Macklemore has clarified what he meant when he said that he was in favor of a “free Palestine” to a live audience.
“When I say free Palestine, it’s not against anyone,” he explained in a video that he posted to his Instagram on Sunday (December 24). “It actually means we should protect everyone. It means equality for all. Respect, peace and love. It means the right to exist, regardless of what sector you’re from.”
He continued: “My intention is to never offend anyone. I want every soul in this arena to feel the reflection of love. But there’s innocent humans out in Gaza getting murdered with our dollars, and those precious human lives are an extension of us. I can’t get up here and jump around in a fur coat and pretend while in my gut…my gut’s saying, ‘you know better, Ben.’ The ancestors yelling, ‘you’d better step up for us!’”
“I love my Jewish brothers and sisters so much,” he concluded. “And my perspective is one that’s saying ‘free Palestine’ is also rooted in your protection, my loves. And there isn’t a drop of anti-Semitic thought in my head or my blood. Never again, means never again for all.”
Last month, Macklemore made headlines when he took to the stage at a pro-Palestine demonstration in Washington, D.C.
The “Can’t Hold Us” rapper spoke passionately about Israel’s ongoing attack on Gaza, which has killed over 9,700 Palestinians and displaced 70% of the region’s population. Israel’s effort was in response to Hamas’ attacks of October 7, which killed about 1,400 Israelis and resulted in the taking of around 240 hostages.
“First and foremost, this is absolutely beautiful to observe today,” Macklemore began. “I didn’t expect to be on a microphone. There are thousands of people here more qualified to speak on the issue of a free Palestine than myself.”
He continued: “But I will say this. They told me to be quiet. They told me to do my research, to go back, that it’s too complex to say something, right? To be silent in this moment. In the last three weeks, I’ve gone back and I’ve done some research … I’m teachable. I don’t know enough. But I know enough that this is a genocide.”
This isn’t the first time that Macklemore has called the Israeli attacks on Gaza a “genocide.”
The “Thrift Shop” rapper previously issued a long statement on Instagram on October 19, sharing his reflections on the current war between Israel and Hamas, and the associated humanitarian crisis in Gaza.
He captioned the post: “Please read,” followed by a prayer hands emoji, a Palestinian flag, an Israeli flag, and a heart.
He began by expressing deep sympathy for Israelis captured and killed by Hamas in their surprise attack earlier this month, and their loved ones.
“My heart deeply hurts for the Israelis that lost loved ones to such an abomination,” he wrote. “As a father, I cannot imagine if one of my kids was at that festival [the Supernova music festival, attacked by Hamas], or was still missing after being kidnapped. It is absolutely unfathomable.”
After that, the rapper pivoted to the Israeli response to the attacks, which as of that writing had killed over 2,300 Palestinians. UN experts have decried Israel for cutting off food, fuel, water, electricity, and medicine to Gaza in the aftermath of the October 7 attack.
“[K]illing humans as collective punishment is not the answer,” Macklemore continued. “That is why I am supporting the people around the world who are calling for a ceasefire.
“We are witnessing an unfolding genocide in Palestine at this very moment… Gaza is being demolished. Well over 1 million people have lost their homes… Innocent kids are being murdered as I’m typing this…. Israel isn’t allowing water, food and medicine into the open-air prison that is Gaza.”
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