Gaza stance lands Russell Brand death threats

Brand, who has received death threats because of his Gaza stance, says he is not anti-Semitic

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British actor, comedian and author Russell Brand has been labeled as anti-Semitic and received death threats following his support of a petition to boycott Israelis that benefit from the conflict in Gaza, according to an article he wrote for the Huffington Post.

The petition aims to boycott companies that “facilitate the oppression of people in Gaza,” Brand said.

However, social media users confused the boycott of these companies with a boycott on Israel.

In a tweet, Rabbi Shmuley Boteach labels Brand an “Israel hater” and describes the calls of the petition as an “Israel boycott.”

“…no boycott against any nation was proposed. Instead a petition against businesses that profit from the horror in Gaza was set up and now has nearly 1.7million signatures,” Russel explained.

Brand begins his article, titled Why "I Oppose Anti-Semitism," remembering a Passover dinner he attended at his friend’s in 1992. High on drugs, Brand made himself believe he was responsible for the Holocaust. While comic, the story made leeway to a more serious note, namely, the recent accusations of anti-Semitism made against the British comedian

He moved on to defend his argument, reminding readers that he is calling for the boycott of the companies that profit from the June 8 Israeli offensive in Gaza, which has so far claimed the lives of more than 2,000 Palestinians, mostly civilians.

“Businesses like Barclays Bank that manage the account of drone makers El Bit, Dutch pension fund ABP, British security firm G4S, Caterpillar and others directly profit from the atrocities that we have all been shocked by in recent weeks,” Brand explained.

“I understand anti-Semitism to be a hatred of Jews, the denial of the right for Jews to have a homeland, the denial of the horrors of the last century and the plight of the Jewish people throughout history,” he said.

“In the context of the accusation that I face, anti-Semitism must be taken to mean opposing big businesses making profit from violence against Palestinian people,” Brand added.

Brand explained the boycott of these business as one of the few ways people can directly participate in an environment dominated by “big businesses and big governments” that do nothing.

“Methods like the Avaaz's petition provide a moderate but direct way to tackle extreme problems that we can all participate in,” he wrote.

The Huffington Post article attracted reaction on social media, garnering almost eight thousand likes on Facebook and has been tweeted more than 1,500 times.

U.S. film star Jon Cusack tweeted Brand’s article, saying “Mr.B has guts.”

Brand has a satirical YouTube show called the Trews in which he discusses his views on current affairs.

On his YouTube series, Brand formerly spoke against Fox News anchor Sean Hannity criticizing how he handled an Arab-American guest who tried to describe the Palestinian side of the conflict in Gaza.

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