Rock ‘n’ Roll Israel

Alicia Keys (Reuters)Alicia Keys (Reuters)
(Alicia Keys, Credit: Reuters)
Last year it was R&B singer Alicia Keys. This summer, The Rolling Stones, Neil Young and rock band the Pixies all plan to perform in Israel.
Yet what much of the world doesn’t know or realize, is that these and other performers who publicize their upcoming gigs in the holy land, are met with the wrath and scorn of the Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions (BDS) mob immediately upon doing so. The hate Israel crowd has been successful in dissuading the likes of many musicians over the past few years including big names like Carlos Santana, Elvis Costello and Annie Lennox.
Yet with news of more and more performers boycotting the boycotters and standing up against the haters of Israel, the tide is turning.
Perceptually and in large measure lately, what’s helped change the rhythm of the beat in Israel’s favor is Scarlett Johansson’s public stance as spokeswoman for SodaStream, which got enormous play due to the brand’s spot on this year’s high profile Super Bowl. Indeed her public decision provided enormous publicity to an issue that, for many, didn’t register on the radar. Now, it’s caught fire like never before.
Moreover and because Israel is a lightning rod issue, with academics and campus bullies targeting young students, endorsements from big name celebrities like Johansson, is one key way to shore up fan support for the blue and white brand.
Already, on social media sites there are thousands of names on petitions both for and against Neil Young playing in Israel.
The sick irony, and what none of the haters talk about, is that these performers, many of whom celebrate the true meaning of liberalism and progressive thought, wouldn’t be allowed to play a piccolo anywhere inside any the countries surrounding Israel.
Can you see Madonna, who kicked off her MDNA tour in front of a sold out 35,000 crowd at Ramat Gan Stadium in Tel Aviv, shaking it in Tehran? Or imagine Lady Gaga, who performed in Israel back August of 2009 and plans to return this summer, strutting her stuff in Saudi Arabia?
I have only two words for these artists. Rock on!
Abe Novick is a writer and communications consultant and can be reached at