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It’s delicious to see very uncool people fall for ‘Rolling Stones’ anti-BDS hoax

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Far-right commentators and Israel supporters rejoiced last week when it was announced that the Rolling Stones would play two concerts in Israel—the first to celebrate Israel’s Independence Day, and the second to spite the BDS movement.

Except it wasn’t true.

On February 24, for the Purim holiday, The Jewish Press published a hoax entitled “Defying Boycotts, Jagger, Stones, to Honor Israel’s 65th Birthday.” According to the fabricated story, the Rolling Stones had scheduled a concert in Jerusalem to honor Israeli Independence Day on Monday, April 15. After being “slammed and smacked and twittered a lot by the anti-Israeli side,” said Mick Jagger supposedly, the band “decided to add a concert on Tuesday” in response.

RS Jewish Press

The article then cited Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb, a known proponent of BDS, as saying, “This is a huge mistake for the Stones…They stand to lose a lot of money as a result of showing solidarity with Zionism, because their most devoted fans also support boycotting Israel.”

Accompanying the story was a Photoshopped image of the band with Keith Richards holding the Israeli seal.

The article concluded with the following line:

This has been a Purim prank…

Nevertheless the story spread across right-wing outlets as fact. It was reported in Joshuapundit by right-wing commentator Robert Miller, who summarized the story under the headline “Rolling Stones To Israel haters: ‘Up Yours.’”

From there, it made its way to Pamela Geller’s Atlas Shrugs on February 26, under the headline:


Geller excerpted a portion of Miller’s posting, and added her own commentary:

It is so delicious to see very cool people standing against savagery, thuggery and injustice. I’d [sic] wish I could get to Jerusalem just to see this show.

Geller’s own story was accompanied by a different Photoshopped image—one that seems to have circulated among French websites—in which Keith Richards is holding an Israeli flag.

RS AtlasShrugs

Just a few hours after publishing the post, Geller changed the headline to


And she amended her post with a preface:

UPDATE: Alas, this was a good Purim joke. The Jewish Press just just [sic] being silly. Will the Stones ever make their maiden voyage to Israel?

Atlas reader George was the first to guess what I was up to here. So many Atlas readers sent this in to me. I put it up without revealing initially that it was a joke to emphasize a simple point: why is a story like this so unheard-of as to be unbelievable? How has our culture so degenerated as to make it virtually inconceivable that our most renowned entertainers would stand with the only beacon of freedom in the Middle East? The Rolling Stones and every other big act SHOULD play Israel, and proudly. That they instead condemn Israel along with the rest of the left is a disgrace.

Thus—essentially saying, “I was testing you”—Geller pretended to be in on the joke. However, there are several reasons why this is implausible:

1. Geller acknowledged that it was a Purim joke. But by the time of she had posted her story on February 26, Purim was already over. It would be like making an April Fool’s joke on April 2.

2. Geller didn’t quote directly from the original Jewish Press article but instead based her post on Robert Miller’s Joshuapundit article. To this day, Miller appears unaware that the story is a hoax and his post stands uncorrected. There is no indication that Geller had seen the original article in The Jewish Press before she posted.

3. Despite claiming that she was proving a clever point, Geller later removed the posting from her website and also deleted her tweet referencing it. What’s the point of making a point and then deleting all references to the point?

So instead, Geller blamed the situation on her readers (“So many Atlas readers sent this in to me”), claimed she was conducting a social experiment as a comment on the “degenerat[ion]” of “our culture,” and then pretended that her posting never existed.

RS Geller
Geller: “Just joshing! Happy Day After Purim!”

And despite initially praising the Rolling Stones as “very cool people” and posting a link to the song “Moves Like Jagger,” she soon amended her post to denounce the Rolling Stones for “condemn[ing] Israel along with the rest of the left.”

Unfortunately the story doesn’t end with Geller. On March 1—five days after the original Jewish Press article was published—, a Jewish wire news service, picked up the story. From there, the reliably unreliable Algemeiner printed JNS’s version of the story.

RS Algemeiner

The Algemeiner later deleted their article with no correction or acknowledgment of error, but a tweet referencing the article remains.

By now, the fake Rolling Stones story has a life of its own, with Tea Partiers and Zionists rejoicing in the epic BDS fail that never was, and perhaps some in Israel are anxiously awaiting the arrival of the Stones on Israel Independence Day.

All of this would be funny if not for the fact that The Jewish Press used the Purim excuse to smear Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb in its hoax piece. As a result, where this story has appeared, commenters have attacked Gottlieb with sexist and Islamophobic insults. This is nothing new for Gottlieb, who was recently subjected to a smear campaign by the Republican Jewish Coalition in an attempt to discredit Barack Obama.

RS Gottlieb
In a French-language Israeli website reporting on the fake Rolling Stones story, Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb is described as “the woman ‘rabbi,’ pro-Palestinian and pro-Iranian.”

The story of the runaway Purim story is about how right-wing and Zionist media outlets fool each other into believing what they want to hear. But it’s not limited to Purim and to stories that are explicitly labeled as fake.

Even stories in The Jewish Press that are considered serious are full of lies, such as an investigative report suggesting that the only Jews allowed to attend the recent Brooklyn College BDS event were those from “Naturie Karta” [sic]:

RS Neturei

And the Algemeiner doesn’t even bother to remove, correct, or update most articles that have been disproven, such as its perpetuation of Chuck Hagel’s “Friends of Hamas” connection:

RS Hagel

It’s a phenomenon that I have frequently reported on and will surely report on again.

To conclude, I leave you with perhaps the strangest response yet to the fake Rolling Stones anti-BDS story—a video that was posted on the Islamophobic website Bare Naked Islam. It is so gloating in its misinformed triumph that it must be viewed all the way to the end:

Phan Nguyen

Phan Nguyen lives in New York and has a Twitter account: @Phan_N

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23 Responses

  1. Citizen on March 3, 2013, 12:45 pm

    Rabid Jewish Zionists will throw anything at the wall, hoping it will stick, will divert honest criticism of Israel. Meanwhile, it looks like AIPAC is doing a full frontal assault on Americans who don’t think America should be its own sovereign state, with its own interests first.

  2. Les on March 3, 2013, 12:59 pm

    That’s unfair. Neither Pam Geller nor her fellow Zionists claim there is anything intellectual about their beliefs which rely exclusively on the racism they share.

  3. LanceThruster on March 3, 2013, 1:02 pm

    Well alright!

    I know…

    it’s only rock and roll.

  4. on March 3, 2013, 1:20 pm


  5. Philip Munger on March 3, 2013, 1:25 pm

    the reliably unreliable Algemeiner

    Precious, and so true. Forward that one to Abby Martin’s writers.

    Looks like you’re being hassled at the AIPAC farce, Phan. Good luck!

  6. DaveS on March 3, 2013, 1:46 pm

    Great investigative work, Phan. This whole story is quite funny, with Pam (I was in on the joke) Geller being the funniest part of it. Of course, the spreading of false information in similar fashion is not always as harmlessly amusing, as in the BDS exclusion of Jews and Friends of Hamas stories. But it’s nice to sit back and laugh at this one.

    Btw, best line in the pathetic video at the end: “How much more American can you get than the Rolling Stones?”

  7. EUR1069 on March 3, 2013, 2:01 pm

    Looks like anything related to Israel’s standing in the world is rapidly descending into juvenile antics – damn near being a butt of jokes. Is is indicative of Zionism having peaked and soon being on its last legs (nukes or no nukes)? Wondering who will go first – Rolling Stones or Israel… LOL

  8. chris o on March 3, 2013, 2:24 pm

    I agree with Geller when she says: “It is so delicious to see very cool people standing against savagery, thuggery and injustice.” End the occupation. Go BDS.

  9. justicewillprevail on March 3, 2013, 2:36 pm

    Their desperation to believe it is hilarious, as is their inadvertent admission of the effect of BDS.

  10. Bumblebye on March 3, 2013, 2:38 pm

    Funny how the Stones, who seem to have had no part in this farce, turn from “very cool people” into yet more Israel haters with “they instead condemn Israel ” – while there’s nothing from Pammy against the pranksters, whoever they were.

    • Maximus Decimus Meridius on March 3, 2013, 5:46 pm

      Yeah, well spotted. And BTW where exactly did any of the Stones ‘condemn Israel’? I thought the Jerusalem concert was still on?

  11. Cliff on March 3, 2013, 2:40 pm

    This is like that Jewish organization that cursed a French WW2 resistance group for also standing up for the Palestinians.

    Zionists are so in love with themselves and have weaponized Jewish identity (i.e., recall a comment by proudzionist666 saying he likes to wear his kippah proudly around BDS activists or something lol).

    Shamelessness wouldn’t cut it. I often say ‘pathological narcissism’. That’s more apt.

    It’s like hophmi rushing to declare BDS a failure every other day, since day 1 of BDS.

    Reminds me of this scene from Austin Powers:

    Robin Swallows: Israel, Zionism, Pam Gellar, and the legion of Zionist on-line hasbara-bots

  12. Avi_G. on March 3, 2013, 3:13 pm

    In a French-language Israeli website reporting on the fake Rolling Stones story, Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb is described as “the woman ‘rabbi,’ pro-Palestinian and pro-Iranian.”

    Whatever happened to “Jewish AND democratic”?

    Apparently Zionists like democracy so long as participants adhere to a rigid set of beliefs promulgated by the Zionburo.

  13. Kathleen on March 3, 2013, 3:57 pm

    great report Phan. Geller and team ‘can’t get no satisfaction”

  14. on March 3, 2013, 4:06 pm

    I seen the stones 1998…they were great

  15. dbroncos on March 3, 2013, 5:14 pm

    Where’s that picture of Pam in her bikini? Deee-licious!

  16. on March 3, 2013, 7:03 pm

    i just got rallied over on huffpo…guess I had i t comming

  17. galfa on March 3, 2013, 9:35 pm

    If we have not seen enough, watch this so very uncool man shamelessly gloat about how happy he is on youtube that the Stones will play Jerusalem! And his vid has a lot of likes and just a few dislikes!
    This all goes well with all the other fake news on non-Purim dates of Kravitz, Massive Attack and Jennifer Lopez who refused to breach but the Israeli media nevertheless made the false claims.

  18. kayq on March 4, 2013, 12:22 am

    Zionists will rejoice at anything that praises Israel, moreso that they need to fabricate stories about it even as Purim jokes.

  19. Citizen on March 4, 2013, 2:08 am

    Friends of Palestine Hoax re Hagel, now this Rolling Stone Hoax…. anti-BDS peeps are really fearful of BDS. Frightened of the horrible truths about Israel getting out, eventually, even to the average American. Frightened that The Holocaust shield is falling apart, that the fat blank check will not forever be issued–some day a stand-up comedian will do a whole routine on it, something more than that SNL rehearsal of the Hagel hearing that never aired.

  20. kma on March 4, 2013, 12:14 pm

    Geller asks the right question: “How has our culture so degenerated as to make it virtually inconceivable that our most renowned entertainers would stand with [Israel]?”
    she may not live long enough for the dots to connect in her black-hole-of-a-brain, but the world knows the answer, and the solution is BDS!

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