Why ‘geek’ Samuel Put His Pride on Show in First Video – Jewish Telegraph

ZIONIST rapper Antithesis is just that: the antithesis of the rapper stereotype.

Antithesis AKA Samuel Green read Oriental studies at Trinity College, Cambridge. He currently works for an acclaimed marketing company in Switzerland by day and has, on occasion, led services at Kingston, Surbiton & District Synagogue.

So in recent years he has grown accustomed to surprised reactions when he tells people about his musical endeavours.

“Anyone who knows me, knows that I don’t come across as a typical rapper but that is where my name comes from,” explained Samuel, who has just released his first music video.

The 27-year-old added: “People tend to be shocked, particularly with the genre of music that I am involved in.

“But I enjoy having two very different aspects to my life – it makes it more interesting.”

Samuel, whose grandfather is from Broughton Park, Salford, released his debut music video which features the title track from his third EP, Proud to be a Zionist.

And the MC explained that he wouldn’t have been able to do it without the support of his loyal fans.

He said: “I’ve always wanted to shoot a video, but it was only ever a dream. But when I participated in the ROI Global Summit for Young Jewish Innovators in Tel Aviv last summer, I met someone who was involved in the film industry in Israel who said they would help me make one.”

Samuel then decided to email all his followers, asking them to pledge five or 10 pounds each to help fund the video.

The ‘Zionist rapper’ said that the video was only made possible through these donations.

“It was touch and go, but we made it and I’d love to make more in the future,” he added.

The video’s release has been timed to coincide with the 150th anniversary of the birth of Theodor Herzl – the founder of modern Zionism – and the single was released on Yom Haatzmaut itself.

Samuel revealed that the ideas for his lyrics evolve over a period of time and that there is a particular message in his latest song.

“Broadly speaking, I want people to feel that being Zionist and having a strong connection to Israel is something we can celebrate,” he said.

“From my experiences in the UK I think that we’re afraid to say in a public forum that we’re Zionists or Jewish and that’s unfortunate.”

The video for Proud to be a Zionist was shot in Jerusalem utilising venues as symbols.

Ancient Israel is represented by the Old City, the beginnings of Zionist immigration is symbolised by Yemin Moshe – which was built during the first aliya – and the modern state can be seen through the Knesset.

Samuel has had interest for upcoming tours in Canada, South Africa and Australia and spoke of the enjoyment he gets from gigging.

“I performed in front of 40,000 people in 2008 at the Salute to Israel concert in Trafalgar Square,” he said.

“That was amazing – when I got on to stage I felt on top of the world.”

But Samuel, who was an active member of the youth organisation FZY, is still extremely proud of his humble roots.

“My friend commented on the video this week and said they loved it. But they also said I would always be a Cambridge geek – they’re probably right,” he joked.

All profits from Antithesis’s CD sales go to the Antithesis Charitable Fund. You can order Proud to be a Zionist from www.antithesismc.com and also watch the video there.

Jewish Chronicle: Samuel Green posts a hip-hop tribute to the Holyland on YouTube


By Candice Krieger

Self-styled Zionist rapper Samuel Green is becoming a YouTube sensation.

Mr Green, who performs under the alter-ego Antithesis, has created his debut music video. Released in honour of last week’s Yom Ha’atzmaut, the video, called Proud to be a Zionist, has received more than 5,000 hits on YouTube and the track is gathering momentum. It is in the top 50 best-rated videos for April in the ‘Music – Israel’ category.

The former Mazkir of FZY, Mr Green, 27, tells People: “The video is aimed at the people in the community. I feel that a lot of us are embarrassed to say we are a Zionist as, in the current climate, it can be viewed as a negative word. But we should be proud of it. Being a Zionist does not mean you are an extremist.”

Mr Green, who works for a multi-national marketing firm in Switzerland, recorded Ima Mechaka Babayit in 2001, which Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks described as a “very novel prayer”. He has since produced EPs The Israel Question and United Kingdom of Racism. Varsity named him one of the Top 100 Most Talented Cambridge Students, and the JC included him in its ‘Power 100’ list of those with the most influence over the British Jewish community.

Antithesis Interview with Isrelate.com

Samuel Green AKA ‘Antithesis’ is a Jewish Zionist rapper currently living in Switzerland. At the age of just 25 he has released two EPs, completed a degree in Oriental Studies at Cambridge University and raised thousands of pounds for charity.

Isrelate’s Sam Hailes caught up with him to find out more about this interesting rapper.

Sam: In ‘Ivrit,daber Ivrit’ you rap

“I’ll tell you my dream –
To finish my studies and travel to my country
Cos if I really want to be a Zionist
I can’t stay here and live as a Jew”

So do you plan to start living in Israel permanently?

Antithesis: I do indeed intend to move to Israel permanently and hope to be there in around 2010, if all goes to plan. The state of Israel is an incredible achievement and the opportunity to be a part of it is hugely exciting. I am looking forward to a direct personal involvement in the next chapter of the history of the Jewish people.

Sam: Your latest EP, ‘United Kingdom of Racism’ has a controversial title. Tell us about the story behind the title track.

Antithesis: As I say in the song, I grew up very much feeling a British patriot, being proud of being British and the country. To a large extent, this is still true. However, I used to dismiss or ignore those from an older generation who talked about the significant levels of racism in British society. Unfortunately, as I have grown older, I have seen this more and more evident, and have increasingly been on the receiving end of anti-Semitic incidents. The first, most notable occasions occurred while I was studying at Cambridge, which really shocked me as I considered that a university would be full of free thinking and liberal tendencies. It was only later that I discovered Nick Griffin [leader of the British National Party (BNP)] was a Cambridge graduate. Last year in London, I even had to call the police to deal with an awkward situation. This is just me; several of my friends have even worse stories.

While I think that the British government is doing what it can to increase tolerance and respect among British citizens, I still feel that there is a lot of racism simmering beneath the surface. I think that this often surfaces in the immigration debate for example. It’s difficult as I appreciate the need for a sensible debate on the issue, but it is then used as a bandwagon by certain people to legitimise otherwise abhorrent views. I do hope for the future; although with anti-Semitic attacks in particular on the rise, I think it will be some time yet before this issue is resolved.

Sam: What would you say is the main cause of anti-Semitism, and what would you say to those who hold such views?

Antithesis: It seems to me that human beings like to be with other people who are similar to them. This could manifest itself in terms of shared likes/dislikes; shared hobbies, or shared cultural background. But with this coming together of like-minds there is a danger of the formulation of a them against us mindset; positioning the group against their perceived other. This could manifest itself in something as trivial (and normally harmless) as a football rivalry, or more seriously in the form of racism.

I don’t know why Jews seem to have suffered so much over history. I’m sure there are people who have written books on this. Perhaps it is a combination of the fact that we have been around for a long time, and that we are always a minority. Polemics against us from other religions haven’t helped either – I was recently threatened by a man who wanted to hold me personally responsible for the death of Jesus.

As for what I would say to anti-Semites, I don’t think there is really much to say. If people have irrational beliefs it tends to be hard to change their minds. The important thing is to educate future generations through school; popular culture; the home; that racism of any kind is abhorrent and unacceptable.

Sam: What made you decide to donate all the proceeds of your CD sales to good causes? Which charities are you currently supporting and why?

Antithesis: On my first CD, there is a song about Israel’s missing soldiers and another about victims of terrorism. I felt it would be unethical to profit from these themes and would rather put the money towards a good cause.

Profits from the first CD were split between a campaign to return Israel’s missing soldiers and a fund to support victims of terrorism and their families. Now all the money is being donated to the missing soldiers campaign.

People are more likely to buy it if it is for a good cause rather than to line my pockets; this enables a wider spread of the message.  One of the central tenets of the Jewish youth organisation of which  I was a member was ‘tzedaka’, one of whose meanings is charity. Tzedaka is an important  part of Judaism and I have been brought up to consider my responsibility to others instead of just thinking of myself.

Sam: You describe Israel as ‘A land which people have cried and died on, but despite all its troubles it continues to strive on’. How has Israel managed to survive so much trouble?  And what will keep the nation into the future?

Antithesis: I don’t really feel that I’m the best person to answer this question, but I can give it a go! For me, Israel’s success has been built on a sense of a common greater purpose, uniting the nation towards one goal. This has given the country the determination and desire to survive, despite having to fight against hugely more numerous and powerful foes. There has also been quite a lot of luck; perhaps some would see this as divine intervention; I’m

personally nervous about ascribing certain acts to coming from God’s hand although I would like it to be true!

Unfortunately today we can see divisions in Israeli society: religious & secular; Ashkenazi- European origin & Mizrachi- Eastern origin; rich & poor; left & right; Jew & Arab. In my humble opinion, it is essential that Israel seeks unity within itself to survive for the future.

Sam: Tell us about your gap year in Israel.

Antithesis: My gap year consisted of four months of study about Judaism, Zionism,  Jewish history, Hebrew and also leadership training, so that I could return to the UK and adopt a leadership position in my youth organisation. The following five months consisted of different types of volunteering activities, including teaching English in a secondary school in a development town and working with new immigrant Ethiopian children

Sam: You have already achieved so much through your music by raising money for charity and giving both the Jewish people and zionists a voice in hip hop culture. What is Antithesis’ hopes and ambitions for the future?

Antithesis: Thanks, but I think that in the big scheme of things my impact has been pretty small! I like to think that I have made a small difference to a few people’s lives and/or opinions, and that is enough for me. As for the future, I very much hope to move to Israel within a couple of years, where I hope to build a family and make some small positive contribution to the future of the Jewish people. How that will manifest itself remains to be seen.

Sam: Thanks very much for your time Antithesis, all the best for your future projects.

For more information on Antithesis or to buy his CDs please visit www.antithesismc.com

New Antithesis Interviews

Antithesis was recently in Spain where local radio station Radio Sefarad took the opportunity to record two interviews, one in English, and one in (slightly dodgy!) Spanish. Check them out here:

http://www.radiosefarad.com/andromeda.php?q=m&m=/Uploads/Noticias/A02052009englishcorner.mp3 (English)

http://www.radiosefarad.com/andromeda.php?q=m&m=/Uploads/Noticias/A25042009laentrevista.mp3 (Spanish)

They have a whole lot of interesting programming, so worth checking out the whole site and archive at www.radiosefarad.com

For those who haven’t seen it check out the previously unseen material of the recording of Ima Mechaka Babayit on the Antithesis facebook fan page (and become a fan!): www.facebook.com/antithesismc

Elsewhere work on new material is progressing…somewhat slower than had originally hoped due to various other commitments, but we’re getting there.

Sami Green Goes from Communal Leader to Global Rap Star – Jewish Chronicle

What does a former director of the Federation of Zionist Youth and general communal macha go on to become? A rap star of course. Well, if you are Sami Green that is.

Twenty-four year-old Mr Green, aka Antithesis, is making a name for himself as an international MC and hip-hop star. He has recently released his second album, United Kingdom of Racism.

“I am called Antithesis because I am the antithesis of the stereotypical rappers,” he tells People. “I first started rapping when I was 15 and the album combines my two passions of Israel and music.”

United Kingdom of Racism features five songs, which celebrate different aspects of Jewish identity in Israel and the UK. All proceeds go to charity. His previous CD, The Israel Question reached four-figure sales in 14 countries.

Mr Green featured in the JC’s Power 100 list of the UK’s most influential Jews. While at Cambridge University, he was elected president of both the Jewish and Israel societies and founded Kol Cambridge – an Israeli and Jewish music radio programme, which was nominated for the BBC student radio award. He then spent a year as head of FZY. He was recently asked by television company Endemol to be a contestant on the next series of Big Brother but declined.

Currently living in Kingston, South London, Mr Green is preparing to move to Geneva to start a new marketing job.

He says: “I hope to carry on with my music. I love doing it.”