DISTURBED frontman David Draiman has slammed "the mainstream media" for its "biased, libelous, and often erroneous portrayal of Israel" in the current conflict in Gaza and has accused a number of the world's biggest news organizations of "set[ting] the stage for a new Holocaust."
Draiman — who has extensive family in Israel, including his brother, Jerusalem-based folk rock and ambient musician Ben Draiman, as well as his grandmother — took to his Twitter account on Friday (August 8) to write: "The mainstream media's biased, libelous, and often erroneous portrayal of Israel in the current conflict has fueled a wave of anti-Semitism, the likes of which I have not witnessed in my lifetime. Well done, CNN, BBC, Reuters [and] MSNBC, you've set the stage for a new Holocaust. Maybe you'd be happy/satisfied when the extremist nutbags you defend so much, who eagerly martyr their own children who chant for the death of all Jews, not just the Israeli's, and whose ethics, morals and values stand diametrically opposed to your own liberal views of freedom of religion, gay marriage, pro choice, and even democracy itself, strip the region of the only bastion of true liberty that exists in the region. Well, guess what? Never again. Jews aren't so easy to fuck with anymore."
The Israel-Gaza conflict that began on July 8 has claimed more than 1,800 Palestinian lives as as well as 64 Israeli soldiers and three civilians.
Both of Draiman's maternal grandparents were survivors of the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, while many others on his mother's side were wiped out by the Nazis.
The DISTURBED song "Never Again", from 2010's "Asylum" album, was written about the Holocaust and calls out people who deny it.
The United States Holocaust Museum has featured Draiman in its "Voices On Anti-Semitism" podcasts.
In January 2011, Draiman gave a lengthy interview to the Jerusalem Post in which he spoke in detail about his Jewish upbringing, spending part of his childhood and teen years in Israel, and how he confronts anti-Semitism among rock fans. Draiman recalled, "I came [to Israel] many times as a kid with my family. I think the first time I was six. I used to come here for summer camp a couple times in my childhood, and I spent the year after high school here studying at Neve Zion yeshiva."
Draiman told The Pulse Of Radio that during his year of religious study, his life could have taken a very different course. "The level of study that I was at, I was probably only about two or three years away from being ordained as a rabbi, so I really needed to figure out in my head where I wanted to go with things," he said. "And I just couldn't do it habitually anymore. I grew a very strong dislike for the organized aspect of religion over the course of time."
Draiman also told the Jerusalem Post that he attended five different Jewish day schools as a teenager, including the Wisconsin Institute for Torah Study in Milwaukee — where he was asked to leave after the first year.
The singer admitted that the strict religious code at the school led him to rebel, revealing, "I'd set my friends up on dates with girls that I knew, in defiance of the school… Or I'd smoke a little bit of weed here and there, I'd get my buddies high, so I was the drug dealer on campus even though that's not what I was doing."
Asked by the Post about running into heavy metal fans who are anti-Semitic or sometimes even neo-Nazis, Draiman replied, "I'm incredibly defiant against neo-Nazis and skinheads," adding that he convinced one fan who used to come to the band's early shows in Chicago to get a swastika tattoo removed from his head after he learned that Draiman was Jewish.
DISTURBED went on an open-ended hiatus in 2011, with Draiman saying at the time that all four members wanted some time to pursue other endeavors.
DISTURBED has not indicated when it plans to return, although all four members say they're likely to come back.