The Rolling Stones rolled into Israel and took the stage at Tel Aviv’s Hayarkon Park Wednesday night, much to the delight of the 50,000-strong Israeli crowd.
Not so delighted were surviving Pink Floyd band members, Roger Waters and Nick Mason, who, in an open letter to the Rolling Stones, implored them not to play in Israel but to join them in boycotting the long-embattled country:
“With the recent news that the Rolling Stones will be playing their first-ever concert in Israel,” begins the letter, “And at what is a critical time in the global struggle for Palestinian freedom and equal rights, we, the two surviving founders of Pink Floyd, have united in support of Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS), a growing, nonviolent global human rights movement initiated by Palestinian civil society in 2005 to end Israel’s occupation, racial discrimination and denial of basic Palestinian rights.”
But like the Stones say, “You Can’t Always Get What You Want,” and so it was with the Pink Floyd gents.
The discouragement didn’t seem to phase the Rolling Stones, however, as timeless front man, Mick Jagger, kicked off the show with his usual high energy, doing some imploring of his own, to the crowd, by launching into the Stones’ iconic, Start Me Up.
It was the first time in their 50 years as a band that the Rolling Stones had played in Israel, according to the Daily Mail, and the band took full advantage. Giving the Israeli Stones fans their moneys worth, the Rolling Stones cranked through a 19-song set that included Brown Sugar, Honky Tonk Women, and Angie, according to The Times of Israel. You can see the set list below.
Finishing, appropriately, with Satisfaction, Mick Jagger was indeed satisfied, a point he made clear in a farewell Tweet to Israel and its Rolling Stones Fans – In Hebrew no less!
תודה לכולם בישראל על קבלת פנים נפלאה. היתה הופעה אדירה ונזכור אותה תמיד. pic.twitter.com/BwH3QJzdd3
— Mick Jagger (@MickJagger) June 5, 2014
Which translates to: “Thanks to everyone in Israel for the wonderful reception. It was a great concert and we will always remember it.”
Before their historic Israel show, some of the band visited the Western Wall. Rolling Stones that made the trip were Mick Jagger, Ronnie Wood and Charlie Watts, while Keith Richards opted out. Justin Timberlake also visited the Western Wall, of course not without controversy, when he was in Israel to do a show last week, also going against the wishes of the Pink Floyd contingent.
Along with the Rolling Stones and Timberlake, other artists not honoring the boycott include Alicia Keys and Rihanna, reports CBS News. Those with planned Israel shows this summer include Backstreet Boys, Neil Young and Megadeth.
But according to music journalist, Alan Light, Pink Floyd’s boycott is still legit.
“(They’re) trying to largely use this as a way to draw attention to the cause,” he said. “And we’re here and we’re talking about it, so to that extent, what Pink Floyd has done still counts as a success.”
Concludes Waters, “Crossing the picket line provides propaganda that the Israeli government will use in its attempts to whitewash the policies of its unjust and racist regime.”
Apparently many disagree, including the Rolling Stones.
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