Macklemore was invited to give an impromptu speech at a pro-Palestine rally in Washington, D.C., on Saturday (November 4). “I am teachable,” he told the crowd. “I don’t know enough. But I know enough that this is a genocide.” The speech follows a statement on October 19 in which the rapper condemned both the Hamas attacks on Israel and Israel’s subsequent assault of Gaza, calling the latter an “unfolding genocide” and a “U.S. backed human catastrophe.”

In footage of the speech in D.C., Macklemore said, “First and foremost, this is absolutely beautiful to observe today.… There are thousands of people here that are more qualified to speak on the issue of a free Palestine than myself, but I will say this. They told me to be quiet. They told me to do my research, to go back, that it’s too complex to say something, right? To be silent in this moment. In the last three weeks, I’ve gone back and I’ve done some research. And I am teachable. I don’t know enough. But I know enough that this is a genocide.”

In his initial statement in October, Macklemore decried the “bombings, kidnappings, and murder of the Israeli people,” but said “killing innocent humans in retaliation as collective punishment is not the answer.” He called for a ceasefire and for humanitarian aid to be allowed into Gaza, adding, “There’s the fear of immediately being labeled Anti-Semitic when you say anything against the Israeli government. This is false. I can wholeheartedly love my Jewish brothers and sisters while simultaneously condemning the Israeli government for their mass killings and Apartheid.”

He added, in part, “We are collectively praying for Israel before NFL football games, projecting Israeli flags onto our buildings and watching in-depth news stories on the catastrophic bombings in Israel. All are important ways of honoring the Israeli lives lost and those that are suffering because of it. But why are we not doing the same for Palestinians? How are one group of people’s lives worth more than others?”

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