After receiving over 30,000 views in just two days, a viral video of a boycott Israel flash mob in Grand Central Station was taken down on April 1st by YouTube.
The flash mob started with a handful of people and within a minute saw dozens more singing and dancing to a parody of the tune of "Don't Stop Believin’" by Journey. "Don't stop boycottin'," they sang, "Think when you're shopping." They called out companies benefiting from Israeli occupation, and celebrated Roger Waters, Gil Scott Heron, and Elvis Costello, who are among the many artists to have heeded the Palestinian civil society call to boycott Israel until it complies with international law.
YouTube claims the video was taken down after receiving a claim of copyright infringement. Activists see it as an example of using selective copyright enforcement for political censorship and argue that a pattern is developing. In January, YouTube removed a Saint Louis Boycott Motorola Flash Mob video that parodied the Beyonce/Lady Gaga song "Telephone" as the video reached 35,000 views. As was the case with the Saint Louis flash mob video, there are tens of parody versions of Journey's "Don't Stop Believin’" currently posted on YouTube. Others have argued that parody is an activity protected from copyright claims. Activists have now posted a silent version of the video.
The Palestinian-led BDS movement is a moral, nonviolent campaign for human rights modeled on the worldwide boycott movement that helped to bring an end to apartheid in South Africa.