Friday 6 June 2014

Rolling Stones in Israel

"Hag Shavuot Sameah Israel! (Happy holiday Israel!"

I quite like the Rolling Stones. Well, if I didn’t before, I do now. It’s not that I don’t like the thumping beat and gratifyingly raucous guitar backing. I am pretty rock’n’roll. It’s just that Mick’s voice sounds small and reedy compared to ... who shall I say... Freddy Mercury -  or perhaps a more apt comparison would be any of the original black American guitar players he emulates, for instance Huddie Ledbetter whose voice seems to lift the heart. Well, it does mine.

Anyway, here I go again, banging on about Israel, whose tribulations are arguably of little interest to many, but unbalanced reports about it form a substantial part of the case against the BBC’s impartiality.

The Rolling Stones defied several passionate entreaties from their fellow musicians to boycott Israel, largely on the grounds that they refused to perform in apartheid South Africa or something.

We all know, or if we don’t it’s because the BBC hasn’t bothered to educate us truthfully, that Israel is not an apartheid state. In fact it’s the opposite. 
Anyway, it was interesting to note the varied and wonderous ways in which the Rolling Stones’s Israel concert was reported in the media. 

The BBC’s report had the feel of gritted teeth about it.They love the Stones, but they don’t much love the fact that they performed in Israel, and even less that they seemed to enjoy the whole experience. Mick even spoke a bit of Hebrew. Their report was short but not particularly sweet.

“The Rolling Stones have played their first ever gig in Israel.Promoters for the concert in Tel Aviv described the show as "historic".The Stones resumed their world tour in Oslo last week, after taking time out following the death of Sir Mick Jagger's partner, L'Wren Scott.”
 plus a short video.

Sky’s website had a sour-toned report, which referred to a “Controversial Israel Gig.”
Why ‘controversial?’ Because the BDS people decreed it so. Their report was longer but more than half of it was devoted to the Palestinians and  their wretched activists and campaigners. There is also a video.

The only proper review of the concert was in the Times of Israel.    The concert went down well, suffice it to say.

This is an interesting one. Washington Post:

Rolling Stones perform in Israel despite pressure from Pink Floyd founders to cancel
“ Pink Floyd hit a wall” 
Most of the piece is dedicated to the BDS movement and the effect it might have/is having on Israel. However it was written in an even-handed way, which avoided sounding like pro-Palestinian pleading, like Sky's appeared to. There is a reference to Israel’s popularity as a stop on the global pop market, and the general impression is of something to which the BBC aspires - impartiality.

We're here!

The Mail has gone overboard as is their wont. Millions of pictures (not literally) and some surprisingly supportive btl comments. The emphasis is on the Stones's ‘out-of-concert’ activities; snap of the Stones getting off the plane, trip to the Western Wall, and walkabout pics. And a slightly longer video than the BBC’s. There was quite a bit about Justin Timberlake and his spat with BDSers as well as the ubiquitous plea from Roger Waters about not  “crossing the picket line” and “racist regime”.

“Mick Jagger speaks Hebrew at historic Israel gig.”
 No-one mentioned that Mick seemed to speak Hebrew with an Italian accent, but the Express didn’t even mention BDS!

1 comment:

  1. Apparently Bob Dylan told Ronnie Wood that the Stones would simply have to play Israel, given how well he himself was treated when HE played there.
    Add to that the peerless Leonard Cohen...and these are great days for those latter day psalmists.
    As for the likes of Roger Waters?...bitter misogynists that onle the BDS would love....let them.
    God Bless Israel.


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