Rolling Stones perform in Israel despite pressure from Pink Floyd founders to cancel

The Rolling Stones performs on stage at Hayarkon Park in the Mediterranean coastal city of Tel Aviv, on June 4, 2014. The Rolling Stones staged a live concert in Tel

The Rolling Stones performs on stage at Hayarkon Park in the Mediterranean coastal city of Tel Aviv, on June 4, 2014. The Rolling Stones staged a live concert in Tel Aviv.

 

JERUSALEM – Recently, the two surviving founders of Pink Floyd sent the rock band equivalent of a diplomatic cable — an open letter published in Salon — to the Rolling Stones. They asked Mick Jagger and his crew to cancel their first-ever concert in Israel to demonstrate solidarity with the Palestinian people and their struggle against occupation.

But Pink Floyd hit a wall.

The Stones not only went on with the show Wednesday night in Tel Aviv but delayed their opening by 45 minutes to allow devout Jews time to reach the concert after the end of the Jewish holiday of Shavuot, during which Orthodox Jews cannot drive, handle money — or press “Play” on the Stones’ “Exile on Main Street” album.

The Stones’ decision to ignore Roger Waters and Nick Mason of Pink Floyd underscored Israel’s growing popularity as a stop for major musical acts, and it signaled a setback for a campaign known as boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS). The movement seeks to apply international pressure on Israel to end its military occupation of the West Bank, guarantee the right of Palestinian refugees to return to homes they fled or abandoned after 1948, and grant full rights and equality to Arab Palestinian citizens of Israel — in other words:  human and civil rights!

The BDSers are employing tactics similar to those used against the apartheid regime in South Africa a generation ago. Since 2005, the movement has pushed individuals and institutions to sever academic partnerships, boycott products such as Golan wines and Dead Sea beauty products, and divest from Israeli companies.

Israel says it is the only fully functioning [fake?] democracy in the Middle East, so it answers its critics by suggesting they boycott Syria or Iran. But the threat of BDS has rattled Israel. The movement has gained visibility on American and European college campuses, and it has also managed to inflict some financial pain — recently, the Dutch pension management fund PGGM, with assets of $200 billion, divested from five Israeli banks because of their stake in the occupied West Bank.

The BDS movement also scored global publicity — good and bad — when the charity Oxfam tussled with one of its celebrity ambassadors, actress Scarlett Johansson, after her paid endorsement for the Israeli carbonation machine SodaStream, whose manufacturer operates a factory in the West Bank.

But the campaigns to persuade musicians — some of the BDS movement’s most high-profile targets — to boycott Israel have been kind of a flop, if measured by who actually cancels a show and speaks out about it.

“As in the cultural boycott of South Africa, some bands put profit ahead of human rights and end up on the wrong side of history,” said Omar Barghouti, a Palestinian activist and co-founder of the BDS movement. Barghouti said the Rolling Stones are crossing “our boycott picket line and providing Israel with a fig leaf to hide its regime of oppression with.”

It is difficult to know how many bands have decided to forgo performing in Israel for financial reasons or other concerns. But only a relatively few well-known acts have publicly bowed out of performances over concerns about Israel’s treatment of Palestinians — and many of those cancellations occurred years ago. Some of the biggest names to renege include Elvis Costello and Carlos Santana.

“It’s been awhile since the BDS movement had any real success in the cultural arena, and it’s not for lack of trying,” said Adam Shay, a consultant for the group Creative Community for Peace, which is funded by music industry executives to fight boycotts against Israel.

Shay said, “I am not seeing a lot of chatter on the Internet and actions against the Rolling Stones,” who he said might be so huge as to be impervious to appeals. “I would say the higher the financial stakes, the lower the ideological considerations.”

The Rolling Stones charged $200 for a basic ticket.

Rolling Stones fans cheers as the band perform on stage.

Rolling Stones fans cheer as the band perform on stage.

When it comes to whether BDS is raising consciousness about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict or fraying Israeli nerves, that is harder to measure. Barghouti pointed to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s mentions of BDS — 17 of them — in his March speech before the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, a pro-Israel lobby in Washington. The BDS founder said this represents “panic.”

For his part, Netanyahu was dismissive of the movement, saying some “gullible” people “actually do believe that BDS advances peace.” Netanyahu asked: “How could anyone fall for the BS in BDS?”

BDS or not, Israel is now a popular stop on the global pop market. Last month, Justin Timberlake played in Tel Aviv, although after he posted an Instagram photo of himself leaning against the Western Wall, he caught some flak for hashtagging it #Israel. The wall is in the Old City of Jerusalem, which is contested ground.

Timberlake tweeted, “The Holyland . . . What an experience. I will never forget this day.”

Other recent acts to play in Israel include Rihanna, who cavorted in the Dead Sea in a bikini and was dragged into a mini-scandal when an Israeli journalist reported that Rihanna sang, “All I see is Palestine.” She actually sang the original lyric: “All I see is dollar signs.”

Last year, BDS activist and novelist Alice Walker, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of “The Color Purple,” sent R&B star Alicia Keys a public note saying, “It would grieve me to know you are putting yourself in danger (soul danger) by performing in an apartheid country that is being boycotted by many global conscious artists.”

Keys played in Israel in July, anyway.

“BDS has caused no significant damage, and most of the leaders in the West are against it,” said Israeli Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz.

 

GERMANY-MUSIC-WALL-WATERS

British musician and founding member of Pink Floyd Roger Waters performs on stage during his “The Wall” show at the Olympic stadium in Berlin on Sept. 4, 2013. Odd Andersen/AFP

This year, before U.S.-brokered Middle East peace talks collapsed, Israeli Finance Minister Yair Lapid warned that even a limited boycott “will hit every Israeli citizen directly in his pocket.” Lapid cited an internal review that suggested Israel could lose billions in export revenue if the BDS movement kicked in.

In their appeal to the bands that have scheduled shows, the Pink Floyd partners argued that “playing Israel now is the moral equivalent of playing Sun City at the height of South African apartheid.”

But bands that previously canceled shows in Israel are now coming back. The alt-rock Pixies are scheduled to perform this month.

Anti-boycott Israelis say the group’s appearance is especially significant because in 2010 the Pixies joined the Klaxons and Gorillaz Sound System in canceling shows after Israeli commandos killed nine activists on a Turkish vessel that was part of a flotilla trying to break Israel’s naval blockade of the Gaza Strip.

Brian Jones: It Was Murder

Bryan Jones

Bryan Jones

 

Killing of the Rolling Stones guitarist was covered up by his minder, claims new book.

 

THE ROLLING STONES’ BRIAN JONES was killed by builders working at his house in East Sussex, who escaped the attentions of the police after the band’s minder, Tom Keylock, orchestrated a cover-up, claims a book published on the 45th anniversary of the guitarist’s death.

The updated edition of Brian Jones: Who Killed Christopher Robin? also links Jones’ death to the attempted murder three weeks later of Joan Fitzsimons, an alleged witness to the crime.

“There was a cover-up. It’s not a crackpot theory, it’s what happened.”

Terry Rawlings

“[Brian Jones] was definitely murdered and there was a cover-up,” asserts the book’s author Terry Rawlings in the new issue of MOJO, on sale in the UK on July 29. “It’s not a crackpot theory, it’s what happened.”

Mystery has always surrounded the death of the guitarist, who drowned in the swimming pool at his Cotchford Farm country home on July 2, 1969, a month after he was sacked from the Rolling Stones. Jones had become isolated from the other band members, drinking and drugging to excess.

Several of Rawlings’ revelations follow the death in July 2009 of Tom Keylock, the band’s driver/minder, who admitted to the author in a videotaped interview a year before he passed away that he was, indeed, present at Cotchford Farm at the time Jones died. Previously he’d maintained that he had left the property earlier that evening to collect a guitar for Keith Richards.

The book – the original 1994 edition of which first identified builder Frank Thorogood as the primary murder suspect – also sheds more light on who was at Jones’ home on the day he died, and how police failed to act on information that could have brought his alleged killers to justice.

Read more in Mojo interview with Terry Rawlings in the 250th Edition of MOJO magazine, out in the UK now.

PHOTO: Alamy

The Rolling Stones show support for Mick Jagger following death of L’Wren Scott

Getty Picture

Getty Picture

Keith Richards, Ronnie Wood and Charlie Watts release statement after apparent suicide of frontman’s girlfriend on Monday (March 17)

Mick Jagger’s bandmates in The Rolling Stones have shown their support for the frontman following the death of his partner L’Wren Scott earlier this week.

Keith Richards express his shock at the news of Scott’s apparent suicide of Jagger’s partner on Monday (Match 17), in a statement given to Billboard.”No-one saw this coming,” said guitarist Richards. “Mick’s always been my soul brother and we love him… we’re thick as thieves and we’re all feeling for the man.”

“This is such terrible news and right now the important thing is that we are all pulling together to offer Mick our support and help him through this sad time,” adds Ronnie Wood. “Without a doubt we intend to be back out on that stage as soon as we can.

“Meanwhile, drummer Charlie Watts echoes the need to be there for his friend. “Needless to say we are all completely shocked but our first thought is to support Mick at this awful time,” he said.The Rolling Stones postponed the rest of their 14 On Fire tour of Australia and New Zealand following the death of Scott. The band plan to reschedule the dates.

A list of the dates affected by the postponement can be found here. Promoters urge fans with tickets to hold on to their tickets for the rescheduled shows.Jagger released his own statement following the news of Scott’s death in which said he was “struggling” to understand what had happened and that he had been “touched” by tributes and messages of support he has received.

Dear Mick: May memories console you and bring you strength in the days to come.

Unruly Hearts NYC