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Seattle-based rapper Macklemore has stirred debate with the release of his latest track, “Hind’s Hall,” which delves into themes of anti-Israel sentiment and political activism.

By Shiryn Ghermezian, Algemeiner

Seattle-based rapper Macklemore said on Tuesday that he will donate all proceeds from his new song to a controversial UN agency responsible for Palestinian refugees that has come under fire for 19 of its employees allegedly participating in the Hamas terrorist attacks across southern Israel on Oct. 7.

The American rapper, whose real name is Benjamin Hammond Haggerty, released on YouTube this week the music video for his new track Hind’s Hall. In the song, Macklemore, 40, raps about his avid support for students participating in anti-Israel protests at a number of university campuses across the US in recent weeks. He claims that the often violent protesters who chant for the destruction of Israel want “peace” and implies that the Oct. 7 terrorist attacks were an act of “resistance.”

“What is threatenin’ about divesting and wantin’ peace?” he raps at the start of the song. “The problem isn’t the protests, it’s what they’re protesting/It goes against what our country is funding/Block the barricade until Palestine is free … Screamin’ ‘Free Palestine’ ’til they’re home at last.” He also claims that antisemitism is not synonymous with anti-Zionism.

In January, Israel alleged that 12 employees of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) were involved in the Oct. 7 terrorist attacks, assisted in kidnapping Israelis that day, and had other close ties to Hamas. Israel said one UNRWA employee, a math teacher, was a Hamas operative who helped kidnap an Israeli soldier from Be’eri in southern Israel on Oct. 7 and assisted in the transfer of Hamas weapons and trucks. Israel said the math teacher had a “logistical position” in Hamas’ Deir el-Balah battalion, was involved in “receiving and holding hostages,” and was “seen photographing a female hostage.”

The UN has been probing the allegations in an ongoing investigation. Last month, a UN spokesperson said that one case had been closed and four others suspended, citing a lack of evidence.

As a result of the accusations, roughly 15 countries suspended funding to UNRWA, but some have since resumed their financial support for the agency. In recent months, the UN received information about seven more UNRWA employees allegedly involved in the Oct. 7 attacks. Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant also alleged that 1,468 UNRWA workers “are known to be active” members of Hamas or Palestinian Islamic Jihad, another terrorist group based in Gaza, and that 185 of them are “active in the military branches of Hamas.”

UNRWA has also been accused of inciting antisemitism, terrorism, and hatred of Israel in the textbooks it issues to Palestinians schools.

In Hind’s Hall, Macklemore raps about Israel: “A state that’s gotta rely on an apartheid system to uphold an occupyin’ violent/History been repeating for the last seventy-five/The Nakba never ended, the colonizer lied … Where does genocide land in your definition, huh?” The Grammy Award-winning rapper also called out politicians who support the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) and Christians United for Israel (CUFI).

The song’s title is a reference to Columbia University’s Hamilton Hall, the building that anti-Israel student protesters broke into and occupied in April. The student activists nicknamed the building “Hind’s Hall” to commemorate Hind Rajab, a 6-year-old Palestinian girl who was killed in the Gaza Strip during Israel’s ongoing war against Hamas terrorists controlling the region.

“What if you were in Gaza? What if those were your kids?” Macklemore raps in Hind’s Hall. “If the West was pretendin’ that you didn’t exist/you’d want the world to stand up and the students finally did/let’s get it.”

Clips of several Israel-supporting politicians are also used in the music video, including videos of Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky,) Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis and even Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Macklemore additionally raps about not wanting to vote for US President Joe Biden in the 2024 general election because of his support for Israel’s war against Hamas. “The blood is on your hands, Biden, we can see it all,” he raps.

While Hind’s Hall has been widely praised by anti-Israel activists, it has also received backlash from many on social media, some of whom noted Macklemore’s past allegedly antisemitic behavior.

In 2014, the rapper performed on stage in Seattle while wearing a fake wig and beard, and an oversized prosthetic nose — an outfit choice that B’nai B’rith International said was “deeply offensive and propagates Jewish stereotypes.”

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