EXCLUSIVE: ‘Disturbed’ Frontman David Draiman Discusses Viral Clip Defending Israel: ‘We Celebrate Life, Hamas Celebrates Death’

“Disturbed” frontman David Draiman said, “We celebrate life,” in contrast with Hamas “animals” who “celebrate death,”  discussing the viral clip wherein he defends the Jewish state while calling out anti-Israel celebrities and influencers for “profiting off of hate” and perpetuating “blood libels” through “willful ignorance.”

Though he admitted it is “terrifying” to see so many “cower to this terrorism,” he insisted that Jews no longer suffer from “trembling knees,” as he invoked the famed slogan “Never Again,” emphasizing that he will “never be okay with just being a bystander” in the face of injustice.

In an exclusive interview with Breitbart News, Draiman, who heads the Chicago-based heavy metal band Disturbed, which has sold over 17 million records, began by providing the backstory for an incident that went viral at a show of his in Orlando, Florida, last week.


In footage of the event, the heavy metal frontman, who leads one of the most successful rock bands of the 21st century and was ranked 42 on the Hit Parader list of Top 100 Metal Vocalists of All Time, can be seen delivering a heartfelt plea for peace, coexistence, and the end of hate-driven violence.

Highlighting his personal loss of friends “that were slaughtered like animals,” he insisted that “slaughtering innocents at a music festival that’s meant to bring people together of all walks of life is not resistance.”

The Islamist organization Hamas perpetrated the worst terrorist attack in Israel’s history on October 7 in an operation stemming from its radical beliefs, targeting civilians at a music festival and in Israeli towns. The massacre saw terrorists kill approximately 1,200 people and wound over 5,300, with at least 242 hostages taken — more than half of whom still remain in Gaza. 

“We celebrate life,” Draiman exclaimed in the clip, contrasting that with Hamas who “celebrates death” and needs to be “eradicated.” 

Calling for a need for a united future beyond conflict, he is seen warning that now is a “dark time that we are living in, and there are people who like to go ahead and use our fear of one another as an excuse to gain power, as an excuse to profit off of our own misery and our own suffering.”

“It’s dark times my people,” he concludes. “It is dark times, but sometimes darkness can show you the light.”

The unexpected speech came after the singer was prompted by a young girl who offered him tokens of encouragement.

“Her name is Sophia, and originally we had met when she was attending a concert of ours this past summer with her parents, and she was rocking out the whole show,” he told Breitbart News. “There’s a point during the set right before our song ‘The Light’ where I typically look to bring people on stage, and she had just impressed me with how into it she was during the whole concert.” 

After inviting her up, the Disturbed frontman continued, the girl appeared “scared to death,” apparently due to the pyrotechnics on the stage. 

“She’s like, ‘No, no, I don’t want to go up,’ and her parents are pushing her, and she started to cry,” he said. At that point, Draiman “jumped down into the barricade to comfort her and make sure she was alright; just trying to be human for a second.”

After reappearing at the band’s Orlando concert last week, guitar player Danny Donegan recognized her and pointed her out, leading Draiman to jump back down into the barricade once again. 

“This time, she wasn’t afraid anymore and she came up,” he said. “She had this sign saying that she had these gifts, so I asked her what they were, and she took out this little satchel with two bracelets, one of them said my name and the other one said: ‘Am Yisrael Chai’ — ‘The nation of Israel lives and will endure.’”

‘Speaking from my heart’

Draiman, an outspoken defender of Israel, noted that he had normally been “very careful to not infuse Disturbed performances with any kind of political rhetoric,” and instead “tries to make concerts an escape from that,” using shows as a “means of bringing people of all walks of life and all beliefs together.”

“No matter who you are, where you come from, how you identify or what color your skin is, everybody’s welcome, and everybody should feel united,” he said.

However, he admitted, in the recent instance, “it seemed like a sign to me.” 

“I couldn’t not acknowledge her very precise, thoughtful gift without being insulting at that point, so I felt compelled to speak about it,” he said, “and I just went completely off the cuff, speaking from my heart and trying to address the elephant in the room, so to speak.”

“I just did the best that I could and I’m glad that it resonated with as many people as it has apparently so far,” he added. “Who knows? I can only hope that it has a continuing positive effect.”

Draiman, whose band has now accumulated 17 number 1 hits on both Billboard’s and Mediabase’s Rock Radio charts, explained that his aim in speaking out was just to “try to be as accurate and as truthful as possible.” 

“Look, there’s no doubt that the Palestinians have been under the physical and mental control of these brutal terrorists, and granted, it’s a regime that they ‘voted into power,’ they elected into power, and it arises from an ideology that stems from the Muslim Brotherhood itself,” he noted.

The Muslim Brotherhood, whose motto declares, “The Koran is our law, jihad is our way, dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope,” was founded nearly a century ago as a pan-Islamic movement with both political and charitable arms. It openly seeks to establish a worldwide Islamic caliphate based on Sharia law. Hamas, which originated as an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood, aims to establish an Islamic state in the territory it controls.

According to Draiman, the situation in Gaza “was created after the IDF and the Israelis left Gaza in 2005, and left it to the Palestinians to govern themselves.”

“They ended up electing these monsters to govern over them who’ve been systematically utilizing them for years as human shields and have been poisoning the minds of every successive generation since they’ve come into power,” he said.

‘Cult of hatred and antisemitism’

He also noted that the ideology they espouse is not “exclusive” to Hamas or the Palestinians. 

“The cult of hatred, of antisemitism, which permeates throughout much of the Middle East is something that’s existed since prior to the creation of the State of Israel in 1948,” he said. “There were many pogroms and many attacks, though no one talks about the Jewish ‘Nakba’ of sorts: of how just under a million Jews were expelled from their homes all over the Middle East.”

“There used to be a massive Jewish population in Iraq, in Iran, in Syria, and Yemen, and all these places, and literally 800,000 plus people were uprooted [following Israel’s declaring independence] from their homes in those countries as well,” he added. “All of their belongings were taken, all of their wealth and livelihood taken.”

Draiman noted that despite Jews having heard the “gospel” of “Jews, go back home!” for ages, when they did go back home it hardly pleased any of those who called for it.

“Well, we did [go home], and they didn’t seem to like that very much [either],” he said, “which is why the Arab countries in 1948 mounted a unilateral assault against the newly born Jewish state at the time.” 

He also called out the many anti-Israel college professors “placed in positions due to the billions of dollars financed by countries like Qatar,” who he suggested “basically placed people sympathetic to their ‘cause’ in our universities and our institutions of learning and in places that we have, for decades, hailed as places of free thinking and critical thinking, where no such thing exists anymore.”

‘There still is hope’

Though such indoctrination, which we’re “now seeing the results of in real time,” has led to an “explosion of antisemitism” all over the country and globe, Draiman insisted “there still is hope.” 

“I truly do believe that. I think that if the Abraham Accords taught us anything, it’s that there are countries in the Middle East that are tired of the status quo, like the UAE,” he said. “Countries that are tired of continuing to perpetuate the mythology of a never-ending state of refugee status that goes on, that somehow people are born into becoming refugees even in the next generation that didn’t take refuge from anything.”

“That status is indefinite, and the Arab League and Arab countries who were embarrassed by the fact that they couldn’t crush the newly born state of Israel in 1948, that it didn’t happen in ‘67, that it didn’t happen in ‘73 — and that it never will happen, have continued to perpetuate the status quo,” he added.

Though people condemn Israel for “apartheid,” the metal vocalist noted that the apartheid that “really exists” for Palestinians is in “every other country that they actually reside in” other than in Gaza and Judea and Samaria (the West Bank): 

If you look at Syria, if you look at what the status of Palestinians are [sic] in Jordan itself, or in Lebanon itself, or any of the neighboring countries — they are indeed second-class citizens. They are not allowed to vote or hold certain positions in terms of employment. They are treated as if they were in an apartheid situation, whereas naturalized Israeli Arabs, former Palestinians can hold positions in Israel’s parliament, and are some of Israel’s greatest doctors, lawyers, and people in lofty positions, people who are judges, people who serve in the Israeli military that are fully naturalized and who are now Israeli citizens as well. 

“You have [nearly] two million Muslims living and residing in Israel [proper], who enjoy all of the protections that every single other Israeli citizen is afforded, whether they be Jewish or Christian or anything else. And the fact that you have organizations like Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International and the UN itself continuing to perpetuate this absolute lie, of this apartheid system in order to continue to encourage their isolationist narrative and their anti-occupation and anti-colonialist narrative [is outrageous].”  

Pushing back against claims that Jews are not natives of Israeli territory, Draiman insisted that “if the Jews aren’t indigenous to the land of Israel — to the land of Judea — a place where Jews resided [continuously] for 3,000 years [and long] prior to the existence of Islam, then no one is indigenous.”

‘Staggering’ liberal hypocrisy

He also described as a “gargantuan grift” the fact that “people on all sides of the aisle, both left and right, continue to profit and empower themselves from “smearing our people and the state of Israel on a global level.” 

“It’s shocking to me that people who claim to be progressive individuals, who claim to have progressive values, and who claim to be fighting for freedom and acceptance, are some of the least accepting, and some of the ones who are actually making freedom die a slow and painful death, as they continue to go ahead and march for their cause,” he said. 

Draiman continued to call out the “hypocrisy” and “irony” of liberals fighting for those who vigorously oppose their values:

You have people who are for every single liberal value in existence, yet all those values are the complete opposite of what the people in Hamas, and for the most part, the vast majority of Palestinians in general, would go ahead and get behind. You can’t be an openly gay person, male or female; you can’t identify as anything other than just male or female in Gaza or the West Bank or anywhere else that’s governed by either the Palestinian Authority or Hamas. You’re not only persecuted, you’re murdered. You’re dragged by thugs on motorcycles until you’re dead, or thrown off the top of a tall building. There is no pro-choice [or] opportunities for an abortion in those areas. 

“None of the things that they supposedly hold dear, are shared beliefs,” he added, “and yet, somehow, they’ve been able to latch on to that ideology, and the hypocrisy and irony are just staggering.” 

WATCH — Dershowitz: The Gay and Trans ‘Students for Palestine’ Should Go Volunteer in Gaza

On recent denials of Hamas’ brutality on October 7, reminiscent of Holocaust deniers, Draiman highlighted that the terrorists “livestreamed the damn thing themselves — they were proud of themselves as they were doing it.”

“They were calling back to their fathers and mothers, saying: ‘Hey dad, I murdered a Jew, I captured this woman.’ They were only too proud to showcase their barbarism and disgusting bloodlust,” he said. “And yet you have all these people who are like: ‘I will see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil about these ‘freedom fighters.’” 

“Freedom fighters don’t rape. Freedom fighters don’t kill innocent people. Freedom fighters don’t kidnap innocent civilians, children, families, and the elderly; they don’t do things like that,” he added. “These aren’t freedom fighters; these are animals. Even calling them animals is a compliment. Animals don’t do what these barbarians did.”

LISTEN: Hamas Terrorist Calls Parents, Brags About Killing 10 Jews

Israel Defense Force

‘Blood libel after blood libel’ 

Draiman described Palestinian-Dutch model Bella Hadid and her Palestinian-American real estate tycoon father Mohamed, who recently called President Joe Biden a “Zionist criminal” who will be hunted down like the Nazis, as “prime examples of the whole Hadid family.”

“They just keep on posting blood libel after blood libel, slander after slander, verified, unverified — they don’t care; whatever is going to stoke the flames of antisemitism further, whatever is going to further promote what they believe their cause is, and it goes unchecked,” he said. 

He also called out Hollywood super agent Ari Emanuel, who represents some of the biggest names in the entertainment industry, and his Endeavor entertainment and media agency for their apathy in the face of anti-Israel “hate” spread by celebrity clients.

“People like Ari Emanuel and the people over at Endeavor don’t seem to care,” he said. “Apparently money is more important to them than principle, and it’s okay for them to be in business with people who are literally directly responsible — at the very least, partially, given their millions of followers — for the massive increase of antisemitism that we’re seeing play out in the real world in real time on a daily basis.”

The world-famous musician rejected the notion that positions of popular anti-Israel and antisemitic figures stem from pure ignorance.

“It’s willful ignorance. These people are profiting off of hate. You have animals like [social media influencers] Jackson Hinkle and Jake Shields who are trying to benefit from the genuine need for free speech and using that as an excuse to spew all kinds of incendiary garbage all over every platform they exist on,” he said, slamming “people who are benefiting from this surge of hatred and who are seeing a surge in their own popularity,” as well as those that “can continue to grift on a regular basis.”

“It’s an abomination,” he declared.

Offering his personal “humble opinion,” Draiman argued that there is a “very tangible difference between freedom of speech and incitement of hate.” 

“When you go ahead and scream ‘fire’ in a crowded theater when there isn’t one, you’re liable. That is not something that is okay. It’s not something that should be endorsed. It’s not something that should be protected,” he said. “If something is erroneous, and heinous and proven false from the get-go, it shouldn’t be allowed to be amplified in the way that it has.”

“But there’s too much money to be made for these people; there’s too much profit; there’s too much ‘fame’ that they gain as a result of it,” he added. 

Weaponizing antisemitism: ‘the latest trend’ 

According to Draiman, whose grandparents survived the Holocaust and who has been featured on The United States Holocaust Museum’s “Voices On Anti-Semitism” podcast, antisemitism is “the latest trend.” 

An inmate breaks out in tears as he finds out he is not leaving with the first group to the hospital May 4, 1945 after the U.S. liberation troops entered the concentration camp at Wobbelin in Germany. Many inmates were found in pitiful condition. (Courtesy of the National Archives/Newsmakers)

An inmate breaks out in tears as he finds out he is not leaving with the first group to the hospital May 4, 1945, after the United States liberation troops entered the concentration camp at Wobbelin in Germany. Many inmates were found in pitiful condition. (Courtesy of the National Archives/Newsmakers)

“All these idiots are only too eager to hop on the pain-train here and continue to wreak whatever havoc they can,” he said. “They don’t care about the Palestinians, they don’t care about that cause. They care about enriching themselves and being able to continue to fuel this narrative that Jews are evil people, that we are the boogeyman, the scapegoat for every single wrong that is committed in the world.”

He also pointed to how the criticism of Jews tends to overlook widespread achievements, and ignores any major contributions to civil rights and equality movements:

It’s interesting how we’re the one group of people, the one sect, the one religion, where a few bad apples are suddenly demonstrative of the entire people, of the entire religion. Forget about the fact that Jews received more Nobel Prizes than just about any people in existence. The people of Israel in general have done more from a technological perspective to bring the world into the state of technological enlightenment that we are in today than nearly any other country on the planet. Forget about all the good things that Jews have done. Forget about Jews being a part of the movement for civil rights, how we were pioneers in that movement, how we stood up for minority rights — for everybody’s rights, and yet somehow now Jews are quickly forgotten. 

Draiman then spoke of the struggle when facing relentless, irrational hatred, as the world’s oldest prejudice intensifies.

“All these hate-mongers want to go ahead and point the finger to the Harvey Weinsteins and Jeffrey Epsteins of the world and the monsters that are among us,” he said. “Everybody has bad people, and I condemn our own bad people as powerfully and loudly as anyone. I don’t think anybody is free from condemnation for their sins or for their crimes.”

However, he noted, “We’re the only people where others are just dying for any open opportunity or excuse to fuel their completely unjustified hatred.” 

‘You can’t reason with a rabid dog’

Acknowledging that it is “simply amazing how the world’s oldest hatred keeps circling back around, generation after generation,” Draiman proposed that “what’s happening right now is not only frightening, but maddening.” 

“You can’t reason with a rabid dog. When somebody is already that far gone, it doesn’t matter how much sense you make, it doesn’t matter how lucid your argument is, it doesn’t matter how much or how many facts you have to support it. They’re not interested in that,” he said. 

“They’re just interested in whatever fuel is going to keep the fire burning,” he added.

Draiman turned to progressive politicians, admitting he was unable to grasp their ability to defend Hamas and preach the terror group’s narratives:

You also have the “wonderful” people sitting in Congress like Jamaal Bowman, Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar and good old AOC, and then a whole bunch who just go ahead and swallow every single bit of Hamas’ narrative. You have people who are supposed to be the most “brilliant voices of our time,” like Cornel West, calling these barbarians “freedom fighters.” There can’t be more of an oxymoron in existence. How they’ve been able to, excuse the pun, hijack the whole social justice cause is absolutely incredible to me; I will never be able to understand how they made that magic trick work. But they did, and here we are, and we’re dealing with the effects of it in real time.

‘Never Again?’

Referencing Disturbed’s hit song Never Again,” a track from its 2010 “Asylum” album addressing the Holocaust and criticizing its deniers, Draiman asserted that it seems tragic how the world “keeps saying ‘Never Again,’ until there’s the opportunity to say, ‘Never Again, Again.’”

“Was it really ‘Never Again’ or is it ‘Never “Never Again”’?” he asked. “I know we mean it as Jews. It’s just hard to believe that the rest of the world does, and we definitely are the canary in the coal mine here.”

“It always starts with us and it never ends with us,” he added. “Once it’s us, they’re gonna move on to the next one. It’s inevitable.”

Calling it “terrifying to see that so many people cower to this terrorism,” Draiman insisted that terror is “exactly what it is,” and it is long overdue to confront it.

“It’s bullying; it’s strong-arming; it’s gaslighting,” he said. “It’s terrorism on a level that I’ve never seen in my lifetime, and it has to be ‘Never Again.’ We have to take a stand. We can’t capitulate. We can’t cower to these people.”

“We are no longer Jews with trembling knees; we now have the State of Israel; we have the IDF,” he added. “We have so many organizations that have been doing an amazing job, and there’s so much more that we still can and should do and hopefully we will.”

On raising funds for musician Matisyahu’s security due to pro-Palestinian protests that led to show cancellations,  Draiman affirmed that he had been watching the popular reggae singer “closely.” 

“We have been in constant contact with each other. We’ve become quick friends, Matisyahu and I. I’ve got his back. I was able to assist not only in raising funds, but also in arranging security.”

“I’m helping anyway I can,” he added. “I’m helping anyway I can for everybody.”

Draiman also noted that when Jewish students at Harvard University defied a boycott last week by staffers at a local theater venue in order to enjoy an evening of celebration and solidarity with Israeli musician Ishay Ribo, he was on the phone trying to look for an alternate venue for them “the minute [he] got wind of it.” 

“I was trying to arrange for private security via off-duty police officers to get involved, and thank God the event was still able to go on, even with some protesting going on outside; they were unable to shut it down, which was nice,” he said. “But I’m always going to do whatever I can, with whatever power that I have been blessed with, to try and get our people’s back.” 

“I will never be okay with just being a bystander and sitting on the sidelines. I can’t; my conscience won’t allow it,” he concluded. “People need to just not talk the talk, but walk the walk. It is time.”

Joshua Klein is a reporter for Breitbart News. Email him at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @JoshuaKlein.


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