Elton John to Israelis on music boycotts: "Ain't gonna stop me from coming here, baby"

Between this and playing the Limbaugh wedding, I’m half-expecting him to turn up at a tea-party rally next week. Alternate headline: “Openly gay man now one of most popular entertainers in conservative America.”

Dude, I think this might be Rush’s influence.

The legendary British rocker’s concert on Thursday night followed a string of cancellations by artists like Elvis Costello and the Pixies. Resisting a growing wave of calls from pro-Palestinian activists to boycott the Jewish state, John gave Israelis a rare reason to smile amid their increasing sense of international isolation.

“Ain’t gonna stop me from coming here, baby,” he told the cheering crowd in Tel Aviv, saying he believed music should spread peace and bring people together: “That is what we do. We do not cherry-pick our consciences, OK?” he added, in an apparent swipe at the artists who have canceled concerts in Israel…

“I have always believed that music inhabits a world set apart from politics, religious differences or prejudice of any kind,” he said in a statement before coming to Tel Aviv.

He booked the Tel Aviv concert months ago and has been taking heat for it ever since, beginning long before the flotilla raid gave international bien-pensants their latest pretext for wanting to boycott Israel. As far back as February, British academics were begging him to cancel; more recently, Facebook groups were set up to apply pressure. It would have been easy for him to use the flotilla as an excuse to pull out, especially since his last appearance in Israel back in 1993 didn’t go as smoothly as he’d have liked. Hats off to him for standing on principle, especially after getting so much grief from the left over his detente with Limbaugh.

It’s worth following that last link and comparing the 1993 story to the one linked up top on the current boycott push. Israelis like to console themselves, I think, with the idea that whatever government is in power in Tel Aviv is simply doing a poor job of making its case to the world, but either (a) that’s a problem that’s curiously endemic to all Israeli governments or (b) maybe the world isn’t so interested in hearing the case they’re trying to make. Put me down as subscribing to theory (b), with the following a case in point: Here’s video, found aboard the flotilla, of the “peace activists” in charge encouraging passengers to throw any IDF boarding party into the sea. Maybe Elton doesn’t cherry-pick his conscience, but a lot of other people do.