Summer is the time of year when the big stars of the musical world arrive in Israel for spectacular concerts, staged in the largest arenas, with audiences in their thousands. And, as sure as night follows day, the BDS mob (whom I have mentioned before), put pressure on the artists to join their antisemitic boycott and refuse to perform in Israel. Fortunately, artists such as Alicia Keys and Cliff Richard, have the moral courage to resist the haters and Israel-bashers and to reject the dishonest and totally mendacious comparison of Israel with the former apartheid regime in South Africa.
I say “dishonest” because those behind the boycott campaign know perfectly well that Israeli Arabs enjoy full civil rights and that their status is nothing like that of non-whites in South Africa prior to the end of the apartheid regime. They know perfectly well that Ms. Keys and Sir Cliff Richard will NOT be performing to segregated audiences – indeed, denial of admittance to places of entertainment on the basis of race, ethnic group, religion or colour is ILLEGAL under Israeli law.
Ms. Keys has proved herself to be quite a girl. Not only did she defy the pressure to cancel her engagement in Israel, but, faced with a campaign against her on YouTube, using her own music, took legal action to have the offending video removed on the grounds of copyright violation.
My regular readers will know that I listen mostly to classical music, but Ms. Keys has completely won me over – not only with her music but also due to the participation in the show of her son, Egypt.
Next week, it will be the turn of British rock star Sir Cliff Richard to ride the waves of nostalgia at the Nokia Palace Arena in Tel Aviv, on July 11th and July 13th. Originally scheduled to give one performance only, the demand for tickets forced the organizers to add a second. Sir Cliff was also pressured to cancel his visit to the “apartheid state”, but refused to give in to threats and, as I have just mentioned, actually added a second concert.
In the 1960s, Cliff was widely promoted as “the British Elvis” and, although he never reached “the King’s” level of super-stardom in the United States, he was phenomenally successful in Europe. I remember at my primary school in London, we were divided into two camps – the Elvis fans versus the Cliff Richard fans. From interviews with nostalgic Israeli fans, eagerly awaiting Sir Cliff’s arrival next week, it appears that the same was true here in Israel.
Unlike Elvis, who succumbed to the stereotypical rock star lifestyle of booze, sex and drugs, there has never been a breath of that kind of scandal associated with the name of Cliff Richard – a fact which he, himself, attributes to his being a “Born-Again” Christian. Even his films project a kind of wholesome innocence, which brought a lump to my throat yesterday when, in a fit of nostalgia inspired by his upcoming visit, I sat down to watch a video of his 1963 movie “Summer Holiday”. This was always my favourite Cliff Richard movie. A couple of years ago, my brother came over for one of his all-too-brief visits, bringing with him a trio of Cliff’s films on DVD, and we spent a pleasant afternoon singing along with Cliff and the Shadows – just as I did yesterday.
I will leave you now – both those of you who know and love Cliff Richard and those who have yet to discover him (such as my younger nephew who, I was astounded to discover yesterday, had never heard of him!) – with the title song from the best of the Cliff Richard movies. “We’re all going on a summer holiday, No more working for a week or two. Fun and laughter on our summer holiday, No more worries for me or you, for a week or two.”
Shabbat Shalom to you all. Have a wonderful weekend 🙂 – and enjoy your summer holiday!