically expressive. Does that make me a complete Jew or a partial Jew? I’m not really sure.”